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REDI president Stacey Button (file photo courtesy of REDI website)

(LISTEN): Columbia food maker praised for outreach to refugee community

A plant on Columbia’s Waco road is the only plant in North America that makes Oscar Mayer hot dogs.

Columbia Regional Economic Development Incorporated (REDI) president Stacey Button describes Kraft Heinz as a good company that’s doing great things. Ms. Button tells 939 the Eagle’s “CEO Roundtable” that the plant now has more than 400 employees.

“And I think another piece that really resonates with this community and Kraft Heinz they’ve made significant efforts with their workforce to do outreach with the refugee and immigrant community. So they’ve I think got a very diverse and well-rounded workforce at Kraft that has proved very well for them,” Ms. Button says.

Kraft Heinz is located on Columbia’s fast-growing food corridor, which also includes Aurora Organic Dairy, Swift Foods and Nabisco.

Meantime, EquipmentShare’s $100-million expansion near Columbia’s I-70 and Lake of the Woods interchange is underway. It’s one of the largest expansions in Columbia history. EquipmentShare is building its new corporate headquarters by the former Ashley furniture building. Ms. Button tells 939 the Eagle’s Fred Parry that there’s been progress.

“The construction right now I believe is for the technology development center. Is it attached to the current building? Well, no it’s just adjacent to it. Kind of a little campus out there. Yeah they do, exactly. And I believe that center they intend for it to be open in June,” says Button.

EquipmentShare plans to build a flagship office building and a research and development center. Missouri Governor Mike Parson was at EquipmentShare last November, announcing that the company plans to add 555 new jobs over the next five years, as part of the expansion. The average salary of those new jobs is expected to be about $42,000. Columbia beat out Alabama, Louisiana and other states in landing the massive project.

You can listen to Fred Parry’s full interview with Ms. Button here.

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