Rayonier Advanced Materials
Submitted by Andrew Sutton
December 5, 2019
Rayonier Advanced Materials (NYSE: RYAM) is celebrating the 80th anniversary of its Fernandina Beach plant with employees, retirees and family guests during an Open House today.
“80 years is an incredible accomplishment,” said Paul Boynton, President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Rayonier Advanced Materials. “At Rayonier Advanced Materials, we invest in nature to make remarkable products from renewable resources, but we also invest heavily in the communities where we operate. For the past 80 years, Fernandina Beach residents have treated us not just as an employer, but as a friend and neighbor. That sort of return on investment is priceless and we couldn’t be more grateful.”
In honor of the occasion, Rayonier Advanced Materials hung a banner across Lime Street. During the Open House, employees and retirees will have the chance to take their family guests on a guided bus tour through the facility and enjoy light refreshments as well as presentations on RYAM’s products and processes.
“This milestone is a credit to our dedicated employees and to the people of Fernandina Beach who continue to be wonderful neighbors,” said Mark Homans, General Manager at Rayonier Advanced Materials’ Fernandina Beach Plant. “We look forward to operating in Fernandina Beach for many years to come.”
Deep Roots in Fernandina Beach
Regarded as the birthplace of the American shrimping industry, local shrimping thrived in Fernandina Beach from 1912 until the Great Depression when most of the industry left for other parts of Florida. Seeking to fill the gap, the Mayor invited Rainier Pulp & Paper to come to Fernandina Beach. Due to its natural deep-water harbor, Rainier Pulp & Paper saw the town as an attractive location from which to export products. Construction of the plant began in August 1937, providing work for hundreds of county residents during the darkest days of the depression. The plant began operating in December 1939.
In World War II, the plant aided the Allied war effort by producing a key ingredient in smokeless explosive powder and rayon tire cord, which was made to withstand high temperatures.
The company evolved over the following decades until, in 2014, Rayonier separated its land resources business from its performance fibers business, creating two independent, publicly traded companies. The performance fibers business became known as Rayonier Advanced Materials (NYSE: RYAM).
The Fernandina Beach Plant Today
Today, RYAM’s Fernandina Beach Plant has 300 employees and supports 1,229 local jobs. It generates $1.3 Million in Tax Revenue, $90.6 Million in annual salaries and benefits and its total economic contribution in the region is $185 Million. 95% of the plant’s total fuel comes from renewable resources and 98% of its electricity is self-generated.
In 2016, RYAM partnered with Eight Flags LLC Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant. Considered one of the cleanest and most efficient energy options in the world, the plant cuts energy consumption in half and saves millions of dollars for FPU’s Amelia Island Customers.
Two years later, LignoTech Florida—a 55/45 Joint Venture owned by Borregaard and RYAM—officially began operations, bringing 50 new high-paying manufacturing jobs to Fernandina Beach. Lignin, a natural component of wood, is a co-product of Rayonier Advanced Materials’ sulphite cellulose manufacturing process. The new operation provides environmentally friendly alternatives to fossil fuel-based products used globally.
About Rayonier Advanced Materials
Rayonier Advanced Materials is a global leader of cellulose-based technologies, including high purity cellulose specialties, a natural polymer commonly found in cell phones, computer screens, filters and pharmaceuticals. The Company also manufactures products for lumber, paper and packaging markets. With manufacturing operations in the U.S., Canada and France, Rayonier Advanced Materials employs approximately 4,200 people and generates approximately $2 billion of annual revenues. More information is available at www.rayonieram.com.