Fast Lane – October 2013

By Karen Baird

HOPKINSVILLE: PTC Seamless Tube plant will create 283 manufacturing jobs

A leading manufacturer and marketer of steel tubing is investing $102 million to build a new plant in Hopkinsville that will create 283 new jobs.

FL_PTCPTC Seamless Tube Corp.’s Hopkinsville project represents a shift in the company’s operations from producing more traditional mechanical tubular products toward producing seamless steel tubes for the energy industry, such as high-strength tube products used in oil and gas wells and certain other industrial applications.

Another subsidiary of PTC Seamless’ parent company, PTC Group Holdings Corp., previously operated a manufacturing facility in Hopkinsville that primarily produced tubular goods for the automotive industry. However, PTC Group Holdings was forced to shift its manufacturing closer to its customer base and consequently decided to close the Hopkinsville facility.

PTC will retrofit and expand its former Hopkinsville facility, which will ultimately include approximately 256,000 s.f. of building area. The project will involve the acquisition of property adjacent to the existing site, re-working the layout of the facility and the installation of manufacturing equipment.

LOUISVILLE: Jefferson County Schools pilot Ford career training program

Jefferson County Public Schools has launched a pilot program in five of its high schools to improve college and career readiness by incorporating the principles of the Ford Next Generation Learning initiative.

FL Ford_LogoThe Jefferson County Public Education Foundation is leading the development of a five-year master plan as it seeks to become one of 17 school districts in the country to receive the Ford NGL designation. The pilot program will be implemented at Fairdale, Jeffersontown, Pleasure Ridge Park, Southern and Waggener High Schools.

In one of its first efforts, the school system teamed with Greater Louisville Inc. and other business and civic partners to launch an externship program for teachers, pairing them with a business leader to shadow routine activities and learn about different companies. Externship teams were placed with Forest Giant, Norton Healthcare, GE, nth/works, Atlas Machine, Louisville Slugger, Ford, Bisig Impact Group, Business First, WAVE3, the Louisville Metro Police Department and the Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer Department.

Ford NGL districts have a history of success. In the Metropolitan Nashville Public School District, for example, the high school graduation rate increased from 69 percent to 83 percent in just four years working with the Ford NGL model.

EASTERN KENTUCKY: 3 James River coal sites idled, 525 workers affected

James River Coal Co. is one of the leading coal produces in central Appalachia and the Illinois Basin.
James River Coal Co. is one of the leading coal produces in central Appalachia and the Illinois Basin.

James River Coal Co. has idled coal production at three of its Kentucky operations, resulting in approximately 525 full-time employees being furloughed.

Locations affected by the furloughs include the McCoy Elkhorn mines and prep plants in Pike County, the Bledsoe coal mines and prep plants in Leslie and Harlan counties, and the Long Branch surface mine in Johnson County.

The Virginia-based company, which is one of the leading coal producers in central Appalachia, cited “continued weakness in the domestic and international coal markets” and said the anticipated date to restart operations is unknown and would be subject to the coal market.

RADCLIFF: Work begins on state’s 4th veterans home, opening set for 2015

FLBB_Radcliff Veterans CenterGov. Steve Beshear joined a group of active-duty soldiers along with local officials, community leaders and military veterans on Sept. 18 for a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of a new veterans nursing home in Radcliff.

The Radcliff Veterans Center will feature four neighborhoods of three 10-bedroom homes. The design will provide 120 veterans with a private room and bath along with a family-style living room, dining room, kitchen and patio. A separate administration building will house recreation, therapy and other services. The center will be Kentucky’s fourth state veterans home and is scheduled to open in June 2015. It will employ a staff of 170.

ANDERSON COUNTY: Wild Turkey brings production back to Lawrenceburg

FL_WildTurkeyWild Turkey has opened a new 145,000-s.f. packaging facility at its distillery in Lawrenceburg that will enable the company to have full control of its entire production, from distilling to aging and bottling.

“After a seven-year absence, we are pleased to bring packaging capabilities back to the Wild Turkey Distillery for two of Gruppo Campari’s biggest and fastest growing brands,” said Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO of Gruppo Campari. “By owning the full production process for all of our Wild Turkey brands, we can be more nimble in meeting the growing worldwide demand for not only Wild Turkey, but also SKYY Vodka.”

Since purchasing the Wild Turkey brand in 2009, Gruppo Campari has made significant financial commitments to the distillery’s operations, surpassing more than $100 million in investments. In 2011, the company unveiled a $50 million expansion at the distillery, more than doubling the plant’s production capabilities. This was coupled with the opening of multiple new barrel warehouses over the past several years. In 2014, Wild Turkey will open a new state-of-the-art visitor center.

The $43 million expansion will create 62 new jobs.

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