WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. — Firestone Industrial Products Co. and local officials held a groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 2 for the company’s 250-job expansion in Williamsburg, a project that includes a more than $50 million investment to increase production of automotive air springs in support of the burgeoning electric vehicle market.
The 68,000-square-foot addition comes in response to growing customer demand and new business, including the production of electric vehicle parts. Work on the expansion project is expected to be completed by December 2022.
Firestone has operated in Whitley County since 1989 and currently employs more than 500 people at the 375,000-square-foot facility, where the company produces approximately 4 million parts annually.
Firestone Industrial Products, founded in 1936 and headquartered in Nashville, is a subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas Inc. Firestone manufactures air springs and related products for commercial trucks and trailers, passenger vehicles including sport-utility vehicles and minivans, light trucks, motor homes, buses, agricultural equipment, rail, and industrial applications. Firestone operates two North American plants, a European office and technical center in the Netherlands, as well as international manufacturing facilities in Brazil, Poland, China, and Costa Rica.
Since 2020, auto-related companies in Kentucky announced nearly 40 new location and expansion projects expected to create 1,500-plus full-time jobs with over $360 million in announced investment. More than 525 automotive suppliers and four automotive assembly plants currently operate in the commonwealth, employing over 100,000 Kentucky residents.
Firestone’s expansion continues the commonwealth’s economic momentum, as the state builds back stronger following the effects of the pandemic and subsequent economic downtown.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in May preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $6.5 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $50.89 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 250 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $29 including benefits across those jobs.
Additionally, KEDFA approved Firestone for up to $350,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development, and electronic processing.
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, the company 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 Firestone Industrial Products, visit FirestoneIP.com.
A detailed community profile for Whitley County can be viewed here.
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