Made in Louisville: Manufacturing investment continues

Companies benefit from solid workforce, phenomenal logistics and government support

By Abby Laub

Ford invested more than $1.3 billion in its Kentucky Truck Plant since 2015 alone.

Last summer, Forbes magazine named Louisville as the No. 1 city in the U.S. where manufacturing is thriving. Since 2011, manufacturing employment in the Louisville area has grown 30.2 percent, bringing the total to 83,300 jobs – 12.41 percent of jobs in the local economy.

Regional anchors like Ford continue steady growth. The company that gave the world the assembly line has invested more than $1.3 billion in its Kentucky Truck Plant since 2015 alone. And in June 2017, the company announced it would build 8,500 additional Ford Escape and Lincoln MKC vehicles at the Louisville Assembly Plant.

For years Greater Louisville and Southern Indiana residents and leaders have been  accustomed to hearing manufacturing announcements and expansions, as companies seek out the region due to its strategic location, abundance of water, government support, low cost of doing business and a formidable workforce.

Manufacturers who call the region home have a leg up on competition all over the world – ranging from production of the iconic Louisville Slugger baseball bat downtown, to bourbon, vehicles, Girl Scout cookies, airline seating, disco balls, water heaters and so much more.

To ensure the area remains competitive in the manufacturing sector, the city is partnering with the Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center (KMCC) and the Kentucky Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) to create a pipeline of highly skilled employees.

Greater Louisville’s manufacturing success is part of the state’s rosy overall manufacturing picture. In February 2018, state officials announced that in addition to last year’s all-time economic development investment mark of $9.2 billion, Kentucky has increased the presence of international companies and broken its export record for the second consecutive year. In 2017, Kentucky sold more than $30.88 billion worth of products and services internationally, a 5.8 percent increase over the previous record from a year ago.

Across the Ohio River, Southern Indiana’s River Ridge Development Authority anticipates continued growth at its 6,000-acre Jeffersonville site. The location has benefited from the newly completed Lewis and Clark Bridge six miles upriver from downtown. Also in Jeffersonville is America Place, which touts a business park with 20 brick buildings at dock height and nine ground buildings with drive-in doors and spaces of up to 300,000 s.f.

Further south, areas like Elizabethtown along Interstate 65 benefit from ample available land, logistics and lower costs.

In Louisville, the FirstBuild “microfactory,” with partners GE Appliances and Local Motors, continues to crank out new appliances.

This spring, Takigawa Corp. America broke ground on its $46 million flexible packaging and high-performance films plant in nearby Bardstown that is expected to create 180 jobs.

Another longtime Louisville staple, the 50-year-old WireCrafters LLC, will expand its operation with a $5.37 million investment to create 100 full-time jobs. WireCrafters will add 26,000 s.f. to its facility.

In November 2017, New Flyer of America Inc. announced it will create up to 550 full-time jobs as it invests $40 million to lease and upgrade a facility for bus parts fabrication in Shepherdsville.

And last spring LINAK U.S. Inc.’s plant, which manufactures linear actuators for hospital beds, office desks, farm equipment and other uses, began its $33 million expansion that will create 413 full-time jobs. The approximately 145,000-s.f. building will double the plant’s size.

All manufacturers are based in Louisville unless otherwise noted:

Abell Elevator

Vertical transportation

abellelevator.com

Airguard

Air filtration products

Jeffersonville, Ind. – airguard.com

Akebono Brake Corp.

Auto disc, drum brakes

Elizabethtown, Ky.

akebonobrakes.com

Algood Foods

Private-label peanut butter, jellies, preserves

algoodfood.com

American Fuji Seal Inc.

Container shrink labels

Bardstown, Ky. – afseal.com

American Greetings Corp.

Greeting cards

Bardstown, Ky. – americangreetings.com

American Printing House
for the Blind Inc.

Educational, daily living products

aph.org

BAE Systems

Military equipment

baesystems.com

Balfour Co. Inc.

High school/college announcements

balfour.com

Beach Mold & Tool Inc.

Injection-molded plastics

New Albany, Ind. – beachmold.com

BFW Inc.

Fiber-optic headlight systems

bfwinc.com

Bourbon Barrel Foods

Condiments, spices

bourbonbarrelfoods.com

Bowles Mattress Co.

Lady Americana mattresses

Jeffersonville, Ind. –

bowlesmattress.com

Caldwell Tanks Inc.

Steel water tanks, towers

caldwelltanks.com

Cardinal Aluminum Co.

Custom aluminum extrusions

cardinalaluminum.com

Clariant Corp.

Specialty chemicals

clariant.com

Compass Manufacturing International

Kitchen, bath products

cmiproduct.com

D.A. Inc.

Automotive parts

Charlestown, Ind. – daiwa-da.com

Dawn Food Products Inc.

Bakery mixes, fillings, coatings

dawnfoods.com

D. D. Williamson & Co.

Carmel food/beverage colorings

ddwcolor.com

Derby City Shine

Premium moonshine

Derby Dental Laboratory

Crowns, bridges, dentures

derbydental.com

Discount Labels Inc.

Labels, rubber stamps

New Albany, Ind. –

discountlabels.com

Drexel Metals Inc.

Metal roofing products

drexmet.com

Finchville Farms

Country ham/seasoned bacon

Finchville – finchvillefarms.com

FireKing Security Group

Fireproof safes, files

New Albany, Ind. – fireking.com

Ford Motor Co.

Super Duty Trucks, F-250, F-550,

Expedition, Navigator, Escape

ford.com

Freudenberg Medical

Medical devices

Jeffersonville, Ind. – freudenbergmedical.com

GE Appliances

Water heaters, dishwashers,

refrigerators, washers

ge.com

General Mills

Pillsbury refrigerated dough

New Albany, Ind. – generalmills.com

Green Bull

Professional-use ladders

greenbullladder.com

Grindmaster-Cecilware

Beverage, food equipment

gmcw.com

Haas Cabinet Co. Inc.

Kitchen cabinets

Sellersburg, Ind. – haascabinet.com

Hillerich & Bradsby Co. Inc.

Louisville Slugger baseball bats

slugger.com

Hunter Knepshield

Modular park buildings,

sports lighting

LaGrange, Ky. –

hunterknepshield.com

INDCO Inc.

Industrial mixers

New Albany, Ind. – indco.com

KACI (Katayama
American Co. Inc.)

Automotive door sashes, moldings

Shelbyville, Ky. – kaci.com

Kelley Technical Coatings

Pool, deck tennis/basketball

court coatings

kelleytech.com

K-I Lumber

Building material

Shelbyville, Ky. – ki-lumber.com

Kentucky Trailer

Custom vans, trailers

kytrailer.com

Kern’s Kitchen

Bakery

derbypie.com

Kitchen Kompact Inc.

Kitchen/bath cabinets

Jeffersonville, Ind. –

kitchenkompact.com

Lantech Inc.

Stretch-wrapping equipment

lantech.com

Linak U.S. Inc.

Healthcare equipment, furniture, desks

linak-us.com

Little Brownie Bakers

Girl Scout cookies

littlebrowniebakers.com

Lear Corp.

Automotive seating

lear.com

Louisville Bedding

Bed pillows, processed fiber

loubed.com

Louisville Golf Club Co.

Custom clubs under the Persimmon brand

louisvillegolf.com

Louisville Stoneware

Stone plates, bowls

louisvillestoneware.com

Mesa Foods

Corn and flour products

mesafds.com

Metalsa

Engineered assembled metallic automotive products

Elizabethtown, Ky. – metalsa.com

Multi Packaging Solutions

Packaging solutions

multipkg.com

Nationwide Uniform Corp.

Security/police/postal uniforms

Hodgenville, Ky.

Papercone Corp.

Specialty envelopes, soft packages

papercone.com

Paradise Tomato Kitchens

Custom sauces

paradisetomato.com

Peerless Gear

Outdoor equipment transmissions

Salem, Ind. – peerlessgear.com

Peptides International

Biological products, research supplies

pepnet.com

PPG Architectural Finishes Inc./Porter Paints

Residential paints, stains

ppg.com

Premier Packaging Inc.

Corrugated boxes

Buechel, Ky. – prempack.com

Publishers Printing

Magazines, labels

Shepherdsville, Ky. – pubpress.com

Purnell’s “Old Folks” Sausage

Sausage products

Simpsonville, Ky. – itsgooo-od.com

Radio Sound Inc.

Sound systems

radiosound.com

Raque Food Systems LLC

Food product-packaging machines

raque.com

Ralcorp Frozen Bakery Products Inc.

Frozen biscuits, pancakes, dry mixes

ralcorpfrozen.com

Raytheon Co.

Defense weapons systems

raytheon.com

Rev-A-Shelf LLC

Home storage, organization products

Jeffersontown, Ky. –
rev-a-shelf.com

Restonic New Albany

Restonic mattresses

New Albany, Ind. – restonic.com

Reynolds Packing Group

Aluminum foil

reynoldspkg.com

Samtec Inc.

Electronic interconnect products

New Albany, Ind. – samtec.com

Stanley Black & Decker

Professional power tools

Shelbyville, Ky. –

stanleyblackanddecker.com

Steepleton Co.

Billiard tables

steepleton.com

Superior Van & Mobility

Vehicle mobility systems

Louisville – superiorvan.com

Sypris Solutions Inc.

Data acquisition/storage systems

sypris.com

Tower International

Metal, automotive stampings,

assemblies

Bardstown, Ky. –

towerinternational.com

Tyson Foods Inc.

Poultry deli products

Corydon, Ind. – tyson.com

US WorldMeds

Pharmaceuticals

usworldmeds.com

Zeon Chemicals

Innovative polymers

zeonchemicals.com

Zoeller Co.

Sewage pump systems

zoeller.com