16 Reasons to be Do Business in Kentucky in 2016

With the New Year upon us now, many of you may be pondering your New Years resolution. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, perhaps this is finally the year that you take the leap from the idea stage and begin building your company. Or, if you’re currently a business owner, perhaps 2016 will be a year of new beginnings and aggressive expansion. Whatever the case this much is certain, succeeding in business takes strategic decision making. One of the primary decisions concerns where you will operate. What location provides the greatest combination of serving your target market, being affordable, possessing great resources, and a healthy business climate?

Young professionals, a lot like lemmings, flock in droves to the Mecca’s of their particular world. San Francisco, Houston, New York, and the like are flooded with people chasing a dream, in today’s equivalent of the Gold Rush. The problem is that these big cities become oversaturated, overcrowded, and expensive. In 2016, rather than following the herd, consider being ahead of the curb. Kentucky is an exciting place to be, at the forefront of breakthroughs in space, medicine, and technology. It is affordable, centrally located, and possesses a wealth of resources for aspiring businesses. Here are the top 16 reasons you should be excited about Kentucky in 2016.

Kentucky has physical advantages over other states. We were built for this!

Kentucky possess a number of natural advantages over other states, chief among them our prime location, transport industry superiority, and affordability.

1. We’re Centrally Located for Business

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Kentucky possesses the natural advantage of being located at the epicenter of the US’s population. With a day’s drive from one of its borders, 2/3 of the US population can be reached. A bulk of this is within 6 hours from the “Golden Triangle” region of the state between Louisville, Lexington, and Cincinnati.

2. We have a Unique Logistical Advantage

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In the days of river travel, Kentucky had the advantage of port cities on both the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Today, Louisville still remains the hub of domestic and international transport, with the UPS Worldport operating out of Louisville and a DHL Express Global Hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport. UPS is the largest fully automated package-handling facility in the world, and can process 416,000 packages per hour. DHL works with state economic development officials to attract German businesses to Kentucky, where 64 German-owned facilities now employ nearly 10,000 people, according to the cabinet.

 3. We Have a Low Cost of Living

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Kentucky is regularly listed among the then cheapest states in the country for cost of living, recently coming in 6th on CNBC’s  list. Zillow lists our average home values as being about 30% below the national average. Louisville has been named one of the top 10 most budget friendly big cities. For a struggling startup, Kentucky provides the cost saving necessary to invest more resources in your company.

 4. Business Costs are Low Too

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Since everything else is cheaper, businesses costs go down too. Labor costs are less here, where a person can live for below the national average, than in somewhere like the Gulf or the Bay Area. This makes Kentucky a good place for both domestic and international companies.

5. We have Great Energy Rates

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Continuing the trend of Kentucky’s affordability, we also have some of the lowest energy rates in the country. Across all sectors Kentucky’s electricity rates are about 20% below the national average, including around 25% for the industrial and commercial sectors.


But the state is also taking steps to make us more desirable.

The state government, in partnership with a network of development organizations and federal programs, is working to make sure that businesses and regular people can succeed here.

6. We’re Making Great Strides in Enhancing Internet Connectivity

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Kentucky’s new public-private partnership to bring broadband connectivity to all of its 120 counties won the 2015 Deal of the Year award from The Bond Buyer.  This plan is a $232 million project that will make high-speed Internet a statewide reality. This offering is the first of its kind nationwide.

 7. We Provide Build-Ready Sites for Construction

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Plenty of states have shovel ready build sites, which are properly zoned and ready for construction. Kentucky takes it one step further. A build-ready site already has the pad ready, zoning done, estimates on construction costs and timetables, and even building designs. This means that the state will help you to start construction immediately. Now that’s an advantage.

8. We Help Fund Tech Companies

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The state offers a great opportunity for tech oriented companies by matching funds offered through the federal SBIR and STTR programs. To date, the state has awarded in excess of $50 million in matching funds, and over 3 dozen companies have relocated to Kentucky as a result.

9. We have a Healthy Business Climate

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In past few years, Kentucky has found itself atop numerous annual rankings for best business climate, coming in 4th on the 2014 State Entrepreneurship Index (SEI) and 3rd on Site Selection’s annual ranking. Particularly, Kentucky has scored well for having a relatively low tax burden for new companies, and for seeing very high growth in new plant facilities.

10. Investment is Waiting for you Here

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There are plenty of opportunities statewide to compete and win money in one of several pitch competitions. Winners have the opportunity to pitch in front of the Kentucky Angel Investors Network, an online network that connects accredited investors to entrepreneurs. In addition, the state encourages investment from both inside and outside the state with the Angel Investment Tax Credit, which provides as much as 50% of an investment back in a tax credit. Out of state investors can sell the tax credit to a Kentucky resident. Investment is waiting for you here.

Exciting things are happening here! We’re more than horses and basketball.

Of course, all benefits aside, no one wants to come to a state where things “aren’t happening.” Of course we understand that. That’s why we want you to know that Kentucky is at the center of some of the greatest discoveries in space, medicine, bioenergy, and even good old American hobbies like drinking.

11. We’re Leading Innovative Forays into Space

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Were you aware that Kentucky’s number one export industry, ahead of even automotive parts despite possessing the largest Toyota plant in North America, is aerospace products and parts? In fact, Kentucky is at the forefront of space exploration. Morehead State University has seen an explosion of research and development centered around building micro and nano satellites. In addition, Kentucky Space has been instrumental in facilitating an ecosystem of private and public universities, companies, and other organizations with the goal of leading innovative space missions. One project has been Space Tango, one of the nation’s first business accelerators specifically for space enterprises and entrepreneurs. They have successfully launched cubesats to the International Space Station for ongoing research in Microgravity.

12. We’re Solving Medical Problems in Microgravity

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Continuing on Kentucky’s success with innovative space research, the Exomedicine Institute is an attempt to achieve breakthroughs in medicine by harnessing the power of microgravity experimentation. As their website ponders, “what if the next big breakthrough in medicine isn’t on Earth?” Microgravity has different effects on living systems, and through a deeper understanding they hope to one day be bioengineering products in space for use as medical treatments on Earth.

13. We Have a Great Food and Drink Industry

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The state is known for its bourbon, where over 95% of all bourbon is made. In fact, most would say you can’t make real bourbon outside of the state. However, added to this is a burgeoning craft beer community, and a foodie’s paradise in Louisville with new local bars and restaurants opening daily. The state has been ranked in the top ten for its food and drink as well as Louisville being named a top foodie city numerous times. Added to this, a startup located on Whiskey Row in Louisville is freezing alcohol into ice cubes, so you can chill your drink to a below zero temperature without watering it down. How cool is that?

14. We’re Solving Global Problems Like the Ebola Virus

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Kentucky is helping solve global crises and is breaking new grounds in medicine. Seen above is a plant in Owensboro, where they are using tobacco plants to help create the experimental drug ZMapp, used to treat the Ebola virus. Kentucky provides a diverse set of opportunities for young professionals to tackle the problems of our age.

15. Louisville is a top Tech/Digital City

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Louisville has been recognized as one of the most accommodating and adaptive cities in the world of technology. They were named a “top digital city” this year by e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government for their work on improving the infrastructure of the city’s computer network, as well as increasing access to coding skills through the “Code Louisville” program. This means that the city has taken great effort to provide a tech savvy and connected workforce, as well as increasing efficiency within the city government. In addition, Tech Republic has named Louisville one of their top ten cities “embracing the cloud,” and they are one of a handful of cities in line for Google Fiber, to provide ultra-high speed connectivity.

16. We are Making Breakthroughs in Bioenergy

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Bioenergy could be a sustainable and clean solution for our energy needs. Here in Kentucky, farms and businesses with organic waste products are finding new ways to recycle their leftovers to create heat or energy for their facilities. Murray State University has been doing work on a bioburner unit installed at the university equine facility. The bioburner is able to dry and heat various biomass products. So if green energy is your passion, Kentucky is at the forefront there too.


This is a state teeming with opportunities. Don’t be left behind following the crowd. Do business here before everyone else beats you to it!

What College Can’t Teach


If you’re anything like me, your life roadmap was long ago coated in bacon grease and tinged with day old coffee grounds. The general picture is discernible. You can see an amalgamation of streets, loosely constructing a little world, contained within the much larger fold out piece of paper. But the street names are hazy. The map is full of those annoying roundabouts and double diamonds, and you can’t tell where they deposit you. Point A and point B lack a conjoining intersection. In fact, point B might have long ago been ripped from the map in your frustrated rage at trying to see through the stains (or you bought the wrong map entirely, in which case this is the wrong article for you, but maybe I’ll write another when I too discover having bought the wrong map).

You went to college on a hunch. It was the best possible decision at the time, an educated guess based on the general direction of the streets still visible to you. Parents, teachers, administrators, coaches, and the condescending old lady that ordered from your McDonalds every Sunday all told you that college was the ticket to a better life. Stay in school. Hit the books. Succeed. And yet, here you stand years later wondering if you took a wrong left turn. You don’t feel prepared for anything outside the Ivory Tower.

With that I’ll cease my well-intended, poorly strung together attempt at a metaphor. In all seriousness, the necessity and even, dare I say it, base value of attending college has been consistently called into question as employers and recent graduates alike reimagine the changing landscape of the market and value of an outdated model of higher learning. I don’t aim to agree or disagree with the critics. What I will do is give my blunt, honest, personal assessment of the areas where college failed my closest peers and me. Too often, these types of critiques are written by people years removed from the college experience, and firmly entrenched in their profession. I hope my relatively fresh worldview—as a current student nearing graduation and still frantically trying to connect the dots in career—will provide an interesting point of view. So with that said, here’s a sage bit of advice from a novice.

  1. How To Fail

College is creating a risk averse generation. Millennials as a whole report lower proportions of business owners under the age of 30 than any generation before them. This is the byproduct of an education system that prides standardized test scores, high GPAs, a laundry list of extracurriculars, and basically anything and everything that can stand-in to create a strong line on an application. Kids are taught that they must attend the best school, that they must move on to graduate school, that they must be in a constant state of high scholastic achievement. The notion of trial and error, that education is about failing and learning from it, has failbeen expelled. College teaches students to follow a prescribed path and outdo their peers while doing it. Is it any wonder that employers find these people maladjusted and unsuited to hit the curveballs that come their way? They don’t throw curveballs on a linear path.

  1. How to Find Productive Uses of Your Time

Oh the horror of the term paper deadline. College is all about budgeting time, embellishing and fabricating, tinkering with the font and the margins. It’s all about learning to complete things on time and to the best of our abilities. It’s the art of time management, learning to cope with being overwhelmed. That is a fine skill to have. And yet, not all work cultures are of the “task delegation” variety. In fact, I would argue that the most rewarding careers are ones that stress autonomy and independence. The problem here is that a productivecollege student has very likely spent four years being given tasks and completing them. Rinse and repeat. Schedule classes, fulfill requirements, prosper. Unfortunately, it is a more useful skill to be able to diagnose an area where your services could help the company, and then to set out and do it without being ordered. College seldom fosters this independent spirit.

  1. Personality Trumps Proficiencies/ There’s Always Someone More Skilled

Walk in on any resume building workshop and you’ll be inundated with advice on how to advertise yourself by your skills and proficiencies. How many resumes have gone to die in the recycling bin that were stuffed with things like Java, C++, HTML, Stata, SPSS, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.? I don’t mean to devalue these things. One needs these skills to be successful in anything they do. But skills and proficiencies—the “what” that you learn—are only the bedrock upon which your career success lies. These things get you in the door, for an interview, or perhaps a job if you’re lucky. But take head of the simple fact that there will most likely always be someone who is better than you, just as good, or cheaper at a particular skill. To really advance in career, to lead a fulfilling life, to make it so that you are valuable and always employable, personality trumps any specialty. A person with a creative, innovative, and hard-working disposition will succeed. A person who knows how to network, is forward thinking and ahead on trends, will be valuable and respected. You must incline yourself to life learning and know where to focus your time and energy. Again, college fails in this regard by Personality-at-work2reducing an education to simple asset accumulation. It teaches that a degree, a certification, a line on a resume creates value. In reality, value is constantly worked towards and maintained. That is 100% determined by disposition.

  1. How to Deal with Eternity

Finally, college is the final period of your life with a definite beginning and end. It has a linear progression and a crowning “achievement” signifying completion. Work life can be as cut and dry or as chaotic as possible, it depends on your particular set of choices and random chance (luck). But this much is clear: there is no definite “end” to work towards. And there’s no guarantees either. Sure, you could work to climb the corporate ladder, taking each promotion as your “end” or “achievement.” But there is no guarantee of promotion, or even a timeline of when one many happen. It is quite dissimilar from the “expected graduation date” you’ve become accustomed to. The milestones, like graduating and landing the first job, become fewer and fewer. Is retirement the end to which you now work towards? In short, college does not prepare you for existential crisis. It’s up to you to create meaning, to create value, to create goals in your work life. You decide what is important. You decide your timetables. You learn to cope with what is and what is to come. It is no longer provided for you.


In summation, college creates the bedrock. But it struggles to foster creativity, independence, maturity, and a complex understanding of the world and your place in it. College is too structured, providing too much too easily to too many people.

To leverage your college experience to make yourself valuable and prepare for the world outside the ivory tower, take more risks. Experiment more. Study independently. Intern. Try different jobs. Read more and don’t take the advice of the guidance counselor as gospel.


PIKEVILLE, KY – (November 17, 2015) As part of Small Business Appreciation Month, the Chamber partnered with the Kentucky Innovation Network in Pikeville to host two free small business workshops: “Protecting Your Business Data with Cloud Computing” and “Take Your Products Online without Breaking the Bank.”

The workshop “Protecting Your Business Data with Cloud Computing” featured several ways to protect valuable business data with inexpensive online backup solutions through various software programs such as Dropbox and other cloud based data storage systems.

“Take Your Products Online without Breaking the Bank” workshop discussed how small businesses with limited budgets can have a safe, professional, and affordable online presence. Organizations can create a website and storefront through a variety of cost-effective services such as Squarespace, Weebly, GoDaddy, and others.

The audience included small business owners and managers. They were able to get important questions answered and received tips on how to make their business more successful. The Chamber strives to help connect small business owners and entrepreneurs to free resources that can help grow their business.

Small Business Appreciation Month is presented by Community Trust Bank and will continue through the month of November.

Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce (SEKC) is committed to improving the local economy, regional unity, political advocacy, and economic development; ultimately, improving the quality of life for citizens of the entire region. With over 550 member businesses that employ 25,000+ employees in 8 counties, SEKC provides a support network for businesses in Southeast Kentucky.

Less Death Stars, More Wobbly Towers: How Legos Create Innovators and Dreamers

“When does a kid ever get to play with a stick anymore?” the late comedian/philosopher/all around cool dude George Carlin once opined in his diatribe on what he cleverly labeled “child worship.” To Carlin, today’s professional helicopter parents had become obsessively devoted to their children’s success, taking away the natural, unprompted act of play and replacing it with “play dates,” “recitals,” “practices,” and “lessons.” Thus, even the simplest, most spontaneous, freest expression of childhood innocence, wonder, and creativity had been rigidly planned, overscheduled, and over managed.

I decry the sorry state of American creativity and ingenuity often. This isn’t to say that we aren’t in a golden age of innovation, because technological disruption is proceeding at a lightning pace never before seen in human history. But we aren’t maximizing our potential, given the opportunities available to us. I feel that Carlin’s idea sits at the core of the problem: we have tried too hard to create great thinkers, and have thus deprived them of the tools to think. We diagnose a problem, like our crumbling infrastructure, and prescribe the solution that we need more STEM majors. That’s fine. Technical skills are a must when we strive to battle these dilemmas. But we miss the point when we belittle the arts. We take it a step too far by constantly insinuating that a STEM degree is the skeleton key to success, and Liberal Arts students are all doomed to work at Wal-Mart. We take it a step too far when we ask kids to join clubs and profession organizations, instead of just playing with their sticks. We take it a step too far when we demand high-standardized test scores and GPAs, and never ask these kids to solve problems independently.


We don’t lack smart people. In fact, millennials are the most educated generation ever. We have an overabundance of insanely educated, incredibly intelligent people. What we lack are visionaries. Creators. Rebels who drew invention blueprints or comedic doodles on your fancy standardized tests. We aren’t fostering that. We are demanding a way to quantify progress in the form of charts, tables, figures, and statistics instead of new creations.

Summed up succinctly, Legos explain the problem. Playing with Legos is all about designing, building,experimenting, thinking outside the box, destroying and starting over. It is about imagining, dreaming, thinking outside the box. It is about free styling and dolegoing what you want. It teaches kids to think in three dimensions, to employ problem-solving skills, boosts motor development, and enhances communication as kids work in teams to build great monuments to their own originality.


And yet, the Legos of my childhood—the wide-open, free-build, box of assorted parts variety of Legos—have largely been replaced by the same troubling trend towards structure. There are too many well-defined Lego “kits” with careful instructions, and pre-defined shapes. Kids death stardon’t need to build another Death Star, or another Hogarts Castle. What kids need is to struggle to build their wobbly tower, knock it over, and try again.

Build-Ready Site Certified in Graves County to Fast-Track New Industrial Investment

Commonwealth of Kentucky Office of the Governor


Terry Sebastian

Jennifer Brislin

Jack Mazurak

Build-Ready Site Certified in Graves County to Fast-Track New Industrial Investment

State program focused on property, permit prep aims to make locating in Kentucky the clear choice

 FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 16, 2015) – A site certified as Build-Ready in Graves County’s Hickory Industrial Park stands as the latest in a series of locations endorsed through a Kentucky program promising to slice months from new-facility construction, Governor Steve Beshear announced today.
The 15-acre site, about 5 miles north of Mayfield, includes a pad prepared specifically for an industrial and office facility of up to 125,000 square feet. Its Build-Ready certification takes care of required permits and studies, as well as ensures infrastructure and utilities extend to the site.

“Certification by Kentucky’s Build-Ready Program signals to companies they can select, build and open a business quickly and efficiently. Employers looking to add new production locations, and the consultants who advise them, can do no better than to consider our stock of Build-Ready certified sites offered by forward-thinking communities such as Graves County,” Gov. Beshear said.

With the Graves County site’s recent certification, Kentucky now offers six Build-Ready sites. Efforts toward certification continue on more than a half-dozen others.

Build-Ready means a site includes a pad 50,000 square feet or greater, expandable to 100,000 square feet or more, utilities extended to an edge of the site, and the necessary permits and studies are in place including water, building, phase-1 environmental, archeological, historical and geotechnical.

The applicant – usually a city, county or economic-development group – must also provide preliminary design work, a total-cost projection, construction timeframes and a rendering of a potential building for the site.

“On a Build-Ready site, construction can begin almost immediately. Certification provides an advantage because the owner already accomplished most requirements,” said Mandy Lambert, business development commissioner at the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, which administrates the program.

“That’s important since companies want quick turnaround – from the initial decision to build to the ribbon-cutting at opening. Our Build-Ready Program gives Kentucky the upper hand in competing with other states for those jobs and investments,” Lambert said.

The Cabinet conceived the Build-Ready Program about a year and a half ago. In planning, Cabinet employees solicited input from a range of professionals for aspects that make sites most attractive.

Ryan Drane, president of Graves County Economic Development, contacted the Cabinet this summer about getting the Hickory Industrial Park site certified. Within a couple months, he received the certification.

“This Build-Ready designation signals to prospective companies that both Graves County and the State of Kentucky understand the importance of time and preparation in the site selection process,” Drane said. “By investing our resources in advance, the company can shave months off its construction schedule and begin hiring employees, making their product and securing profits in record time.”

While preparations require some investment by the applicant, the cost is significantly less than designing and constructing a speculative building.

“We are encouraged to see our community receive a Build-Ready site certification,” said Sen. Stan Humphries, of Cadiz. “With this certification, it makes the process that much easier for a prospective business to locate to Graves County. The companies already located in the Hickory Industrial Park, along with the great rail, interstate, port and air access within about a 30-mile radius, make this location a very attractive place for a new development.”

Rep. Richard Heath, of Mayfield, agreed.

“As we continue to compete for jobs, not only in the region but with surrounding states like Tennessee, it’s essential that we explore all ways to promote Graves County as a great place to do business,” Heath said. “This designation will help our local economic development leaders to streamline the permitting and construction process for a new company to locate at our industrial park.”

“Graves County Fiscal Court is excited about the Build-Ready site located in the Hickory Industrial Park. This Build-Ready site is designed to add options for industrial development that will be extremely attractive to prospective clients,” Graves County Judge Executive Jesse Perry said.

Kentucky’s other Build-Ready sites include tracts in the Highland Glen Industrial Park in Barren County, the Bluegrass Crossings Regional Business Centre in Ohio County, the 4 Star Regional Industrial Park in Henderson, and two in Bowling Green’s Kentucky Transpark.

More information on the Build-Ready Program and the six certified sites is available at www.selectkentucky.com/buildready. As well, the Cabinet lists more than 250 shovel-ready sites at www.selectkentucky.com.

A detailed community profile for Graves County can be viewed here.

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.

Swedish Match Expansion Breaks Ground in Owensboro

Commonwealth of Kentucky
Office of the Governor


Terry Sebastian

Jennifer Brislin

Jack Mazurak

Swedish Match Expansion Breaks Ground in Owensboro

Company investing more than $3 million to grow research, development capabilities

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 27, 2015) –­­­­ Swedish Match will invest more than $3 million in its Owensboro facility to expand its research and development department, Gov. Steve Beshear announced today.

“Swedish Match recognizes Kentucky as a prime location for investment, a message we’ve been trumpeting at home and internationally,” said Gov. Beshear. “Projects like this represent a vote of confidence in the breadth and quality of Kentucky’s workforce and that our state is a great location for business and foreign direct investment.”

With its 10,000-square-foot expansion, Stockholm-based Swedish Match, a manufacturer of tobacco products, will grow its R&D department by eight employees. The addition will increase the company’s capabilities to formulate new products in Daviess County. The project includes laboratories, offices and meeting spaces. The company expects to complete the project in May and open the enlarged department in early June.

“Swedish Match, for many years, has been dedicated to innovation,” said Thord Hassler, vice president of Swedish Match research and development. “An enhancement project, completed at the R&D center in Sweden three years ago, has proven to be a worthwhile investment. The company is now following up with a similar investment in our U.S. R&D facility. Swedish Match is exceptionally well-positioned to capitalize on both of these investments by being a premier supplier of snus products in Europe and a key supplier of similar moist snuff products in the U.S. marketplace.”

Swedish Match, established in 1904, produces tobacco products including moist snuff, cigars and chewing tobacco. Among the company’s most recognizable brands are Cricket, Game, Garcia y Vega, General, Longhorn, Red Man, Timberwolf and White Owl. The company maintains operations in six countries, employs 4,400 people and sells products in more than 100 countries. The company employs 340 at its Owensboro facilities.

Kentucky has had great success in attracting foreign direct investment. Last year, nearly a third of new investment and more than 20 percent of new jobs came from FDI projects. The Commonwealth is home to more than 445 foreign-owned companies from 33 nations, employing more than 89,000 people.

“I was proud to advocate on behalf of this project because I know how much it will mean to Swedish Match and our community,” said Rep. Tommy Thompson, of Philpot. “This additional research and development will allow the company to focus on expanding its product line and potentially invest even more locally. I’m glad to see this valued company make this move and solidify its commitment to our economy.”

“This announcement is great news for our community and the company alike and will build on our world-leading reputation in the area of tobacco,” said Rep. Jim Glenn, of Owensboro. “I want to thank Swedish Match for deciding to invest this much, and I appreciate the hard work of our local and state economic development officials for helping to make this possible.”

“Swedish Match is certainly a valued corporate citizen of Daviess County and this expansion of the research and development center in Owensboro makes their presence even more significant,” said Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly. “The R&D jobs expected to be created as a result of this $3.064 million investment are highly desired by most communities so we are fortunate to have been chosen as their location.”

To encourage the investment in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for $100,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment.

In addition, Swedish Match is eligible to receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies are eligible to receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. Last year, the Kentucky Skills Network trained more than 84,000 employees from more than 5,600 Kentucky companies.

For more information on Swedish Match, visit www.swedishmatch.com.

A detailed community profile for Owensboro (Daviess County) can be viewed here.

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.


Gov. Beshear Marks Automotive Steel Wheel Manufacturer TOPY AMERICA’s 30th Anniversary

Commonwealth of Kentucky
Office of the Governor


Terry Sebastian
Jennifer Brislin

Jack Mazurak

Gov. Beshear Marks Automotive Steel Wheel Manufacturer TOPY AMERICA’s 30th Anniversary

1 of state’s original foreign-owned auto industry suppliers employs about 300 in Frankfort

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 27, 2015) – Governor Steve Beshear today marked the 30th anniversary of one of the Commonwealth’s first foreign-owned automotive suppliers, TOPY AMERICA Inc., recognizing executives of the company and its Japanese parent for contributions to Kentucky’s economy and the state’s thriving automotive industry.

“I’m pleased to congratulate TOPY AMERICA on its three decades of success in Frankfort,” Gov. Beshear said. “It’s fitting to describe the company’s decision to locate in Kentucky as visionary. As one of the first automotive suppliers in the Commonwealth and one of the early Japanese-owned firms to invest and create jobs here, TOPY AMERICA helped build an entire sector of Kentucky’s economy.”

TOPY AMERICA manufactures steel wheels for passenger vehicles and light trucks. It supplies multiple automotive assembly plants in Kentucky, throughout North America and around the world.

Its Japanese parent, TOPY INDUSTRIES LTD., dispatched a site-selection team to the U.S. in late 1984 and early 1985.

“The team surveyed sites in Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky before coming to the conclusion that Franklin County was the ideal site due to the available labor pool, the open hospitality of the local community, and economic enticement from state and local economic development agencies,” said TOPY AMERICA President and CEO Mark Oto.

Additionally, the team liked Frankfort’s proximity to four major interstates that positioned the company between its first two customers, Honda in Marysville, Ohio, and Nissan in Smyrna, Tennessee.

At that point, the company and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development (CED) anticipated 79 full-time jobs and an investment of $26 million.

“We began shipping in the summer of 1986 and couldn’t be more pleased to be conducting business here today, providing jobs, building high-quality products and supplying automakers all over the world,” Oto said. “I can truly say Frankfort is home and we’re glad that was the choice 30 years ago.”

Since its founding, TOPY AMERICA continued to grow, making incremental investments over the years and adding jobs along the way. The company currently employs about 300 people in Frankfort, the headquarters for both its automotive division and its U.S. operations.

As an existing business adding jobs, TOPY AMERICA created important ripple effects. The CED calculated in 2011 that a business adding 100 manufacturing jobs created a $12 million direct economic impact and a total impact of nearly $25 million.

TOPY AMERICA also helped pioneer foreign direct investment in Kentucky by Japanese-owned corporations. That sector now includes more than 170 Japanese-owned facilities and employs more than 41,000 Kentuckians.

The automotive industry now stands as one of Kentucky’s strongest and largest sectors, employing more than 88,000 people and placing the Commonwealth third nationally in vehicle production in 2014. This year through September alone, automotive-related businesses announced 42 expansions or new locations in the Commonwealth, accounting for nearly 1,200 new jobs and $921 million in projected investment.
“Maintaining a business for three decades is a challenging undertaking in any industry. It demands the ability to stay ahead of emerging technologies as well as customer needs,” said Mayor Bill May. “I have no doubt TOPY AMERICA will continue this legacy for many years to come. I am pleased they have chosen to be a part of the Frankfort/Franklin County community.”
“It’s exciting to see TOPY AMERICA reach the 30-year mark,” said Franklin County Judge-Executive Huston Wells, “For all these years TOPY has identified and pursued new opportunities for growth by bringing advanced technology and outstanding quality to everything they do. You don’t reach the 30-year mark without focusing on quality, investing in your future and appreciating your employees.”
“I believe the reason for TOPY’s long-term success can be found in their mission statement,” said Terri Bradshaw, executive director of the Kentucky Capital Development Corp. “Their mission is to promote safe, clean working conditions with efficient productivity and adapt to the changing needs of the market and society. With these goals in mind, they were bound for success.”

“I offer my congratulations to TOPY AMERICA for its continued success as a leading manufacturer and supplier to automobile assembly plants,” said Sen. Julian M. Carroll, of Frankfort. “During the past three decades, the company has provided work for hundreds of Kentuckians and been a good corporate friend to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

“This is a great anniversary for TOPY AMERICA as well as Franklin County, which has benefited in countless ways since the company chose our community to build its future here in the United States,” said Rep. Derrick Graham, of Frankfort. “I want to thank everyone who has played a part in that decades-long success, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next 30 years brings because of this partnership.”

“I’m proud to congratulate TOPY AMERICA on its 30 years in the Commonwealth,” said Rep. James Kay, of Versailles. “Through its employment growth and investments here, TOPY AMERICA fashioned itself into a leader and consistent performer in Kentucky’s automotive-supply industry.”

Among many other acts as a corporate citizen, TOPY AMERICA recognized an opportunity to help prepare a new generation of advanced manufacturing employees and enrolled as a founding member in the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) program. The work-study program offers young people an opportunity to earn an associate degree, certification as an advanced manufacturing technician and gain paid job experience at companies like TOPY AMERICA.

For more information on TOPY AMERICA, visit www.topyamerica.com.


Gov. Beshear: KOWA Cuts Ribbon on New Facility in Corbin; Knox County Location is Company’s First Operation in North America

Commonwealth of Kentucky
Office of the Governor


Terry Sebastian

Jennifer Brislin

Jack Mazurak

Gov. Beshear: KOWA Cuts Ribbon on New Facility in Corbin; Knox County Location is Company’s First Operation in North America

Company investing $10 million, creating 30 jobs

FRANKFORT Ky. (Oct. 14, 2015) – Governor Steve Beshear today announced that KOWA Kentucky Inc. cut the ribbon on its manufacturing facility in Corbin.

KOWA, which specializes in metalworking and treatment, is creating 30 jobs with its $10 million investment in the project.

The Knox County location is the Japanese company’s first operation in North America.

“Having the opportunity to make Kentucky the home of the company’s first North American location is an exciting prospect and shows our state is an ideal location for attracting new business,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “This is just another example of how Kentucky is successful at bringing in foreign direct investment.”

KOWA’s parent company, KOWA KOGYOSHO CO.,LTD. in Nagoya, Japan, opted to establish the plant in the Corbin Regional Speculative building at the Southeast Kentucky Business Park. The company’s operations will focus on surface treatment for automotive suppliers, specifically an advanced process known as electroless nickel plating.

KOWA is the latest in a line of successful foreign direct investment projects in Kentucky. The Commonwealth is home to nearly 450 foreign-owned manufacturing, service and technology firms. More than 170 of those are Japanese-owned, and they employ nearly 42,000 people statewide.

“The establishment of a plant in the United States was the first experience for KOWA and we have had to learn everything from the very beginning because of our lack of knowledge about doing business in the United States,” said Toshio Muguruma, director of KOWA Kentucky Inc. “Thanks to the utmost cooperation and support extended by Kentucky’s state government, Corbin’s city government and many other organizations, we can congratulate the grand opening of KOWA Kentucky’s facility today.”

“Full-scale operations, about four months away, are scheduled to start in February 2016, and our key personnel has already been put in place in order to prepare for the operational startup,” said Saetsu Sato, president of KOWA Kentucky Inc. “As that time nears, KOWA Kentucky will increase personnel as we work toward full-scale mass production in the future.”

KOWA provides hot dip galvanized coating and other various surface treatments for metal and metalworking.

“It is with great pleasure that we welcome KOWA to Corbin,” said Senate President Robert Stivers, of Manchester. “This is an exciting development for our community that will provide solid new jobs and growth to our regional economy. We appreciate the efforts of the Governor’s office, our local officials and KOWA for making this project a reality, and we are proud to host the company’s first North American facility in our own backyard.”

“Today is a great day for Corbin and Knox County as KOWA Kentucky opens its first North American facility here,” said Rep. Jim Stewart, of Flat Lick. “It is my hope KOWA will be the first of many companies in the automotive manufacturing industry that will decide to call our community home, bringing with them more jobs for our people and a further boost to our local economy.”

“Congratulations to KOWA Kentucky Inc. for the completion and grand opening of their new facility in the SEKY Business Park,” said Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney. “We are proud to welcome this outstanding company to our business community.”

“As judge-executive of Knox County and on behalf of the Knox County Fiscal Court, I would like to welcome KOWA Kentucky, Inc. to the Southeast Kentucky Regional Business Park,” said Knox County Judge-Executive J.M. Hall. “We support this project completely and stand ready to assist in any way possible. We feel KOWA Kentucky Inc. will have a tremendous impact on our county and the region.”

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $600,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

Additionally, KOWA Kentucky Inc. was preliminarily approved by KEDFA for $50,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment.

KOWA Kentucky Inc. also is currently partnering with the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies are eligible to receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. Last year, the Kentucky Skills Network trained more than 84,000 employees from more than 5,600 Kentucky companies.

For more information on KOWA Kentucky Inc., visit this website.

7 Steps You Can Take to Stop Trading Time for Money

Continuing with the theme of trading time for money, here is an excellent article from Entrepreneur.com on how to make the transition in your life away from a wage structure. The full article can be found here.

Your income is limited by time.

When you’re trading time for money, your income will always be limited. The first reason: There are only 24 hours in a day to devote to the pursuit of money. And most of us need eight hours to sleep, two hours to commute to and from work and two to four hours, total, to cook, eat, tend to hygiene, relax and spend time with friends and family.

That leaves us with 10 to 12 hours to trade in for income. That’s it. But the reality is that no matter how much your time is worth to your organization: $20, $30, $50 per hour, there will always be a cap imposed here: time.

Another consideration in the pursuit of money is that few of us can just ask for more simply because we want it. We have to wait years before obtaining the necessary job promotion, and there’s a fair chance that we may not get that promotion at all.

The second reason for limits on income is that the more more we make, the more we’ll lose. Employee tax is the most heavily taxed income there is, and the more income we earn, the more tax we face. Which means that when someone goes from making $60,000 to $100,000 due to a promotion, they’re not actually making $40,000 more.

Your impact is limited.
When we’re continuously trading time for money throughout our lives, time is limited for pursuing the things we’re passionate about. This could be a hobby we love, giving back to the community or building something that could have a real impact in the world.

Simply put, with limited time comes limited impact.

The question is, then, how do we stop trading time for money? Consider getting yourself onto the one sustainable pathway to stop trading time for money. Follow these seven steps:

1. Change Your Mindset
The first thing we must do is change our beliefs. When we drop the mindset that says that in order to make money, we have to trade our time for it, our minds open up to the possibilities. There’s no rule that says that to make X dollars, we have to work X hours. In fact, it’s more important to spend time “un-learning” the old than “learning” the new.

So, think about trading value for money, not time. Think about what value you can create for other people, and how you can deliver that value. What assets, skills, knowledge, connections or ideas do you have that people value? Recognize your strengths and competency, then go all-in.

Related: Forget Time Management. Do This Instead and Be More Productive.

2. Build your expertise and authority.
Once we understand the strengths and value we can bring to others, we next need to build expertise around it. Developing expertise translates into larger value creation for ourselves and others, because we can now solve problems that few others can solve.

However, being recognized as an expert takes time and work, which is why building authority is just as important.

Building authority around your expertise is what will help people discover your expertise in the first place. You could be the best in the world at something, but if no one has heard about you, then it doesn’t matter.

Authority has many factors to it, but the most effective are testimonials, press & media, influencer associations and case studies. Give people the confidence to realize that you know what you’re talking about. Developing expertise & authority will immediately increase the value of your time and allow opportunities to come to you.

3. “10x the value of your time.”
Not all of us can leap into entrepreneurship in the blink of an eye. This is why if you’re freelancing or providing professional services for your time, multiply your time times 10: “10x the value of your time.”

Instead of working with 10 clients that are going to pay you $2 per hour, find two that will pay you $20 — then drop the rest. This is easier said than done, of course, but the logic here is to stay focused on the few that deliver the most results.

That way, you’ll be working fewer hours for the same, if not more income.

Which gives you more time to…

4. Focus on creating a product.
To stop trading time for money, create an offer that you can sell and deliver without having to be there.

A powerful way to do this is to create an online product — an ebook, training program, membership program, software apps, etc. You can also sell physical products online, but you’ll have to find someone who can manufacture and deliver the product to your customers (through drop shipping).

The reason why an online product can be powerful is that you can create it once, then focus the rest of your time on selling it. Yes, you’ll have to improve and optimize the product, but those tasks will happen on your own time.

This means you could go on vacation, spend time with friends or sleep and still have the ability to benefit as customers purchase your offerings.

5. Automate everything.
Figure out a way to automate and systemize everything you can in your business. This could range from how you acquire customers, to how you deliver your products, to how you drive traffic — multiple aspects of your business, whether that means your content calendar, automated email series, webinars, social media posts, facebook ads, etc.

The more you can systemize, the more time you’ll have to focus on the business, not in the business. Your time should be spent on long-term strategy, building relationships and growing the business — the drivers that will make your business thrive.

Now of course we can’t automate and systemize everything in the business. So what do we do?

6. Hire someone.
Eventually, it just makes sense to hire someone to help you in certain areas of the business. How do we know which areas are appropriate? To find out, create your 3 Lists to Freedom.

This list, designed by Chris Ducker, will change the way you look at your time. Here’s how it works.

First, create three columns with the titles:

1. HATE doing
3. CAN’T do

Get your employee (or assistant, intern, etc.) to start with the tasks you hate doing. Getting past what you hate doing will not only help you appreciate the value of outsourcing tasks, it will maximize the strengths you already have and help you to avoid focusing on your weaknesses.

7. Build your next offering
You’ve built authority, you’ve built your product and you’ve figured out a way to automate and hire someone to grow your business. What’s next?

Often, it’s not enough to have one offering out there in the market. The biggest businesses expand into different products/services, or they find a way to upsell their current customers.

Is there a product idea that your customers have been nagging you about? A set of features that you can add to provide a premium pricing package? Understand what your current customers are looking for and figure out a way to deliver it using the systems and resources you already have in place.

Now: Reward yourself
The final step is to reward yourself. What’s the point of having more time if we’re not able to enjoy it?

Stop Selling your Time

Selling Time: The Paradigm Shift Blowing up the 9-5


Every once in a great while we come along a truly disruptive force that compels us to undergo a paradigm shift. In this interconnected age, we must grapple with our antiquated notions of how best to utilize our most finite resource: time. The changing workforce of today demands that we reassess the time for money compensation model, and focus instead on a value added approach.

As experts all across the country clamor for a reimagining of K-12 school hours, another reform movement has been largely ignored: the attack on the time clock. Nonetheless, it is underway and growing in support. These reformers have demanded that we reimagine the standard 9-5 job as the norm for employees, as research has gradually mounted suggesting the 40-hour workweek has become obsolete.

The logic here is rather simple: people are not utility maximizing. One of two things tends to happen at the soul crushing, lethargy inducing, inefficiency causing 9-5: either we get burned out and waste time, or we lower productivity to match our shift’s time constraint. Humans aren’t hardwired to withstand too many consecutive hours of the same task. Eventually, they just shut down. Even the realization of hours ahead can force our brains into a work-induced coma. So you know that joke about the guy checking his Fantasy Football league in the office? Or the one about the slacking office worker logging onto Netflix or Facebook? Those aren’t the exceptions, but rather the norm. In addition to these quick burnout times, workers also milk the time clock. There are only so many projects that can be carried at any one time. For many, the need to continue putting on the appearance of productivity ends in a stretching of simple projects over a longer time than is needed. That is, workers tend to move slowly so as to not have to resort to their time wasting tactics.

This has led many to suggest that what the US work culture needs most is a nice shot in the arm, a 30-hour workweek. The benefits are many, provided this model fits your company. It could help the environment, as employees aren’t commuting as much, which would reduce emissions. It could help reduce stress and mental problems, as workers would have more time to rest and recharge, creating a happier workforce. It could increase long run productivity as workers leverage added time to learn new skills.

9 to 5These benefits are nothing more than possibilities at this point. But what does seem to be clear is that cutting down the 40 hour workweek would provide a “more for less” benefit. It’s a win for the company, which sees productivity rise, and the employee, who adds leisure time. Opponents have sounded the alarm about falling income. Workers spending more time in bed watching Game of Thrones reruns and less time in their cubicles crunching numbers and sending emails should reduce income at a time when worker wages have been stagnate. Supporters seem to suggest the solution to this is simple. Employers could offset the loss of labor hours by raising wages to match the level of productivity. They would have an incentive to do so because their money is seeing greater return.

Apply the brakes. This all sounds nice. But my first reaction was that this is akin to plugging a hole in a sinking ship. If the point is to raise wages to match productivity, why worry about selling time at all? Why not just pay for productivity, irrespective of time put in?

What I’m suggesting is that the old paradigm of trading time for money—the wage system—is growing obsolete, not the 40-hour work week itself necessarily. What we should be focusing on instead is compensation for value added services. What I mean by this is getting paid for results and perceived value. For example, take the case of a business consultant. Rather than selling his time at a rate—say, $75 per hour— he could charge a fixed fee, provided he lands the business a key investor. If he manages to connect them to the investor, and gains them the funding they need to expand operations, he profits. The consultant spends his work career tirelessly building connections for exactly an opportunity like this. At a stage in his career, he can accomplish this feet in practically no time. Thus, the time he has spent in the past is compounding to make him more money in the future. He has unlocked his potential by shifting from a wage model to a value model that prides past accomplishments, perceived value, expected returns, and tangible, quantifiable results.

Wage systems come with a number of disadvantages that sap the excitement out of work life, cap potential, and produce neurotic, unhappy employees. Freedom is the prime benefit of a value added model. Rather than be delegated a number of tasks to fill your day, you decide what is worth your efforts. Gradually, people tend to find a flow. They become comfortable with what they are naturally good at, what interests them, and what provides them the best living. Additionally, as workers are freed from the orthodoxy and stricture of a prescribed set of tasks, they become more skilled in their particular niche. This enables companies to reap greater rewards from their labor. Finally, selling time for money caps potential income. Your wage is based on the market supply and demand for labor. Similar people with similar skills in similar fields will in large part shape your compensation structure. Firms are profit maximizing, and want to generate as much from you as possible. The value added model lets you escape the labor market and consider your work as capital to be sold instead. If you provide good value, you get compensated on the benefit to the firm. This is all based on perceived value, which you have the power to raise over time through consistent results.

It takes years to build a reliable reputation and truly unlock your earning potential. However, compensation for value allows a feedback loop between you and your customer. You gradually adapt, learn, and improve, coming to understand how best to provide for the people who pay you. There becomes a symbiosis between you and the customer (employer if you will) that does not exist in the impersonal wage model. This and the freedom from the old, rigid time clock unlocks potential and progressively sorts workers into more productive niches.

This is a challenge to each of you. The value model is not for everyone. However, take time to consider if it is right for you as an employee or right for your business. We can begin the move away from the slow, dull slog that is working in the 9-5.