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March 18, 2016

Rushmore Region celebrates big day

Gov. Dennis Daugaard is making two stops in the region to celebrate major economic development announcements. First, the Governor will be in Rapid City, S.D., to help GCC Dacotah break ground on its new expansion, then on to Spearfish to cut the ribbon at the new Polaris paint facility.

When it comes to cement, the main ingredient in concrete, no one knows it better than GCC Dacotah. GCC, a manufacturer of cement, concrete and coal. Today the company, along with Gov. Daugaard, will break ground to commemorate its new $90 million expansion. The project is slated to begin right away and will be completed in three phases.

“Not only is GCC a good corporate citizen, it’s a forward thinking company that’s been in South Dakota for a number of years. In fact, the cement plant itself dates back to 1923,” said Gov. Daugaard. “This new facility represents more than a capital investment; it’s the foresight to prepare for our future infrastructure needs, it’s the commitment to creating jobs, and it’s the responsibility in operating a company that’s sustainable and environmentally conscious. I’d say those are all qualities that make companies successful and we’re incredibly lucky to have such a company right here in Rapid City.”

Since the plant was purchased by GCC in 2001, the company has made several significant investments in both production capacity and environmental controls. To meet the U.S. economy’s rebounding demand for cement, which is projected to exceed the U.S. production capacity by 2017, GCC will undergo a major upgrade at the Rapid City facility to help meet those demands.

“Last year, an upgrade to our kiln allowed us to produce 2,250 tons of clinker (material needed for producing cement) per day. But because the demand continues to grow, this new upgrade will allow us to produce up to 3,600 tons of clinker per day, saving our customers from importing product to cover the gap,” said Steve Post, GCC plant manager. “This upgrade translates to 1.2 million tons of clinker annually and 1.3 million tons of cement annually.”

But it doesn’t stop there. GCC’s upgraded kiln will not only help alleviate a concrete shortage, it will operate with the use of alternative fuels to provide the tremendous energy needed to produce cement, a commodity we take for granted. Cement kilns are traditionally powered by fossil fuels like coal oil and natural gas, but these fuels are getting more expensive and more difficult to acquire, which is why cement plants across the nation, and even abroad, have begun to use alternative fuel sources to supplement or off-set traditional fossil fuels.

Subject to final permitting, GCC will review the wide range of available non-hazardous alternative fuels, such as biomass, scrap tires and other waste materials that today end up in landfills, and will convert those materials into clean energy that will be used to power the kilns that produce cement. And while this isn’t new technology, GCC has committed to bringing this thoughtful approach to Rapid City.

“This innovative approach to utilizing alternative fuel sources instead of traditional fossil fuels will not only lead to fewer landfill materials, which is good for the environment, it will also lower operational costs which is good for the long-term viability of GCC’s operation, and that’s good for all of us,” Gov. Daugaard added.

Following the groundbreaking ceremony at GCC, Gov. Daugaard will travel to Spearfish to cut the ribbon at Polaris’s new 51,000 square-foot paint facility, which opened in November. The Spearfish facility paints parts for both the Indian and Victory motorcycle lines. This is the company’s second location in South Dakota.

“Polaris has had a presence in South Dakota for almost 20 years, but the passion and respect for the motorcycle industry has been here for much longer,” said Gov. Daugaard. “Clarence ‘Pappy’ Hoel brought the Indian Motorcycles franchise to Sturgis in 1936. He is also credited with starting the ‘Black Hills Classic,’ which eventually became the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. I think he’d be proud to know that Indian Motorcycles, the brand that helped start it all, is being manufactured in the heart of motorcycle country.”

“Our motorcycle division, including Victory, Indian Motorcycle, and our moto-roadster, Slingshot, grew by 67 percent last year,” said Steve Menneto, president, motorcycles, Polaris. “The additional liquid paint capacity provided by the Spearfish facility will allow us to meet the growing consumer demand for our Victory and Indian Motorcycle brands.”

Polaris opened last November after Champion Trikes left. It currently employs more than 50 people at the Spearfish facility and has plans to grow the facility in the future.

Interested applicants can go to www.applytopolaris.com or find out additional information at www.polaris.com.

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