October 31, 2016
LEAD hosted the annual Business and Industry Luncheon on October 26, 2016 at the Logan County Extension Office. Over 300 people were in attendance.
Jimmy Kent Wilson introduced local dignitaries in attendance and introduced Tom Harned for his remarks.
Harned commented that the long awaited Russellville southern bypass is scheduled to be completed in 2017. Economic growth is forecast at 2.1% for the U.S. in 2017 and 3.2% globally. The auto industry is expected to hold steady at 16 to 17 million units. Local unemployment is at 4.2% with most local employers hiring. LEAD continues to work on the Kentucky Work Ready Community program and recently submitted an application for a two-year extension. The Build-Ready Site on Shelton Lane is completed and being marketed by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. LEAD and the Logan County Industrial Development Authority are considering construction of a speculative building on the site. The Logan IDA recently received a grant from TVA for improvements to West Industrial Park. The project has been advertised for bids which are due November 9. The new Logan Area Technology Center is under construction. LEAD participated with the Logan County School District in a grant application for training equipment for the new ATC.
Randy Schumaker was the keynote speaker. He spoke on the progress of the Logan Aluminum expansion. He talked about their emphasis on beverage can sheet and that the expansion was designed to move them into heavier gauge automotive sheet for the emerging automotive aluminum market. He said that most all automotive manufactures have toured Logan Aluminum and were moving into aluminum body panels to save weight and improve fuel mileage. Schumaker said that this expansion would anchor Logan Aluminum in the aluminum industry for the next thirty years. He thanked the Logan County community for their support of Logan Aluminum over the years.
Awards were then presented by Harned and Wilson:
For increased investment and employment in 2015-16; Carpenter Company, Carr, Riggs & Ingram, CPA’s, Champion Petfoods, Gerald Printing, H&H Sheet Metal, Logan Aluminum, Owen Transport Services, Pro-Tec Welding, RE/MAX Realty Team, Remington Seeds, Russellville Dental Lab, and Ventra Plastics.
For increased investment in 2015-16; Auburn Leather Company, Emerson, Logan Memorial Hospital and Russellville-Logan County Airport.
Additionally, Champion Petfoods was complimented for their continued expansion. Champion originally announced planned investment of $85 million and 147 jobs. The actual investment was 120 million and they now have 172 employees. They are now planning to expand their cooking capacity at the Auburn DogStar® Kitchens. The new expansion will require an additional 50 teammates and a new investment of approximately $30 million. The new, third production line is expected to be operational by July 2017.