Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC is Chamber's Industry of the Year
Jessica M.L. Thompson, Communications Director
BOWLING GREEN, KY (October 2, 2008) - Since January 1, 2007, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce has participated in 19 major industry announcements, creating more than 2,400 new jobs and close to $100 million in economic investment for South Central Kentucky. These numbers are possible because industries recognize the value of locating and expanding their operations in this region and these industries deserve recognition, says the Chamber.
That's why October is deemed Industry Appreciation Month for South Central Kentucky--a celebratory month of events designed to recognize industries' key impact on economic growth in the region.
The events began today with the announcement that Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC is the 2008 Industry of the Year. Following this announcement, the Chamber will honor Kobe at the Industry Appreciation Banquet on Thursday, October 23, at Sloan Convention Center.
"It's a great day for the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce when we can honor an industry like Kobe," said Doug Gorman, chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors. "In just a few years of locating in Bowling Green, Kobe has gone through two expansions and significantly increased their production, a testament to the high productivity of the company."
Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC is a subsidiary of Kobe Steel, Ltd. While one of 11 subsidiaries in the United States, the Bowling Green location is the only U.S. facility to forge aluminum suspension products for the automotive industry. Its Japan-based parent company has been serving Japan's aircraft and automotive industries since 1937 and is Japan's top producer of aluminum alloy suspension arms.
Kobe purchased property in Bowling Green in 2003 and after completing its original facility, the company began operations in 2005. The company cites a good central location to its customer base along the Interstate 65 Corridor as a primary factor in choosing to locate in Bowling Green. The decision was made even easier because of the welcoming environment of Bowling Green and South Central Kentucky. Gary Ginter, plant manager, adds, "This is a vibrant, growing community that is committed to industrial growth."
Having expanded its facility twice, the plant currently employs 189 workers in a more than 200,000-square-feet building. Production at the local plant has grown considerably in the past three years of operation, and 2008 projected sales for the Bowling Green plant will be more than $80 million.
"We've gone from 80,000 pieces per month in 2005 to 225,000 pieces per month at present," said Ginter.
James N. Hizer, CEcD, Chamber president and CEO, praised Kobe for its fast-paced growth and strong productivity. "Kobe is a source of pride for South Central Kentucky. They have grown faster than they, or we, could have ever imagined, and we're thrilled to recognize them as Industry of the Year."
Kobe President Takumi Fujii said, "We are very fortunate to have decided to locate in Bowling Green five years ago. This community reaches out to industries and has been very conducive to our local facility's growth."
Fujii continued, "The support we have received from the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, the City of Bowling Green, Warren County, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky has been outstanding, and we are grateful for the honor of being named the 2008 Industry of the Year."
Kobe and its employees support the local community through personal involvement and financial contributions, such as sponsoring little league baseball and cheerleading teams. "Our employees come to us with ideas and we try to do as much as we can," said Ginter.
Kobe and other regional industries will be honored at the Industry Appreciation Banquet, which begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 23. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased online at www.bgchamber.com.
About the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce
Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. As one of only 336 chambers nationwide to be accredited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,300 partners. Its primary goals are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region.