Nestlé Waters North America’s Hawkins Bottling Plant Holds Grand Re-Opening

To Press Releases listNov 29, 2016

Ozarka® Team Overcomes Extensive Tornado Damage 

$50,000 Donation Made to the East Texas Food Bank

HAWKINS, TX – November 29, 2016 – Nestlé Waters North America, the company that brings you Ozarka® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water, today unveiled its fully restored Hawkins bottling plant following a seven-month rebuilding process in the wake of significant tornado damage. The company commemorated the milestone at a grand re-opening ceremony, which included local dignitaries, factory tours, and a donation presentation to the East Texas Food Bank (ETFB).  

The local Ozarka team, which has been operating in Wood County since 2002, has long been a provider of bottled water to the East Texas Food Bank. In the spirit of giving back to the community, Nestlé Waters North America Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President Tim Brown joined with Factory Manager Jeff Hall to present a $50,000 check to ETFB Chief Executive Officer Dennis Cullinane at the ceremony to commemorate the company’s recent $50,000 donation to the Food Bank.

“The East Texas Food Bank congratulates the Ozarka-Wood County bottling plant on the re-opening of their facilities after the April 2016 tornado,” said Mr. Cullinane. “This unforeseen event did not dampen the passion of their leadership nor that of their employees. The company also donated four pallets of the first bottles of water produced at the newly opened facility to the East Texas Food Bank. Ozarka’s re-opening and continued partnership with us showcases the company’s ongoing commitment to our community.”

“We have a long history of working with the East Texas Food Bank to help them meet their mission during emergencies but, in this case, we found ourselves on the receiving end,” said Mr. Hall.  “We are forever grateful for our community partners and our employees who stepped up during a very difficult time for our company. Giving back to the East Texas Food Bank is one way we can say ‘thank you’ for all the support we received.”

On April 29, 2016 at 6:15pm an EF2 tornado struck several communities in Wood County, including Ozarka’s bottling facility. The tornado severely damaged the warehouse roof, offices, electrical room, air handlers, cooling towers, tractor trailers, and personal automobiles. Twisting at 120-125 miles per hour, the EF2 tornado touched down 2.5 miles southeast of Lindale and was on the ground for 27 miles and 37 minutes. Thanks to well-practiced safety protocols, none of the 150 employees present were injured. Incredibly, the tornado struck during a shift change, when double the number of employees were on site.

Nestlé Waters North America employs more than 250 people at its Hawkins bottling facility, which has a payroll of more than $14 million. Ozarka® Brand Natural Spring Water is sourced from three natural springs in Texas, distributed regionally in Texas and several nearby states, and is the number one spring water brand in Dallas and Houston. The immediate shut-down of the bottling facility and subsequent rebuild was a seven-month effort, requiring thousands of hours of work. The factory began producing again in August, and product has since returned to normal levels on store shelves.

Nestlé Waters North America immediately responded after the tornado and provided steady employment for all the affected employees at the Hawkins factory. Some employees assisted with the rebuild while others chose to work out of the Pasadena and Dallas bottling facilities. 

“The reopening of our Hawkins plant reminds us of how much can be accomplished when our employees rally together,” added Tim Brown. “Employees showed optimism and resilience in the face of adversity to come back stronger than ever, while keeping community needs as one of their most important priorities. Their commitment is truly outstanding and we look forward to celebrating the team’s efforts.” 

About Nestlé Waters North America

Nestlé Waters North America provides people with an unrivaled portfolio of bottled waters for healthy hydration. Brands such as Ozarka®Nestlé® Pure Life®Perrier®, and S. Pellegrino® have driven Nestlé Waters North America to be the third largest non-alcoholic beverage company by volume in the U.S. Based in Stamford, Connecticut with about 8,500 employees, Nestlé Waters is committed to reducing its environmental footprint across operations. As a natural resource company, Nestlé Waters sustainably manages nearly 50 spring sites, as well as nearly 14,000 acres of watershed as open space. The company is also committed to creating shared value and being a good neighbor in the 140 communities where it operates in the U.S.   

About East Texas Food Bank

The East Texas Food Bank provided more than 21 million meals each year to 200 partner agencies in 26 East Texas counties. Our vision is for a hunger-free East Texas and our mission is to fight hunger and feed hope in East Texas. The East Texas Food Bank is a member of Feeding America and Feeding Texas. To learn more, please visit EastTexasFoodBank.org. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/etfoodbank or follow our news on Twitter at twitter.com/etfoodbank.