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.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Boston,United States

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Downtown Owensboro's newest project: Court Place

Riverwalk Properties newest contribution to downtown Owensboro's redevelopment efforts is this  $3 million, 16,000 square-foot retail and residential in-fill building at Second and St. Ann streets called Court Place. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

OwensboroU: Higher Education on the Move in Owensboro, KY

The four higher education institutions in Owensboro, KY are on the Move!  The video highlights the cooperative efforts and innovative programs at Brescia University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, the Owensboro Community and Technical College, and Western Kentucky University-Owensboro and the OwensboroU partnership developed by the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Owensboro Downtown Transformation

Kentucky Among Top States for Entrepreneurial Activity

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 9, 2012) – Kentucky is once again being recognized as a leading state in an important economic development measure. According to the latest annual Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity report, the Commonwealth tied for the eighth-highest number of new start-up companies in 2011.

The ranking was earned after achieving a more than 27 percent increase in entrepreneurial activity since 2010.

“The ranking by the prestigious Kauffman Foundation is particularly important because the start-up and growth of innovation-driven companies plays a major role in the growth of Kentucky’s economy, including the creation of high-paying jobs,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “Climbing to eighth place in the nation – while moving past such traditional powerhouses as Massachusetts, Ohio and North Carolina – testifies to the success of the people and programs we’ve put in place to support start-up businesses across the Commonwealth.”

The March 2012 report found that Kentucky’s entrepreneurial sector is continuing to exhibit dynamic growth. In addition to the state’s eighth-place finish in the latest survey, the Kauffman Foundation reports that the Commonwealth’s rate of growth in entrepreneurship during the decade from 2001 to 2010 was the fifth highest among all 50 states.

Kentucky’s rise in the rankings is even more dramatic when seen in the context that from 2010-2011, entrepreneurial activity decreased overall nationwide and in all regions of the country except the Northeast, which experienced a slight increase in rates.

In the South, where entrepreneurship rates in 2011 decreased overall by more than 8 percent, Kentucky’s increase of more than 27 percent translates into approximately 2,600 more start-up businesses than were created in 2010.

Gov. Beshear also lauded the efforts of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC), which together, fund and administer a wide range of initiatives designed to encourage the formation and growth of new ventures in the Commonwealth.

“It’s gratifying to see that the state’s efforts to help foster a culture of entrepreneurship in the Commonwealth, and to help support our new businesses once they form, are paying off as thousands of new Kentucky companies are creating new jobs,” said Larry Hayes, secretary of the Cabinet for Economic Development. “From the ‘Idea State U’ business plan competition that encourages university students to learn how to form new ventures, to our small business programs for high-tech and traditional start-up businesses, Kentucky has a comprehensive tool kit to help entrepreneurs get started and to help their companies grow and succeed.”

“This is exciting news given the central importance of entrepreneurship and high-speed innovation to Kentucky’s present and future economy” said Kris Kimel, president of KSTC.

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook at or follow on Twitter at

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cape Air flights a hit at the Owensboro airport

Officials from Cape Air and St. Louis Lambert International Airport celebrate the Cape Air service between OWB and STL to day the Owensboro airport.  

New Company Brings New Technology to Tri-State

By: Zakk Gammon
March 29, 2012

"The days of black smoke from diesel trucks are pretty much over," said Tom Sensbach.

In a world of global warming, Blue Sky Heartlands is trying to clean the air. At the company's grand opening, leaders showed us how it works.

"The main process and quality control of this product is deionized water," said Blue Sky Heartlands Vice President, Robert Arbasetti.

It sounds confusing, but get past the scientific jargon, and what you basically get is a big, blue machine. It removes the hardness from water. When you mix that in with bags of urea, you have Diesel Exhaust Fluid, or DEF for short. It's essentially fertalizer... that goes in your car.

"The trick is it does help your fuel efficiency and just the sound of the engine and the performance of the vehicle itself is improved," Sensbach said.

Not only is this product supposed to control emissions from a diesel vehicle, you also get better gas mileage.
But it's not just a good idea for environmentalists; in 2010, the EPA made it law.

"So it just cleans the engine itself," he said.

All new diesel vehicles made after 2010 come standard with a tank for the DEF liquid. Tom Sensbach says it's inexpensive and can last in your car for several miles, meaning you don't have to fill it up often. It's already available in a lot of places. He says just check your local truck stop and even some gas stations.

So why choose Owensboro? Sensbach says the company's choice for a location was a no-brainer.

"Part of being green is not shipping your product over long distances," he said.

The company is separated into regions. Owensboro's new facility will cover seven states. That keeps more trucks off the road, therefore keeping the environment clean.
And not only is Blue Sky bringing cleaner air, but also a boost to the economy. Company officials are already talking about the future.

"Probably at that point, we'll probably be running 24 hours a day, five days a week."

That means about 15 new jobs in the area. The company isn't hiring just yet, but officials are accepting applications. To apply, visit

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

EDC leaders join Interstate 67 Development Corporation in Washington DC

Greater Owensboro EDC leaders joined Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly as well as mayors and Indiana state legislators from Southern Indiana in Washington DC earlier in the week to advocating the federal designation of Interstate 67, a newly planned interstate that will connect Nashville and Bowling Green to Indianapolis through Owensboro.

I-67 is a top priority of the City of Owensboro, Daviess County Fiscal Court, Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp and Chamber of Commerce. These organizations will be working closely with the Interstate 67 Development Corporation and leadership in Spencer, Dubois, and Daviess counties in southern Indiana.

The two-state delegation met with members of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate from Indiana and Kentucky over the two-day visit.  For more information about I-67 visit this link on the EDC Website.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Owensboro officials break ground on convention center and downtown hotel

Current and former elected officials join Malcolm Bryant and leaders from Independence Bank to break ground on the downtown Owensboro Hampton Inn and Suites and the new Owensboro Convention Center
Hotel developer Malcolm Bryant addresses the crowd.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Boardwalk Pipelines taking preliminary steps toward downtown Owensboro office

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP (Texas Gas) has come to a preliminary agreement with the Riverfront Jam, LLC developers to relocate the Owensboro office to a downtown. This relocation is subject to definitive agreements being entered into. The conceptual design is to lease a new two-story single tenant office building in the area near the new convention center and three blocks from the company’s original Owensboro location.

The project entails a $12 million capital investment and will retain Boardwalk jobs in Owensboro.


Owensboro leaders today confirmed a $44 million redevelopment project planned for downtown Owensboro that will add a new hotel and retain more than 200 high paying corporate headquarter jobs in a new office downtown.

The $44 million private investment is the latest project announced as a result of the market-based downtown plan, approved by Owensboro-Daviess County governments in 2009 resulting in $120 million in publicly funded infrastructure and amenities to reinvent downtown Owensboro as a walkable, mixed use urban center. A $20 million Hampton Inn and Suites will break ground on March 13. Over $76 million in public investment has already been announced.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Owensboro Grain to add glycerin refinery

Gov. Steve Beshear’s office announced Friday that the state’s Agricultural Processing Loan Program has approved a $1.5 million processing loan for Owensboro Grain to build a new glycerin refinery.

The 106-year-old Owensboro company is getting ready to build a $15 million to $20 million glycerin refinery near the biodiesel plant on Ewing Road, with plans to refine 40 million pounds a year of the product that’s used in cosmetics.

Owensboro Grain Co.’s 5-year-old biodiesel plant has been running at 100 percent capacity for the past 10 months, pumping out nearly 4 million gallons of fuel a month, Jeff Erb, the company’s chief financial officer, said Friday.

“Proctor & Gamble, which is based in Cincinnati, is one of the biggest buyers of glycerin in the world,” Erb said. “It makes sense for us to do this.”

Crude glycerin is a byproduct of the biodiesel process, he said. The new refinery will turn it into pure glycerin for the cosmetics market.

Erb said the new plant, scheduled to be in operation by the summer of 2013, will employ from 10 to 12 people with an average salary of $50,000-plus.

“These are very good jobs,” he said. “There aren’t many of them because the refinery will be highly automated.”

The biodiesel refinery also employs about 10 to 12 people, Erb said.

“In the last decade, we’ve probably added 50 good paying jobs here,” he said.

Erb said he’s not sure of the total cost of the new refinery because it’s being built by a German company and the price will be in euros.

“It’s a great project and a really good company,” said Nick Brake, president of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. “We love to see that kind of cutting-edge technology here. We’re excited about what’s happening there.”

Friday, March 2, 2012

Owensboro's Hausner Hard Crome among companies awarded grants by Gov. Beshear

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 2, 2012) – Governor Steve Beshear today announced the award of more than $226,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to four Kentucky companies. The funding will be used for energy efficiency upgrades in existing Kentucky industrial facilities.

Companies receiving funding include: 3M in Cynthiana ($86,689); Hausner Hard-Chrome in Owensboro ($35,377); AGC Automotive Americas in Elizabethtown ($83,990); and General Motors in Bowling Green ($20,900).

“The Commonwealth is pleased to award these four industrial retrofit grants that will help to further reduce energy consumption in Kentucky’s industrial sector,” Gov. Beshear said. “Many energy-intensive companies have located here because of our attractive energy rates, but it’s imperative that we continue working with industry to conserve energy to keep rates competitive.”

Hausner Hard-Chrome, AGC Automotive Americas and General Motors plan to implement lighting retrofit projects at their Kentucky facilities. 3M will modify existing air handling units to make them more energy-efficient and install an advanced energy monitoring system to measure and analyze energy usage for peak efficiency.

The projects are funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, through the combined efforts of the U.S. Department of Energy, the Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

Companies were selected through a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process administered by the Cabinet for Economic Development. Awardees are required to contribute at least 50 percent of the total project cost with their own funds.

“We are so thankful to have received these funds from the Cabinet for Economic Development,” said Steve Burke, maintenance specialist with Hausner Hard-Chrome. “We could not have done this project right now without the grant funds. This is going to provide many positive benefits for our company.”

The four awards represent the last round of funding for the Industrial Facility Retrofit Showcase Program. The Energy and Environment Cabinet, however, recently announced a new round of grant funding opportunities for energy-efficiency projects as the result of a 2011 settlement agreement between the Environmental Protection Agency and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Additional information on eligible projects and applicants can be found at

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Owensboro Leaders attend Interstate 69 Caucus Day in D.C.

Economic development leaders from Owensboro joined counterparts from northwest Kentucky and southwest Indiana in Washington D.C. for the first-ever Interstate 69 Caucus Day.

The I-69 Caucus Day was organized by Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield in conjunction with C-LINK to garner among members of Congress about the Interstate 69 corridor.  Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear was among the featured speakers.  The program included remarks from representatives and members of Congress from four of the seven states of the I-69 corridor.

Interstate 69 is a project of regional, national and international significance as a trade corridor that begins in Michigan and goes to Texas passing through the southwest Indiana and northwest Kentucky region.  The completed corridor will connect the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.   The interstate will  cross the Ohio River 30 miles from Owensboro near Evansville and use existing parkways that have already been designated I-69 throughout western Kentucky.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Owensboro-Daviess County Work Ready Certification

The Daviess County delegation receives Work Ready Certification from the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board

Friday, February 17, 2012

Gov. Beshear awards Work Ready Community certification to Daviess County

FRANKFORT, Ky. (February 16, 2012) – Governor Steve Beshear announced today that Daviess County is one of the first Kentucky counties to be certified in the Work Ready Communities program. The new certification program from the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board (KWIB) and the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet assures employers that a local workforce has the talent and skills necessary to staff existing jobs and to master the innovative technologies new jobs will require.

“We are excited that Daviess County has achieved Work Ready Community status and we look forward to certifying many others in the future. Work Ready status is not an easy accomplishment. Daviess County leaders are to be commended for working together to achieve this goal,” said Crystal Gibson, chair of the Kentucky Work Ready Communities Review Panel and vice president of Communications and Public Affairs at Citigroup.
“This is an affirmation of all of the partnerships and hard work that has taken place in this region for the past decade in focusing our efforts on workforce development,” said Daviess County Judge Executive Al Mattingly.

Kentucky is the third state to begin certifying counties as Work Ready Communities based on the quality of their labor force. To become certified, communities must gather local support and commitment and apply for the Work Ready Community designation. Counties have to meet criteria in six areas including high school graduation rate, National Career Readiness Certificate holders, demonstrated community commitment, educational attainment, soft-skills development and digital literacy.

“Daviess County is a role model for other communities that want to demonstrate a commitment to reaching education, workforce and economic development goals that make their communities a desirable place for businesses,” said Joseph U. Meyer, secretary of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Applications for the certification were reviewed by a panel appointed by the KWIB. The panel recommended certification by the board for the counties that met the criteria. The panel will meet three times a year to review applications, which can be submitted at any time.

For more information about the Work Ready Communities program, go to

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fwd: Owensboro Announces Riverfront Grand Opening Schedule


The City of Owensboro invites the region to celebrate the new Owensboro riverfront with a grand opening celebration starting Thursday, August 23 and lasting through Saturday, August 25.  The tentative schedule is as follows:

Thursday, August 23

7:00 p.m. - Shelton Memorial Rededication Ceremony

Friday, August 24

6:00 p.m. - Launching of the Fountains (first public display of the interactive fountains in

    Smothers Park) to kick-off FA5


Saturday, August 25

8:00 a.m. - 11:00 am - Static display and open house at the airport

11:00 a.m. - Grand opening of the playground and spray park

1:00 p.m. - Owensboro Air Show (viewing locations at Smothers Park and English Park)

 Mayor Ron Payne commented, "The City of Owensboro has been working to restore our glorious riverfront, and now we're finally ready to celebrate with the nation."  Please visit and click on the 2012 Riverfront Grand Opening Schedule button for more information.

 For more information about downtown and riverfront projects go to

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Owensboro Receives Another Top 100 National Ranking

The city of Owensboro has received a ranking of 58 out of 100 from Forbes Top 100 Small Best Places for Business and Careers. Forbes’ ranking of Best Places for Business and Careers looks at the 200 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S. They consider metrics relating to job growth, costs, income growth, educational attainment and projected economic growth as well as quality of life issues like crime rates, cultural and recreational opportunities and net migration patterns and the number of highly ranked colleges in an area.

Mayor Ron Payne commented, “This is outstanding news and indicative of the investment and progress being made within our city and especially downtown. Our citizens, infrastructure, amenities and culture are shining examples of what makes this a great community in which to live.”

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gov. Beshear Announces Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline to Expand Headquarters Footprint in Owensboro, Add up to 20 New Jobs

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 1, 2012) – Governor Steve Beshear today announced Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline will expand its presence in Owensboro, constructing a second facility for its headquarters expansion. The nearly $5.3 million project will help create up to 20 new jobs over the next few years.

"The expansion of Southern Star's headquarters operation in Owensboro is great news," Gov. Beshear said. "Not only does it add up to 20 new jobs and an almost $5.3 million investment in the community, but it also enhances Kentucky's reputation as an ideal place for a corporate headquarters. The Commonwealth is pleased to have played a role in helping make this growth possible and look forward to Southern Star's long-term success."

Southern Star is an interstate natural gas transmission and storage system spanning approximately 6,000 miles and serves customers in seven states. The Owensboro headquarters, located at 4700 Highway 56, currently employs 167 Kentuckians full-time. The expansion project, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, will include additional office space, training and conference facilities and records storage in eastern Daviess County.

"The incentives provided by the Commonwealth help ensure we can continue to grow here," said Jerry Morris, president and chief executive officer for Southern Star. "We've found Owensboro to be a good location for our corporate headquarters. This community provides a great quality of life for our employees. From Owensboro, we are able to provide effective support to our Midwest-based customers and employees. We're proud to provide so many professional-level positions for the community and excited about adding to those numbers."

To encourage the investment in Owensboro, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $275,000 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.

KEDFA also approved Southern Star for tax benefits up to $100,000 through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, which 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.

"Southern Star's presence in Owensboro is appreciated and significant," said Sen. Joe Bowen, of Owensboro. "The fact that they plan to invest more than $5 million and provide employment shows a commitment to our community."

"Southern Star has been a great asset to our community, so I'm certainly happy to see it decide to expand its headquarters," said Rep. Tommy Thompson, of Owensboro. "These are exactly the type of jobs the General Assembly and Gov. Beshear envisioned in 2009 when we revamped our economic development incentives – legislation I was proud to sponsor."

"Thank you Southern Star for your confidence in our community," said Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly. "This capital investment will create new good-paying jobs for our citizens, and the resulting increase in the tax base will help all concerned."

For more information on Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, visit

Information on Kentucky's economic development efforts and programs is available at Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook at or follow on Twitter at

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

Friday, January 27, 2012

Kentucky Unbridled Future: New State Economic Plan aligns well with Owensboro Stategy

I attended the unveiling of the Cabinet for Economic Development's "Kentucky Unbridled Future" economic development strategic plan yesterday in Frankfort.

Overall the plan, presented by Boyette Strategic Advisors, is very well done. The plan lines up really well with many of the initiatives that are being implemented currently in the Greater Owensboro region. For example, there is a significant emphasis on growing the entrepreneurial climate in the Commonwealth as well as creating strategies for existing companies, especially Second Stage firms, the tools they need to grow.

With budget cuts looming, the big unanswered question in the room is how much money will be available to insure that the Cabinet, which has faced significant budget cuts over the past few years, can effectively implement the aggressive recommendations.

The plan can be viewed at

Friday, January 13, 2012

Facts about Interstate 67 as Owensboro's interstate

The new Interstate 67 Corridor is perhaps one of the most important and exciting opportunities for the Greater Owensboro region. I-67 is a top priority of the City of Owensboro, Daviess County Fiscal Court, Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp and Chamber of Commerce. These organizations will be working closely with the Interstate 67 Development Corporation and leadership in Spencer, Dubois, and Daviess counties in southern Indiana to make I-67 a reality.

The following are some key points about I-67:
  • North-south interstate link between Indianapolis and Nashville, TN that will pass through Owensboro, Kentucky.
  • I-67 uses mostly existing corridors from I-69 at Indianapolis and the Natcher Parkway to I-65 near Bowling Green, KY
  • One major Greenfield section remains, 38 miles of US 231 from I-64 to I-69 in Dubois and Daviess counties in Indiana
  • I-67 would use the underutilized Natcher Bridge to Kentucky near Owensboro as well as the existing Natcher Parkway and Owensboro By-Pass Extension to connect with I-65 in Bowling Green.
  • I-67 would leverage investments in I-69 in southern Indiana and around Indianapolis.
  • I-67 would leverage the recently completed US 231 corridor in Spencer County, Indiana. Funding would be used to upgrade and eliminate existing grade intersections.
  • I-67 would provide a less congested route from Nashville to Indianapolis avoiding the delays on I-65 through Louisville.
The view a map of the Interstate 67 corridor, please visit:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Owensboro -Daviess County one step closer to Work Ready designation

The Work Ready Review Panel gave the Daviess County Work Ready application a favorable recommendation to the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board (K-WIB) for certification as a Work Ready Community.

Community representatives, including Judge Executive Al Mattingly, Co-Chair Helen Mountjoy and EDC president Nick Brake made a presentation to the panel yesterday. The presentation was supported by representatives from the education, workforce, Chamber and business community.

The final hurdle will be consideration by the K-WIB for actual certification on February 16 in Frankfort.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Angel investment tax credit bill will help Owensboro

This year, once again, legislation has been prefiled that would establish an angel investor tax credit program for individuals who invest in certain small businesses.

The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. has supported the legislation in years past, and EDC officials are hoping the bill will gain traction this year. It could help Owensboro’s efforts to nurture and retain high tech and life sciences start-up companies that require a lot of capital on the front end, local EDC officials said.

“We’ve been supportive of this for several years,” said Madison Silvert, vice president for entrepreneurship and high tech development at the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. “It would provide incentives for qualified investors to invest in Kentucky start-up companies.”

The state incentives already are available for groups such as Lexington’s Blue Angels and Louisville’s Enterprise Angels and Louisville Angels.

This legislation, however, would provide the same incentives to individuals, and that is important for Owensboro and more rural areas of the state where there are no groups in place, Silvert said.

Generally, angel investors supply venture capital to companies that show high-growth prospects or fit well with their own business or are competing in the sector in which they made their mark.

In recent months, Daviess County showed up at No. 9 among 20 counties nationwide on web magazine’s list of counties identified as potentially the next Silicon Valley.

Two areas the online magazine found in fleshing out the counties were broadband availability rates near 100 percent and unemployment rates beating their peers and the nation.

Silvert said recently that having a culture of entrepreneurial investment is a crucial next step for the Owensboro region in attracting and retaining high tech companies.

The EDC and its partners are providing some breaks for several high tech and life sciences companies within the framework of Emerging Ventures, an innovation center/business incubator and the office and lab space offered in the Centre for Business and Research at 1010 Allen St.

“What we hope people understand is that high tech and life sciences companies require large amounts of capital for start-up, but the jobs they create are high quality and high paying,” Silvert said. “And it’s cheaper to incentivize these companies at the start than to try to relocate a mature company.”

The legislation is important for Owensboro, said Nick Brake, the president of the Greater Owensboro EDC.

“We have a healthy interest in the high tech, biotech and food safety companies we have churning here, and this legislation could turn that interest into investment,” Brake said. “It’s a matter of legislators seeing this as a viable option.”

Brake said he thinks getting a bill passed for angel investor tax credits is a learning process to educate people about how it can help.

Rep. Arnold Simpson’s legislation is prefiled as BR322. If it is filed when the Kentucky General Assembly convenes and becomes law, it would direct the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority to establish the application process for small businesses to participate.Angel investors who qualified could tap into the Kentucky Investment Fund Act tax credits that would be capped at $40 million.Simpson is a Covington Democrat.

The KEDFA would have to maintain a website listing all businesses and investors and the tax credits awarded. The prefiled bill also would require the small businesses to provide an annual report, and it would allow for tax credit recapture under some circumstances.