Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
December 7, 2019
The City of Fernandina Beach officially recognized the 80th anniversary of Rayonier Advanced Materials Fernandina mill with a proclamation during its December 3, 2019 Regular Meeting.
The Proclamation, presented by Mayor John Miller, read:
WHEREAS, the Fernandina Beach Rayonier Advanced Materials facility was constructed in 1937 and for the past eighty years, has proudly employed three generations of City, county, and regional residents who enjoy salary and benefits in excess of $90 million dollars annually; and
WHEREAS, today, the plant produces 155,000 metric tons of softwood cellulose specialties per year and contributes $35 million annually to Florida’s wages and salaries and $2 million annually to Florida’s property and sales taxes; and
WHEREAS, Rayonier Advanced Materials is arguably one of Fernandina Beach’s largest employer’s and economic engines. They employ 300+ dedicated individuals and are responsible for indirectly providing thousands of jobs in the logging, trucking, contracting, forestry, service and maintenance industries; and
WHEREAS, Rayonier and its employees actively embrace community stewardship by generously contributing substantial funding, countless hours, and expertise to provide scholarships and socio-economic opportunities by serving as coaches, mentors, tutors, and committee members for a variety of civic programs, and human service organizations; and
WHEREAS, Rayonier Advanced Materials is committed to environmental stewardship as demonstrated by their legacy of adhering to the high standards of the Forest Stewardship Council, by operating well under the permitted environmental operation standards and by generating over 90% of self-generated and renewably sourced electricity; and
WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper on this 80th anniversary of the Rayonier Advanced Materials Fernandina Beach Plant to recognize the remarkable impact the plant has in the City, Nassau County, and across northeast Florida and southeast Georgia.
NOW THEREFORE, I, John A. Miller, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Mayor of the City of Fernandina Beach, do hereby recognize and extend the City’s sincere appreciation to the:
“Rayonier Advanced Materials Fernandina Beach Plant”
and commend their eighty-year heritage of dedicated leadership, environmental stewardship, and civic responsibility.
Following the presentation, Rayonier Advanced Materials plant manager Mark Homans thanked the City for recognizing the contributions of Rayonier to the local community. He traced the plant’s beginnings to an invitation in 1937 from Fernandina Beach officials to open a plant in the city during the throes of the Great Depression. Rayonier responded favorably and the plant began production on December 5, 1939. Currently the company employs 300 full time employees in Fernandina Beach, presenting the with a wide variety of career opportunities. Homans said that Rayonier indirectly supports another 1200 local jobs. Seventy-five percent of their employees live in Nassau County, with 50 percent living within the 32034 ZIP Code.
City resident and Rayonier employee Wayne Peterson also addressed the FBCC. He said that he has worked for Rayonier for more than 20 years and considers it a “great, great, great company.” In addition to his duties as Operator 2 at the plant, he serves as president of United Steel Workers Local 395. On behalf of his local and other plant labor organizations, he thanked the city for recognizing Rayonier’s contributions to Fernandina Beach and its residents.
To read more about Rayonier, its history and its importance to the local community, click here.