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Great Lakes Calcium

Green Bay, Wisconsin

What do animal feed, fertilizer, and PVC pipe have in common? They may seem to be unrelated, but each product depends heavily on the calcium carbonate produced at Great Lakes Calcium during their respective production processes.

The company opened in 1871 by Fred Hurlburt, Sr., who realized the strategic location of Green Bay and the economic opportunity of Great Lakes shipping following the Civil War. The company has seen several iterations of its business line – from its start as a major coal and bulk distributor, to concrete products, to its present day focus on calcium carbonate for a diverse number of industries. Today the company is run by Wesley Hurlbut Garner II, a fifth generation family member, is headquartered in Green Bay and has 26 employees.

Calcium carbonate comes out of the ground as limestone. There are six mines along Lake Huron that provide the raw materials for Great Lakes Calcium (GLC). Some of that limestone comes from Manitoulin Island in Canada.

“We bring in all our raw materials through the Great Lakes on Great Lakes freighters. So our location on the Port of Green Bay is crucial to our survival,” said Dave Nelson, Chief Operating Officer. Throughout the shipping season, fifteen ships will dock at Green Bay with product for GLC. “We bring in about 270,000 metric tons of limestone a year through the Great Lakes,” explained Nelson.

The diverse markets that GLC supports range from glass making, animal and plant nutrition, lawn fertilizer, sports field marker, PVC piping, rubber, asphalt, and in electric power plants that burn coal. The environmental benefit of calcium carbonate is found in the neutralizing of SOX emissions and, as such, is an effective pollution filter.

GLC credits its diversity to weathering the recent economic downturn. “Our business is doing pretty well. We are healthy, and using shipping is a key component to that,” said Nelson. GLC is looking forward to the shipping season resuming this spring. Nelson says his business is counting on it.