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Business Briefs – February 2011

By wmadministrator

The Saint Joseph Health System (SJHS) will be providing management and oversight of the Nicholas County Hospital for the next three years as part of an arrangement between SJHS and Johnson Mathers Health Care Inc., the parent company of Nicholas County Hospital. In announcing the partnership, it was emphasized that SJHS was not acquiring the hospital. “Saint Joseph Health System has demonstrated the ability to operate large and small facilities in both rural and urban areas while sharing best practices and improving quality of care across all locations,” said Doris Ecton, current administrator of Nicholas County Hospital. “We look forward to working closely with them so that we may expand services and improve care for our local community.”

Bexion Pharmaceuticals
has been approved by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority for up to $155,000 to assist in purchasing lab equipment that will help further its work on a first-in-class drug to target cancerous tumors. The product, for which Bexion holds exclusive licenses, is a technology based on research performed at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The company initially plans to focus on the treatment of glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor, and pancreatic cancers.

Surgical Energetics LLC, an engineering company focused on developing and ensuring clinical use for groundbreaking surgical devices, has announced plans to relocate its headquarters from Cincinnati to the bioLOGIC facility in Covington. bioLOGIC is a life-science accelerator company that offers services to expedite the commercialization of life science ideas.


The Oldham Era reports that MP Collections, a debt collector, is planning to relocate its operations in downtown Louisville to Crestwood. The move to the former Wal-Mart building in the Crestwood Station shopping center would bring approximately 100 workers, along with the possibility of an additional 35 to 40 new jobs.

Wolf Steel USA, a manufacturer of stoves and fireplaces, has completed an expansion project at its Crittenden plant that has added 69,000 s.f. of warehousing, distribution and manufacturing space to the existing 39,000-s.f. facility. The company anticipates adding 18 new jobs as a result of the expansion.

Software development company Custom Data Processing (CDP) is investing $400,000 to expand its facility in Frankfort, where it is adding 4,000 s.f. to the existing 10,000-s.f. structure. CDP, which specializes in the development and operation of management information systems designed for the public health industry, anticipates adding 18 new jobs as a result of the expansion.

Airport Plazas LLC, a specialized developer of retail gas plazas inside airport grounds, has closed on financing for its next plaza at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). The $8.5 million project will feature a 9,800-s.f. main building on 1.5 acres just off I-275 and include a car wash, light auto repair, a restaurant and a convenience store. The plaza is expected to open in October.

Lexington-based technology solutions provider NetGain Technologies Inc. has expanded its regional reach with the acquisition of DLP Technologies, a Cincinnati technology solutions provider. DLP will operate as a branch of NetGain and will retain its current sales and service team. The company also plans to hire additional account executives to meet market demand. In addition to its Lexington headquarters, NetGain also has offices in Louisville; Little Rock, Ark.; and Chattanooga, Tenn.

BridgePoint Medical, a Lexington-based prosthetics and orthotics, has been acquired by Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics in a cash-free transaction. Ability, which is headquartered in Gettysburg, Pa., has five locations in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Bridgepoint has four patient care centers in Kentucky and North Carolina. Clint McKinley, Bridgepoint’s founder and chief executive officer, will become Ability’s CEO while Jeff Brandt, Ability’s current CEO, will become the company’s president and chief operating officer. Ability said the acquired practices will continue to operate under their current names.

Louisville insurance broker Neace Lukens has acquired the Plamp-Keen Agency Inc., a full-service insurance agency headquartered in Louisville that specializes in horse-related coverage throughout the United States. Neace Lukens Chairman John Neace said the acquisition gives his company “advanced expertise in a growing, niche industry” and the ability to tailor insurance programs to meet the individual needs of equine-related businesses and organizations. Neace Lukens has more than 150 licensed agents and approximately 500 employees operating in 13 offices throughout Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Arizona and Georgia, and satellite offices in Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina and Wisconsin. The merger adds 10 employees from Plamp-Keen, including Chief Executive Officer Chris Keen, to Neace Lukens’ staff.

Louisville private equity holding company Andrew Elliot Group LLC (AEG) has acquired Badd Inc., a Jeffersonville, Ind.-based custom engineering and manufacturing company, and Mortgage Man 2 LLC, a Louisville company with subsidiaries engaged in residential and multi-family real estate and mortgage lending. AEG invests in small and medium-sized business for its operating portfolio of companies. Terms of the transactions have not been disclosed.

The International Festivals & Events Association has named Louisville as the No. 1 city for festivals and events by ranking it as the Top North American City for Populations of Over One Million Award. Tourism in Louisville generates $200 million in taxes annually, making it the community’s third-largest industry. The economic impact of direct visitor spending is $1.1 billion annually.

Duncan Commercial Real Estate and The Helm Company LLC have announced plans to merge their separate commercial real estate companies to operate as one entity. The two companies, which offer real estate brokerage, property management and consulting services to clients in Kentucky and Southern Indiana, will operate under the Duncan Commercial Real Estate name.

Louisville-based PharMerica Corp., a national provider of institutional pharmacy and hospital pharmacy management services, has acquired Lone Star Pharmacy, a full-service pharmacy to long-term care and assisted living facilities. Lone Star is headquartered in Garland, Texas, and primarily services facilities in Dallas and Houston.

Douglas R. Wise & Co., a Louisville public accounting practice, has merged with Carmel, Ind.-based Blue & Co. LLC. Wise & Co. provides audit, tax planning and preparation services along with accounting and financial consulting.  Their client base includes construction contractors, real estate, individuals, not-for-profit organizations and small businesses. Blue, founded in 1970, has two offices in Louisville; one in Lexington; one in Columbus, Ohio; and four Indiana locations.

Baldwin CPAs PLLC has merged with Suzan Haughaboo Ross, Certified Public Accountant, of Maysville. The addition of a Maysville office gives the firm three locations. Baldwin also has offices in Richmond and London.

The law firm of Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC has expanded its practice with the opening of an office in Morganfield. The new office, which will be managed by Sidney H. “Buz” Hulette, is the firm’s fifth location. SKO has offices Lexington, Louisville, Frankfort and Henderson and employs more than 150 attorneys.

Government, business and philanthropic organizations in Muhlenberg County have joined forces to launch the Muhlenberg Alliance for Progress (MAP), a new economic development partnership. The alliance was made possible by Felix E. Martin Jr., who passed away in 2007 and left $50 million to create a foundation that would focus on creating a better future for Muhlenberg County. In addition to promoting the county to outside investors and providing tools to help existing businesses grow, MAP also plans to seek creative revenue-generating opportunities for the area’s coal industry and help capture defense-related investments in tandem with the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center, an Army National Guard facility located in Muhlenberg County.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) has granted the Northern Kentucky Water District permission to increase its rates across all classes of customers in order to generate an additional $8.07 million in revenue per year. The district had requested another $84,000, but the PSC reduced the requested amount based on its determination that the district had spent money on club memberships, employee gifts, promotional items and other expenditures not tied to the delivery of water to customers. The PSC said the expenses could not be charged to customers and should not be repeated in the future. The approved increase will raise the average quarterly bill for residential customers by approximately 25 percent.

Consumer electronics giant Best Buy Co. held the official grand opening for a new 600,000-s.f. distribution center in Shepherdsville last month. Located 13 miles south of Louisville near the company’s Geek Squad City service center, the new facility is expected to create 200 new jobs.

The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority has approved incentives for the Kentucky Speedway, making it eligible for up to $20.5 million in performance-based tax rebates over a 10-year period, based on an investment of $82 million. The incentive allows the Speedway to recover up to 25 percent of development costs through the recovery of sales tax generated at the racetrack.  The Kentucky Speedway is scheduled to hold a NASCAR Sprint Cup race this July that the state estimates will have a $150 million economic impact on Kentucky.

Todd County
The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board has approved $24,500 in funding for the construction of a Todd County facility that will enable farmers to consolidate their produce and ship in truckloads. According to the KADB, consolidation will help increase the marketability of the produce and improve net farm income through better, more consistent pricing.

Kentucky has launched a Minority and Women Business Enterprise Certification Program with the goal of encouraging growth among Kentucky businesses owned by women and minorities and assisting those enterprises in locating and obtaining further commerce opportunities.  Interested business owners may find the application for certification on the program’s website at mwbe.ky.gov.

Goodwill Industries of Kentucky reports that it placed 1,657 people in jobs in fiscal year 2010, a 24 percent increase over 2009 job placements. The job creation, training and placement agency for Kentuckians with disabilities or other barriers to employment also paid out 7 percent more in mission-related wages in 2010 than in 2009. Goodwill operates 58 donation and retail centers in 38 counties.