Business Briefs – April 2011

By wmadministrator

CATLETTSBURG
Calgon Carbon Corp. has completed a $40 million investment to upgrade and restart idle manufacturing capacity at its facility in Catlettsburg and plans on adding 35 new positions, bringing their total employment there to 196. Calgon CEO John Stanik told The (Ashland) Independent that the company’s new FLUEPAC activated carbons, which are manufactured from coal at its Big Sandy plant, will be instrumental in helping coal-based power-generation companies to significantly reduce the discharge of mercury in their air emissions. Calgon Carbon ranks as one of the world’s largest manufacturers of granular activated carbon, with production and operations in North America, Europe and Asia. The company currently offers carbon technologies used in more than 700 market applications.

CRESTVIEW HILLS
Toyota USA Foundation has awarded a $360,000 grant to Thomas More College to advance its science, technology, engineering and math education (STEM) efforts. Geared specifically for schools in urban areas, the grant will allow the college to offer hands-on instruction, help teachers motivate their students to succeed in STEM subjects and provide valuable experience for TMC education majors. The college plans to create a teacher professional development program to increase and sustain the number, quality and diversity of STEM teachers, especially in underserved areas.

FLORENCE
Tool manufacturer Mazak Corp. has invested $13 million to expand floor space and add technology upgrades at its facility in Florence, where it produces more than 100 models of machine tools. The company plans a similar investment in the coming year, with the installation of more equipment to improve large-part and sheet metal part production. In addition to its Florence facility, Florence-based Mazak has technology centers in Georgia, Connecticut, Texas, California, Illinois, Mexico and Canada.

GLASGOW

Integrated Pharmaceutical Packaging (IPP), which recently announced plans to expand its operations in Glasgow, has partnered with three other pharmaceutical packaging companies to form Aphena Pharma Solutions. Joining IPP are Celeste Contract Packaging of Easton, Md.; PrePak Systems of Cookeville, Tenn.; and TestPak of Whippany, N. J. Celeste will become the new liquid and topical division of Aphena, while the other three companies will form the solid-dose division of the company. Aphena will be headquartered in Cookeville, Tenn.

HEBRON
Dematic, a material handling solutions company, has filed papers with the state notifying them of its intent to close its plant in Hebron. The closure is the result of the company’s decision to consolidate the Hebron operations and those of its Grand Rapids, Mich., plant. The closure will affect 90 employees.

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS
Northern Kentucky University
is set to launch a doctor of nursing practice program this fall that will prepare masters-level nurses to practice in a variety of clinical settings. The program, which was developed by NKU faculty in response to forecasted shortage of physicians and the changing dynamics of the healthcare industry, will be delivered completely online over eight semesters. Up to 18 applicants will be selected for the first cohort group.

HOPKINSVILLE
Amfine Chemical Corp., a manufacturer of plastic additives and PVC stabilizers for the automotive industry, is investing $2.7 million to update its facility in Hopkinsville. The update will add 2,000 s.f. and a slurry holding/second reactor vessel to the existing facility. Steve Buchanan, vice president of production and plant manager of Amfine in Hopkinsville, said the expansion will help keep the plant competitive with its sister plants outside the United States and will ensure “the future of the Kentucky plant operations and its jobs.” The plant currently employs 45 workers and expects to add two more as a result of the expansion.

LEBANON
PDCI Automotive, a subsidiary of Pacific Die Cut Industries, has announced plans to locate a new manufacturing facility in Lebanon that will focus on converting and die-cutting soft and semi-rigid materials for automotive applications. The 30,000-s.f. plant is expected to begin operations this August and will supply parts for the automotive industry throughout the South and the Midwest. PDCI plans to hire 40 employees to staff the new plant.

LEXINGTON
Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI) has partnered with Zurich American Insurance Co. to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage to Kentucky businesses with operations in other states. KEMI provides workers’ compensation insurance to more than 20,000 businesses throughout Kentucky.

Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories (PAML), a full-service medical reference laboratory located in Spokane, Wash., has announced its intention to enter into a joint venture agreement with Saint Joseph Health System that will operate as Kentucky Laboratory Services. “This joint venture enhances our capabilities to provide more affordable access to basic health care closer to home for more Kentuckians,” said Mark Streety, chief innovations officer of Saint Joseph Health System. “Through this joint venture with PAML, we gain an experienced and respected management team and an ambitious growth plan to build our outreach laboratory services.” Approximately 90 percent of the testing completed by KLS will be performed in Kentucky.

Lexington-based Fazoli’s Inc. has remodeled 15 of its restaurants across central Kentucky and revamped both its menu and service. The company has introduced table service and added traditional plates, glassware and silverware to replace the plastic and paper items that have been used in the past. Fazoli’s operates more than 220 restaurants throughout the country – making it the nation’s largest Italian quick-serve restaurant chain – and is in the process of expanding in select markets.

In conjunction with its 20-year anniversary, Lexmark International is contributing nearly $1.7 million to advance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in several of the communities in which Lexmark operates. At a Community Day event held last month at its corporate headquarters in Lexington, Lexmark announced that it plans to contribute up to $1 million to the University of Kentucky to support STEM efforts in the commonwealth and $300,000 to the Fayette County public school system. The company is also establishing a $250,000 endowment for a scholarship fund at the University of Colorado’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, donating $100,000 for a science and e-research lab in the Philippines, and creating a teacher recognition program to reward outstanding science, technology and math teachers.

LOUISVILLE
Saying Louisville needs to open itself to the world in order to grow the economy and jobs, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has created an Office for Globalization that will help local businesses expand into the global market while also working to develop the skills and education levels of those who have recently immigrated to the area. Businessman Suhas Kulkarni, who owns Omnisys, an information technology company, has been appointed to oversee the new office and devise a plan to help fund it on a long-term basis. The funding will most likely be a mix of public and private dollars.

The Louisville-based accounting firm of Welenken Himmelfarb & Co. is now operating as Welenken CPAs. Donald Groot, a partner in the firm, said the company wanted to simplify its difficult-to-pronounce name and highlight its expertise as CPA strategists.

LOUISVILLE
Defense contractor Raytheon has laid off 51 employees from its facility in Louisville, where it produces Phalanx guns for the U.S. Navy. Raytheon said the cuts, which bring its Louisville employment to 364, are tied to existing and expected business conditions and that laid-off employees could be brought back if those conditions change.

Louisville ranks among the top 25 best cities in the nation for minority entrepreneurs, according to a study recently released by Forbes magazine. The rankings were determined by measuring housing affordability, population growth, income growth and entrepreneurship  (per capita self-employment).
Louisville came in at No. 25, with Atlanta, Baltimore, Nashville, Houston and Miami ranking as the top five, respectively. The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area also ranked highly, coming in at No. 28.

Louisville-based home health provider Almost Family Inc. has announced an agreement to acquire the assets of the Medicare-certified home health agency owned by Caregivers Health Network Inc. in Cincinnati. “We’ve served the Northern Kentucky side of the Ohio River in the metropolitan area for over a decade,” said Almost Family Chairman and CEO William B. Yarmuth. “With this combination we now have a vibrant and growing home health business in Cincinnati itself, enabling us to serve the entire metro area.” Caregivers generated approximately $5 million in revenue in the last fiscal year. Financial terms of the acquisition have not been announced.

LOUISVILLE
The University of Louisville College of Business has expanded its international MBA program through a partnership with the National Management School of Chennai, India. The UofL Global MBA provides Indian students with a 15-month MBA program that combines 10 weeks of study in Louisville with courses in their home country. The curriculum is modeled after UofL’s part-time professional MBA program.

Great Northern Building Products, a Louisville-based manufacturer and distributor of specialized building materials and products, has acquired American Slate Co. for an undisclosed amount. American Slate, which is headquartered in Walnut Creek, Calif., and has plants in Brazil and China, is a supplier of natural slate for floors, roofs, walls, fireplaces and countertops. The company will operate as a subsidiary of Great Northern.

NaugaNeedles
has received preliminary approval from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority for up to $100,000 to assist in the purchase of high-tech laboratory and nano-fabrication equipment. The Louisville-based company, which presently has five full-time employees and plans to add seven more positions with an average salary of $62,000 (exclusive of benefits), has developed a variety of patented, specialized probes that are used for scanning probe microscopy. “The early-stage funding we’ve received through Kentucky’s SBIR-STTR Matching Funds Program, and now through the state’s High-Tech Investment Pool, has been crucial to our ability to develop and begin marketing our technology,” said NaugaNeedles CEO Mehdi Yazdanpanah. “Kentucky offers one of the nation’s most comprehensive sets of support programs for high-tech companies like NaugaNeedles, and that is paying off as we continue to grow and create higher paying jobs.”

MOREHEAD
Southeast Kentucky Economic Development (SKED) has partnered with the Morehead Rowan County Economic Development Corp. to establish its second East Kentucky office. The new location, headed by Business Development Specialist Debbie Cord, provides direct lending services and technical assistance to businesses in an 11-country region.

SPARTA
Quaker State will be the title sponsor of the first-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at the Kentucky Speedway. Quaker State will drop the green flag at the newly expanded, 117,000-seat track on July 9. The 400-mile event will conclude a tripleheader NASCAR weekend that opens with a 225-mile Camping World Truck Series battle on July 7 and spotlights a 300-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series event on July 8.

WHITESBURG
Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corp. (SKED) has opened a new office in Whitesburg to help serve and support small-business owners and entrepreneurs. Led by Ron Cain, the office will serve an 11-county region.

WINCHESTER
East Kentucky Power Co. has joined with its 16 member cooperatives, the Sierra Club, the Kentucky Environmental Foundation and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth to form a Demand Side Management and Renewable Energy Collaborative Group. The group will meet quarterly for the next two years to evaluate and recommend actions for EKPC to expand deployment of renewable energy and demand-side management.

WINCHESTER
Hewlett-Packard
has cut 195 jobs at its Winchester call center following the loss of a customer care agreement with Sprint. The cuts represent more than half of the facility’s staffing.

WURTLAND
J.H. Fletcher & Co., a manufacturer of mobile underground mining equipment, has announced plans to locate a new manufacturing facility in Wurtland that will create 20 new jobs. The company is acquiring a 72,000-s.f. facility that will be used to manufacture underground drilling, roof support and other equipment used in the mining industry. Company President and Chief Operating Officer Greg Hinshaw said the new facility will enable the company to increase its production ability by 20 percent initially, with the potential of nearly 50 percent over time.

STATE
The Kentucky General Assembly has approved a bill that will help create a one-stop electronic business portal that will give Kentucky businesses a direct link to all state agencies in one online location. With the one-stop Web portal, businesses will be able to log onto the state’s site, register their business or file their annual report, register with the Finance Cabinet, pay their taxes, sign up for unemployment insurance and acquire their professional board’s license.

Unemployment rates fell in 93 Kentucky counties between February 2010 and February 2011, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training. Twenty-four county rates increased, while three county rates stayed the same. Fayette and Woodford counties recorded the lowest jobless rates in the commonwealth at 8.6 percent each. Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 20.3 percent.

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