ROGERS — Up to 350 jobs are coming to Rogers when NextLife Asset Recovery Services opens a new headquarters and processing facility.
The company announced its $10 million investment Wednesday (Oct. 17) at the new facility’s location, 1300 N. Dixieland Road. There will be about 340 jobs in the processing facility and an additional 10 jobs at the headquarters, according to a press release from the Rogers/Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce.
NextLife Asset Recovery Services is a fully-owned subsidiary of NextLife Enterprises, which is based in Boca Raton, Fla. The company also has a recycling center in Frankfort, Ky., where items being gathered and bundled in Rogers will be sent until the production facility is up and running.
The company’s Rogers location will recycle post-consumer plastics into an environmentally sustainable resin that can be used to manufacture new consumer plastic items.
The company has already secured agreements with several companies to supply post-consumer plastic waste, according to the release.
“We are thrilled to be opening our third location and our second processing facility,” Ron Whaley, president and CEO of NextLife, said in a statement. “We are excited to bring green jobs to Arkansas. I want to thank both the state and lLocal officials who have made this day a reality."
This is the first of a three-phase plan for growth in Arkansas and the phases are expected to be complete within two years, said Steve Cox, director of economic development with the Rogers/Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce.
The second phase will involve establishing production lines to turn the plastic waste into sustainable resin followed by the third phase that will allow NextLife to establish joint ventures and manufacturing facilities with plastic goods manufacturers. This will mean that plastic waste from Rogers will be able to be broken down into a resin, turned into pellets, which can then be sold to other area companies that will use the pellets to create new products.
“All without leaving the city,” Cox said.
The jobs being created are sustainable jobs that are also high-paying, he said.
“There’s always going to be plastics to recycle,” he said. “They are not going anywhere any time soon. A $10 million investment shows a serious commitment to Northwest Arkansas.”
State and local officials were on hand for the announcement.
“NextLife brings together a growing clean-technology center with Arkansas’s strong tradition in manufacturing,” said Gov. Mike Beebe, who was on hand for the announcement. “By locating these jobs to Northwest Arkansas, NextLife is the latest company to send notice that this emerging field holds great promise for creating American jobs.”
Mike Harvey, chief operating officer of the Northwest Arkansas Council, said the jobs should help those hardest hit by the recession.
“These new jobs will offer living-wage employment to many residents without a higher education. That portion of the workforce was hardest hit by the economic recession, so we're pleased with this announcement. It's a very good sign for what's ahead,” Harvey said.
He also noted that NextLife is the type of company targeted in the Council’s development plan.
“The Greater Northwest Arkansas Development Strategy, a blueprint for regional success that was made public last year, identified sustainable technologies as one of the five target markets we should focus on. It's great to see new jobs in one of our target areas,” he said.
The employment prospects in Northwest Arkansas were already on an upswing, according to recent statistics. The unemployment rate in Northwest Arkansas fell in August to 5.3% thanks to more than 2,000 fewer unemployed in the economic region.