Hebeler sold; new owner hopes to employ more

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 13, 2004

[7/13/04]Hebeler Vicksburg Corp. has been sold to Specialty Process Fabricators Inc., a division of Ergon Terminaling Inc., which plans to expand employment.

The sale was effective with the July 1 closing of the sale of Hebeler’s building and land on the E.W. Haining Industrial Center, said Robert Stokes, vice president of Specialty Process.

Hebeler Vicksburg opened in 1990 as a division of Hebeler Welding of Tonawanda, N.Y., occupying a building under a lease-purchase agreement with the Warren County Port Commission and Warren County. Hebeler bought the building for the remaining amount of the lease, $150,240, in 2000.

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Since coming to Vicksburg, Hebeler built pressure vessels and skid-mounted equipment for the chemical and electric generating industry. Although many of the company’s products were shipped around the United States and the world, they built the equipment used at the Warren Power Plant located next to the Baxter Wilson Steam Generating Plant here and owned by Entergy Wholesale.

The company began employing about 25 people, mostly welders and metal fabricators but soon rose to a peak of abut 140 employees before a downturn in the electric generating industry caused the company to cut back on the number of people it employed beginning in 2001. Also at its peak, Hebeler built a 75-foot-by-100-foot addition to its building for additional warehouse space.

Some of Hebeler’s major customers were Siemens-Westinghouse and General Electric.

“We basically do the same thing that Hebeler did,” Stokes said. “We build pressure vessels and skid-mounted equipment for the oil and gas and power generating industries.”

As Specialty Process took over the operation, Stokes said the company employs 23 people with the hope the payroll will rise to 50 to 150. Most of the present staff is employed as welders and metal fabricators.

“Realistically, it is probably going to be six to 12 months before we get the sales end of the business developed until we can get the shop loaded,” Stokes said.

He said the additional employees will be hired as business develops.