It’s a sizable increase from the output in 2006, with annual production at about 2.6 billion caps. Sixteen years later, average daily production in 2022 is 34 million units – everything from a 6-millimeter cap to a 110-millimenter piece, closing everything from brand name soda bottles and water containers to medical closures.
For a large portion of the local operation’s 37-year history here, Kilgore Economic Development Corporation has been a dedicated partner – practically, professional, and personally helping the company thrive.
CSI’s operations in Kilgore date back to 1985, but the manufacturing goes back further when it was founded as Southern Plastics in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1969 – Jim Eggers launched the business that year with one machine, a handful of customers, and a garage.
Eventually, “He moved his operation in Shreveport to a 5,000 square-foot facility then expanded it to an 80,000 square-foot building,” according to Debi Nolan, HR Specialist for CSI. “He built his second facility, in Kilgore, in 1985 – 115,000 square-feet. In 2006, he built the south wing here, which is 145,000 square-feet.
In a nutshell, CSI produces plastic closures for the food and beverage industry, serving clients like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. An additional medical application includes products for Bausch & Lomb.
“Just tons of stuff,” Nolan said, with an ample workforce to keep the caps coming: “Our headcount is currently about 265 employees. With our new expansion, that’s going to add an additional 20 more employees by the end of the year.”
The privately-held operation has changed hands several times since its founding. Last acquired by Cerberus Capital Management in 2019, CSI is an international venture with multiple manufacturing centers in addition to Kilgore.
From its inception here and through its growth and numerous changes along the way, Nolan said a constant in the life of the company has been its relationship with Kilgore EDC.
In addition to facilitating ongoing operations and growth, KEDC has been a dedicated partner, Nolan added.
“It’s critical to our process,” she said, praising the staff at the economic development initiative. “They’ve been a valuable resource for us in regards to almost every area of our business. It includes our transportation, our warehousing, our employee appreciation,” going so far as to schedule a frozen sweets vendor to stop by and surprise CSI’s workers. “They’re willing to just come and do anything we ask them to do.”
KEDC also helps CSI plug into job fairs and roundtable discussions on employee retention and hiring in addition to notifying the operation of relevant grant opportunities.
“There’s just a lot of things that KEDC does for us, even if it’s just calling and doing wellness checks on us: ‘Is there anything we can do for you?’”
It’s the kind of support that helps CSI focus on its strengths and keep growing.
“I think our defining philosophy would be that we create,” according to Nolan. “Our goal is to create a work environment that’s going to protect the health and well-being of our employees, our customers, and our communities where we operate.
“That’s one of our defining philosophies. The other is that we want to provide superior packaging to all our customers, and we want to deliver that on time and defect-free so that we can continue to be the leading provider in our industry.”
Looking ahead, including and beyond the latest physical expansion that’s already underway, Nolan said CSI is looking for more growth opportunities, especially in terms of diversification in the future.
It’s a future that definitely includes Kilgore EDC.
“We’re going to let them help us grow our business,” Nolan added. “We want to look for new lines, new business that we can ship in even larger quantities. We’ll continue to look for the next technology out there. We’ve done some amazing things around robotics to help our employees ergonomically.
“We’ll continue to invest in our employees and the growth of our company.”