Governor LePage and Ecoshel Announce Plans for 78 Jobs in Ashland

June 11, 2013

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 11
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary (207) 287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage and Ecoshel CEO Bryan Kirkey announced today plans to create 78 new jobs at a manufacturing facility in Ashland for a new patented cedar shingle system. The Ecoshel facility will be located at the Levesque Sawmill Site on Levesque Mill Road. Plans include the addition of up to 10 production lines in the coming years, which would boost employment even further. At the start of production, an estimated 150 additional indirect jobs will be created.

“It is with pleasure that I welcome you and your company, Ecoshel Smart-Shingle System, to the great State of Maine,” the Governor stated in a letter to Kirkey. “Not only will you bring much-needed and welcomed jobs to Ashland, but your product line will also create hundreds more indirect jobs that will have a significant economic impact on communities across Aroostook County and the State of Maine.”

George Gervais, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, will speak at announcement Tuesday on behalf of the Governor. Kirkey praised DECD for its rapid response in assisting him to locate his company in Maine.

"When we made the decision to set up an advanced manufacturing system in Maine, I contacted Commissioner Gervais and Rosaire Pelletier, Forest Products Industry Liaison at DECD, to see if they could help,” Kirkey said. “I'm very thankful for how hard they have worked to make this possible and for all of the well-run, well-designed programs, such as MTI, MRDA, FAME and the Community Development Block Grant Program. These are exactly the type of programs that businesses need to grow and create jobs, especially in this economy."

Governor LePage highlighted the coordination between government and the company to make the project a reality. “Today’s announcement is another example of what can happen when the government and the private sector work together,” the Governor stated. “My administration has been focused on providing an ‘open for business’ attitude across state government since day one. When government acts to connect businesses with the resources they need, to find ways to eliminate red tape and to streamline processes, companies such as Ecoshel are able to focus on what you do best: create jobs. Your decision to locate here is a sign of encouragement that my administration is moving in the right direction to make Maine a better place to do business and to make Maine a state known for its business-friendly attitude.”

To facilitate the location of Ecoshel in Maine, the LePage Administration’s economic development team expedited a Maine Rural Development Authority loan for the company; assisted with site selection; connected Ecoshel with suppliers of raw materials; and started the financing process with FAME and other agencies.

Over the last two years, Ecoshel has been in beta production of their Smart-Shingle System, premium cedar shingle panels for roofing and siding, at a facility in Gainesville, Ga. The company decided to build its permanent manufacturing facility in Maine to be closer an abundant source of northern white cedar and its proximity to the nation’s largest cedar shingle markets in New England, according Ecoshel CEO Kirkey.

In addition to processing northern white cedar, Ecoshel will import western red cedar.