People gather Friday outside the Madison mill for a ceremony marking the return of manufacturing, and jobs, to the plant. Michael Seamans/Morning Sentinel

MADISON — Gov. Janet Mills was joined Friday by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and a few hundred others for a ceremony marking the return of manufacturing to the former Madison paper mill and the more than 100 jobs that will come with it.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills speaks to several hundred people gathered Friday for a ceremony marking the return of manufacturing to the mill in Madison. Michael Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“Today Maine becomes home to North America’s first manufacturer of wood fiber insulation, an historic achievement that will strengthen our economy and send the unmistakable message that Maine is on the cutting-edge of innovation,” Mills told the crowd. “This extraordinary milestone is an example of how public-private collaboration can create good-paying jobs, advance our clean energy goals, and bring new life to our old mills.”

The mill at 1 Main St. was occupied by Madison Paper Industries for decades until operations ceased there in 2016. Two hundred people lost their jobs and the town’s tax base was diminished.

But in 2019 the mill was purchased for $1.9 million by TimberHP, a company that was launched with the intention of manufacturing wood-fiber insulation meant for the residential and light commercial construction markets. It cost $150 million to renovate the mill and prepare it to manufacture the insulation.

Officials cut a ribbon Friday to mark the mill’s revitalization. TimberHP, which is a division of Belfast-based GO Lab, actually started up its manufacturing operations a few weeks ago and the company produces a loose fill insulation for attics, wall cavities, floors and ceilings. Two more lines of product will be operational by the end of the year, company spokesperson Jay Field said in a news release.

The insulation manufactured by TimberHP is a sustainable building product that reduces greenhouse gas emissions through its ability to store carbon and reduce energy loss in the built environment, Field said. The insulation has been produced in Europe for more than two decades and accounts for more than $700 million in annual sales across the European Union, according to GO Lab.


TimberHP announced Thursday it has partnered with South Carolina-based distributor Cameron Ashley Building Products to bring its insulation to market. Cameron Ashley operates more than 50 distribution centers across the country.

Joshua Henry, co-founder and CEO of TimberHP in Madison, becomes emotional while delivering remarks Friday during a ceremony marking TimberHP’s launch of manufacturing operations at the mill in Madison. Michael Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Collins and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, D-2nd District, also gave remarks Friday, as did Ali Zaidi, who’s the White House national climate advisor, and TimberHP co-founders Joshua Henry and Matthew O’Malia.

“What I see here is so much more than a business making a new kind of insulation,” Golden said. “It’s a mill that was once shuttered and empty now back in production. A business headquartered in Maine — majority owned by Mainers, 100% American-owned — using Maine wood, cut by Maine loggers, hauled by Maine drivers, to make a product in Maine, by Mainers, for Mainers, lowering the cost of heating their homes and businesses.”

TimberHP employs 70 people at the Madison plant. Over the next few years it’s expected to grow to as many as 140 employees, Field said.

From left, White House national climate advisor Ali Zaidi, U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and Gov. Janet Mills listen to remarks Friday during a ceremony marking the return of manufacturing to the mill in Madison. Michael Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“I believe our strongest motivation in life is to do something that matters,” Henry said. “And what we’re celebrating here today — a renovated mill, making renewable, nontoxic, carbon-storing insulation products — matters. Hiring talented local people — and paying them well to master a new wood products manufacturing process — that matters, too. A lot.”

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