Northern Kentucky Tri-ED celebrates new and expanding 'Thoroughbred' companies

Northern Kentucky’s Thoroughbreds have been on a winning streak for several years now. But these top performers aren’t horses and, unlike their equine namesake, their value to the region only increases with age and experience.
At an awards ceremony held Feb. 17 at Drees Pavilion in Covington, Northern Kentucky Tri-ED recognized 27 companies that located, expanded or were launched in the region in 2015. This year’s Thoroughbred projects included the regional contributions of global giants like Amazon and FedEx as well as small shops such as Studio Vertu, which exports fine marble giftware from its Newport headquarters to points around the globe.
The event featured comments from Covington Mayor Sherry Carran and was emceed by longtime Northern Kentucky resident John Lomax, a news anchor at Local12.
Keynote addresses from Tri-ED leadership recapped 2015 successes via the recently released annual economic impact study of primary industry growth.
“Capital investment in new infrastructure and equipment in 2015 was the fourth highest for the region since 1987,” Tri-ED President and CEO Dan Tobertge said. “These numbers differentiate us not just in who we are as a region today, but it also influences how we are viewed by the other states and regions that surround us.”
A summary of this year’s report shows the total impact of the 27 Thoroughbred companies at 4,435 jobs created (17 percent increase over 2014) and business or sales output of $542.6 million (31 percent increase over 2014). Details include:
• They had direct effects on NKY by creating 2,435 jobs with business or sales output of $355.5 million, labor income of $110.3 million and capital investment of $459.8 million;
• Indirect/induced effects on NKY included 2,000 jobs created and business or sales output of $187.1 million.
Advanced manufacturing, aviation, informatics and e-commerce/logistics were strong sectors in 2015, and a new Kentucky Angel Investment Tax Credit recognized as one of the best of its kind in the nation helped NKY attract or expand more primary industry companies than in any of the last three years.
The Northern Kentucky companies honored as 2015 Thoroughbreds are:
Boone County Distilling Company
Boone County’s first bourbon production and aging site in more than 100 years will join Kentucky’s Craft Bourbon Trail this summer.
Braxton Brewing Company
Combines age-old brewing traditions with new-age consumer technology for an experience that helped pioneer Covington’s urban core revitalization.
Manages its primary North American Consumer Banking businesses and products from its Florence service center, where last year employees contributed more than 17,000 volunteer hours and $700,000 in financial assistance for the community.
David J. Joseph Company (DJJ) Metals Group
America’s oldest scrap-trading, recycling and logistics company provides aluminum, copper, brass, stainless steel and other materials to foreign and domestic partners.
DHL Express USA
Has invested more than $281 million in projects at its CVG hub, which processes roughly 50 million shipments each year bound for 220 locations worldwide.
FedEx Ground
As part of $3 billion in expansion efforts in recent years, FedEx’s Northern Kentucky facility has grown to almost 10 times its original size, anticipating a processing rate of 30,000 packages per hour by the end of 2016.
Fives Machining Systems
Celebrating 200 years of engineering excellence and expertise, with recent endeavors that include creating a Composite Development Center in NKY.
Flottweg Separation Technology
Sold more than 1,000 machines and expanded to over 60,000 square feet since relocating to the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area in 2008.
Opened a Kentucky location in 2008 and has since experienced steady growth complemented with more than $8 million in manufacturing and technological investment.
Atlanta-based financial technology company that connects 8,000 merchants with more than 500,000 consumers while nearly tripling its employment base in Northern Kentucky.
LOGOMAT Automation Systems
Provides top-of-the-line conveyer systems to the automation world, with 90 percent of all required product parts manufactured and assembled in its Hebron facility.
Meggitt (Erlanger)
The advanced engine composites produced at its Erlanger facility can be found in engine components on every major commercial aerospace platform worldwide.
Monoprice Inc.
Leading e-commerce retailer specializes in providing affordable electronics and accessories and will soon move more than 20 jobs to Boone County.
North America’s leader in packaging choice and sustainability employees nearly 800 people at its Florence and Richwood locations, where it manufactures approximately 20 billion paper bags for grocery, retail, foodservice and other sectors.
Pro Mach
Headquartered in Kenton County, Pro Mach supplies automated packaging and processing equipment services to Fortune 500 food, beverage and consumer goods companies as well as smaller organizations.
PSA Airlines
With plans to double its number of crewmembers and aircraft at CVG over the next 12 months, PSA is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines and the fastest growing regional airline in the country.
Robert Bosch Automotive Steering
Assembles and delivers electric power steering gears, steering columns and hydraulic steering gears to the North American automotive market.
SPSI, Inc.
Recently opened a 12,000-square-foot distribution center in Northern Kentucky to strategically focus on growing its business into the eastern United States.
Studio Vertu
Since moving its headquarters to Newport in January 2015, Studio Vertu continues to design and manufacture fine marble giftware for clients that include museums, wineries and most notably Major League Baseball.
Verst Group Logistics
Strategically headquartered in Northern Kentucky, this family-owned firm is celebrating 50 years of delivering ease, efficiency and speed-to-market.
Founded in 1946 and with offices in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana, VonLehman is a leading full-service CPA, business advisory and business turnaround firm.
A new 900,000-square-foot distribution facility at CVG will increase fast-growing home furnishings supplier Wayfair’s total Northern Kentucky space to more than 1.2 million square feet.
Regional industry gets extra ‘Boost’
Another highlight of the recognition ceremony was the NKY Boost Ally Award, an honor presented annually to an allied organization that shows exceptional service to NKY business through coordination with NKY Boost, Tri-ED’s award-winning business retention & expansion program.
This year’s award winner was the Northern Kentucky chapter of the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (NKY FAME). Formed in 2014 by eight founding member-companies, NKY FAME’s purpose is to partner with local educators to implement dual-track, apprenticeship-style training, with the ultimate goal of enriching the region’s pipeline of highly skilled workers.
NKY FAME’s 2015 efforts culminated in the following highlights:
• Invested $200,000 in the “I Made It in NKY” marketing campaign;
• Produced an inaugural graduating class;
• Designed a new 16-week accelerated Enhanced Operator Certification program to help existing workers advance their careers; and
• Onboarded its first Executive Director.
“Northern Kentucky Tri-ED is proud to recognize NKY FAME,” said Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore, who serves as Tri-ED Chair. “NKY FAME has achieved significant momentum in developing an educated and trained workforce for the manufacturers in our region.”
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