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georgia.org | March 4, 2021
A tequila plant in Mexico. A COVID-19 hospital in Saudi Arabia. A
turkey farm in North Carolina. A brewing company in Africa. These are
just a few of the diverse operations powered by customized boilers made
by Georgia-based Hurst Boiler & Welding.
Since 1967, Hurst Boiler & Welding Company, Inc. has been manufacturing, designing, engineering and servicing gas, oil, coal, solid waste, wood, biomass and hybrid fuel-fired steam and hot water boilers for companies around the world, direct from Thomas County, Georgia.
From opening his first small shop behind the family home to running a global business with annual sales of up to $60 million, founder Gene Hurst has worked with the State of Georgia’s resources in manufacturing, logistics and workforce to build Hurst Boiler & Welding into one of the world’s largest manufacturers of boilers.
The company has come a long way from that backyard shop. Today, it resides on a 17-acre campus that includes a 314,000-square-foot manufacturing plant operated by more than 260 employees. Despite its size, the company is still owned and operated by the second and third generations of the Hurst family.
“The quality of life in South Georgia is just excellent,” says Jeff
Hurst, director of marketing and one of Gene Hurst’s four children involved in the company. “My family members were all born in Thomas
County and we’ve worked hard to build our business. Our reputation is
based on the integrity our father taught us.”
The company’s products flow from this small community to destinations around the world. Hurst’s markets encompass every continent except Antarctica.
“We use several ports, including the Georgia Ports in Savannah and Brunswick. Also, Tina Herring, our local representative from the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), helped us explore incentive options that would support our growth opportunities in the state,” says Hurst. “She checks in with us regularly to make sure we have what we need.”
A skilled workforce is key to growth, and Hurst Boiler recruits workers from two nearby universities as well as Southern Regional Technical College, part of the state-run Technical College System of Georgia.
Jeff Hurst also notes the company’s contacts in Georgia attracted an overseas supplier to locate to the area and paved the way for access road improvements to a nearby highway.
These assets, along with Hurst Boiler’s proximity to two major interstates are key logistics benefits that enable its products to quickly reach any port or market in the U.S., helping better serve customers and the company’s bottom line.
Hurst says the company is proud to be part of the Thomas County and greater Georgia family, and he’s confident that Georgia Made™, a program through the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) that provides additional support in logistics, manufacturing and marketing of products produced in Georgia will provide a platform to help it showcase its capabilities.
“We were fortunate Governor Brian Kemp visited our plant to introduce the program and to see what we do,” he says. “We’re adding the logo to
our advertising and social media and we believe the program will help us
domestically and internationally.”
“The products we make here in Georgia are very diverse and used extensively around the world,” Hurst goes on. “We design and build everything from small units for dry cleaners to big ones for power companies. Boilers are part of the energy generation process, but there’s no one industry that predominates. Food processing operations, hospitals, universities, and power companies are just a few examples. We serve a lot of lumber mills in the South, and we do a lot of biomass. In fact, right now our shop is working on something we’ve never done before: a dryer system for lumber mills that conforms to new environmental standards.”
During the current COVID-19 crisis, the plant has operated non-stop, producing boilers for hospitals around the world, like a 600-bed medical facility in Saudi Arabia specifically for COVID patients.
When the Exxon Valdez spilled 10.8 million gallons of crude oil into
Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989, Exxon called on Hurst to
manufacture an incinerator for the products used in cleaning up the oil.
Hurst sent it to the West Coast, where it was put on a barge to
The company has also designed a unit that allows a tequila plant in Mexico and 50 of their workers’ homes to be powered by agave waste, and another that uses chicken and turkey waste for poultry operations. In 1995, it started building coal-fired units for the carpet industries in Dalton to help them diversify their fuel sources.
“There are great people here in Georgia,” says Hurst. “It’s a state that loves industry, goes after it and provides lots of help to make it successful.”
Consistently ranked the “#1 State for Business,” Georgia’s skilled workforce, reliable infrastructure, low taxes, high state credit ratings, and development resources are here to help you start and grow your business. Visit Georgia Made™ to take the next step in expanding your success.