Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hines Group Consolidation and Expansion Creates an Opportunity to Market 150,000 Square Foot Building in the Airpark

The Hines Group plans to expand its Premium Allied Tool plant in Philpot so it can consolidate operations there with its Owensboro Manufacturing plant. The move in-and-of-itself is good news for the community because of the jobs and the important role this firm has played over the years in our regional economy.

This consolidation will also lead to an opportunity to market the 152,000-square-foot Owensboro Manufacturing plant and its 25 acres in the Mid America Airpark.

The building, originally constructed in 1998 with an addition in 2002, was designed for metal
fabrication manufacturing and has been used for that purpose for the past 10 years. The building
is constructed of steel framing, steel siding, and low pitch gable roofing, with a brick finish
identifying the primary administrative portion of the facility. The manufacturing and production
areas of the facility are approximately 140,000 square-feet, and the remaining approximate 12,000 square-feet is designed for clerical and administrative use. Because of its design and construction, this building offers considerable versatility and changes can easily be made to accommodate the precise needs of a variety of manufacturing, warehousing, or distribution organizations.
The manufacturing and production areas of the building have concrete floors, some 12” thick. The walls are 8’ steel sandwich and unfinished, and the ceilings are 22’ CH to eaves with vinyl faced insulation. There are eleven (11) loading docks, sizes 30’x50’ typical, 60’x50’. Sodium vapor and some metal halide lighting illuminates this area of the structure. This area includes second level office space, several specialty production rooms, a large break room,
multiple restrooms, and adequate closet space. The warehouse and manufacturing areas, like the office areas, offer complete climate control with air conditioning andheating systems.

For more information about the Owensboro Manufacturing Building please visit the following link:

Monday, April 14, 2008

“Coworking” places for the budding entrepreneur in Owensboro

Two locations in Downtown Owensboro, The Creme` and Emerging Ventures, are part of a cutting edge contemporary model for job creation. Here’s how:

A majority of big businesses come from small businesses, and small businesses are started by entrepreneurs... from their homes. But there are limitations to working from home, no human interaction, no place for meetings, no escape from spending most of your life at home.

"Coworking" sites are an emerging trend for a new pattern for working. Typically work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently end up working in an isolated way. Wikipedia calls coworking "the social gathering of a group of people, who are still working independently, but who share values and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with talented people in the same space." (

Often times, coffeehouses with free WiFi have become preferred locations for coworking. Starbucks has found enormous success as a "third space" attracting this type of activity. In addition to Starbucks, Owensboro has two new downtown locations that are attractive "third spaces" for professionals or independent contactors to gather, both have free WiFi and a creative atmosphere found in larger urban areas. The Creme,` located on Second Street, is the new downtown coffeehouse that opened last week. The free WiFi, comfortable atmosphere, and good food and coffee will be a hit, especially when the outdoor courtyard opens just in time for the nice weather.

The second location is the Emerging Ventures Center on the third floor of the Commerce Center on Third Street. The Center, which is linked to the Kentucky Innovation and Commercialization framework and hosts the Owensboro Small Business Development Center and SCORE, has ample space for entrepreneurs to meet and work with free WiFi, a high-tech conference room and ample resources, including business counselors ready to assist.

As the community-wide "Place Making" strategy begins to develop, look for more opportunities to promote "coworking" and third spaces such as The Creme` and Emerging Ventures.

For more information about "coworking" please see the following links:,

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Recruitment of Entrepreneurs, Day 2

By Madison Silvert, EDC Vice President for Entrepreneurship and High Tech Development

Chicago-- It is Day 2 here in Chicago.  Today I had the opportunity to attend a panel at the Chicago Graduate School of Business on what make entrepreneurs tick.  The panel consisted of multiple entrepreneurs, some of which were graduates of the Chicago GSB-- all very successful entrepreneurs.

Interestingly, what I learned very much validates the EDC placemaking initiative.  One of the panelists, Chris Gladwin, the founder of Cleversafe, talked about his latest venture and how he lured talent to his company.  In the software engineer field, a market where a top notch engineer can earn north of six figures a year, Chris was able to lure employees to work for him for nothing more than company equity.  The second year, he was able to pay them half of the market rate, and then eventually pay the market rate.  The idea was to ensure that his employees would be as passionate about his company as he was.  This approach for attracting talent is becoming more and more common, and it demands that, if an employee is going to take a risk by working for your company, that the employee has an attractive place to live.  It is much easier for Chris to use this tactic in a thriving area like Chicago, and would be much more difficult in a community that had limited lifestyle opportunities.  It is clear to me, now more than ever, how important the placemaking initiative is and how it ties not only to economic development, but to recruitment of industry.  Making Owensboro an attractive place to live makes it much easier for employers to attract talented people who value a quality of life that is safe, affordable and fun. 

Following the panel, I was able to meet with several Chicago GSB students about the unique support structure we have for them in Owensboro, and I was able to meet with one individual that is already interested in incubating a business here, much in the way Agent511 has chosen to do.  All in all, Chicago is proving to be fertile ground for entrepreneurial recruitment.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Recruitment of Entrepreneurs, Day 1

By Madison Silvert, EDC Vice President for Entrepreneurship and High Tech Development

CHICAGO--A key to the future economic vitality of our region is entrepreneurship. Small businesses create two out of every three new jobs and account for roughly half of the country's workforce. (see

As part of my charge as EDC Vice President, it is my responsibility to recruit talent, in much the way we have traditionally recruited manufacturing-based businesses. The idea is to find people who are willing to start their new business in Owensboro.

Today is part of a two day trip for me to the Chicago Graduate School of Business where I hope to find some young entrepreneurs willing to leave the big city behind and start their new business in Owensboro. Already, Jay Malin of Agent511 has announced ( that he will be using Owensboro as the city in which to incubate his exciting text message marketing company, started with Owensboro native, Ankur Gopal. I met with Jay today to discuss any strategic needs he might have as the company begins to roll out its service in the Owensboro area.

Hopefully others like Jay will realize the benefit of utilizing the untapped market in our area, choosing it over the more saturated markets of Chicago, New York or Los Angeles. A trip to the Chicago Graduate School of Business proved informative, as I attended a classroom panel of entrepreneurs who had started everything from a consulting firm to a financial software company. Members of the class had the opportunity to speak with me about the excellent support available to entrepreneurs in Kentucky and Owensboro, specifically. I was able to espouse the benefits of locating in a city that provides access to startup capital through the city's eMerging Ventures Fund and the state's Kentucky Enterprise Fund, the counseling and mentoring support available through the EDC, Murray State's Small Business Development Center, and the Service Corps of Retired Executives, as well as access to angel investors through the Owensboro Venture Club. It was clear to me that these young entrepreneurs were impressed with the level of support that is available to them in Owensboro, and I will hopefully be hearing from some of them soon.

Tomorrow I will head back to the University of Chicago, and I hope to visit some business accelerators in Chicago to learn some practices that might translate well to our region.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Place Making Strategy on You Tube

The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. in conjunction with the Downtown Development Authority have proposed an aggressive planning process for the future of the region. The “Economic Development through Place Making” initiative will help make Owensboro competitive in the race for talent and investment in the coming years. Click the following link to see the video about the initiative on YouTube:

Work of this level of expertise and scope has never done before in our community. When complete, this initiative will present a step-by-step guide for revitalizing downtown and promoting other growth corridors through:

  • New pro-growth policies and incentives
  • Comprehensive regulatory and code reform
  • New design and venues with fiscal guidance as to how to leverage public funds for certain projects that can make them a catalyst for future growth

The key to future economic vitality for the next 20 years, for over 20 million people from families and young professionals to retiring baby boomers is livability. Place Making is a strategy that communities are using to promote livability. Attracting people with attractive places! A central feature of this is downtown development, but the approach deals with other growth corridors around the region.

This initiative will bring a high level of professional expertise through a customized team to work with our community, with a perfect blend of local, regional, national, and international talent. The strategy will integrate these areas to our downtown and growth corridors

  • Linking Riverfront development project to downtown
  • Live/work and mixed-use development

  • Entertainment, residential, and retail venues blending into downtown as an “urban destination.”

This was the number one recommendation from We the People. It is also a central theme of the City of Owensboro Strategic Vision—all around it is a recognized community priority.