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New tech company introduces itself to Milam County

Alicoa Plant
Posted at 10:27 PM, Oct 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-18 01:47:28-04

ROCKDALE, TX — Bitmain, the Internet currency company that moved just outside of Rockdale, will put its best foot forward in an open house to introduce themselves to Milam County. But the symbolism of tomorrow's open house goes way beyond one business.

Carolyn Strong doesn't use bitcoin, the Internet currency, but it stands to have a big impact on her life.

Bitmain came to Milam County awhile back, getting off to a slow start due to a slump in bitcoin values, but it stayed. Friday the company will introduce itself to community leaders in a special invitation-only event.

"It's not a hiring event. Bitmain is simply saying, "Here we are. Come take a look at what we're doing. We've got a lot to show you,"" said County Judge Steve Young.

Young explained Bitmain mines the Internet for certification that gives bitcoin its value. The company will do it out of the county's abandoned Alcoa plant.

Bitmain has 10,000 devices that do the work, and those devices will need repairs and maintenance. In fact, Judge Young said Bitmain may consider putting its worldwide repair center here.

He also said Bitmain will soon have company.

"We have another company that's agreed to come in, They're gonna make their announcement next week so I'm going to hold up and not say much about that," said Judge Young.

He believes within two years, this old metal plant could become a thriving industrial city unto itself, full of new high-tech businesses.

Some folks used to say the Alcoa plant made Milam County. Now people here hope it serves as the incubator for what saves it. Judge Young wants to keep that incubator warm and humming with a steady stream of businesses.

His hard-sell approach gets results. Take, for instance, the call he got Thursday from a solar power company.

""Hey Judge, we're thinking about coming to Milam County," and I said, "I'll tell you, you get your tails down here. I guarantee we'll make you happy. We want you in this county,"" he recalled.

And he means it. He aims, almost single-handedly, to drag Milam County out of the economic dust bin, and make it a symbol of the new economy.

"This county is on the verge of being on the cutting edge of technology for years to come," said Judge Young.

Carolyn Strong hopes so. She said only good-paying local jobs near the $18 an hour level or $40,000 a year talked about at Bitmain will keep people here. The money they spend will create other jobs, and keep Milam County a good place to live.

All thanks to a coin she may never see, and may never spend.

Judge Young has already begun talks with school leaders about training students and interested adults in the jobs created by these new companies, ensuring them a well-educated and motivated workforce.