The head of a company looking to locate nine plants in the U.S. to make and distribute corn-based, vacuum formed dinnerware said the firm will announce its locations within 30 days.
John Pitre, CEO of Variety Global Business Group of Houston, said in an Aug. 18 telephone interview that the plants will handle both processing and distribution. He has been visiting communities in 15 states to narrow down the possible sites, with stops in Ohio, Indiana, Maryland and Georgia on his itinerary.
VGB is a technology-transfer consulting company working with Dongguan Honghao High-New Technical Development Co. of Dongguan, China, to expand its technology to North America, said VGB President John Lin.
Dongguan Honghao opened in 2000 to manufacture food containers from biodegradable cornstarch, and to sell its turnkey production lines to other companies that also want to make products from bioplastics.
Lin said the small Chinese firm employs about 80 and has exported its machinery lines to Vietnam, America and Iran.
Requests to Dongguan Honghao for comment were directed to VGB.
Honghao and VGB want to manufacture their tableware and other products in the U.S. because shipping from China is expensive, and U.S. consumers have more confidence in goods made in America, Lin said.
I think we will make it happen, he said.
VGB and Honghao are seeking between $2 million and $20 million in funding to finance their manufacturing in the U.S. Each site will employ as many as 120 people at each location, they said.
Lin said the company has not found any investors but has a lot of potential interest.
Pitre joined VGB in September and said he has sought out communities with empty industrial spaces and experienced workers.
Pitre disputes claims by a former employee at another company who has raised questions about Pitre's background. John Armstrong, formerly sales manager with a credit consulting business in Houston called Your Credit Coach Co., is a disgruntled former worker trying to muddy up the waters by connecting that closed business with VGB, Pitre said.
There is no connection to the two firms, both Pitre and Lin said, and Pitre added that he only agreed to a settlement of about $14,737 with the Texas Workforce Commission to quiet Armstrong's complaints. That amount will be paid as soon as possible, Pitre said.
Pitre also said he lost more than $100,000 when his former business failed, and he has worked without pay to launch VGB and the food-service product plants because he believes this is a good opportunity to bring green jobs to the U.S. from China.
I'm focused on making that happen, Pitre said. I'm not focused on John Armstrong.
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