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ROWESVILLE – Dempsey Wood Products is expanding and creating 25 new jobs.

Parker Dempsey, president of the company, said plans for the expansion date back several years.

“It’s a project we’ve been planning for probably the last several years, and took a big step two years ago in the expansion we did there. That was kind of the first step of this project. This is finishing that part of it off,” Dempsey said.

“There’s a big opportunity for us to improve our efficiency and productivity. So, we wanted to take advantage of that opportunity by installing state-of-the-art equipment and keeping up with today’s industry and sawmill industry,” he said.

Orangeburg County Council gave its final approval on Monday to tax incentives for the expansion of the family-owned lumber company.

“You have someone who is already contributing to Orangeburg County and that is Dempsey Wood Products expanding its business in Orangeburg County,” Orangeburg County Attorney D’Anne Haydel said.

Haydel detailed the tax incentives.

“The promise is a minimum investment of $26,465,970 and 25 new jobs, and in exchange for fulfilling that promise the county will allow Dempsey Wood Products to take advantage of some state law incentives,” she said.

The expansion will receive the fee-in-lieu of taxes incentive for 30 years, which will allow it to pay a set fee based on a 6 percent tax assessment. It will also receive a 20 percent special source revenue credit.

Dempsey said the expansion will include, “an extension to our saw line and complementing the saw line is a full-blown trim line sorter and stacker.”

“The tail end part of that is an additional second dry kiln added to our operation,” he said.

Of the 25 new jobs, Dempsey said there will be some new titles for people who work with the new equipment.

“Some of those new jobs would be skilled technicians, maintenance people. A lot of equipment’s fairly technical, so it’ll take skill and experienced people to be able to work on that,” he said.

Some of the new jobs have been filled, according to Dempsey.

“There has been an addition of good new talent to an already great and veteran workforce,” he said.

Much of the expansion has taken place, Dempsey said.

“We plan to do other expansions down the road,” Dempsey said.

Dempsey said there was a major expansion of the company in 2000, and recently there have been expansions starting in 2014.

Dempsey said the company was on the brink of closing not long ago.

He expressed his gratitude for his father Ron Dempsey and some of the employees who have been with the company for decades.

“I’d like to give credit to my dad for being the true visionary of starting this business and making to where we are today,” Dempsey said.

“Two key employees I’d like to mention who have played a big role in helping us be able to survive through the rough times, and also getting us we are today, is Michael Gulle and Bubba Hall,” Dempsey said.

Dempsey also noted that Mike Cocke has been critical to the company’s success.

“We’re big believers in investing money back into the business, and I think all of our employees have an appreciation when we do that,” Dempsey said.

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Contact the writer: bharris@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5516

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Staff Writer

Bradley Harris is a Government and Sports Reporter. The Irmo, SC native is a 2018 graduate of Claflin University and recipient of the 2018 South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Journalist of the Year Award.

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