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Business Briefs – February 2012

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FRANKLIN
– Franklin County Career and Technical Center (FCCTC) has launched a new alternative fuels lab, where vocational students are learning how to reuse waste oil to produce alternative fuels. To produce its first batch of fuel, the center collected waste oil donated by local restaurants to convert to biodiesel. Eventually, FCCTC will convert waste oil from the district school cafeterias to biodiesel. Presently, however, biodiesel produced by the school is used for nonroad applications: Automotive technology students at FCCTC are able to run comparative exhaust emission analysis on conventional diesel versus waste oil derived biodiesel made in the laboratory.

GEORGETOWN
– Aichi Forge USA Inc. is expanding its Georgetown plant and plans to add 26 new jobs at its only U.S. operation, where it currently employs a 204-member work force. Aichi Forge is a large steel-forging manufacturer primarily serving the automotive and truck market. The company’s $5.5 million investment, which will include new equipment and plant updates, will allow the company to diversify its current market to further expand into the heavy truck and transmission applications. The project is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

– The Cincinnati Bengals have informed Georgetown College that they will not be returning to Kentucky for their summer training camp, ending a 15-year tradition. Bengals owner Mike Brown said the decision resulted from the new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its players that limits the number of practices. “That’s nothing the Bengals or Georgetown College wanted to see happen,” Brown said, “but it is the hand we are dealt, so we both have to adjust to it.”

HEBRON
– UPS is cutting more than 400 jobs at its supply chain solutions warehouse in Hebron after losing one its largest customers. Zulily, a Seattle-based Internet company that specializes in baby items, informed UPS that it plans to handle its distributions in-house rather than contracting UPS to manage its inventory. The Hebron facility will be left with a staff of approximately 150 following the cuts.

HENDERSON
– Northwest Kentucky Forward, a public-private economic development partnership, has received grant funding from the USDA Rural Development Administration and the Delta Regional Authority to develop a business incubator. The Northwest Kentucky Entrepreneurship Center will be located in downtown Henderson and will include at least seven offices, including an executive suite; at least four entrepreneurial suites; a conference room and training room.

KNOX COUNTY

– Knox and Bell counties are receiving $1.5 million in Multi-County Local Government Economic Development Funds/Coal Severance Funds to help renovate the former Knox County Hospital to serve as a new facility for Union College’s academic nursing and health science programs. The additional facility will help accommodate Union College’s expanding registered nurse and bachelor of science in nursing programs, which are expected to grow by 200 students within a five-year period. Union’s current undergraduate yearly enrollment is approximately 700 students.

LA GRANGE

– The Rawlings Group, an insurance claims recovery company, is planning to add 100 workers to its existing 660-member work force, according to a report by The Courier-Journal. The company has been located in La Grange since 2007 and now ranks as Oldham County’s largest employer.

LEXINGTON
– Lexington is one of six cities that will lose flight service from AirTran Airways as a result of the recent acquisition of AirTran by Southwest Airlines. AirTran began flight service between Lexington and Florida destinations in February 2011. Southwest said it plans to discontinue AirTran operations effective Aug. 12.

LONDON
– Wazoo Sports, a regional sports network that has been broadcasting Kentucky high school and college sporting events on TV and the Internet since 2007, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The late-December filing came shortly after the London-based company was dropped by several of its broadcast affiliates.

LOUISVILLE
– Southwest Airlines will begin offering nonstop jet service between Louisville International Airport and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, effective August 12. Southwest will operate three daily flights utilizing the 137-seat Boeing 737 aircraft. With this addition, Southwest will offer daily nonstop flights from Louisville to Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago/Midway, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, St. Louis and Tampa.

– A group of physical therapy businesses has joined forces to form an industry advocacy group that is being headquartered in Louisville. The Physical Therapy Business Alliance represents more than 30 practices in 20-plus states with over 250 locations and 750 licensed therapists.

– Trilogy Health Services is expanding its Louisville headquarters to accommodate “major growth in the region.” The expansion will result in 50 new jobs and will entail a $1.76 million investment in new equipment and building expenses and $3 million in new annual payroll. Founded in 1997, Trilogy is a provider of senior living and longterm healthcare services and operates 65 health campuses throughout the Midwest.

– Donan Engineering Co., a Louisville-based forensic engineering and fire investigation services firm, has added new offices in Austin and Dallas, Texas. The new locations are the company’s first foray into the Texas market and bring Donan’s total number of offices to 38 locations in 19 states. The firm currently has approximately 210 employees and anticipates growing to 280 by the end of 2012.

– Delta Air Lines has announced plans to add daily nonstop jet service between Louisville International Airport and New York’s JFK International Airport. The new service, which will begin July 11, will be operated by Delta Connection carrier Chautauqua Airlines using 50-seat jet aircraft.

– After a strong year of growth that included opening its 3,000th restaurant in North America, Louisville-based pizza chain Papa John’s International is offering a franchisee incentive that includes no franchise fee, a royalty waiver, $50,000 in equipment and a $3,000 food service credit. The program is generally available for new U.S. unit development agreements signed by qualifying franchisees through Nov. 18, 2012, for new restaurant openings on or before Dec. 30, 2012.

– As part of an efforts to streamline operations, Colbert Packaging Corp., a manufacturer of folding cartons, rigid paper boxes and paperboard specialty products, has announced plans to close its 33,500-s.f. manufacturing facility in Louisville by mid-March. Colbert obtained the Louisville facility, as well as equipment, inventory, employees and customer accounts, in its 2009 acquisition of folding carton manufacturer Dayton Carton. Equipment and customers currently serviced through Louisville will be transitioned to Colbert facilities in Illinois and Indiana. The majority of the plant’s 35 full-time employees will be offered the opportunity to apply for positions at other Colbert facilities.

– The Kentucky Public Service Commission has approved a land exchange that will assist in the completion of a 100-mile hiking and biking trail in Louisville. Louisville Gas & Electric Co. (LG&E) will deed nearly seven acres of land at its Cane Run power plant in western Jefferson County to Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government in exchange for 17 acres of vacant city-owned property that abuts the Cane Run plant property. Because the city property has a higher appraised value, LG&E also will pay $56,400 to Louisville Metro government. The city intends to use the acquired land for the Ohio River Levee Trail, which is a portion of the longer Louisville Loop Trail that is being built to circle the city.

MADISONVILLE
– High Tech Chrome Plating Inc. is investing nearly $2 million to expand its facility in Madisonville. The project will more than double the existing plant by adding 18,000 s.f. and result in the eventual hiring of approximately 15 more employees. High Tech, which provides chrome plating of specialized rollers and equipment used in manufacturing applications, currently has approximately 10 employees.

– United Central Industrial Supply, a mining and industrial supply distributor, is consolidating its Madisonville and Henderson operations and plans to add 16,000 s.f. to the Madisonville plant to accommodate the expansion. The project will more than double the size of the plant and will likely result in additional hiring as well. The Madisonville plant currently has a staff of 12.

MOUNT STERLING
– Olympic Steel has expanded the scope of its plans for a new steel service center in Mount Sterling and has purchased an additional 100,000-s.f facility to accommodate increased growth. The Cleveland-based company will also add 40 jobs to the initial 20 jobs that were planned when the project was announced last summer. Olympic Steel will now occupy two Mount Sterling plants, which will facilitate steel processing, machining and material handling. The existing facility has been operational since the first quarter of 2011; the recently acquired facility is expected to be operational by the second quarter of this year. The project represents a total investment of $11.2 million.

NICHOLASVILLE
– SMC Manufacturing Services has announced plans for a new manufacturing facility in Nicholasville that will create 94 new jobs. SMC, which acquired the Custom Wiring company last spring, will be located in the former 22,500-s.f. Custom Wiring building and will manufacture circuit board assemblies and perform systems integration for the electronics industry. The company has already begun operations and anticipates ramping up to full capacity by early 2013.

OWENSBORO
– First Security Bank, headquartered in Owensboro, is investing more than $3 million to build a new 30,000-s.f. headquarters facility. The new building, which is part of a broad community downtown development initiative, is scheduled to be complete by summer. First Security is a $370 million bank with more than 100 employees. The company also has offices in Bowling Green, Franklin and Lexington, and an office in Evansville, Ind.

PARIS
– Windstone Farms LLC, a Paris-based producer of jams, has been acquired by Algood Food Co. for an undisclosed price. Louisville-based Algood, which packs private-label peanut butter, jellies and preserves, has been producing blackberry and strawberry jams for Windstone for the past 14 years. Windstone is sold in hundreds of Kroger, Walmart, Sam’s Club and Meijer stores and will now operate as a division of Algood Food.

RUSSELL COUNTY
– The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is soliciting proposals for the development and operation of a new commercial marina on Lake Cumberland in Russell County, northeast of Albany. The project would encompass approximately 162 acres and would accommodate 100 to 250 boats.

SHEPHERDSVILLE

– Magna Seating of America has opened a new 139,500-s.f. facility in Shepherdsville and announced that it will be hiring a significantly larger number of employees than originally projected. The company had initially planned to hire around 216 workers but now expects that figure to be as high as 450. The Shepherdsville plant will produce seating and seating components to support production of the Ford Escape at the Louisville Assembly Plant, which is slated to begin production in early April after an extensive $600 million renovation.

STATE

– ACS, a company that specializes in business process outsourcing and information technology services, has announced that it will assume the name of parent company Xerox and drop the ACS name. Since being acquired by Xerox in 2010, the company had been operating as ACS, a Xerox Company. ACS has a major presence in Kentucky, employing nearly 5,000 people at locations across the state.

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