Ochsner Partners to Create PPE Production Facilities in Louisiana

LAFAYETTE, La. — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards joined Ochsner Health President and CEO Warner Thomas,  SafeSource Direct CEO Justin Hollingsworth and other officials on Monday, May 3 to announce the development of two manufacturing facilities for personal protective equipment in Louisiana. State economic development officials estimate the Acadiana Region projects will create a combined 1,221 new direct jobs and 992 new indirect 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.”

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SafeSource Direct will manufacture, warehouse and directly distribute PPE for health care and other industries in Louisiana and nationwide.

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.

 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.

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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.

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.

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