Boidiesel plant reopening
Damon Pistulka, biodeisel plant manager, Clark Kagel, OPDA president Stacy Rasmusen, OPDA administrative assistant, met with attorney Mark DeWulf (not pictured) to sign a lease agreement.
TransMessis Columbia Plateau is the new name of the Odessa biodiesel plant formerly known as Inland Empire Oilseeds, LLC. An investor group from Houston, Texas is providing the financial backing required by the Odessa Public Development Authority (OPDA) prior to signing the agreement to lease the facility to the new management team.
Damon Pistulka, a resident of Edmonds, Wash., will be the manager, as the plant gears up to restart production after several months of forced idleness following the filing of Chapter 7 bankruptcy by Inland Empire Oilseeds in December of 2012. Some familiar names from that former venture are still involved in the project, namely Wally Kempe and Joel Edmonds, according to Pistulka. Pistulka indicated that their expertise in running the plant was a welcome asset for the new company.
Pistulka has had experience with managing manufacturing facilities ever since he began working in a plant part time as a college student. He said he has overseen the building and remodeling of plants, in addition to the management of day-to-day operations. Like Edmonds and Kempe before him, he will commute to Odessa from the west side to get the local plant up and running again.
As the date for the lease signing drew near, Pistulka and other management personnel began looking to hire back some of the former IEO employees. They now have about 15 to 16 employees ready to rejoin the workforce at the plant. Some will have to give notice to current employers before they can return to the Odessa plant's jobs.
Next week the company plans to issue a press release stating that the plant is reopening, and sharing with the public their plans for the future.