VIVIAN, La. (AP) -- A new boat manufacturer is coming to the Caddo Manufacturing plant in Vivian.
Epic Wake Boats has announced it will use the facility and the plant's workforce to produce its electric and hybrid boats. The Times of Shreveport reports that the company's plans also include producing two electric cars, which are built more for recreation than everyday commuting.
Epic officials say they plan to employ more than 400 people at the plant during the next few years.
Hundreds of people lost jobs a few years back when VIP Boats went bankrupt. Caddo Manufacturing LLC was formed to pull the company out of bankruptcy, but employment levels had been dwindling for years. At its peak, there were about 400 people working there. Now there are about 40 left.
"We have the workforce and the location is perfect," he said. "In a few years, (Interstate) 49 will be here, and we're a short drive to the Port of Shreveport-Bossier."
While building boats is nothing new to Caddo Manufacturing, the technology is new. Epic employs green technology: its electric boats have no emissions to pollute the air or water. The hybrid model, which requires diesel to keep the battery charged, has few emissions.
Most of the green industry is centralized in California, but Epic CEO Chris Anthony hopes Louisiana can be a new breeding ground for green businesses.
"Why can't this be the green capital?" he said at an announcement event Friday in Vivian. "You have the workforce. You have the infrastructure."