by Kurtis Workman
Ric Sorbo is from Houston, TX, and has worked in the energy industry for over 40 years. Sorbo is the new face of Magnida, the company working to build a natural gas powered fertilizer plant in Power County. Former project developer Ramesh Raman recently announced he would be leaving the Power County project to pursue other projects.
Sorbo explained to the Power County Commissioners on Friday, Dec. 6, Raman’s departure would not damage the project’s future.
“Every time I speak to Ramesh or think about him in terms of this project I realize even more that we would not be sitting here without his vision and hard work. He used that vision to develop this project and to keep it going,” Sorbo said.
Sorbo expressed his excitement at taking on the one of the leading roles in the project and said he has personal motivations for taking on the task of building a large plant like the one proposed for Power County.
“The opportunity to get in at the beginning of a large project, such as this one, does not present itself every day. I guess it is like answering that age old question about mountain climbing; why did you do it? Because it is there. The other reason is a project like this can change a community for the better for decades to come. That is an exciting prospect for me to be a part of that,” said Sorbo.
Sorbo said he is anticipating becoming a regular visitor to American Falls, but what time he has spent in the community has been welcoming.
“I am just getting into the community, but I feel my experiences of having gone to school in the mid-west and working in smaller communities means that my sensibilities and those of the team I have assembles of hard work, openness and honesty fit well with what I have seen here in American Falls,” Sorbo said.
Sorbo talked the commissioners through an estimated timeline.
“We are hoping that approximately a year from now we will reach a point where we have completed the things we need to have done ahead of activity at the site. These are things like securing financing and permits, having our contractors in place and basically being ready to start the detail and construction work,” said Sorbo.
He explained the visible parts of the project won’t begin for about another year, but he assured the commission work was carrying on.
“We have teams in New York City, Huston, and Denver all working to get us to the point of actual construction. People may not see much activity, but I promise you we are working feverishly,” Sorbo said.
He did inform the commissioners some activity will be happening at the proposed site near the Lamb Weston potato possessing facility including geo-technical surveys and ground water testing.
According to Sorbo communication with the residents of Power County will be increasing shortly.
“We are in the process of drafting a letter to the residents of Power County. That letter will provide the people here with an overview of the project, a rough timeline and our vision for the project. We are also very close to the launch of our website which will provide people with more in-depth and updated information,” Sorbo said.
Sorbo estimates the letter will go out to residents before the end of the year and the website will be fully functional prior to the sending of the letter.
Sorbo said the fertilizer plant project is in a good place.
“We still have a great many challenges and a great deal of distance still to cover, but I am happy to say this project is farther along and closer to completion than ever before,” said Sorbo.