Chamber Celebrates Targeted Businesses at Annual Awards Banquet

Published Friday, October 14, 2016 7:30 am

The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce honored 23 businesses with awards Thursday night at the annual Targeted Business and Industry Banquet held at the Knicely Center. General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant received the top award of the evening, the John B. Holland Business of the Year Award.

The banquet is held each year in conjunction with Targeted Business and Industry Month in an effort to recognize and salute targeted businesses and industries throughout South Central Kentucky for their accomplishments.  2016 has been an exciting year thus far for South Central Kentucky, with announcements totaling $432 million in investments and the creation of 514 new jobs, including the state’s largest announced investment.

“Each year, the Targeted Business and Industry Banquet is our opportunity to recognize the impact that targeted businesses in our region have on our community,” stated Chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors Mark Iverson. “We were pleased to have a great slate of winners tonight. 2016 has been another outstanding year in South Central Kentucky, and we’re delighted to be able to celebrate those accomplishments here tonight.”

Keynote Hal Heiner, Secretary of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet noted, “I am honored to participate in the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce’s Targeted Business & Industry Banquet.  I look forward to meeting this year’s award winners and celebrating local companies who are providing great jobs and growing Kentucky’s economy.”

The John B. Holland Business of the Year, renamed in 2011 to honor Mr. Holland and his dedication to business success in the community, was awarded to General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant for their recent $293 million expansion announcement, the state’s largest single investment so far in 2016 and part of over $770 million in investment in this community in just the past 2 years.

In attendance to accept the award from General Motors was Plant Manager Kai Spande. 

“We are honored to be receiving these awards, and are pleased with the tremendous support we get from the chamber,” said Kai Spande, plant manager for General Motors Bowling Green Assembly. “We do here what GM does everywhere it operates, and that’s provide good quality jobs in manufacturing, one of the most important sources of economic growth and prosperity. This year’s expansion is part of a series of investments, and is not a short-term project; it demonstrates GM’s long-term commitment to the community of Bowling Green and to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

In June of this year, General Motors invested $293 million into the Bowling Green Assembly plant to upgrade and modify the plant’s vehicle assembly operations with new technologies and processes. These changes are being made in conjunction with and in addition to the construction and startup of the previously announced $439 million paint shop investment in 2015.

For more than 30 years, the Bowling Green Assembly Plant has positively impacted the community. As a landmark along Interstate 65, the Bowling Green Assembly Plant and the National Corvette Museum drive tourism for car enthusiasts, tourists and citizens alike. In 2015, the Corvette Assembly Plant reported 53,738 tourists from around the world visited the plant to see American manufacturing firsthand. The National Corvette Museum attracted 221,000 tourists to Bowling Green and Warren County in that same year. In March, Trade & Industry Development magazine recognized GM as one of 15 companies across the nation to receive their 10th annual CiCi award for Corporate Investment as a result of the $483 million investment GM made in the Corvette Assembly Plant in 2015.

President’s Club Bronze Star Partner The Murphy Construction Group which includes Scott, Murphy and Daniel, Scott & Murphy, Inc. and Hartz Contracting sponsored this year’s Business of the Year Award.

In addition to the traditional awards for targeted businesses, the Chamber recognized three healthcare companies for their outstanding investments in 2016 that contributed to the strength of our local economy. Gerald Printing sponsored this special recognition.

Graves Gilbert Clinic

 In 2015, Graves Gilbert Clinic broke ground on a new 40,000sf Primary Care facility, located on Nashville Rd. near Lost River Cave.Tthe new facility is expected to add up to 50 new jobs for the Bowling Green community, with room for 10 healthcare providers specializing in pediatrics, family medicine, obstetrics, gynecology, and internal medicine and will house a new laboratory with state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging.  Their $20 million investment will provide care to patients on evenings and weekends in addition to the usual weekday hours.

 Med Center Health

 With a growing demand for additional physicians in the Commonwealth, Med Center Health announced plans earlier this year to collaborate with the University of Kentucky and WKU to establish at the Medical Center the UK College of Medicine – Bowling Green Campus.  Space for the new four-year College of Medicine degree program will be constructed at The Medical Center in time to accommodate the first class of students in the summer of 2018.  Building on decades of providing state-of-the-art medical technology, equipment, facilities and a highly trained workforce for its patients, Med Center Health invested more than $26.6 million dollars in capital expenditures over the past year and added two more hospitals to the Med Center Health family of hospitals.  Med Center Health added 309 employees over the past year making it one of South Central Kentucky’s largest employers with 3,479 team members serving South Central Kentucky.

 TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital

 TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital is a 211-bed facility that offers excellence in comprehensive healthcare, from diagnostic imaging to routine surgical procedures, to neurosurgery, to cancer treatment.  To meet the needs of our community, TriStar Greenview is investing $30 million.  That investment includes a new ambulatory surgery center, a new intensive care unit, and upgrades and modernization of our existing facility.  TriStar Greenview is making this investment to meet the demands of the Greater Warren County area and to continue to provide excellent care for our patients.

 The Chamber also presented awards to targeted businesses in four categories at the banquet:

  • Business Expansion – Sponsored by President’s Club Bronze Star Partner Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Newcomer – Sponsored by Quality Personnel
  • Green to Gold – Sponsored by President’s Club Gold Star Partner BGMU
  • Business Education Partnership – Sponsored by Martin KIA

 In addition to Secretary Hal Heiner, Kentucky Labor Cabinet Deputy Secretary Mike Nemes and Chamber CEO Ron Bunch were on hand to present awards.

 Business Expansion Awards – Sponsored by President’s Club Bronze Star Partner Tennessee Valley Authority

For South Central Kentucky companies that expanded operations in 2016, investing capital and creating jobs for local residents.

American Howa Kentucky, Inc.

 American Howa Kentucky, Inc. (AHK) began operation in Indiana in 2006 and relocated operations to Bowling Green in 2009.  AHK has continued to grow and has expanded the facility three times, with a fourth in blueprint form.  American Howa Kentucky, Inc. provides safe, secure team environment with exceptional benefits for all employees. The company has recently invested $7.587 million and will provide 44 new jobs in our community in 2017, which will take AHK- Bowling Green to over 250 employees.


 On October 28, 2015 Bilstein celebrated the ground breaking on their first North American facility in the Kentucky Transpark. Initially the project was to invest $120m and create 90 new jobs but before even breaking ground, Bilstein decided to expand by adding a slitting operation to the facility creating an additional investment of $10m and 20 new jobs, for a total new capital investment in Bowling Green of $130m and 110 new jobs.  Bilstein currently employs 23 individuals and the facility is not yet complete.

 Blue Cotton, Inc.

 Blue Cotton, one of Bowling Green’s home grown gems, was founded in 1991 in a small apartment living room.  They have been included on Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest growing private companies in America the last eight years (2008 – 2015). This past year they acquired an 87,000 sf building in the South Industrial park, investing $5.5 million and expect to grow their workforce by 94 employees over the next few years.

 Cannon Automotive Solutions

 Cannon Automotive located in the Kentucky Transpark in 2007 in to the 64,000 sf second speculative building, in 2015 they made the decision to double their capacity expanding an additional 59,840 sf.  This expansion will result in 60 new jobs and a capital investment of over $23 million. With this expansion Cannon Automotive’s employment will reach 110.

 Country Oven Bakery

 In 2016, Country Oven Bakery invested $3.8 million investment to add 2,500 square feet of office space and $2.8 million in upgraded equipment to their facility. The new addition brings total square footage of Country Oven’s facility to 265,000 and will house the company’s front office personnel. Country Oven Bakery, a manufacturing facility of The Kroger Co., has been a staple in the South Central Kentucky community since opening its doors in 1981.


 INKED, the 7th fastest growing business in Kentucky according to Inc. Magazine invested $610,000 and added 12 new jobs over the last year.  Inked is writing new rules on e-commerce and is changing the dynamic of our area with the recruitment and retention of bright young talent.

 Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC

 In 2016, Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC (KAAP) announced a $55 million expansion at their Bowling Green facility that will create 112 new jobs for South Central Kentucky and represents an economic impact of more than $234 million to the South Central economy over the next 10 years. Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC, began production in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 2005 and has expanded 5 times since then investing a total of $236 million and creating 378 new jobs in South Central Kentucky.

 Logan Aluminum

 Logan Aluminum, jointly owned by Tri-Arrows Aluminum Corporation and Novelis Corporation, is a world class manufacturer of aluminum sheet products founded in 1983 that currently supplies over 40% of the rolled can sheet for the North American market. Logan Aluminum uses the latest technology and the commitment of ‘every individual, every team, every day’ to improve and advance with our team-based work system. The current expansion at Logan Aluminum will allow greater product and process capabilities for existing and future markets, including the automotive market.


 Since 2015 NASCO has invested $30.3 million and added 26 new jobs, with more to be added mid-2017.  They have expanded their spring plant with state of the art technology, added a 6th spring line, 3rd cold drawing line and expanded its stamped products plant while adding equipment to increase capacity.

 SCA Americas

 SCA Americas recently announced the decision to expand its operations in Bowling Green with a $23.9 million investment and the creation 20 new jobs. The project will add a new line to support product manufacturing for the healthcare industry.   Since opening in 1988, SCA’s Bowling Green facility has grown to 160 associates.

 The Sun Products Corporation

 The Sun Products Corporation has been a part of the Bowling Green landscape since 2003. Since that time, the Bowling Green facility has continued to grow and expand in size and employment.  Their location in Bowling Green has led to several newcomers to our area including Alpla, Graham Packaging and DHL.  Their most recent expansion announcement brought a new capital investment of $2 million and 21 new jobs to the community.

 Newcomer Awards – Sponsored by Quality Personnel

For companies that are new to South Central Kentucky and have announced a location here within the past 12 months.

 Castlen Steel

 In January 2016 Castlen Steel announced plans to renovate their Vincent Street location in Smiths Grove. The project is their first expansion outside of Owensboro, KY and they anticipate their steel distribution business to create 10-15 jobs in the next 18 months. Castlen serves industrial, agricultural, and service based industries with steel distribution, processing and fabrication.

 Cumberland Agricultural Management, LLC

Cumberland Agricultural Management is finalizing the construction on their new 12,000 sf facility in Edmonton KY where they will recycle reclaimed materials into marketable products such as cosmetics, animal and pet feed and leather goods.  Cumberland Agriculture will invest $3 million and create 15 new jobs in Metcalfe County.

 KOBELCO Aluminum Products and Extrusions, Inc.

 Kobelco Aluminum Products & Extrusion rounded out the South Industrial Park with the purchase of the last Bowling Green Economic Development Authority property in the park.   They are in the process of building a 40,365 sf facility, which is the first phase of a multi-phase project that will result in the investment of $46.7 million and the creation of 105 new jobs.

 SST Mid-Park

 The City of Morgantown welcomed a new community partner in SST a Mid-Park Company in February 2016.  SST estimates a total investment of as much as $3.5 million and expects to create 50 new jobs in Butler County over the next three years. With the addition of SST’s Morgantown Plant they will be able to further enhance their 40 year history of suppling stampings, assemblies, and machined components to a variety of industries.

 Packaging Unlimited

 Packaging Unlimited is a turnkey packaging manufacturer offering design, manufacturing, fulfillment, warehousing and logistics.  Packaging Unlimited provides corrugated, point of purchase displays, thermoforming, blister sealing, foam, films, folding cartons and various other packaging materials as well as contract packaging services.   In 2016, the company expanded operations to Bowling Green.

 Precision Strip

 In January of this year, Precision Strip announced plans for their second Kentucky location in Bowling Green. The project includes new metals processing facility with one slitting line, at an initial investment estimated at $15.5 million along with the creations of 15 new jobs. The new Bowling Green facility will complement their other Kentucky facility in Woodburn, better allowing them to serve their customers in the South Central Kentucky region. Precision Strip toll processes, stores, and delivers steel and aluminum to the automotive, appliance, industrial products, and beverage can industries

 Tri-Arrows Aluminum, Inc.

 Tri-Arrows Aluminum announced the location of their corporate headquarters satellite office in downtown Bowling Green in September.  This new office location will allow better access and service to joint venture corporations Logan Aluminum, Inc. and Constellium-UACJ.  The new office will house up to 10 employees including customer service specialists, the executive management team and engineering.

Green to Gold Awards – Sponsored by President’s Club Gold Star Partner BGMU

 For companies that – through product or process – best exemplify “green” leadership as it pertains to the region’s goals to become a leader in this emerging field.

 Fruit of the Loom

 Fruit of the Loom has an impressive portfolio of innovative and unique environmentally friendly initiatives.  They have completed their first year of operation at two Biomass Power Generation plants reducing their dependency on fossil fuels by 150 million kWH (Kilowatt hours) annually and a reduction of their carbon footprint by over 103,000 Metric Tonnes annually.  They are one of only 15 organizations to be recognized by the EPA for their leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, receiving the Climate Leadership Award for Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management and their corporate offices here in Bowling Green received the Energy Star rating from the Environmental Protection Agency.

 General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant

 GM Bowling Green has made a $2 million investment in an 850kwh solar array in their ongoing sustainability effort of the plant.  This is the largest array by an auto maker and will produce 1.2m KW of energy - enough energy to build 850 corvettes or run 89 homes. General Motors, company-wide has saved $80m since 1983 through green initiatives.

 Business Education Partnership Award – Sponsored by Martin KIA

Winners in this category are recognized for outstanding partnerships between businesses and local schools

 The Sun Products Corporation, Richpond Elementary, and Warren County Area Technology Center

 The Sun Products Corporation was honored for their donation of equipment to support the startup of the new Machine Tool and Robotics programs at the Warren County Area Technology Center as well as their work with Richpond Elementary. 

 In addition to the awards, the Chamber recognized several local companies that contributed to two important talent initiatives that celebrated their inaugural year in 2016.

Last September, the Chamber donated a 1981 Chevrolet Camaro to the Warren County ATC and one to SKYCTC. They spent the entire school year integrating STEM disciplines and learning valuable skills that can be used in your businesses as they rebuilt the cars into muscle cars ready to compete in the 2016 Holley LS Fest.  Local companies contributing to the project include:

  • Holley Performance Products
  • General Motors
  • C&L Collision Center
  • Camaro Creations
  • Thunder Road Classic Dash
  • Discount Tires
  • Diamond Screw
  • Jeff Smith Metal Polishing
  • Modern Supply Company
  • Batteries + Bulbs
  • McGhee & McGhee
  • DJs Upholstery, Inc.
  • Monogramming by Sherry
  • Gipe Auto Color
  • Sanders Radiator
  • Bowling Green Rubber and Gasket
  • Albert Crush Co.

 Similarly, the Chamber recognized companies that have helped make the Machine Tool and Robotics Programs at the Warren County Area Technology Center a reality for the 2016-17 school year. Thanks to the generosity of these companies, students are learning skills that will benefit them for years to come and ensure them a job upon graduation.  Contributing companies include:

 Bowling Green-Warren County Economic Development Authority

  • The Sun Products Corporation
  • Home Depot
  • B&R Electrical
  • Harbor Freight
  • Lowes
  • Scott Murphy Daniel
  • Warren County Public Schools
  • WKU
  • Bowling Green Metalforming
  • Bendix
  • Stupp Bridge

Finally, the Chamber would like to extend a special thank you to each of our sponsors for making the 2016 Business and Industry Banquet a success. In addition to the award sponsors listed above, the following Chamber partners sponsored a portion of the banquet:

  • US Bank
  • WKU Gordon Ford College of Business
  • CGS Machine & Tool
  • Gerald Printing


About the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce:

Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was named the 2009 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,100 partners and is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. Its primary goals are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region.