Chamber Celebrates 2012 Business & Industry Appreciation Banquet
Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC Receives John B. Holland Business of the Year Award
Jessica M.L. Thompson, MTPC, IOM, Marketing & Communications Director
BOWLING GREEN, KY-The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated Business & Industry Appreciation Month by presenting 20 targeted businesses with awards at a banquet tonight. Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC received the top award for the evening, the John B. Holland Business of the Year Award.
D. Gaines Penn, chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors, said, "This banquet is our opportunity to recognize the impact that targeted businesses have on our region and to show our thanks for their commitment to doing business here. We are honored to have such a tremendous program tonight, especially with the presence of Secretary Elaine Chao as our keynote speaker."
Secretary Elaine L. Chao, the 24th U. S. Secretary of labor who served from 2001-2009, is the first American woman of Asian descent to be appointed to a President's Cabinet in U.S. history and the first Kentuckian named to the President's Cabinet since 1945. She is the longest tenured secretary of labor since World War II and is the only member of President Bush's original cabinet to have served the entire eight years of his administration. As the first U.S. Secretary of Labor in the 21st century, she focused on improving the competitiveness of America's workforce by restructuring department programs to empower workers and modernizing regulations to respond to the realities of the 21st century workforce. Under her leadership, the U.S. Department of Labor achieved record results in protecting the health, safety, wages and retirement security of the nation's workforce.
"It's a true honor to recognize leading employers that provide and create jobs here in South Central Kentucky. These businesses are the backbone of our communities and they deserve our sincere appreciation," said Secretary Chao.
Emcee Barbara Deeb of WKYU-PBS announced Kobe's win as the John B. Holland Business of the Year, which was renamed in 2011 in honor of Mr. Holland, who is retired president and CEO of Fruit of the Loom, Inc., and his dedication to business success. Kobe received the award because the company exemplifies the business standards that Mr. Holland has upheld throughout his career: quality, innovation and leadership.
In addition with receiving the award, Kobe was recognized with a Business of the Year flag presentation by award sponsor and President's Club Bronze Star Partner Scott, Murphy & Daniel, LLC.
Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC, a joint venture of Kobe Steel, Ltd., Mitsui & Co, Ltd. and Toyota Tsusho Corporation, has been a resident of South Central Kentucky since 2005. The plant currently has 200 full-time employees and has invested nearly $100 million in its Bowling Green facility since opening its doors. Since 2011, Kobe has added more than 50 employees to its payroll. The Chamber previously recognized the company as Industry of the Year in 2008.
Kobe representatives made the following statement: "We're honored to be selected as the Business of the Year. We're proud to be a part of Bowling Green and to employ South Central Kentucky residents. This region has been very good to us over the past years, and we look forward to what the future may bring as we continue to do business here."
While one of 11 Kobe Steel subsidiaries in the United States, the Bowling Green location is the only U.S. facility to forge aluminum suspension products for the automotive industry. The Kobe Steel Group, a global enterprise built around Kobe Steel, Ltd., founded in 1905, is engaged in business in a wide range of fields, with its major businesses concentrated on materials and machinery. The materials businesses comprise iron and steel, welding, and aluminum and copper products, while machinery includes industrial and construction machinery, as well as natural resources and engineering and environmental solutions. Other important businesses are wholesale power supply and real estate.
Mitsui & Co, Ltd. and Toyota Tsusho Corporation are among the biggest Japanese trading firms.
The Chamber presented awards in five other categories at the banquet:
Business Expansion Awards - Sponsored by President's Club Bronze Star Partner Tennessee Valley Authority
For South Central Kentucky companies that expanded operations in 2012, investing capital and creating jobs for local residents.
The producer of 15,000 types of multipurpose and flexible packaging films, AEP delivers customized film products, industrial stretch films, or even high-performance specialty products. As a leader in flexible packaging products, AEP uses state-of-the-art, technology to consistently produce the highest quality flexible film available. The company's Bowling Green facility has added 17 new jobs in the past year and invested $500,000, and it continues to be a leader in its industry.
BlueCotton, established in 1998, conducts 80 percent of its business outside of South Central Kentucky through e-commerce and specializes in t-shirts, polo shirts, bags, hats, etc., and screen-printing and embroidery. While its business is spread worldwide, BlueCotton's operations are housed locally with 80 full- and part-time local employees, 16 of whom were added in the past year. Since 1998, the business has expanded from a 750-square-foot location to offices and manufacturing space totaling more than 27,000 square feet. BlueCotton has been recognized on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies for the last five consecutive years.
A supplier of airflow management and water deflection systems to OEM and Tier Manufactures, Corvac Composites has become a leader in bringing thermoform manufacturing into the realm of high volume automotive applications. After a two-year planning process, Corvac added a $2 million investment to its facility this year and an additional 73 jobs. The company ships more than 10 million parts annually.
Hill's Pet Nutrition
Hill's Pet Nutrition, a global leader in pet nutrition, has been a part of the Bowling Green community for 25 years. Hill's is honored to receive the Business Expansion Award from the Chamber because of its commitment to invest $25M into the Bowling Green facility. These efforts are enabling the company to upgrade equipment and technology as it continues to deliver innovative pet foods that help enrich and lengthen the special relationship between people and their pets.
Headquartered in Bowling Green, KIRIU manufacturers automotive brake discs and drums, and it is a subsidiary of KIRIU Corporation., the second largest automotive brake rotor producer in Japan. KIRIU USA supplies approximately 3.6 million rotors to the major automakers, such as: Nissan, Subaru, General Motors and Honda. It currently delivers nearly 100 percent of Nissan and 90 percent of Subaru demand in the U.S. In June 2012, KIRIU celebrated a groundbreaking for its latest expansion, which will create a capital investment of $10 million and an estimated 10 to 15 new jobs.
Pure Power Technologies, LLC
Pure Power Technologies, LLC has been located in South Central Kentucky for three years, and the company announced an expansion in 2012 with a capital investment of $1 million and 10 new jobs, bringing its staff to nearly 30 employees. The company produces emissions control devices, valves and actuators for diesel engines, priding itself in its leadership in the design, development and series production of high precision air management and emissions controls devices. Pure Power holds two U.S. patents, five provisional patents and three records of invention. The company has expanded its product portfolio from two platforms (intake throttle and EGR valve) to six platforms (including thermal management valves, engine brakes, coolant flow devices, stand-alone/independent actuator devices).
Since 1989 RC Components has been recognized as the premier manufacturer of motorcycle wheels serving both the aftermarket and custom bike builder. The company has grown to more than 10,000 dealers worldwide in 36 countries. On September 24, 2012, the company announced its planned expansion of $836,000 in capital investment and 16 new jobs. In 2010, RC Components successfully launched our new RCX exhaust product line, and in 2011, it expanded its product line with the Airstrike Air Cleaners and RCX-celerator fuel management system. This year, the company has further expanded its line to give customers even more freedom to customize their motorcycles.
Topura America Fastener, Inc.
Topura America Fastener, Inc. has added 45 new jobs in the past year with plans to add an additional 10 to accommodate customer growth. The company recent added 96,000 square feet to its existing 71,966 square-foot facility, installed new equipment and made other improvements to increase manufacturing capabilities and improve product flow. Topura manufactures automotive and industrial fasteners, serving a wide range of clientele, including those in automotive manufacturing, appliance manufacturing, and construction.
Yahagi America Molding, Inc.
Yahagi America Molding, Inc. (YAMI), which is located in Edmonson County, announced an expansion project this year with a capital investment of $1 million and the creation of five to 10 new jobs. This expansion will grow the facility consisting of 33,600 square feet by an additional 16,000 square feet. With 42 current employees, YAMI's expansion will bring its employee count to near or above 50 workers. A plastic injection molding facility established in 2003, YAMI is owned by Yahagi Sangyo in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. One of YAMI's primary customers is DMMI-part of the DENSO family that supplies automotive HVAC systems to General Motors, Honda, Nissan and Toyota.
Newcomer Awards - Sponsored by President's Club Bronze Star Partner Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC
For new-to-South Central Kentucky companies that announced a location here within the past 12 months.
Key Inventions, LLC
Key Inventions, LLC officially started in February 2012 as the first student accelerator project at the WKU Innovation & Commercialization Center (ICC). WKU alumni Justin Henderson and Jeffery DeJarnette, an engineering major in his senior at WKU, developed the company based on Jeffrey's school assignment for which he developed the idea for an organizer for car, house and other keys. In just three and a half years, Justin and Jeffrey designed and prototyped the product, and went to market with the assistance of the ICC staff, who helped them to finance their project, find a manufacturer, sales representative and a buyer/distributor. The team has made their first sale, and the Key Organizer will be available in convenience stores around Bowling Green in the next month. They plan to expand their sales into branded marketing and collegiate licensing.
In December 2011, MHM Metals announced the location of its newest manufacturing operations in Russellville. The Australian-based company's location will result in 30 new jobs and a more than $25.1 million investment in South Central Kentucky. The company processes aluminum salt cake and aluminum black dross, which are by-products of the secondary aluminum industry. MHM Metals' exclusive technology allows the company to produce its product through an environmentally sound process that eliminates any materials going to a landfill. The new plant is expected to be operational by the first quarter of 2013.
Green to Gold Award - Sponsored by President's Club Bronze Star Partner Robinson Construction Company
For a South Central Kentucky company that-through product or process-best exemplifies "green" leadership as it pertains to the region's goal to become a leader in this emerging field.
Halton Company, LLC
Halton, the leading authority in food service ventilation technologies and innovations, offers products that exceed the requirements of current energy standards for commercial and institutional kitchens. The company, which has expanded four times since locating in South Central Kentucky in 1989, utilizes a green-conscious approach that focuses on total optimization of HVAC systems' energy consumption. The result is an improvement of the well-being of occupants and a maximized productivity to improve indoor environmental quality. When pursuing approvals in accordance to ASHRAE standard 90.1 or going beyond LEED certification, the synergies of Halton products translate to meeting or exceeding the "green" requirements and contribute to credits and points under the LEED rating system.
Export Excellence Award
For a South Central Kentucky company with new or significant increase in documented export sales in 2012.
SCA Personal Care
SCA Personal Care, part of SCA Americas, a subsidiary of Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA), has been located in Bowling Green for 23 years. Currently, there are 172 full- and part-time employees at the plant, which manufactures adult incontinence products. The plant increased its export activity by 17% over the past year, and SCA continues to be a leader in energy efficiency and is the first zero-waste-to-landfill plant in North America.
For South Central Kentucky companies that-through product or process-best exemplify innovative leadership.
Hitcents.com, which started in 1999 as a two-person business producing website advertising, broke ground on its new downtown location in June 2012, which is part of a commercial wrap valued at $20 million. Since 2011, the company has added 27 new jobs, nearly doubling its employee base. Hitcents.com has garnered national and international attention for its products, including Draw a Stickman, an app that has taken the industry by storm and that was downloaded more than 5 million times in less than two months. Because of the app's technology and creativity, Hitcents.com is getting the attention of Fortune 100 companies.
In August 2007, Hitcents was named to the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies in America. Also that year, owners Chris and Clinton Mills were named to the Inc. 500 one of 4 CEOs Under 30 list. The company has developed a web-based management system, Omniprise, designed to provide customized customer service solutions through an all-encompassing software system that supports a streamlined approach to data management. The CRM is available by iPhone and iPad applications as well.
Control Systems Design & Automation, Inc.
Control Systems Design & Automation, Inc. (CSD) is recognized as a leading innovator in the industrial automation, process integration, machine design & build, controls, and technology arena. Its products and services have improved production and profitability for some of today's most respected, world-class manufacturers. The company has launched a patent-protected, pre-clean system that removes a variety of contaminants from critical clean components ( medical, aerospace, defense, electronics) incorporating a secondary system to continuously remove the waste stream from the original system. This invention enhances the cleanliness/quality levels, reduces production time, and produces more environmentally friendly materials.
Delta Faucet Company
Delta Faucet Company, located in Morgantown, has added 10 new employees and invested $2.8 million in the past year. The facility molds and assembles the finished valve/electronic controller for the Jason Wu for Brizo Odin faucet, the Smart Touch Plus Technology bathroom faucet. The valve/electronic controller will also be used for upcoming platforms. Delta Faucet has made significant strides to being more energy-efficient, with an energy reduction of 38% per month for lighting by partnering with TVA/WREC in the Energy Right program. It has also implemented a recycling program implemented. Masco Corporation (NYSE: MAS), the parent company of Delta Faucet, is one of the world's largest manufacturers of brand-name consumer products for the home and family, including Behr® paint, Brizo®, Delta® and Hansgrohe® faucets, bath and shower fixtures, KraftMaid® and Merillat® cabinets, Milgard® windows and doors and Verve™ lighting systems.
EWA Government Systems
EWA Government Systems, located at the WKU Center for Research & Development since 2005, offers a wide variety of innovative products and services, including information security and information assurance products for cyber defense and biometric facial recognition products. The company currently employs 14 full-time staff members and has undergone one expansion. With a strong partnership with Western Kentucky University, the company provides numerous opportunities for the University's students and alumni to work in the information security field. Most recently, EWA is collaborating with the WKU Research Foundation on a project for automated hazardous materials tracking on roadways. The company is leveraging its facial recognition software and hardware to monitor hazardous materials placards on moving vehicles.
Pan-Oston recognized early on that through the development of customized design, manufacturing and technology it could help retailers make the transition from conventional retailing into relevant retailing. Having added eight jobs and $1 million in capital investment over the last year, Pan-Oston's operating model developed out of longstanding partnerships with retailers and the understanding of how technology has changed-and will continue to change-the consumer and the retail landscape. The company's most recent examples to debut in the retail arena include:
War Dog Safes: The world's first under-bed biometric safe
Convertible Lane: The patented Utopia, the first convertible checkout unit, allowing a traditional cashier lane to be converted into a self-checkout unit and vice versa in minutes
Cash Handling: A mobile point-of-sale application for Windows-based smartphones and tablet PCs, delivered with partners Microsoft and Clarity Consulting
Kraft Kiosk: A partnership with Kraft and Intell to design and produce a "smart" vending machine that analyses users' age and gender using an optical sensor fitted to the top of the machine.
The Chamber thanks all of its sponsors for making the banquet a success. In addition to the award sponsors listed above, the following Chamber partners sponsored a portion of the banquet:
Gerald Printing - Print Sponsor
CGS Machine & Tool - Regional Table Sponsor
President's Club Platinum Star Partner U.S. Bank - A/V Sponsor
About the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce:
Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was named the 2009 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,300 partners and is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. 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
To learn more about the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, visit http://www.bgchamber.com/.