“Beyond My Widest Dreams”
By Will Johnson
GRAPELAND – A job fair for the soon-to-be open Darling Ingredients plant in Grapeland was held on June 28 and – according to Darling representatives – it was a big hit.
Tom Molini, South Region Vice President of Darling Ingredients, Inc. was in attendance at the job fair and was asked about the event’s success.
“It is beyond my wildest dreams,” Molini said. “I did not think we would have this many people and it is more than I thought we would ever have. I am extremely happy with this. I think Brandon (Bridges) and the economic development group (the Grapeland Economic Development Corporation – GEDC) did a great job on getting the word out.”
The VP commented the event was supposed to start at 10 a.m. but by 8:30 a.m. people were waiting outside the doors of the Grapeland Senior Citizens Center – where the job fair was held.
“We have 58 openings we’re hiring for. Hopefully, they will all come from this job fair. We are looking to have another job fair later in July. Hopefully, we can do some interviewing done at that point and get the people we need,” he said.
“We are hiring for just about every position out in the plant,” Molini continued. “We have plant workers, semi (truck) drivers, office managers and office personnel, a farm hand, maintenance workers and mechanics.”
Of the people hired by Darling Ingredients, several will be asked to train at the company’s Bastrop location, until the Grapeland plant is up and running.
Concerning the Bastrop plant, Molini said that plant is nearly identical to the one currently under construction on FM 227.
“We want to be able to hit the ground running when we get here. We are going to hire some people early so we can get them over there and get them trained,” he said.
With well over 200 people showing up by 11 a.m., Molini remarked, “Right now, it (the number of prospective employees) is past my hope right now. I was just hoping people would show up. This went way beyond that. This is one of the first job fairs I have seen where people are here just for our company.”
Molini said he was in Grapeland for the facility’s groundbreaking on Nov. 28 “… and there were a whole lot of people then. I think Grapeland is squarely behind us coming here, which makes us feel good. It makes us excited to be here.”
The event was hosted by the GEDC and had been “terrific” according to GEDC board member Brandon Bridge who was also in attendance.
“People were here early and we are really pleased with the outcome. Darling Ingredients – their management is all very pleased with the turnout as well. We were almost overwhelmed by it. We’re running short on applications,” Bridges said.
“By 11 o’clock,” he continued, “we will probably have had over 200 people come through the doors. I started out with 250 applications and now we’re down to about 50. We expect another wave of people after lunch – from those who are working today.”
Bridges added there will be a follow-up job fair on July 26.
“They will hire x amount of people from these applications. A lot of people will receive a phone call where they are asked to come back for interviews on the 26th,” he said. “I think everyone is thrilled with the level of success we are having here today.”
Representatives from Vulcraft were also on hand during the job fair.
“We want to help them as new members of the community and if we have people we can refer to them, we’ll be happy to do that. This is just a way to help them get started. We participate in a lot of job fairs to get our talent network and our name out there,” Rhonda Wuerch, a human resources executive with Vulcraft explained.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.