VICI In grand opening ceremonies Friday, Iochem Corp. president Kouji Kita of Tokyo and Oklahoma state Sen. Ray Giles, D-Pocassett, snipped a red ribbon and pushed a switch to activate absorption and desorption towers of the firm's new iodine plant three miles east of here.
Approximately 200 invited guests witnessed the ceremony in a tent erected on the prairie beside the towers.
Other guests included Oklahoma Department of Commerce Secretary Don Paulsen and several West German and Japanese businessmen.
Chuck Pickering, a member of the board of directors for Two Rivers Economic Development Council, said, "the biggest thing about Iochem is it has restored the people's hope and confidence in the future."
"We didn't actually attract Iochem to Vici," he said. "But when we found out they were looking, we did what we could to let them know we wanted the plant."
Included in that effort was a horse-drawn surrey tour of Vici for Kita earlier this year.
Pickering said the new plant was a step in efforts to promote western Oklahoma "not only for our willingness to work with diverse industry, but to work with diverse cultures. As I see it we have three things to offer; natural gas, space and people willing to work."
The plant, not yet in full production, has hired six permanent employees from Vici as operators.
"It (ultimately) will have a $400,000 annual payroll and may eventually employ 20, plus five in management," Pickering said.
He said the plant could in the future spawn a power generating plant utilizing iodine-rich brine pumped from the facility's 10,000-foot deep wells.
He hinted another spinoff industry is possible, but declined to elaborate. BIOG: NAME:Archive ID: 322442