LOUISVILLE: Inc. lauds 21c Museum Hotels for its U.S. jobs creation rate
21c Museum Hotels, a Louisville-based boutique hotel company and restaurant group, was recently recognized by Inc. magazine for the number of jobs the company has generated over the past several years.
Inc.’s Hire Power Awards recognizes the private businesses that have generated the most jobs in the past three years. 21c has nearly tripled its number of full-time employees over the past two years, placing it among the top 100 private business job-creators in the country. The company ranked No. 58 overall and was the No. 1 job creator in the travel industry as well as the No. 1 Kentucky-based company.
“Hiring talented people to serve our guests and to help drive our business is crucial to our continued growth,” said Craig Greenberg, president of 21c Museum Hotels. “We’ve created 215 new full-time positions in a growing hospitality company and have also focused on promoting from within. It is gratifying to watch our company and our team thrive in a culture of creative leadership and to be recognized by Inc. as a top job creator.”
In the past year, 21c opened new hotel properties in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Bentonville, Ark., growing from a single hotel property and a standalone restaurant in downtown Louisville to encompass three hotels, four restaurants and more than 500 employees. Construction is currently underway on a hotel property in Durham, N.C., and a project has been announced for Lexington, Ky., as well.
21c was also named to this year’s Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest growing companies, with a three-year growth rate of 673 percent.
STATE: Lectrodryer, American Printing House and GM named Kentucky manufacturers of the year
Lectrodryer, American Printing House for the Blind and General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant have been named as winners of the 2013 Kentucky Manufacturer of the Year award, presented by the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers.
The awards are based on a company’s performance in innovative and entrepreneurial leadership, recognized leadership that makes a key contribution to the quality of life in the community and state, and active involvement in organizations that advance industry and manufacturing.
Richmond-based Lectrodryer won the small-business category. The company produces custom-designed absorption and purification equipment for use in hydrocarbon refining, chemical processing, gas manufacturing and refining, solvent drying, sewage treatment and power generation for companies on every continent except Antarctica.
American Printing House for the Blind Inc., a nonprofit organization headquartered in Louisville, won in the mid-size business category. APHB was founded in 1858 and is the official supplier of educational materials for the nation’s vision-impaired children and is also a strong supporter of other nonprofit and charitable causes.
General Motors’ Bowling Green Assembly Plant, winner of the large-business category, is a major employer in the region. In 2013, GM pledged more than $215,000 to various community entities ranging from education to arts and entertainment.
In addition to the company awards, Dale Budke was named KAM’s employee of the year. Budke is a production supervisor for Moulding and Millwork in Jeffersonville, Ky.
BOWLING GREEN: German auto supplier to hire 90 at new production plant
Bilstein Group, a family-owned automotive supplier headquartered in Germany, plans to establish a new production plant in Bowling Green that will create 90 new full-time jobs.
Founded in 1911 in Hagen, Germany, Bilstein Group has grown to be one of the world’s largest suppliers of cold-rolled products. The company is building the plant in Bowling Green to better serve its North American automotive industry customers. The company plans to construct a 150,000-s.f. facility in the 72-acre Kentucky Transpark.
Design of the new facility is currently in progress, with construction slated to begin in the spring of 2015. The plant is expected to be operational by early 2018.
The company’s announcement marks the fourth German-owned site-location project to develop in Kentucky within the last year. European companies, which employ nearly 26,000 people across the commonwealth, have a strong presence in Kentucky, accounting for 170 of Kentucky’s 400-plus foreign-owned businesses.
LOUISVILLE: Bourbon pours millions into Jefferson County’s economy
Bourbon has become big business in Kentucky and according to the results of a University of Louisville study on the economic impact of the distilling industry, Jefferson County is benefiting from the boom in a big way.
The study, commissioned by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, reports that the distilling industry provides 4,200 jobs in Louisville, resulting in $263 million in payroll, $32 million in tax revenue and $50 million in capital projects in 2012.
Furthermore, an increase in worldwide demand for bourbon has produced a wave of capital investments in Louisville: More than $50 million in projects is now underway. In addition, distillers account for more than $10 million in corporate and philanthropic giving to community causes, events and attractions.
Bourbon tourism is also on the rise. Heaven Hill’s new Evan Williams Bourbon Experience will open later this year in downtown Louisville, becoming the eighth official Kentucky Bourbon Trail stop and the first in Louisville. According to the report, Jefferson County could realize more than $2.5 million a year in spending from bourbon tourism.
“Bourbon… helps create jobs, it draws visitors and the ‘cool factor’ helps attract and retain talented young professionals,” said Craig J. Richard, president and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. “However, changes to Kentucky’s tax code are needed if we are going to be successful in increasing investment and protecting our state’s signature industry from global competition.”
Richard said relief is needed for the ad valorem “barrel tax” that’s assessed each year on aging barrels in Kentucky warehouses. According to the KDA, the tax is not assessed on any other alcohol beverage such as beer, wine or whiskey, and is the only one of its kind in the world. The ad valorem tax is one of seven taxes levied on every bottle of spirits in Kentucky, with 60 percent of every bottle going to taxes.
LOUISVILLE: Fully leased, the Nucleus houses research & entrepreneurs
Nucleus, a University of Louisville Foundation initiative developed to foster innovation and economic development, hosted local and state officials last month to celebrate the grand opening of The Nucleus, an eight-story, 200,000-s.f. building that will house researchers and entrepreneurs.
The Nucleus is the first new multi-tenant building to open in downtown Louisville in more than 20 years.
Already 93 percent leased, the building’s flagship tenant is Atria Senior Living, one of the nation’s largest operators of senior housing services. Other initial tenants include: Advanced Cancer Therapeutics, XLerateHealth, University of Louisville Institute for Optimal Aging, University of Louisville Physicians and University of Louisville Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation.
Nucleus was established in 2008 by the University of Louisville Foundation to integrate UofL resources with those of the region to transform Louisville into a major research and innovation hub. Nucleus works to provide a full compendium of technology, business and economic development services and programs that help researchers, entrepreneurs, and start-up companies achieve success.
LEXINGTON: Private benefactors give $45M to Gatton College expansion
An official groundbreaking ceremony was conducted last month for a $65 million expansion and renovation of the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics.
The project will expand the college’s facilities by 40 percent, increasing it to 210,000 s.f., and will include a new finance learning center with an advanced classroom featuring a simulated trading environment that will include digital displays feeding real-time financial and market information. Other highlights include a 500-seat auditorium designed for special events and large lectures; a new behavior research lab; 20 new classrooms; 40 collaborative study rooms; and a special-events hall with audio-visual components.
The expansion and renovation of the Gatton College is part of UK’s overall capital improvement plan approved earlier this year by the Kentucky General Assembly. No state tax dollars will be used in any of the UK construction projects, which include the Gatton project, a new science building on campus, and improvements to Commonwealth Stadium and UK’s football facilities. UK President Eli Capilouto, who presided over the groundbreaking ceremony, expressed his gratitude to the Gatton College’s benefactors, who collectively have made more than $45 million in pledges and contributions toward the expansion.
HAZARD: Kentucky Power gets OK to buy electricity from biomass plant
The Kentucky Public Service Commission has approved a 20-year contract that allows Kentucky Power Co. to purchase electricity generated by a biomass-fueled plant near Hazard.
The 58.5-megaWatt ecoPower Generation-Hazard LLC biomass plant will burn various wood wastes and low-quality timber to generate power.
Although the biomass power is more expensive than electricity from other sources, the PSC noted a law enacted by the Kentucky General Assembly earlier this year that directed the PSC to consider factors other than cost in any case in which a utility seeks to purchase power from a biomass energy facility approved by the Kentucky State Board on Electric Generation and Transmission Siting. The PSC historically has applied a least-cost test to proposals to produce or purchase power.
According to testimony given by Kentucky Power, construction of the ecoPower plant will employ 230 people for two years. The plant will employ 30 people and create an additional 225 jobs for loggers and truckers. The utility maintains that the ecoPower contract will also spur economic development in its service territory and diversify its generation portfolio, which now relies largely on coal. Kentucky Power has about 173,000 customers in 20 Eastern Kentucky counties.
Kentucky Power said the generating capacity provided by ecoPower is needed both to replace capacity that will be lost because of reductions in power production at the company’s Big Sandy plant near Louisa and to help meet its future need for power.
The company has also received conditional approval from the Kentucky Public Service Commission to purchase half interest in Ohio Power Co.’s Mitchell power plant near Moundsville, W. Va., to help replace the coal-fired unit being closed at the Big Sandy plant. Purchasing half of the Mitchell plant will cost significantly less than bringing Big Sandy’s larger unit into environmental compliance: The Mitchell purchase will cost about $536 million, whereas upgrading Big Sandy to meet stricter EPA air quality rules would cost nearly $1 billion.
VERSAILLES: Bourbon boom continues with Woodford Reserve’s expansion
Brown-Forman has announced plans to renovate and expand the visitor center at its Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, underscoring the fact that the bourbon industry continues to be a significant economic driver in the Bluegrass State.
The company already announced earlier this year that it would invest $35 million to expand its operations with the addition of new bourbon maturation warehouses, new stills, improvements to the bottling line and other upgrades designed to increase capacity, efficiency and production.
Woodford Reserve joins a list of Kentucky distilleries that are expanding to meet increased customer demand. This year alone, Wild Turkey, Barton 1792, Maker’s Mark and Buffalo Trace Distillery have all announced expansion projects, representing millions in investment. In fact, the popularity of bourbon has become so strong that in May, Buffalo Trace Distillery announced that demand was outpacing supply, resulting in temporary product shortages.
Woodford Reserve’s expansion of its visitor’s center reflects that popularity. The $1.5 million project will include a dedicated tasting room and updates to the retail shop, as well as general improvements, modifications and upgrades.