ST. MARYS — A company that makes equipment to harmlessly scare unwanted animals and birds from landfills, airports, farms and other locations has announced plans to manufacture the product in St. Marys.
Frank Woodward, president and CEO of Wildlife Defense Systems, said as many as 100 employees could be working at the light industry manufacturing facility within 18 months.
“We intend to be international within three years,” he said.
The company is about two weeks away from finalizing an agreement to purchase the Southern Junction building on Finley Street just off Osborne Street near the city’s downtown historic district.
Woodward said the company will invest about $750,000 to convert the building into an industrial complex and company headquarters.
So far, the company has already spent more than $85,000 doing business with local vendors.
“We’re going to do business in St. Marys with local companies,” he said.
The sound system has been used successfully across the country. Locally, it has been used to drive away seagulls and other birds from the Camden County Landfill. The birds create a sanitation problem on equipment, stairs and safety railings, where most of the work-related injuries occur.
The company manufactures special speakers to emit sound pressure and sound wave plasma energy at specific frequencies, depending on the type of bird or animal that is posing as a nuisance.
The sound pulses periodically, sometimes hours apart, to keep animals from returning. The frequencies are also changed from time to time so they never get used to one noise and realize it’s not a threat.
“It’s about the pressure, the energy the sound produces,” Woodward said.
The sounds can be modified to scare away specific animals, including birds, bears and even alligators. Woodward said the company is currently developing a sound pulse to drive away feral hogs. The company will rent, lease and sell the equipment.
When asked where the animals go, Woodward had a simple answer.
“They are going to our next customers,” he said.
The company also plans to be active in the community. Employees will be given a paid day off each month to perform community service in the city, he said.
“We’ve got great support from the mayor and council,” he said.
Mayor John Morrissey said city officials look forward to having a new employer in town.
“We’re all very excited,” he said.