Home » Business Briefs — May 2012

Business Briefs — May 2012

By Lane Report Staff


– The Bowling Green Daily News reports that the Warren County Fiscal Court has granted final approval to rezone property near the National Corvette Museum that will allow for the construction of a motorsports park for high-performance driving and testing. According to the report, museum officials hope to finalize fundraising this year and break ground on the project next April.  The first phase of the project is expected to cost approximately $20 million and will include a three-mile road course, an autocross area and a skid pad training area.

– Christian Care Communities has broken ground for a $12 million expansion of its Village Manor community in Bowling Green that will bring a wide range of new services for seniors, including assisted living, memory care and short-term rehabilitation care.  The expansion will create up to 55 professional and service jobs. The project is slated for completion in the summer 2013. The Louisville-based company also operates senior living communities and programs in Corbin, Grayson, Hopkinsville, Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro and Taylorsville and employs more than 600 people throughout the state.


– Heritage Bank, a Burlington-based community bank that has 10 locations across the Northern Kentucky area, has completed its acquisition of Farmers National Bank, another Northern Kentucky bank that has five branches in the region. The acquisition adds around $84 million in assets to Heritage, bringing the bank’s total assets to approximately $485 million.


– Serco, a travel and hospitality company headquartered in the United Kingdom, is expanding its reach within the industry by creating 125 jobs at its Campbellsville customer call center. Serco, which acquired Intelenet Global Services last year, offers operational, management and consulting expertise across a broad variety of business sectors. The company has more than 100,000 employees who deliver services to government and private clients in more than 30 countries.


– DRC Industries is investing $2 million to acquire a 126,000-s.f. facility and add 25 jobs in Carroll County. Established in 2003, DRC Industries has grown from distributing and warehousing packaging supplies to expanding its manufacturing capabilities. The project’s expansion will complement the company’s existing 80,000-s.f. facility in Carroll County and provide more storage and warehousing space as well as more room for additional personnel.


– Ferm Solutions Inc., a Danville research and development company dedicated to the fuel ethanol industry, is investing $1 million to open a new 3,750-s.f. technology center, according to a report by The (Danville) Advocate-Messenger.  In addition to providing more space for R&D, the new facility – which is expected to open this summer – will also give the company more room to offer training for companies that produce fuel ethanol.


– Taggart Solar LLC is leasing a 10,000-s.f. building in Park City’s Edmonson County Industrial Park to house a new manufacturing operation that will create 30 new full-time jobs. Taggart Solar produces solar panels for industrial and residential use. The two-megawatt Edmonson County facility is expected to be operational this month and will assemble photovoltaic (sunlight into electricity) modules for distribution across the United States and Canada.


– HealthWarehouse.com Inc., a Florence-based retail mail-order pharmacy, has added pet medications to its offerings, capitalizing on a growing trend that saw Americans spend more than $50 billion on their pets last year, up from $10.1 billion only four years ago. HealthWarehouse.com is offering more than 200 over-the- counter and prescription pet medications with discounts ranging from 30 percent to 90 percent off retail prices.


– Vermont Thread Gage has launched its second major expansion in the past five years, investing more than $1.7 million to add 35,000 s.f. to its manufacturing plant in Franklin. Formed in 2000, Vermont Thread Gage manufactures thread gages sold through its parent company, Vermont Precision Tools Inc. By 2007, the company had outgrown the original 11,000-s.f. facility it built in Franklin in 2001 and began construction on a 32,000-s.f. plant on an adjacent site in the Franklin Industrial Park. The latest expansion will add 15 new jobs to the existing 100-member staff.


– Low-cost carrier Vision Airlines plans to offer flights from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to Myrtle Beach, S.C., beginning May 31. The flights will operate through October 31, with round-trip fares beginning at $109.


– General Cable Corp., a Highland Heights-based company that specializes in wire and cable products, has acquired Delphia Produtos Eletricos Ltda., a Brazilian company that is a leading manufacturer of automotive ignition wire harnesses in the Brazilian market. Roger Roundhouse, senior vice president and general manager of specialty wire harnesses for General Cable, said the acquisition is a key enabler in the company’s ability to support the global needs of its multinational customers. Delphi reported revenues of approximately $20 million (USD) in 2011.


– A Japanese automotive supplier has opened a new $38 million facility in Lebanon that will result in 100 new jobs. Last month, Fuel Total Systems California Corp. officially opened its new 120,000-s.f. facility on 18 acres in Marion County, where it will manufacture automotive fuel tank systems and related components.

– AAR Precision Systems has informed the state that it plans to close its facility in Lebanon, where it provides design and manufacturing services for highly engineered, tolerance-critical machined metal alloy assemblies. The plant closure will result in the loss of 61 jobs.


– Lexington-based Valvoline, a commercial unit of Ashland Inc., has signed an agreement for TNK-BP – Russia’s third-largest oil company – to distribute Valvoline motor oil to the passenger car market in Russia. “With its passenger car lubricants market being the largest in Europe – and still growing year on year – Russia represents a significant growth opportunity for passenger car motor oils, particularly with the increasing popularity of Western cars,” said Sam Mitchell, president of Ashland Consumer Markets. Mitchell said that with access to 15,000 retail stores across Russia, TNK-BP offers “unparalleled opportunities” to introduce Russian to Valvoline products and said he anticipates being able to achieve “significant volume growth in Russia” as a result of the agreement.

– A newly formed software company has announced plans to locate its operations in Lexington, creating 10 new technology jobs. CirrusMio, a subsidiary of Virginia-based Metaformers Inc., will focus on the development of cloud-based software solutions for public-sector clients.

– Xerox has announced that it is hiring more than 300 full-time employees at its call center in Lexington. Company officials said the additional positions are needed to support new client growth and will include customer service representatives, quality assurance analysts, technical analysts and service center managers.


– Kentucky has awarded a $1 million community development block grant to help the Liberty/Casey County Economic Development Authority purchase new equipment that will be leased to Bluegrass Shavings LLC, a Liberty company that produces kiln-dried wood shavings and sawdust for horse, poultry and cattle bedding. In addition to the $1 million grant, Bluegrass Shavings is investing $2.4 million to expand its operations and plans to add 50 full-time jobs to support the expansion. The expansion follows a devastating fire in 2010 that destroyed the young company’s equipment and building.


– Advanced Cancer Therapeutics (ACT) has been granted a patent for a new treatment to inhibit cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth. “This granted patent is one step in our ongoing comprehensive strategy to develop a patent portfolio of novel inhibitors around this key molecular target in cancer metabolism,” said Randall B. Riggs, president and CEO of ACT. “A clinical candidate has been identified and we intend to file an investigational new drug (IND) application in 2012 for a dose escalation Phase I human clinical study in cancer patients.”

– Steel Technologies, a Louisville-based company that is one of North America’s leading steel processors, has secured land in Celaya, Mexico, where it plans to build a 125,000-s.f. flat-rolled steel processing facility.  The Celaya operations will further expand Steel Technologies’ presence in Mexico, where the company is currently building a 100,000-s.f. steel processing plant in the Bajio region of central Mexico and a 300,000-s.f. steel processing and pickling operation in Monterrey.

– Louisville-based gas and convenience store chain Thorntons Inc. has announced plans to expand into the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla., market, a move that represents the company’s first foray into a new metro/state market since it moved into the Nashville, Tenn., market in 2007. The first Florida location is set to open in Clearwater next spring. The company currently has 165 locations across Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee.

– Northwestern Mutual-Louisville Inc. has announced plans to add 28 financial representatives and 60 financial representative interns in 2012. The expansion is part of a nationwide effort by Northwestern Mutual to recruit more than 2,000 financial representatives and approximately 3,000 financial representative interns in 2012. To accommodate the growth in Louisville, the company’s Kentucky and Southern Indiana Group has added two new offices in Louisville over the past five years, bringing its total number of locations in the area to three.

– PPG Porter Paints plans to close one of its three Louisville plants later this year, resulting in the layoff of 52 workers, according to papers the company filed with the state. The company plans to move 90 administrative jobs from the plant at Muhammad Ali Boulevard and 13th Street to its other Louisville locations.

– University of Louisville researcher Dr. Roberto Bolli has been awarded a seven-year, $3.4 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to establish one of seven regional centers in the Cardiac Cell Therapy Research Network. The network conducts early clinical trials of adult stem cell therapies in patients with heart disease. During his 18-year tenure with UofL, Bolli has generated more than $100 million in grants for basic research from the National Institutes of Health.

– A new study projects that the construction of two new Ohio River bridges will increase employment by about 18,000 jobs in the Louisville-South Indiana area over the next three decades, according to a report in The (Louisville) Courier-Journal.

– Neace Lukens has completed the acquisition of Matrix Benefits and Consulting Group, a Fort Wayne, Ind.-based consulting firm that focuses on employee benefits. The transaction is Neace Luken’s fourth acquisition this year.


– Pikeville Medical Center has announced plans to purchase property on the South Mayo Trail in Pikeville that includes the Landmark Inn and the building known as the Mark II. Medical Center President and CEO Walter E. May said the acquisition is necessary to accommodate growth that has outpaced expectations. “Even with the new Medical Office Building and parking garage set to open next year, our hospital is growing so fast it can be difficult to keep up,” said May. “We’re adding physicians and specialties very quickly, and it is in the best interest of our patients to ensure we have adequate space available when we need it.” The Landmark Inn will continue to operate as a hotel and restaurant under the current management.

– The Appalachian News-Express reports that ACS Commercial Solutions is closing its Pikeville call center in early June, resulting in the loss of 130 jobs. The call center handles technical support calls for Sprint.


– The City of Pineville has signed a memorandum of understanding with Wasioto Hotel and Resort LLC to construct a $14.3 million resort hotel in Pineville, a deal that Pineville Mayor Sherwin Rader said has been in the works for more than three years. Plans call for the four-star facility to include 102 guest rooms, a 350-seat conference center, and a 100-seat restaurant. The hotel would create more than 80 full- and part-time positions in addition to some 167 construction jobs required during the building stage, which would take 18 to 24 months. The project is contingent on the approval of a restaurant tax and the sale of revenue bonds by the city.


– Lincoln Manufacturing USA has added 22 new jobs as part of an expansion to help meet increased product demand. LML – which received $280,000 in funding through a community development block grant awarded to the Stanford-Lincoln County Industrial Authority to support the expansion – is a metal stamping facility that has the ability to produce a wide range of parts, from simple stampings to close tolerance critical parts, and the capability to weld, machine and deburr parts for the automotive industry.


– The Appalachian Regional Commission has committed $100,000 in funding to help rebuild the city of West Liberty and Morgan County, which suffered extensive damage after devastating storms and tornados moved through the area in March and damaged or destroyed every city, county and state facility in the area. The funds will be used to hire an architect to develop a conceptual plan for the professional rebuilding of the city of West Liberty and Morgan County, including designs for streets, traffic flow, land use, cultural aspects and tourism.


– Clark Regional Medical Center held a grand opening ceremony on March 16 for its new $60 million, 79-bed facility in Winchester. Designed by Louisville-based Stengel Hill Architecture, the 131,000-s.f. hospital features enhanced healthcare information technology capabilities, including electronic medical record systems with bedside computer chartering at all patient care locations, and is the first hospital in the state with a 100 percent geothermal heating and cooling system. A three-story, 45,000-s.f. medical office building is also being constructed on site and is expected to be open by August.


– The Regional Leadership Coalition, bi-state, non-partisan organization of regional leaders, has rebranded itself as the Kentucky Indiana Exchange to better reflect the organization’s regional scope and purpose. Established in the late ’90s, the organization has championed regional initiatives such as the Ohio River Bridges Project, Tuition Reciprocity and greater collaboration among area chambers of commerce.