Fast Lane: October 2015

By wmadministrator

Catlettsburg: EN Engineering opens $2.8M office; 80 jobs coming

EN Engineering has opened a new $2.8 million facility in Catlettsburg that will bring 80 new jobs to the Boyd County area, with annual salaries ranging from $50,000 to $70,000.

EN Engineering, headquartered in Illinois, provides comprehensive engineering, consulting, design, integrity management, corrosion protection and automation services to energy and industrial clients, including natural gas and oil transmission and distribution companies, as well as petroleum refineries. The company currently employs more than 100 workers in Kentucky, where it has had a presence since 1994. The expanded 24,000-s.f. facility in Catlettsburg will enable the company to expand its engineering capacity to better serve the tri-state region of Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio.

EN Engineering currently operates 13 offices throughout the country and has more than 800 employees.

Clarkson: Kelley beekeeping builds a buzz with expansion, 50 new jobs

A Clarkson company that manufactures beekeeping products is expanding its operations there, bringing 50 new jobs to the Grayson County community.

Kelley Beekeeping has purchased 20 acres for the construction of a 100,000-s.f. manufacturing plant and showroom for its products, which are sold to hobbyists, small businesses and commercial markets around the world. The project represents an investment of nearly $7.5 million.

The company, which was founded in 1924 and has operated in Grayson County since 1952, produces more than 3,000 beekeeping products, including specialty supplies such as woodenware units for keeping hives, protective clothing, honey extraction equipment and a variety of bees.

The expansion will accommodate continued growth for the company, which has added jobs overall but also sees seasonal swells, most recently to 110 employees.

The company has become a tourist attraction in the region as well. Currently, more than 300 people visit the operation each weekend in the spring and every September the community celebrates its ties to the beekeeping industry with the annual Clarkson Honeyfest.

Covington: Ashland and Valvoline split into two public companies

Ashland Inc. announced on Sept. 21 that it is proceeding with plans to separate its Valvoline unit into a separate company, creating Ashland and Valvoline as two independent, publicly traded entities.

The new Ashland will focus on providing specialty chemicals for the industrial market while Valvoline will focus on the engine and automotive maintenance business.

William Wulfsohn will serve as chairman and CEO of the new Ashland following the separation, while Luis Fernandez-Moreno, currently senior vice president of Ashland and president of Ashland’s Chemicals Group, will be chief operating officer of the new company. Kevin Willis, currently senior vice president and chief financial officer of Ashland, will serve in the same capacity in the new Ashland.

At Valvoline, Wulfsohn will serve as non-executive chairman following the separation, and Sam Mitchell, currently senior vice president of Ashland and president of Valvoline, will serve as CEO.

The separation will be completed as soon as practicable, company officials said, but not less than a year’s time. The company intends for the separation, which is subject to final board approval prior to completion, to be tax-free for Ashland shareholders. Immediately following the separation, Ashland shareholders will own shares of both the new Ashland and Valvoline.

In July, Ashland announced that it was investing nearly $35 million to construct a new Valvoline office building in Lexington to bring employees there under one roof.

Jeffersontown: ADP Launches $26M expansion to consolidate locations

ADP LLC, a provider of retirement and benefit administration services, is investing nearly $26 million plans to grow its operations in Jeffersontown.

The company currently operates multiple facilities in Jefferson County and plans a significant renovation of its 160,000-s.f. facility on the Bluegrass Parkway in Jeffersontown in order to consolidate its operations at one location.

ADP, a subsidiary of Automatic Data Processing Inc., was founded in 1949 and has become a comprehensive global provider of cloud-based human capital management solutions that include human resources, payroll, tax and benefits administration and other services. The New Jersey-based company generates nearly $11 billion in annual revenue and serves more than 630,000 clients worldwide.

The company significantly grew its Kentucky operations through the acquisition of SHPS Inc. in 2012. The purchase expanded ADP’s overall footprint in the commonwealth to nearly 950 employees. The company also has operations in Covington and Lexington.

The Jeffersontown expansion is expected to be complete within a year and will create an additional 35 jobs.

Jeffersontown: Location makes area a good fit for online tux company

A new e-commerce tuxedo rental business plans to open a distribution and customer service facility in Jeffersontown that will create new 80 jobs.

Generation Tux is a subsidiary of zTux, a company founded by George Zimmer, the founder and former CEO of Men’s Wearhouse. The company provides customers with an online tutorial outlining how to obtain their tuxedo measurements. Those figures are then used to tailor the tuxedo specifically for the customer, who will receive the tux, shirt, shoes, cuff links and cummerbund or belt shipped to them free of charge seven days prior to their event. Customers have three days to return the items, again free of charge. Costs average around $150.

Should a customer find that the fit needs adjustments, the company will either send a replacement garment or make arrangements to have an alteration done by a local tailor.

“Generation Tux is just the type of innovative e-commerce company Louisville is looking to attract,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “With our central location, world-class UPS Worldport headquarters and our thriving logistics and e-commerce sector, Louisville has the environment that will help George Zimmer’s new company succeed.”

Fischer also noted that because of the company’s tech and coding needs, Generation Tux has partnered with Code Louisville – a program that teaches computer coding to young adults in the area – to mentor students and grow their software talent locally.

Lexington: Innovative Mattress Solutions moving HQ and 52 jobs from West Virginia to Lexington

Innovative Mattress Solutions, which operates in Kentucky as Sleep Outfitters, has announced plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from West Virginia to Lexington.

The company is investing nearly $2.4 million in the move, which will bring 52 new jobs to Lexington. The positions will range from operations, financing and information technology to marketing, human resources and sales.

IMS was founded in 1983 by Louisville native and University of Kentucky graduate Kimberly Brown Knopf, who opened the company’s first store in South Charleston, W. Va. The company has since grown to 155 stores in six states (West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Indiana) that operate as Mattress Warehouse, Sleep Outfitters and Mattress King.

IMS plans to move into the Lexington facility that previously served as headquarters for Tempur-Pedic (now Tempur-Sealy International Inc.). The facility includes warehouse distribution space that will provide IMS with a larger distribution facility for its Lexington operation, which has seen sales growth exceed the capacity of its current space.

The company has already announced plans to give back to its new headquarters community through a partnership with Tempur Sealy: The two companies are donating more than 40 Tempur-Pedic mattresses, foundations and bed frames to a local women’s shelter.

Louisville: Trilogy Health Services being bought by Griffin-American healthcare reit in $1.1b deal

Trilogy Health Services, a Louisville-based provider of senior healthcare services, has agreed to be acquired by Griffin-American Healthcare REIT III Inc. for approximately $1.125 billion via a joint venture with NorthStar Healthcare Income Inc.

Under the terms of agreement, Griffin-American will own 70 percent of the joint venture and will act as its manager, with NHI owning the remaining 30 percent.

Trilogy’s management team will continue to be led by the company’s founder and chief executive officer, Randy Bufford, and will maintain an investment of approximately $24 million. The Trilogy name will be retained and the company’s headquarters will remain in Louisville.

Bufford founded Trilogy in 1997 and has overseen the company’s growth into a leading owner-operator of 96 senior healthcare campuses throughout Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky. The campuses offer a range of care, including assisted living, memory care, independent living and skilled nursing services. Trilogy’s operations also extend to the institutional PCA Pharmacy with four locations, and a rehabilitative services company, Paragon Rehabilitation. The company employs over 13,500 associates across all business lines.

Ron J. Jeanneault, chief executive officer and president of NorthStar Healthcare, noted that Trilogy has a “strong track record of delivering results.”

“Trilogy’s properties have a low average age, strong occupancy rates and a high-quality mix which, coupled with their robust development pipeline, creates an exciting addition to our portfolio that will continue to grow over time,” said Jeanneault.

The sale is expected to close by the end of the year.

Owensboro: Hollison growth cited as example of entrepreneurial success

A food safety solutions company that got its start with the Kentucky Innovation Network is investing nearly $1.2 million to expand its operations in Owensboro. The expansion will add 34 new jobs.

Hollison LLC was founded in 2005 and provides innovative sampling technology that gives food manufacturers a greater ability to detect contamination – biological, viral and chemical – before a product is shipped. By testing products, as well as the environment around the products, Hollison is able to identify potential risks within a much shorter time frame and more accurately than similar technology. The company will lease a 30,000-s.f. facility and purchase equipment needed to manufacture technology and facilitate further research and development.

Hollison is among the first clients to get its start with the Kentucky Innovation Network at the idea stage and remain involved with the network each step of the way throughout its growth and approval for state incentives.

Hollison was also the first client to locate in the Owensboro Centre for Business and Research business incubator, giving the company access to equipment and lowering initial costs, which contributed to the company remaining
in Kentucky.

“Hollison’s story is an American success story – that a creative individual with a bright idea and a lot of hard work can achieve remarkable things,” said Joe Berry, director of the Owensboro Kentucky Innovation Network office.

Somerset: Entrepreneurship awards honor region’s top business owners

The 2015 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards program recognized southeastern Kentucky’s top small business owners and entrepreneurs in September at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset.

The EIEA program promotes and recognizes the region’s business people who exemplify entrepreneurial spirit by creating and managing a successful business venture or nonprofit organization in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. This year’s winners were:

• Young Entrepreneur: Aaron Roberts, owner of Yard Farmers LLC, Somerset. Roberts started Yard Farmers, a complete grounds maintenance company, in 2005 at the age of 15 with one tractor and a bush hog. Ten years later, Roberts has six full-time employees and picked up one of his largest contracts ever in 2014, managing grounds maintenance for a 14,000-acre facility in central Kentucky.

• Not-for-Profit Entity: Eric Loy, chief executive officer/medical director, Cumberland Family Medical Center Inc., Burkesville. Cumberland Family Medical Center originated from a grassroots effort to provide better healthcare delivery to one of the most underserved areas of Kentucky. Today, the medical center is a thriving community healthcare network with 25 clinic locations, approximately 60 medical providers and 300 employees.

• Start-Up Business: Lidia Godbey, owner/fitness instructor, Turn It Up Dance & Fitness Studio, Somerset. Godbey started her dance and fitness studio in 2013 with a simple goal to unite the community through dance.

• For-Profit Business: Garry Conley, owner/president, Minuteman Press of London. Conley launched Minuteman Press in 2004 with one offset press. Eleven years later, the business continues to grow and has added wide-format posters and banners, promotional products, and direct mail to its growing list of customer services.

State: UK, UofL get $3.76M to create new micro/nanotechnology center

The University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville have received a $3.76 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to create a national center of excellence in micro/nanotechnology. The grant is one of just 16 awarded to more than 100 colleges and universities across the country that were competing for the funding.

UK and UofL are joining a new national network that will make university facilities, tools and expertise in nanoscale science, engineering and technology available to outside users.

The collaboration, said UK Provost Tim Tracy, “will establish our campuses and our commonwealth as hubs of next generation advanced manufacturing.”

Eight key nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing facilities at UK and UofL will provide a collaborative center for academia, small businesses and industry to “build miniature solutions for applications in healthcare, energy, security and beyond,” said Todd Hastings, director of the UK Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering and UK College of Engineering professor.

The five year grant will be used to: enhance and upgrade advanced manufacturing equipment at UK and UofL research facilities, add staff to help train and support up to 500 additional external users, provide seed money for research projects in key advanced manufacturing areas, and engage more minorities and women in nanoscale science, engineering and technology.

“The next generation of commercial, medical, and industrial products will contain embedded tiny sensors and miniature wireless communication electronics,” said Kevin Walsh, director of UofL’s Micro/Nanotechnology Center. “New manufacturing technologies will need to be developed so these smart products can be made quickly, reliably and economically. UofL and UK are tackling those challenges.”

State: Ky small businesses getting more help to boost export trade

Small businesses throughout the commonwealth will be getting more state assistance to help them market their products worldwide, thanks to a $400,000 grant awarded to Kentucky by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The SBA’s State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) program is designed to increase the number of small businesses that begin to export and to increase the value of exports for small businesses that already conduct international business. The latest grant is the fourth round of funding offered through the program. Kentucky previously received a $300,000 grant in 2014; a $276,000 grant in 2012; and $427,000 in 2011.

Kentucky uses the funds to lower the cost for small businesses wanting to participate in international trade missions, sales trips and subscription services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The funds also assist companies with international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops or other export initiatives.

The STEP grant directly aligns with the goals of the Kentucky Export Initiative, which was launched in 2010 to streamline and elevate the state’s efforts to help Kentucky businesses reach global markets. Since KEI launched, Kentucky exports have grown by more than 42 percent – compared to the national average of approximately 27 percent.

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