LEAD celebrates a great year for Logan economy
By Jim Turner


Posted on October 29, 2015 5:28 PM



The Logan Economic Alliance for Development held its Annual Business & Industry Awards Luncheon Wednesday. LEAD President Chris Milam opened the program with a welcome to the approximately 300 community and business leaders in attendance.

LEAD Executive Director Tom Harned covered several points of interest in his comments. He recognized Gray Construction and Champion Petfoods for the excellent progress made on their new kitchen east of Auburn. The community has enjoyed observing the progress in construction. The 350,000 square foot building is indeed a showplace and a great asset for Logan County, he said.

Harned noted that most all of our manufacturers are expanding and hiring. Unemployment in Logan County is down to 4.2 percent, Simpson 4.1 and Warren 3.8. Kentucky is 5.0 percent overall. “There was a time I wondered if we would ever get down to 6 percent, let alone 4.2 percent,” he said.

Forbes magazine recently ranked Kentucky 28th for ease of doing business, but 46th for labor supply. LEAD believes Logan County to have surplus labor in that almost 3,000 people commute out of the county each day to work in neighboring counties. Many of those people would prefer to work closer to home as jobs become available here, Harned believes.

LEAD is anticipating bid letting for the new Logan Area Technology Center on the Logan County High School campus in the spring of 2016 after the Kentucky General Assembly adjourns. “We expect the legislators to be supportive and approve the matching funding for the new ATC,” Harned said. Logan County Superintendent Dr. Kevin Hub was present as was Board Member Phil Baker.

The Logan Industrial Development Authority Build Ready site on Shelton Lane is finished with the exception of seeding and mulching. The state is expected to approve its inclusion in the Kentucky Build-Ready marketing program. Alliance Construction is preparing virtual building plans to assist in the marketing.

West Industrial Park will be receiving improvements over the next 18 months to improve its marketability. The park has all utilities in place and will show better with clearing, entrance improvements, and a new sign.

The LEAD small business grant program awarded $4,000 in grants this year, bringing the total to 17 grants since the program started in 2011. Harned said the grants are usually for $2,000 and recipient businesses are required to match that amount.

Harned thanked fiscal court for passing a local Right-To-Work ordinance this past year. Several counties in Kentucky have done the same. The concept of county option is under challenge in court. As it now stands the ordinance is in effect and Logan County is a Right-To-Work county. Many in the audience enthusiastically applauded that step.

Milam introduced Warren Beeler, the Director of Agriculture Policy and the Director of Animal Marketing Division with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. Beeler gave an informative and entertaining presentation on agricultural production in modern day Kentucky as compared to the 1950s. The contrast in productivity was eye-opening. He congratulated Logan County on its productivity and progressive sustainability practices.

Harned and Milam presented awards in several categories.

For Increased Investment and Employment in 2014-2015: Emerson, Gerald Printing, Logan Memorial Hospital, Owen Transport Services, Precision Soya of Kentucky, Robey Farms, Southern Kentucky Warehouse and Fulfillment Center, and Ventra Plastics received framed certificates.

For Increased Investment in 2014-2015: Auburn Leather Company, H&H Sheet Metal and Scarborough CPA were recognized.

For increased Employment in 2014-2015: Carpenter Co. and Russellville Dental Lab were recognized.

Special Recognition for providing economic development sites in Logan County went to the Don Halcomb Family for the TVA approved Data Center site in Adairville and to the Lee Robey Family for making the Odom site in Adairville available for economic development marketing.

The luncheon adjourned with many of the attendees going to the Logan Aluminum Expansion Groundbreaking immediately following.

In addition to Milam, LEAD officers are Jimmy Kent Wilson, Judge-executive Logan Chick, Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton and Mark Wilson. Also on the board are the other three Logan County mayors—Bert Adler of Lewisburg, Mike Hughes of Auburn and Donna Blake of Adairville, Magistrate Thomas Bouldin, Russellville Councilman Larry Wilcutt, Ken Brown, Carroll Browning, Robert White and R.V. Woodward with Ryan Craig as the ex officio member.

Milam described Harned and LEAD Administrative Assistant Paula Timberlake as “tremendous assets” to the county’s economic development efforts.

Music was presented by a lunch prepared by Colonial Inn and the Logan County Cattlemen Association by Backwoods Bluegrass, a group that includes Barry Silvey, George Cole, Travis Stewart, Dusty Oliver and Steve Metzger.

Randy Rigsby of Owen Transportation (owned by Mike and Justin Owen) does the video work.

Sponsors of the luncheon included Atmos Energy, Russellville Electric Plant Board, Gerald Printing, Gray Construction, H&H Sheetmetal, Logan Memorial Hospital, Logan Telephone Cooperative, Pennyrile Rural Electric Cooperative, RJ Corman Railroad Group, Scott, Murphy and Daniel, Scott Waste Services, Scotty’s Contracting & Stone, Stewart Richey Construction, Tennessee Valley Authority and Warren Rural Electric Cooperative.

 




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