BROUSSARD, La. — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards joined Ochsner Health President and CEO Warner Thomas, SafeSource Direct CEO Justin Hollingsworth and other officials to announce the development of two manufacturing facilities for personal protective equipment, or PPE. The Acadiana Region projects will create a combined 1,221 new direct jobs, and Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in a combined 992 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 2,200 new jobs.
Ochsner Health partnered with Trax Development on a joint venture to create SafeSource Direct LLC. SafeSource is investing $150 million to develop the facilities, with $73 million to retrofit an 80,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Lafayette Parish that will also house its headquarters, and $77 million for the development of a new 400,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in St. Martin Parish.
“Today’s announcement is not only a celebration of the new jobs SafeSource Direct will create and the economic activity it will generate, but also an opportunity to thank Ochsner and Trax for an investment that truly meets our novel moment,” said Gov. Edwards. “A year ago, states across the union were grappling with a shortage of personal protective equipment as the coronavirus spread. Even now, the need for PPE is great and that demand will continue for the foreseeable future. I am proud to say that, with this new project, Louisiana will play a key role in preventing the U.S. from facing such a shortage again.”
SafeSource Direct will manufacture, warehouse and directly distribute PPE for health care and other industries in Louisiana and nationwide.
“COVID-19 brought to light our nation’s dependence on foreign countries, primarily China, for PPE,” Hollingsworth said. “By manufacturing right here in Lafayette and St. Martin parishes, and selling directly, SafeSource Direct will be positioned to eliminate the lag times, uncertainty and frustration that plague international manufacturing and shipping. Our hope is that these facilities will lay the foundation for more independently sustainable health systems in the U.S.”
The Lafayette Parish facility will create 245 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $45,300, plus benefits, and will result in 199 new indirect jobs. It will include the company’s headquarters and a manufacturing plant for surgical tie-masks, bouffant hair covers, shoe covers, isolation gowns, procedure masks and N95 masks. Manufacturing operations will be located in an existing building near the intersection of the Evangeline Thruway and St. Nazaire Road in Broussard.
“SafeSource Direct choosing Broussard and Lafayette Parish for its headquarters and manufacturing operations demonstrates how attractive our parish is to new businesses in search of an ideal location to successfully operate,” said Mayor-President Josh Guillory of Lafayette Parish. “A company of this size will not only boost our economy, but it will also create hundreds of competitive job opportunities for our citizens.”
The St. Martin Parish facility will employ 976 direct employees with an annual salary of $38,000, plus benefits, and will result in 793 new indirect jobs. The greenfield facility will include 400,000 square feet of manufacturing space located on 49 acres in Broussard. It will include multiple production lines for PPE manufacturing, with nitrile rubber gloves as the main product.
“All of our parish leaders are excited about the decision of Ochsner and Trax Development to locate this PPE facility in our parish,” said St. Martin Parish President Chester Cedars. “Not only will this prudent investment provide the public with an important product, but it will also yield significant dividends in the form of jobs and countless consequential benefits which are much-needed throughout all of Acadiana. I would be remiss if I did not further note that this announcement, together with a recently awarded $3.1 million EDA grant for fiber services to cover this very area, demonstrates that our parish and this region have much to offer.”
Construction of the facilities is underway, with the Lafayette Parish facility expected to commence commercial operations by the third quarter of 2021. Hiring for the new facilities will begin in mid-2021, with all positions to be filled by the end of 2023. Those interested in applying for roles at the SafeSource facilities in Broussard are encouraged to explore job opportunities at http://www.ledfaststart.com/SafeSourceDirect.
“Ochsner Health’s commitment to the communities we serve extends far beyond health care. We are creating jobs and investing in people, too,” said Thomas. “As part of our recent merger with Ochsner Lafayette General, we committed $465 million to improve the health and lives of people in Acadiana. Today, we are proud to build on that with a $150 million investment that will create 2,200 new jobs in the region and meet a critical national demand for a reliable domestic source of PPE. Not only will we be manufacturing PPE for our own employees and partner employees to keep them safe as they care for patients, but through this partnership we will also be providing a new source of quality PPE to protect front-line workers nationwide. We are grateful to all our partners who made this possible, especially Governor Edwards and Louisiana Economic Development. Their forward-thinking leadership will yield significant returns for our state’s economy, and the well-being of its people, for generations to come.”
The SafeSource Direct facilities are the latest in a series of investments in Louisiana in the broader medical care and equipment fields. In December 2019, Medline Industries announced plans to build a major medical supply facility and distribution center in Louisiana’s Southeast Region. Provider of durable medical equipment Viemed announced a 220-job expansion of its Lafayette-based headquarters in June 2019. Home health services provider LHC Group broke ground on a new 500-job home office expansion, also in Lafayette, in March 2019.
“This is a tremendous achievement, not only for the city of Broussard but also for our entire region and state,” said Broussard Mayor Ray Bourque. “We have focused our efforts for the past two years to foster growth and build partnerships for the benefit of our residents and businesses. I commend the Broussard Economic Development Corporation for their work on bringing this LED Certified Site to fruition and am grateful to the developers for investing, with us, in the future of Broussard.”
To secure the project in Acadiana, the State of Louisiana offered SafeSource Direct a competitive incentive package for both sites. For the facility in Lafayette Parish, the incentive package includes the comprehensive workforce solutions of the nation’s No. 1 state workforce training and talent attraction program, LED FastStart®. Additionally, SafeSource will receive a $2.5 million performance-based grant. For the facility in St. Martin Parish, the company will receive LED FastStart services, as well as an $8 million performance-based grant. The company also is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
“Ochsner’s growth and investment in Acadiana is a testament to our top-notch manufacturing sector, pro-business environment, and the community of innovation we have fostered in the region,” said One Acadiana President and CEO Troy Wayman. “The great news that one of SafeSource’s PPE manufacturing locations will locate at the Spanish Trail Industrial Park Site – a site in St. Martin Parish that we certified through LED just last year – is a significant validation of the work we do certifying sites for business development. This investment will create over 1,200 jobs at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted Acadiana’s economy. We are very proud to have worked with the development team, the State of Louisiana and our local partners, LEDA and the St. Martin Parish Economic Development Authority, to secure this investment in Acadiana.”
“Today’s announcement by SafeSource and Ochsner is wonderful news for the City of Broussard, Lafayette and St. Martin parishes, and all of Acadiana,” said President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. “The merger between Ochsner and Lafayette General Health placed Acadiana in a strategic position to serve as a production and fulfillment hub for the system’s PPE needs and potentially those of other businesses. This project is a prime example of the direction of business attraction and expansion efforts post-COVID – concentrating on onshoring and returning/expanding production and operations to Louisiana.”
About SafeSource Direct
SafeSource Direct LLC is an American manufacturer of personal protective equipment (PPE) dedicated to keeping the nation’s health care workers safe on the job. At SafeSource, success minded team-members use innovation and automation to provide high-quality American-made PPE at prices competitive with those of foreign suppliers. To learn more about how SafeSource Direct is laying the groundwork for sustainability in the health care industry, visit SafeSourceDirect.com.
About Ochsner Health
Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate. Ochsner Health is a not-for-profit committed to giving back to the communities it serves through preventative screenings, health and wellness resources and partnerships with innovative organizations that share our vision. Ochsner Health healed more than 900,000 people from across the globe in 2020, providing the latest medical breakthroughs and therapies, including digital medicine for chronic conditions and telehealth specialty services. Ochsner Health is a national leader, named the top hospital in Louisiana and a top children’s hospital by U.S. News & World Report. As Louisiana’s leading health care educator, Ochsner Health and its partners educate thousands of health care professionals annually. Ochsner Health is innovating health care by investing in new technologies and research to make world-class care more accessible, affordable, convenient and effective. Ochsner’s team of more than 32,000 employees and 4,500 providers are working to reinvent the future of health and wellness in the region. To learn more about Ochsner Health, please visit Ochsner.org.
Louisiana Economic Development is responsible for strengthening the state’s business environment and creating a more vibrant Louisiana economy. LED cultivates jobs and economic opportunity for the people of Louisiana, and promotes business opportunity for employers of all sizes. In 2020, LED attracted 58 new economic development projects representing 11,600 new jobs, 8,600 retained jobs and $12.7 billion in new capital investment. LED’s Small Business Services team, in conjunction with the Louisiana Small Business Development Center Network, assisted more than 17,500 Louisiana small businesses and entrepreneurs in 2020. For more information, visit OpportunityLouisiana.com.