Kent News

PROGRESS: Export market leads to growth for Muscatine’s GPC plant

Sean Leary
For the Muscatine Journal

 

Grain Processing Corporation was founded in 1943, by S.G. Stein and G.A. Kent, both of Muscatine and is located on Oregon Street in Muscatine. GPC is a subsidiary of Kent Corporation.

 
Grain Processing Corporation (GPC) is among the Muscatine companies celebrating rapid growth due to increased customer demand worldwide for its products. The spike in activity between Iowa and the Muscatine-based company, and China, the most populous country in the world, has opened up rich revenue and business streams and led to expansion locally.

 
In 2015, GPC announced a major alcohol expansion in Muscatine that continues on track to be a boon to the area and the company, according to Janet Sichterman, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Communications for the Kent Corporation, parent company of GPC. 

 
The new $48 million plant will expand ethyl alcohol production capacity to meet increased customer demand in the beverage and industrial alcohol markets, focusing on increasing alcohol production at Muscatine’s corn wet milling plant.

 
“This investment provides expanded production to meet the growing demands of our domestic and export customers,” said Gage A. Kent, CEO and Chairman of Kent Corporation. GPC has been producing quality alcohol right here in Muscatine since 1943. The Muscatine alcohol expansion is yet another demonstration of GPC’s long-term commitment to the economic well-being of our community.”

 
In addition to increasing production, the project reduces energy usage, improves yield and upgrades infrastructure in the distillery area of the plant. GPC’s expanded capacity will provide product to the market in phases over the next two to five years.

 
“Our products are sold around the world for use in applications demanding the highest degree of purity,” said Mark Ricketts, Vice President, GPC Alcohol Sales. “GPC has earned the reputation as a reliable supplier of high quality ethyl alcohol that provides exceptional customer service and regulatory expertise. This expansion provides opportunities to not only grow with our current customers but the ability to grow our distribution and export channels.”

 
The plant’s retooling is in line with GPC’s commitment to increasing energy efficiency and productivity, Sichterman said.

 
Last year, GPC was awarded a Leadership in Energy Efficiency award by the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities after a nomination from Muscatine Power and Water (MPW). Muscatine Power and Water nominated GPC for reducing energy use 10,231,425 kilowatt-hours over the past year. A significant factor of the reduction in energy use is GPC’s new dryer house. The new energy-efficient dryer house is one of the largest dryers of its kind and has replaced 11 existing dryers.

 
“We were happy to nominate GPC,” said Erika Cox, Director of Employee and Community Relations for MP&W. “GPC has done a fantastic job and it’s rewarding to know that we are able to assist in making Muscatine an even more energy-efficient community.”

 
“We thank MPW for the nominating GPC and we are thrilled to be recognized by the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities for our dedication toward energy-savings,” Sichterman said. “GPC is proud to have made this investment in people and jobs in our community.”

 
GPC produces a wide array of products primarily derived from an Iowa farm staple – corn. The products manufactured include maltodextrins, corn syrup solids and starches for the food, nutraceutical and personal care markets; ethyl alcohol for beverage and industrial use; starches for the paper, corrugated box, textile and wallboard industries; corn oil; and animal nutrition ingredients.