Friday, March 1, 2013

US Bank Announces Expansion of Mortgage Servicing Division in Owensboro

Governor Steve Beshear and Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne announced today that U.S. Bank National Association, a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), plans to expand operations in Owensboro, add 332 jobs and invest more than $15.2 million in the project. 

The project is a phase III expansion of the Home Mortgage servicing division in Owensboro with an addition to the campus in the Mid America Airpark.

U.S. Bank National Association originates loans nationwide through a network of more than 2,700 branches in 24 states. The U.S. Bank Mortgage Servicing Center, located on Tamarack Road in Owensboro, supports U.S. Bank’s national portfolio of 1.63 million loans totalling approximately $266 billion. The expansion in Owensboro will meet increased demand for U.S. Bank’s mortgage services.

This is the third US Bank expansion in Owensboro since 2009, the 500-job expansion in 2010 exceeded expectations and job targets.

“Simply put, this is a victory, not only for the Commonwealth, but for Owensboro and for U.S. Bank,” said Gov. Beshear. “U.S. Bank plans to add 332 employees and invest more than $15.2 million in this expansion, proving how successful this area has been for such a respected institution, and showing U.S. Bank’s commitment to a promising future here in Kentucky.”

U.S. Bank National Association originates loans nationwide through a network of more than 2,700 branches in 24 states. The U.S. Bank Mortgage Servicing Center, located on Tamarack Road in Owensboro, supports U.S. Bank’s national portfolio of 1.63 million loans totalling approximately $266 billion. The expansion in Owensboro will meet increased demand for U.S. Bank’s mortgage services.

“As we announced the 500 job expansion in 2010, we anticipated having capacity through 2014. What we did not expect was the rapid growth of our mortgage company in 2012, along with expanded requirements and regulations,” said U.S. Bank Home Mortgage Executive Vice President Robert Smiley. “In partnership with the state and city, we are pleased to once again bring additional jobs to Owensboro, expecting about 330 over the next 24-36 months.”

“The economic partnership the city of Owensboro has found in U.S. Bank has been a great success,” said Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne. “This third expansion will create approximately 332 more jobs within the city. Owensboro is proud to support this employer as they continue to thrive.”

To encourage the investment and job growth in Owensboro, the City of Owensboro Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2,875,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets. 

“I am thrilled with the expansion of U.S. National Bank in the area,” said Sen. Joe Bowen, of Owensboro. “Owensboro is making its mark with many industries, and I welcome the growth of our financial services.”

“Daviess County Fiscal Court is pleased to see the expansion of U.S. Bank at its Mid America Air Park location,” said Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly. “The 330 new jobs will provide employment for the Owensboro-Daviess County community, and the expansion is an encouraging sign of continued economic recovery.”

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wireless Broadband Critical Infrastructure

Third-generation (3G) wireless service was late coming to Owensboro.  The “Big Four” providers launched this service a few years ago.  We weren’t the last to get this service, but we sure weren’t at the front of the line, either.  With the recent introduction of AT&T 4G LTE in Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green, offering wireless broadband speeds 10 times that of 3G, Owensboro is again behind the curve with regards to wireless technology.  Verizon is currently the only provider currently offering broadband speeds that exceed 3G capabilities in Owensboro.

In a world that is becoming more and more dependent on our wireless connectivity, the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation’s goal is to do all we can to ensure Owensboro’s wait for this new technology is not a long one.

More than a third of Kentucky adults live in wireless-only households, while the number of smartphones and tablets in our Commonwealth continues to grow daily.   This technology is critical to Owensboro’s future because wireless broadband applications are driving productivity and changes in every segment of our economy.  It has become a major component in the way we address problems and opportunities in health care, education, commerce and more.  In order for businesses to compete in a global economy, they need wireless connectivity, so we must do all we can to better enable providers to bring this new technology to our community.  

Fortunately for Owensboro and other non-metro towns in the state, communications providers are among the leading investors in Kentucky, with AT&T, for example, investing $200 million per year over the past three years.  These providers are looking to invest even more to meet the explosive demand for broadband services and are working with legislators to modernize our laws to make Kentucky an even more attractive environment for capital investment.   Kentucky must compete for capital with states like Indiana and others who already claim to have one of the best business climates in the nation.

GO-EDC is one of more than 100 organizations and businesses representing thousands of Kentuckians who strongly supports this effort to modernize our laws to keep Kentucky from falling behind other states like Indiana, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and Tennessee.  We must update our monopoly-era laws for a world that thrives on competition.  Kentucky cannot afford to wait behind other states for investment, and Owensboro cannot afford to lag behind other cities in Kentucky.
The way we communicate has changed, and we must not handcuff our future growth with outdated laws.  The New Economy Communications Act is about attracting capital and investing it in the technologies of the future that consumers and businesses are demanding.  It’s about bringing new services and a better wireless infrastructure to our state as we become even more dependent on the Internet to communicate with each other and do business.  In a competitive world, providers have every incentive to continue to maintain existing wire line networks, but they must also look ahead to invest in new technology to handle this rapid change. We support legislation to build a better business climate in Kentucky that is conducive to addressing technological change and keep us from falling behind in the race to bring jobs, investment and innovation to Owensboro and Western Kentucky.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gov. Beshear Announces Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs

FRANKFORT, Ky.  (Dec. 5, 2012) – Governor Steve Beshear today joined entrepreneurs and educators across Kentucky to announce the creation of the Governor's School for Entrepreneurs (GSE).  Based on the successful model of Kentucky’s Governor’s Scholars and the Governor's School for the Arts, GSE is a new initiative for high school students centered on innovation, creative thinking and entrepreneurship.

“We know that most of the net new jobs across the U.S. are being created by small, young companies,” said Gov. Beshear. “This new initiative is part of a larger, ambitious strategy to create a dynamic entrepreneurial economy in Kentucky.  Building a successful 21st century economy must begin by preparing our young people to be familiar with creative thinking and design thinking. We need them to fully understand the process of creating an innovative product or service and developing a business model around it.”

Increasingly, the ideas and innovations of young people are forming the economic future of our state and nation. By developing talent early and broadly, Kentucky can dramatically enhance job creation and improve the state’s competitive position by promoting innovation and entrepreneurial skills.

GSE is an immersive, hands-on summer experience similar to the other Governor's School programs. The inaugural program will be held in June 2013 at Georgetown College. The college, selected through a competitive process, has a reputation for innovation and broad experience in hosting successful summer programs for students.  Up to 50 students will be selected for the first summer.

“Students will be selected to participate through a competitive and creative application process,” said Laurie Daugherty, director of GSE. “The characteristics of a successful entrepreneur often involve talents that are not always uncovered in traditional academic pathways."

The GSE selection process looks for students who thrive in an imaginative and innovative environment and function well on a team. Interested students should have a passion for breakthrough ideas and making a difference in one's school, community or in the world.

During the summer program, participants will be grouped into entrepreneurial teams.  Each team will develop and take an idea through the components of a business model – from product creation to getting the product into customers’ hands.

Students will learn about company start-up and growth, product validation and design, product development and operations, marketing and sales, investment capital and revenue models. They will also engage in and learn about the dynamics of creative thinking and innovation, and learn the value of building a team.

At the end of the summer, some teams may be ready to launch an actual company or product. In addition to the summer program, GSE will participate in the Kentucky Department of Education's Student Technology Leadership Program.

The initial funding for the program comes in part from a $50,000 grant from the Cabinet for Economic Development, with the remainder of the expected $125,000 to $150,000 cost to come from private sources. Future years’ programs also would be funded privately. 

More information about GSE is available at, on Facebook, and on Twitter, @gse_kstc.   

Monday, November 12, 2012

Survey shows more than half of Kentucky manufacturers plan to hire in 2013

FRANKFORTKy. (Nov. 8, 2012) — Fifty-two percent of Kentucky manufacturers say they plan to hire between one and 19 employees in 2013, according to the recently conducted 2012 Annual Manufacturing Wage and Benefits Survey. 

The survey is sponsored by the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet’s Department of Workforce Investment and the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM), and will be distributed beginning Monday, Nov. 12.
“This study represents data collected from 184 companies in Kentucky representing over 68,000 employees,” said Beth Brinly, commissioner of the Department of Workforce Investment. “It gives us a valuable snapshot of what is happening in the manufacturing industry. It shows that manufacturers are pleased with their workforce and that turnover rates remain fairly low.
The survey showed that the positions of manufacturing employees included in the survey made an annualized average of $47,486 in 2012.  Most companies that responded to the survey -- 94 percent -- offer health insurance to their employees, while 92 percent of those cover family members as well. Questions about benefits showed that 79 percent of the companies provide nine or more paid holidays per year and 55 percent provide an annual bonus.

KAM clearly understands the importance of helping the Commonwealth’s manufacturing community control costs, especially when making hiring and promotion decisions,” said Greg Higdon, KAM president and CEO. “KAM's annual Wage & Benefits Survey Report is a valuable tool for manufacturers to use in their efforts to compensate employees in a fair and competitive manner.”
Sixty-four percent of Kentucky manufacturers surveyed are emphasizing education and training in green practices, such as reducing their energy use, making environmentally friendly products, reducing pollution, conserving natural resources and being more cost effective. This number is up 10 percent from last year. New green products are being developed by 32 percent of these companies.  
IQS Research of Louisville collaborated with KAM on the development of the wage and benefits survey for Kentucky’s manufacturing community. The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet’s Department of Workforce Investment, Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation, Northwest Kentucky Forward, Greater Louisville Inc., Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation and the Foundation for Kentucky Industry also supported the survey this year. 
In addition to the statewide report, the Department of Workforce Investment worked with KAM to produce a set of regional reports. The information gives manufacturers timely and accurate wage and benefits information such as paid vacation and sick time, health insurance and overtime pay when making hiring and promotion decisions.

To conduct the survey, IQS Research e-mailed invitations to Kentucky manufacturers. Information was collected and compiled from July 2012 - September 2012. Of the employers who participated, 39 percent said that they had fewer than 100 employees. All of the information provided in the report is in aggregate form, so as to not identify individual companies.

Companies were also asked about hiring temporary workers. About 73 percent of the employers currently use temporary staff as compared to 67 percent in the last report. Furthermore, 45 percent of the employers plan to maintain this level. 

The manufacturing sector employs about 217,338 people in Kentucky as of March 2012, according to the Department of Workforce Investment.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Owensboro's Kentucky BioProcessing working on ebola vaccine

The Kentucky BioProcessing plant in Owensboro's MidAmerica Airpark has worked on vaccines for HIV, AIDS, rabies, various cancers and even parvovirus, an often fatal disease in cats and dogs.
And now, it's working on a vaccine for Ebola, a somewhat exotic and often fatal disease usually found in Africa.  
"There are a couple of outbreaks in Africa this year, but they are fairly isolated,"  Hugh Haydon, KBP chairman, said Monday. "The concern is that it's such a virulent and lethal virus and international travel is so fast that it could spread around the world quickly. There's also a concern that it could be weaponized.
"The possibility of Ebola being used for bioterrorism is one of the reasons the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases is conducting the study with KBP.A news release from the institute says that a "study by a consortium of scientists has shown promising results" in preventing "nonhuman primates infected with the deadly virus from developing symptoms of the disease.
"The tests were conducted at a secure facility in Maryland on rhesus macaques monkeys that received doses of the vaccines 48 hours after they were exposed to the Ebola virus.The news release says that four of the six monkeys — 67 percent — survived after receiving the three-antibody "cocktail." Normally, the institute said, the death rate, among humans at least, is 90 percent of those exposed to the virus.
The cocktail, Haydon said, is "designed to neutralize the virus."
The monkeys were used in the test, he said, because "this is as close to humans as we can get."
The next step, Haydon said, is to do "additional studies (administering the cocktail) at different times after exposure and in different doses. We have to determine the proper mixture."
Once that is determined, he said, the tests should move onto clinical trials in humans.
"We won't use it with people exposed to the Ebola virus," Haydon said. "We'll just test to see if it's safe in humans."
If all the tests are successful, he said, the hope is that the government will move into producing and stockpiling the drug to be used in case of an Ebola outbreak.
"That would be a significant-sized market," Haydon said. "The potential could be fairly significant."
The institute's news release says KBP's "plant-based system offers the potential for production of the antibody cocktail to be more cost effective because it can be readily scaled up — or down — to meet demand."
Barry Bratcher, chief operating officer at KBP and co-author on the study, said KBP is capable of generating a batch of the antibodies within two weeks to "rapidly address new threats and new outbreaks."
"One of the advantages is this study further validates our product," Haydon said. "It's a big, big deal. The study compared our plant-based product with a more traditional product, and our plant-based product was considerably more effective."
What KBP does, put simply, is insert certain genes into tobaccolike plants to make proteins that are then used as pharmaceutical products such as vaccines.
If the government decides to produce and stockpile the Ebola vaccine, it could be in production within two or three years, Haydon said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported earlier this month that there had been 31 confirmed cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo this year. Ten of them were fatal, it said.
Earlier this summer, the CDC said, 24 cases were reported in Uganda — 17 of them fatal.
Time magazine reported in August that about 1,850 people have been diagnosed with the virus since it was first identified 36 years ago.
Ebola can cause severe fever, muscle pain, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea and unstoppable bleeding, the story said.
Currently, there is no treatment and no vaccine. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Owensboro recognized as a Top MSA by Area Development

WESTBURY, N.Y., June 26, 2012 Area Development, the premier publication covering site selection and facility planning, recently ranked 365 MSAs across 23 economic and work force indicators, which were pulled from seven (7) data sets originating with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and U.S. Census American Community Survey. Based on these rankings, the publication has announced its Leading Locations for 2012.

Columbus(IN) ranks first overall, followed in the remaining top-10 spots by Odessa (TX), Lafayette (LA), Bismarck (ND), Fargo (ND-MN), Midland (TX), San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara (CA), Casper (WY), Morgantown (WV), and Columbia (MO). Based on overall results, MSAs were ranked across nine (9) regions, as well as according to size in three categories, “Big Cities,” “Mid-Size Cities,” and “Small Cities.” They were also ranked within the “Economic Strength,” “Prime Workforce Growth,” and “Recession-Busting” categories, with each category based on selected indicators used to establish the overall rankings.

Regional leaders are Boston-Cambridge-Quincy (MA); Pittsburg (PA); Morgantown (WV); Columbus (IN), which also led among Top 50 Small Cities; Lafayette (LA), which also led among Top 50 Mid-Size Cities; Odessa (TX); Bismarck (ND); Casper (WY); and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara (CA), which also led among Top 50 Big Cities. The overall leader for “Economic Strength” was Lafayette (LA); for “Prime Workforce Growth,” the leader was Ithaca (NY); and for ““Recession-Busting” indicators Bismarck (ND) ranked first.

"The Leading Locations are MSAs that have managed to thrive and get back on their feet quickly after the recession," said Geraldine Gambale, editor of Area Development.“These MSAs are leaders based on their economic strengths; growth of their young, educated work forces; and recession-busting characteristics. They deserve special recognition for their efforts.”

The full report on the Leading Locations will be published in the Summer 2012 issue of Area Development andposted online at

Area Developmentis published bi-monthly and has 45,000+ executive subscribers. It also maintains several highly visited websites, which can be reached through

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Owensboro leaders promote biotech efforts at BIO conference

With the goal of showcasing Kentucky’s growing biotechnology industry on a global stage, Owensboro economic development officials and Judge Executive Al Mattingly joined Governor Steve Beshear at the 20th annual BIO (Biotechnology Industry Organization) International Convention in Boston.

As the largest global event for the biotechnology industry, the annual convention attracts the biggest names in biotech, offers networking and business opportunities for Kentucky companies and research institutions, and provides insights on the trends impacting the industry.

“The Commonwealth is known worldwide for our robust bourbon industry, famous horse farms and championship basketball teams, but we’re also making great strides in emerging innovative and high-tech fields,” Gov. Beshear said. “Kentucky is home to some of the world’s foremost scientists and researchers, and the annual BIO convention allows us the opportunity to showcase our technologies and the advantages Kentucky offers to the industry.”

"Owensboro played a prominent role in the Kentucky Pavilion at the conference," said Daviess County Judge Executive Al Mattingly. "We have invested in infrastructure, including the Centre for Business and Research and our working on a strategy to grow plant biotech and food companies in our region."

As a result of Kentucky’s efforts to attract and cultivate homegrown innovative and high-tech companies, the Commonwealth now boasts more than 1,800 bioscience and life science companies with more than 100,000 people working in advanced research and development fields such as nutrigenomics and therapeutics to treat cancer, including those development in conjunction with Kentucky BioProcessing in Owensboro.

Kentucky supports innovators and high-tech entrepreneurs with the nation’s only comprehensive matching funds program for federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.

“Kentucky is advancing every year in the areas of innovation and biotechnology,” said Gov. Beshear. “At BIO, we’ll send a strong message to the world that Kentucky is helping innovative companies move forward, making our world better for all of us with improved healthcare, more productive agriculture and a safer, cleaner environment.”

The convention attracts nearly 2,000 exhibitors and up to 20,000 attendees representing 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations from the United States and more than 60 other countries. Members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.

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Location:Boston,United States