After a minor delay, Trellis Bioplastics is hiring to fill a variety of positions to help get its new Seymour business up and running.

Company officials said they plan to hire 20 to 30 employees by the end of the month and another 40 to 50 by the end of March. Those positions include full-time entry-level production workers and more skilled and experienced factory jobs.

Patrick Lahmann, vice president of manufacturing, said the company needs personnel for production support, maintenance, quality control, shipping and receiving, and material handling, plus machine operators and supervisors.

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Starting wages will be $10 to $15 an hour, depending on the position and level of experience.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, there will be an open house and job fair at the factory, 2213 Killion Ave. in the Eastside Industrial Park. Job seekers are invited to attend to fill out applications, participate in on-site interviews and take plant tours.

Lahmann said the company is not relying on a staffing agency at this time and instead hiring directly to launch the business.

“We are not hiring just to fill positions. We want to get a quality staff,” he said.

The company, a manufacturer of bioplastic disposable products used in the food service industry, announced its plans to locate its first

domestic manufacturing facility in Seymour this summer.

Lahmann said originally hiring was to begin earlier this fall, but it was delayed a couple of months as the company secured and finalized its funding.

Delivery and installation of new manufacturing equipment, including injection molding, thermo-forming and sheet lines, was expected to take place at the factory this week, he added.

“We will be starting compounding production then, too. We have done some small-scale production runs already,” Lahmann said. “That is what is sparking this hiring. We need to fill the funnel for our labor pool.”

Currently, Trellis has nine employees on site in Seymour.

“We have some offers out now, so that number is going to grow and grow quickly,” he said.

The 7-year-old company, based in Wilsonville, Oregon, purchased the assets of now-defunct Seymour bioplastics maker Cereplast, including production equipment, patents, inventory and trademarks.

After investing around

$5 million in the acquisition, Trellis continues to sell off Cereplast’s inventory as it develops a new business model, focused on finished products rather than raw materials and technology, Lahmann said.

Trellis had produced its line of bioplastic disposable cutlery, clam shell food trays, school lunch trays and bags in China and will continue to serve its foreign markets through contract manufacturing.

Those products are used by more than 500 customers in the food service industry, including grocery chains Kroger, Trader Joe’s and Wegmans, Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Chicago and Denver public schools and the Cincinnati Zoo, along with wholesale distributors such as Sysco and U.S. Foodservice.

Instead of being made with 100 percent petroleum-based materials like traditional plastics, Trellis makes the same products with up to 70 percent renewable materials, according to the company’s website.

Its products help minimize greenhouse gas emissions and oil dependency by drastically conserving resources, offsetting the carbon footprint and reducing material in the landfill, Lahmann said. The company also promotes rural economic agricultural growth and development.

“What Trellis brings to the table that is very different is that Trellis views themselves as an alternative way for customers to go green for free,” Lahmann said.

He said Trellis has aggressive long-term plans and will launch new product lines in the future.

He said the company plans more investment in its Seymour operations next year, possibly including an expansion.

If you go

What: Open house and job fair

Where: Trellis Bioplastics, 2213 Killion Ave. in Seymour’s Eastside Industrial Park

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Information: trellisbioplastics.com

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.