Home » Business Briefs: September 2015

Business Briefs: September 2015

By The Lane Report staff


Louisville businessmen C. Edward Glasscock, chairman emeritus of the Frost Brown Todd law firm, and Dan and Gary Ulmer, former owners of the Louisville Bats minor league baseball team, have acquired a minority share of Connected Nation Exchange (CNX), a Bowling Green-based software and services firm. Much like commonly used real estate listing services, CNX enables municipalities and other public entities to list locations and assets (fiber optics, rooftops, utility/traffic/light poles, right-of-way, water towers, etc.) that can be leased for the purpose of siting telecommunications hardware. CNX currently has engagements with Nashville and Columbus, Ohio, in addition to statewide contracts with Ohio and Michigan, related to mapping publicly owned assets. CNX is a spin off of Connected Nation, a nonprofit leader in the community broadband market globally.

Graham Packaging is investing $22 million to build and equip a 216,000-s.f. manufacturing plant in Bowling Green’s South Central Kentucky Industrial Park that will bring up to 68 new jobs to the area.  The facility will primarily support Sun Products, a North American provider of laundry detergent, fabric softeners and other household products. The Pennsylvania-based company currently operates more than 90 plants around the world, including a facility in Lexington and two in Florence that employ a total of 230 people.


INFAC, a manufacturer of automotive cables, actuators, antennas and horns, is expanding its plant in Campbellsville to accommodate its feeder cable assembly project. The South Korea-based company, which supplies parts to General Motors, Chrysler, Hyundai and KIA, established its Campbellsville operations in 2008 and currently has 72 employees; the expansion is expected to add another 20 jobs.


Fleming County Hospital has been acquired by LifePoint Health, joining nine other Kentucky hospitals that are part of the Tennessee-based healthcare company. Fleming County Hospital is a 52-bed facility that provides general medical and surgical care and employs a staff of 260. Becoming part of the LifePoint network will give the hospital access to new clinical, operational and financial resources.


Dix Communications, which has published The (Frankfort) State Journal for the past 53 years, is selling the newspaper to Boone Newspapers Inc. for an undisclosed amount. Headquartered in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Boone owns and/or manages newspapers and free shopping guides in 30 communities in Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio. The company plans to continue publishing The State Journal as a daily newspaper.


Country Boy Brewing, a Lexington company that produces craft beer, is investing nearly $4.4 million and adding 20 jobs to expand its operations to Georgetown, its second Kentucky location. The company plans to build a 20,000-s.f. facility to house a new brewery and canning line that will allow it to produce 10,000 barrels of craft beer annually and begin distribution in additional states. The 3-year-old company currently distributes its core brand, Cougar Bait American blonde ale, in four states.

American Natural Gas, a distributor of alternative motor fuels, is building a new compressed natural gas (CNG) station in Georgetown, which is a regional hub for the automotive, agriculture and transportation industries. Beltway Express, a truckload carrier, will be the anchor tenant but the station will be available for use by other carriers and the public. The costs to operate heavy-duty trucks on CNG are significantly less than gasoline or diesel fuel. The facility is expected to open in November of this year.

Construction is officially underway on a 250,000-s.f. building being built by Toyota to house its production engineering team. Once complete, the facility will include a test lab and workspace for approximately 700 employees. Toyota’s expansion in Georgetown represents a local investment of $80 million, and marks its third major groundbreaking event in North America since the start of the year. Construction is expected to be complete in late 2017.


n 310 Tempering, a start-up glass tempering business, has purchased a facility in Jeffersontown’s Bluegrass Industrial Park, where it will design and fabricate custom glass projects such as shower doors, glass railings, interior office partitions and storefront entrances. The company will initially create 30 new jobs and plans to hire an additional 120 employees within the next five to 10 years. Because the tempering process requires highly skilled workers, 301 Tempering owners Greg Abrams and Chris Murphy say they are designing a team-leader program to “train employees who have little to no glass experience but have good work ethic and are eager to learn.”


Site-Safe Products is building a new $1.7 million facility on 26 acres in the Leitchfield Industrial Park to streamline its manufacturing process and allow for future growth. The company manufactures and installs highway and work-zone safety systems for construction and energy contractors in the United States and Canada. The project is the company’s second recent expansion in Kentucky; last year Site-Safe made significant investments in its primary location in nearby Clarkson, which will remain its administrative office. Site-Safe employs 26 workers in Kentucky.


Covington-based Ashland Inc., a Fortune 500 chemical company and the parent company of Valvoline, is investing $35 million to construct a new office building on its Lexington campus. The new building will house employees from Valvoline, which has been based in Lexington for more than 30 years, as well as other Ashland employees currently based on the Lexington campus who are working in a variety of supporting resource group functions. Ashland currently has approximately 600 employees working in Lexington.

The University of Kentucky’s Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship has launched the UK Venture Studio, a learning space that focuses on providing real-world, startup company experience for UK students, regardless of their major or how long they’ve been in college. The studio will kick off with a series of events that are part of a program called Venture Studio Bootcamp, which is designed to assess and validate the feasibility of a business concept, create a business model and provide hands-on experience with real world projects. Venture Studio teams will also have the opportunity to compete in local, regional, and national business plan competitions in the spring semester.

Creative Lodging Solutions, a Lexington-based travel management company that helps businesses with long-term and project-based lodging, has moved its corporate offices to a new 68,000-s.f. location on the city’s south end to accommodate the company’s rapid growth. Since its founding in 2002, CLS has grown from three employees to 193 and was recently named to the Inc. 5000 List as the 17th fastest-growing company in Kentucky.


The Comfy Cow, a Louisville ice cream producer and retailer, has invested $2 million to open its first stand-alone production facility in Louisville. The 6,500-s.f. Jeffersontown facility will allow the company to produce and sell its premium ice cream products to retail establishments across the country. The Comfy Cow first opened in late 2009 and has grown to five Louisville locations as well as franchise locations in Nashville and southern Indiana. The company’s products are also available in select grocery outlets in Louisville, Lexington, Cincinnati, Columbus and Pittsburgh. The expansion is expected to create 40 new jobs.

Premier Packaging, a Louisville-based manufacturer of corrugated boxes and industrial packing supplies, has opened a corrugated sheet plant and distribution center in Indianapolis that is expected to create 48 jobs by next year. The 159,400-s.f. facility is the company’s first location in Indiana and will enable the company to expand its services to companies across the Midwest and the northern United States. Premier was founded in 1994 and currently has 18 other facilities  across the nation that employ more than 300 workers.

Louisville is one of the first cities selected to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities, a $42 million initiative to help 100 mid-sized American cities enhance their use of data and evidence to improve the lives of residents. Louisville is one of eight cities that will receive expert support and peer-to-peer learning opportunities to make local government more effective by addressing local issues such as economic development, public health, job creation and blight. Other inaugural cities selected to participate are Chattanooga, Tenn.; Jackson, Miss.; Kansas City, Mo.; Mesa, Ariz.; New Orleans, La.; Seattle, Wash.; and Tulsa, Okla.

Thornton’s Inc., a convenience chain retailer that is one of Kentucky’s largest privately owned companies, is building a new headquarters facility in Louisville that will be more than twice the size of its existing 46,000-s.f. facility. The company is investing nearly $28 million in the construction project, which is slated to begin later this year. Thornton’s also plans to add 110 new jobs as part of the expansion. The family-owned company was launched in 1971 and now operates 182 convenience stores in six states.


Murray State University is now offering a master’s degree in nonprofit leadership studies (NLS) to help meet the needs of one of the fastest-growing industries in the nation. There are currently more than 1.6 million nonprofit organizations in the United States, employing nearly 10 percent of the American workforce. “In terms of employment, nonprofit sector grew an estimated 17 percent between 2000 and 2010, outperforming both the public and private sectors,” said Dr. Peter Weber, assistant professor and director of Murray State’s NLS program.


TerraPURE is investing $25 million to restore the Old Charles Medley Distillery in Daviess County and once again begin using the site as a distillery. TerraPURE, which is owned by South Carolina-based Terressentia Corp., will rename the 80-year-old structure the O.Z. Tyler Distillery, in memory of the co-inventor of the TerrePURE distilling process. The process is a patented technology that uses ultrasonic energy and oxygenation to rapidly mature spirits. The renovation is expected to take approximately 18 months. Once operational, the company expects to hire 50 to 75 employees.

Specialty Food Group Inc. has invested $2.6 million to expand its facility in Owensboro and plans to add at least 65 new jobs to its 500-member workforce to support the expansion. Specialty Foods is a 101-year-old meat packaging company whose brands include Kentucky Legend, Fischer’s Kentuckian Gold, Mickelberry’s and Scott Pete.

Kentucky Building Systems (KSB), an Owensboro company that specializes in pre-engineered metal buildings, is diversifying its operations with the creation of a steel fabrication division. The company has purchased an existing 17,000-s.f. steel fabrication and welding  facility for the new division, which has been named Trifecta Steel. The company plans to invest $3 million over the next three years and will hire at least 10 full-time employees a year during that course of time, more than doubling the current workforce.


Alltech held an official groundbreaking ceremony on July 30 for its Dueling Barrels Brewery and Distillery in downtown Pikeville. The distillery is set to open in spring 2017 and will produce its own range of beer and spirits that celebrate the area, including a legal moonshine and bourbon.


The 4-Star Industrial Park in Robards has become the first industrial park in the state to be designated by AT&T as fiber ready. “This designation and our work with AT&T will help us raise awareness about the infrastructure and benefits of 4-Star Industrial Park with prospective industries and site-selection consultants around the world,” said Brad Schneider, CEO of Kyndle, the lead economic development agency for Henderson, McLean, Union and Webster counties in northwest Kentucky.


TeleTech, a Denver-based company that specializes in customer service solutions, has partnered with Strayer Education to pilot the Degrees@Work program at TeleTech’s three Kentucky locations in Paducah and Hopkinsville. The program gives TeleTech employees the opportunity to earn an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree from Strayer University that is almost completely funded by TeleTech. Courses are tailored specifically to the training needs of TeleTech’s employees and offered online with 24/7 access for employee flexibility around work schedules, as well as at Strayer’s campus locations once the program is rolled out nationally. Nearly 10 percent of TeleTech’s Kentucky employees have enrolled in the program.


A Canadian company that produces custom foam, adhesive, film and fabric systems is establishing operations in a 40,800-s.f. facility in Wurtland. Jacobs &Thompson Ltd. is investing $5.4 million in the project and plans to hire 15 people to support the Wurtland operations. Headquartered in Ontario, Jacobs & Thompson was established in 1947 and currently has facilities in Toronto, Burlington and Barrie, Canada.