Paducah mayor and Ballard County judge-executive return from economic development trip to China

Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless and Ballard County Judge-Executive Todd Cooper

PADUCAH, Ky. — Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless and Ballard County Judge-Executive Todd Cooper returned last week after spending several days in Shanghai, China on an economic development trip. They left Paducah on Jan. 17 as invited guests to attend the Shanying International Holdings annual conference.

Shanying International Holdings is the parent company for Global Win and Phoenix Paper. Global Win-Wickliffe, now known as Phoenix Paper, LLC, is reopening the former Verso Corporation paper mill in Wickliffe. In August 2018, Global Win signed a letter of intent to purchase the former paper mill with a $150 million investment expected to create full-time jobs.

The theme for the Shanying International conference was Innovation, nothing is impossible. Many of the presentations focused on the paper business and its growth globally as more paper products are being developed to replace non-biodegradable plastic products.

Mayor Harless said, “This is an exciting time for Shanying International and its subsidiaries as new technology and research are helping the paper industry expand into new markets. The goal is for paper to surpass the use of plastics in areas such as packaging and shipping. As Shanying continues to broaden its market globally, I am thrilled that they have chosen to invest in Ballard County. We will continue this wonderful partnership and look for opportunities to enhance their growth in this region.”

Judge-Executive Cooper said, “My hope is this region will continue to welcome Phoenix Paper and its corporate staff with open arms. As we work to make this company a success, it could help our region with future opportunities beyond our wildest dreams.”

Harless added, “Being asked to join the team in Shanghai was a welcomed surprise. I was reaffirmed on this trip that helping our economy grow is about developing relationships with companies and helping to solve their problems. I had many conversations with the Shanying team about how our region and Paducah are uniquely situated to help them solve their challenges.”

The conference attendees also enjoyed a presentation about productivity and happiness. Judge-Executive Cooper said, “The management staff was asked to examine their own lives to see what makes them happy. They then were challenged to help their employees achieve happiness with the goal for all employees to become more productive in their personal lives which would carry over to their professional lives. Shanying’s corporate staff work long days to make their business successful and are looking forward to getting the paper mill in Wickliffe up and running. Plus, they encourage their employees to think of new ways to expand, grow, and become a better company. It was an amazing trip to learn more about this new addition to our region.”

According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, eight Chinese-owned companies operate facilities in Kentucky, currently employing approximately 8,700 people.