HAZARD, Ky. — State and local officials and executives from Dajcor Aluminum Ltd., a Canada-based manufacturer of extruded and fabricated aluminum products, ceremonially began work Tuesday on a nearly $19.6 million renovation for the company’s 265-job plant near Hazard.
“Today’s groundbreaking is a major step forward for Perry County and the workforce throughout the region,” Gov. Matt Bevin said. “The new Dajcor facility – and the 265 full-time jobs associated with the project – will have a substantial impact on the local economy and represents the type of opportunities we are working to bring to Eastern Kentucky. Congratulations to everyone involved with this project. It serves as yet another reminder that there is no better place in the United States to engineer and manufacture great products, than in Kentucky.”
For its first U.S. operation, Dajcor is refurbishing the former American Woodmark facility in Perry County’s Coalfields Industrial Park, a project expected to finish in February. Company leaders anticipate some production will begin by year-end. Once fully operational, the Perry County facility will improve the company’s access to U.S. customers. The boost in aluminum extrusion and fabrication capacity overall will help Dajcor better serve a range of North American industries.
Gov. Bevin and U.S. Rep. Rogers, R-Somerset, announced that the project will receive a $6.5 million grant through the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Pilot Funds program. The grant covers the purchase, shipment and installation of a new aluminum extrusion press from Italy. Perry County Fiscal Court will own the equipment and lease it to Dajcor over 15 years.
“I’m thrilled that Dajcor Aluminum chose to locate its first U.S. facility in the heart of Eastern Kentucky,” Rogers said. “We have the hardest-working, most skilled workforce in the country, and we are happy to begin this partnership with our northern neighbors. The AML Pilot Grant provided vital funding to streamline operations from Canada to Eastern Kentucky, fast-tracking much-needed new jobs in our region.”
Rogers championed the AML Pilot Program and secured $105 million in federal funding for Kentucky since 2016, alongside U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
“We are excited to get this project moving forward, and we are overwhelmed by the amount of support that we have received from the local economic development group, One East Kentucky, as well as the Governor’s Office and other Federal and State representatives,” said Mike Kilby, Dajcor president and CEO. “Governor Bevin’s Office has been instrumental in minimizing the red tape to help get the plant construction underway.”
A group of businessmen founded Dajcor in 2010 in Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Canada, following their purchase of Daymond Aluminum’s assets. The investors’ mission was to restore the company to its pre-recession status as a widely recognized supplier of extruded, fabricated and anodized aluminum components to the U.S. and Canadian markets. Daymond formerly served the automotive industry exclusively. As Dajcor, Kilby and his partners expanded to serve a range of markets, including renewable energy, medical equipment, transportation, building trades, military, marine, recreation and consumer-product industries.
Executives pride themselves on the company’s family atmosphere, as highlighted in the Dajcor name, which represents the initials of Kilby’s daughters, Danielle, Alyssa and Justine. Dajcor currently employs 246 people at its Ontario operation.
Chuck Sexton, president and CEO of One East Kentucky, said the project has been two years in the making.
“One East Kentucky originally met with Dajcor Aluminum on our Canadian recruitment mission in 2017 and we’re excited to see facility renovations begin,” Sexton said. “Dajcor’s enthusiasm for this project and the faith they have in the people of Eastern Kentucky is a testament to how truly great our region is and we expect to see more successes like this throughout the region in the coming months and years ahead.”
“Today is an exciting day for Dajcor and for the citizens of Southeast Kentucky,” said Sen. Brandon Smith. “We are thankful for Gov. Bevin’s leadership in creating economic opportunity, and we look forward to seeing Dajcor grow and thrive together with the strong workforce of the Perry County region.”
“I’m thankful for Dajcor putting their trust in the people of the 84th and surrounding districts,” said Rep. Chris Fugate. “This is a great opportunity for our people to be able to work and provide for their families. Thanks to Gov. Bevin and others for their commitment to southeastern Kentucky.”
Hazard Mayor Happy Mobellini said the arrival of Dajcor represents a true team effort.
“A special thank you is in order for the team working to make this project a success,” Mobellini said. “It has been of great contentment to be a part of the groundbreaking today, and I want to thank Dajcor, One East Kentucky, Perry County and others working so hard on behalf of the city of Hazard to ensure this project comes to fruition.”
Perry County judge-executive Scott Alexander said Tuesday’s event is a substantial step forward for the region.
“Working with the Dajcor team to make this project a reality for our community has been both a pleasure and an honor,” Alexander said. “This facility is going to change the lives of over 260 families in Perry and surrounding counties and we are grateful that Dajcor chose our community for their first U.S. location.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in December 2018 preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $4 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $19.6 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 265 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years;
- Paying an average hourly wage of $23 including benefits across those jobs.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
In addition, Dajcor can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.
For more information on Dajcor, visit www.Dajcor.com.
A detailed community profile for Perry County can be viewed here.