Bowling Green, KY (October 3, 2013) - The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce honored 15 businesses with awards Thursday night at the annual Business and Industry Banquet held at the National Corvette Museum. Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC received the top award of the evening, the John B. Holland Business of the Year Award.
The banquet is held each year in conjunction with Business and Industry Week in an effort to recognize and salute targeted businesses and industries throughout South Central Kentucky for their accomplishments.
"Each year, the Business and Industry banquet is our opportunity to recognize the impact that targeted businesses in our region have on our community," stated Chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors Brad Howard. "We were pleased to have great attendance to pay tribute to the award winners, as well as, take advantage of the opportunity to hear Jennifer McNelly, President of the Manufacturing Institute give her address. We were honored to have her as our guest speaker and extend our sincere appreciation to her for joining us."
As President of the Manufacturing Institute, McNelly has driven an agenda focused on improving and expanding manufacturing in the United States through education, innovation and research.
"I am honored to celebrate Manufacturing Day in Bowling Green and to recognize the outstanding achievements of our Kentucky manufacturers," said Jennifer McNelly, president of The Manufacturing Institute. "Access to the best minds with a high-quality education and advanced skills is critical to manufacturers' capacity for innovation and business success. Manufacturing Day is an important step to address common misperceptions about the industry and engage future talent by giving them firsthand experience with the real world of manufacturing."
The John B. Holland Business of the Year, renamed in 2011 to honor Mr. Holland and his dedication to business success in the community, was awarded to Kobe for the second year in a row.
In attendance to accept the award from Kobe was Masanobu (Mason) Iwata, Vice President of Kobe.
"Tonight, I have the honor and a great pleasure of accepting the prestigious John B. Holland Business of the Year on behalf of our valued employees, customers, suppliers and parent companies...They are the ones who deserve the recognition," stated Iwata. "We would like to take this opportunity of expressing our sincere appreciation for the support and generosity that the Commonwealth has given to us."
Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC is a joint venture of Kobe Steel Ltd., Mitsui & Co Ltd. and Toyota Tsusho Corporation and currently employs more than 270 full-time employees.
Of 11 Kobe subsidiaries located here in the U.S., the Bowling Green location is the only facility to forge aluminum suspension products for the automotive industry.
"Kobe not only continues to succeed and grow but they continue to invest in South Central Kentucky," stated Ron Bunch, President and CEO of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce. "We are honored to have them in our community and we congratulate them on their continued achievements."
Kobe recently broke ground on an expansion project that will add $66 million of new capital investment, as well as, 100 new full-time employees.
The 87,000 square-foot addition to their facility will allow for new furnaces and casting machines, forging presses and advanced processes used to meet increasing demand for high-quality precision aluminum components.
Aside from their expansion, Kobe has been involved in the Advanced Manufacturing Council, Dream Do It Campaign and is a Premier Employer of South Central Kentucky.
President's Club Bronze Star Partner Scott, Murphy & Daniel, LLC sponsored this year's Business of the Year Award.
The Chamber also presented awards in four other categories at the banquet:
Business Expansion - Sponsored by President's Club Bronze Star Partner Tennessee Valley Authority
Newcomer - Sponsored by President's Club Bronze Star Partner Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC
Business Innovation - Sponsored by WKU Research and Development
Business Expansion Awards - Sponsored by President's Club Bronze Star Partner Tennessee Valley Authority
For South Central Kentucky companies that expanded operations in 2013, investing capital and creating jobs for local residents.
Established in Bowling Green in 1981, the GM Bowling Green Assembly plant has been the exclusive home of the Corvette for over thirty years. The plant currently employs more than 800 employees and recently underwent a $131 million renovation in 2012 and 2013 to prepare for the production of the Stingray. Of that investment, $52 million alone went to renovations of the Body Shop that allowed for advancements in the design, technology and engineering of the car. The expansion also created 250 new jobs at the plant. GM continues to be a leader in the automotive industry and serves as the foundation for the automotive hub in South Central Kentucky.
Certified Flux is a light industrial manufacturing facility established in Bowling Green in 2010 that services the secondary aluminum industry. They produce specific blends used as an additive in the melting process of secondary aluminum furnace operations. There are only two other facilities in the United States that do this work. In 2013 the company purchased their current building and added a second building for a total expansion investment of $1 million. The facility currently employs ten employees and 2 jobs were created in their expansion process.
Control Systems Design
Control Systems Design is a recognized as a leader in the industrial automation process integration, machine design and build, controls and technology arena. Established in 2003, their products and services have improved production and profitability for some of today's most respected, world-class manufacturers. As a growing pioneer in their industry, in 2013 the company invested $150,000 to expand their facilities and created 6 new jobs.
CGS Machine & Tool, Inc.
CGS Machine & Tool was established in Russellville, Kentucky in 1994 by three Kentucky entrepreneurs. Since then, the company has moved their operations to Bowling Green and currently employ over 50 employees. They provide machining, fabrication and welding and design work customized to fit their customer's needs. The company recently invested $650,000 into expanding their operations and created 10 new jobs. They currently service more than 150 customers.
Country Oven Bakery
Owned by The Kroger Co., Country Oven Bakery has been a resident of Bowling Green since 1981 and currently employs more than 400 full-time employees. They produce frozen dough products, breads and iced cakes for Kroger. In 2013 they invested 14.8 million in capital investment and created 6 new jobs. Kroger is the nation's largest retailer with over 2,000 supermarkets and multi-department stores in over 30 states.
Shiloh Industries delivers lightweight, noise and vibration solutions to automotive, commercial vehicle and other industrial markets. Shiloh established their facility in the Kentucky Transpark in 2010 and currently employs more than 50 full-time employees. They recently added $4.3 million of capital investment and 10 jobs to their operations.
Bluegrass Supply Chain
Bluegrass Supply Chain Services provides Third Party Logistics Services and Supply Chain Solutions to manufacturers, retailers and distributors throughout the United States and Canada. The company was founded by John Higgins in WKU's Center for Research and Development. Since then, they have continued to grow and in the last three years have doubled in size from 69 to 137 employees with revenue growth of more than 500 percent.
Hitcents, which started as a two-person company business producing website advertising, recently moved into their new downtown location at Hitcents Plaza. Aside from their office, the Plaza will feature a commercial wrap and additional office spaces. Hitcents has garnered national and international attention for its products and the company is currently establishing operations in China after having their first app there be ranked as the number one app.
NASCO was founded as a joint venture between two of the world's largest spring makers; NHK Spring Company Ltd. of Yokohama, Japan and Associated Spring, a division of Barnes Group of Bristol, Conn. and is the largest spring coil manufacturer in the world. It was the first Japanese-owned manufacturing facility to establish operations in Bowling Green more than 25 years ago and since then, they have experienced several expansions. Their most recent expansion included the addition of a 50,000 square foot advanced manufacturing facility. This facility was added to accommodate the production of essential motor core components for the Nissan LEAF.
AEP Industries Inc.
The producer of 15,000 types of multipurpose and flexible packaging films, AEP delivers customized film products, industrial stretch films, and 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. AEP experienced yet another expansion this year adding 34 new jobs to their current employment count.
Newcomer Awards - Sponsored by President's Club Bronze Star Partner Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC
For companies that are new to South Central Kentucky and have announced a location here within the past 12 months.
In February, Austrian-based Alpla announced that they were establishing manufacturing operations in Bowling Green. Their project consisted of $22.4 capital investment in the region and the addition of 72 new jobs. The company is a plastics packaging company that specializes in extruded blow-molded bottles, PET (PolyEthylene Terephthalate)-Preforms, PET Bottles and caps and will join the tenants of the Kentucky Transpark.
This past November, Davert, Inc., a Canadian-based global engineering and manufacturing technology leader for the automobile industry, established its first U.S facility in Bowling Green. Davert's initial investment included 2.3 million dollars and the creation of 20 new jobs. Davert provides solutions for metal fabrication, engineering, design and prototype needs. The company was established in Canada in 1996.
Reinhart Food service
Founded in 1972, Reinhart Food Service, LLC is a progressive and efficient broad line food service distributor in the United States. The company provides fresh produce, proteins, ingredients, supplies and equipment to customers across the country. Reinhart Food service is the fifth largest food service distributor in the country and serves every segment of the food industry, from independent and chain restaurants to schools and healthcare facilities. Reinhart recently joined the Bowling Green community after acquiring Southern Foods, Inc.
Innovation Awards - Sponsored by WKU Research and Development
For South Central Kentucky companies that-through product or process-best exemplify innovative leadership.
Pan-Oston, a division of Houchens Industries, Inc. is one of the largest employee owned (ESOP) companies in the United States. They have been a leader in fixtures, displays and front-end solutions for a large range of retail clients for more than forty years. Pan-Oston recently partnered with H-E-B and Datalogic to produce a revolutionary checkout technology known as portal scanning. The new checkout system uses an open automated scanning and a portal that identifies products with two types of technologies: imaging scanning and a visual recognition system. The result is a 360-degree scanner that automatically registers a bar code as the product travels down the conveyor belt resulting in a faster checkout process.
Export Excellence Award
For a South Central Kentucky company with new or significant increase in documented export sales in 2013.
Kentucky Blueberry Growers Association
The Kentucky Blueberry Growers Association was established in 2002 by husband and wife team Larry and Jenny Martin in Edmonton, Ky. The association is a cooperative for local farmers and serves as an information and contact source for fresh handpicked blueberries and U-pick farms across the Commonwealth. The KBGA also supplies packaging and labels for blueberry growers, as well as, a variety of plants and products to blueberry growers and the public. They assist members throughout South Central Kentucky, and the state, expand sales and exports in the global marketplace.
Hitcents recently expanded their footprint to include Shanghai, China. Their expansion there includes a building located in the prestigious Luwan District and four employees working to develop and commercialize new mobile applications, digital entertainment and compete globally for coding and programming talent. Hitcents continues to excel in the mobile application sector including their infamous Draw a Stickman application, which was recently selected from over 800,000 apps for PC Mag's Top 100 Best Android Apps.
The Chamber would like to extend a special thank you to each of our sponsors for making the 2013 Business and Industry Banquet a success. In addition to the award sponsors listed above, the following Chamber partners sponsored a portion of the banquet:
Robinson Construction Company
CGS Machine & Tool, Inc
Denham- Blythe Company, Inc.