Layke Ensor is a driven individual who is passionate about helping out his teammates and leading them to achieve daily success within their roles. An energetic employee who leads by example, Layke embodies Yazoo’s mission, vision and values and strives each day to continue helping Yazoo be the leader in the paper tube and core industry.

Manufacturing has always been in Layke’s blood – he previously worked for a local manufacturer as a forklift driver, material handler and production operator. Eight years ago, Layke set out on his journey here at Yazoo Mills on 2nd shift as a Winding Operator. He then transferred to a 1st shift Winding Operator position then floater and was recently promoted to his most current role as a Lead in the Winding department.

As a Lead, Layke is focused on learning the supervisory role as he manages six employees and their respective machines, helps maintain efficiency, collaborates with his teammates on innovative solutions and maintains integrity day in and day out.

Layke contributes his tenure to enjoying his job and the family atmosphere here at Yazoo; a home away from home, where everyone has each other’s backs. The ability to be able to teach the younger employees and keeping the company’s goals at the forefront are what motivates him.

In his spare time, you will find Layke pulling his camper to a new site to enjoy the outdoors with his wife and five kids as well as locating a cool, new hiking trail that allows them to explore and create memories.

Congrats on your job promotion, Layke! We know that you will shine in your new role!


Finding a job you like is hard, but finding a company that treats you right is even harder to find. Luckily, the employees at Yazoo would say neither of those are hard to find when working here.  Our employees are treated like family and given the opportunity to advance in their career.

Meet Neil Kelley, who was recently promoted to 2nd shift Winding Lead.  Before his journey to Yazoo Mills five years ago, Neil was involved in the restaurant business as a manager as well as being self-employed with running his own landscaping business.

Neil’s first position he held at Yazoo was a Winder Operator. Within two years of working for the company, he moved up to a trainer then a floater and is now enjoying his promotion as a lead person on 2nd shift.  Additionally, he cross trained in our Shipping and Recut Departments.  In his current role, he trains other employees, makes sure that all work orders are manufactured in a timely manner and are correct, makes sure that employees are well-trained on how to complete the jobs, ensures that communication is being held in the Winding Department, and is always lending a helping hand when needed – whether that’s running a machine, helping out in Shipping, bailing waste, or giving breaks.

When asked what he likes best about working at Yazoo, he couldn’t just pick one thing. Neil said “Yazoo has a great work environment – it’s fast paced and always keeps me moving.  The company recognizes hard workers and is willing to invest in them.”  He continued to rave about how Yazoo is willing to take advice on how to continue bettering the company as well as investing a lot of money in training its employees.

In his spare time, you’ll find him spending time with his family as his kids mean the world to him. Being in the outdoors gives him great enjoyment, whether that’s hunting, fishing, or hiking – he loves doing it all.  Additionally, he enjoys occasional yard work as well as working around the house on little projects – he gets great enjoyment out of that.  Congrats on your promotion, Neil – you’ve worked hard for it!



Due to the high increase in demand for Yazoo’s paper tubes and cores, we have expanded our production capacity by installing a new Paco Spiral Tube Winder at our New Oxford facility.  The new winder will help create more scheduling flexibility, add production capacity, and assist the company to enhance efficiency with processing more orders.  Yazoo now has a total of 13 winders, which is the largest number of winding lines under one roof.

Communication and coordination were key factors during the several hours it took to plan and prepare for the new winder.  Yazoo’s Maintenance Department and supervisors worked together with the manufacturing company to guarantee that the new equipment was designed and built to meet Yazoo’s specifications.  Several meetings were held to also ensure that all other support equipment was pre-positioned and ready for production.  The installation of the new winder is complete and already running numerous jobs.

1st Shift Winding Department Poses For Picture2nd Shift Winding Department Poses For Picture

The winder operators are an integral part of the manufacturing process, since they are the guys who make the cores. Whether they complete the order or it continues to the Recutting Department, it all starts in Winding. In most manufacturing plants, the employee has one job to perform with very little variation. Not so at Yazoo! Sure, there are some standard tasks to be completed, but these guys must be on their toes at all times as there are 100+ changeovers per shift. They can’t just set up the machine and run an order, since great attention to detail is required to meet each customer’s specifications. Winder operators add or drop paper plies to maintain wall thickness; add custom liners, covers or printed logos; and assure that wall thickness and length tolerances are met, all while maintaining optimum machine speeds and fulfilling customers’ packaging requirements. Additionally, the operators must prepare to transition into the next work order as quickly as possible, with minimum waste and down time. These guys are busy! With an average of 9 years of experience, the Winding Department is a very dedicated and hardworking crew. Our customers ask and the Winders deliver, time and time again! We are very proud that they are part of the Yazoo Team.