2011 Northern Kentucky Thoroughbreds represent resilience, growth

It was a triumphant year for Northern Kentucky.

The number of new and expanding companies in Northern Kentucky more than doubled in 2010. That growth is expected to create 3,513 new jobs and $200 million in investment in land, buildings and equipment over the next three years.

It's a portrait of resilience, strength and success. And last month, the region's business leaders gathered to celebrate and recognize the Thoroughbreds -- the 22 companies that together helped Northern Kentucky thrive and grow last year.

"In fiscally uncertain times, it is quite gratifying to see these companies make a capital investment -- and a show of confidence -- in the Northern Kentucky area," says Dan Tobergte, President & CEO of Northern Kentucky Tri-ED, which holds the annual luncheon.

The invitation-only event serves to recognize and appreciate primary business that locate, expand or are created anew in Northern Kentucky. It's a cornerstone of Tri-ED's activities and mission.

"We want to make sure we show that Northern Kentucky services after the sale," says Tobergte.

The 22 companies honored as 2011 Northern Kentucky Thoroughbreds are:

Bexion Pharmaceuticals: Bexion is focused on developing and commercializing innovative cures for cancer. In 2010, Bexion was selected by the National Cancer Institute for a research collaboration to study Bexion's first-in-class cancer nanotherapy treatment for solid tumors.

Car-Part.com: Car-Part is a search engine for recycled auto parts. Founded in 1998, Car-Part has grown to become the world's largest used parts marketplace, with over 10 million searches per month. Additionally, Car-Part provides auto recyclers with all of the software necessary for effective business operations.

Coating Excellence International: A flexible packaging manufacturing operation based in Wrightstown, Wisconsin, CEI announced plans to open an additional manufacturing plant in Hebron. The 120,000-square-foot facility, which converts raw materials into finished bags for the pet food / animal feed industry, is the company's first outside Wisconsin and is expected to create about 100 jobs over three years.

Cold Chain Integrity: A venture of United Dairy Farmers, Cold Chain Integrity completed Phase II construction of a 100,000-square-foot, highly specialized, ultra-low temperature room with redundant power and refrigeration for a long-term, pharmaceutical tenant in 2010. The project created 40 jobs. The total warehouse space now exceeds 350,000 square feet, making Cold Chain Integrity the largest public cold storage facility in the Tri-State.

Daniels Sharpsmart, Inc. chose Northern Kentucky as the location of its newest facility. Daniels Sharpsmart provides a fully integrated, technologically advanced system that ensures safe, cost effective and compliant disposal of sharps -- medical and pharmaceutical waste.

Diversified Structural Composites, Inc., a world leader in the manufacture of pultruded fiberglass and carbon fiber composite components, announced plans to consolidate operations of two facilities into a larger 96,000-square-foot facility in Boone County. The company has operated in Northern Kentucky since 1991.

After a planned expansion, coupled with an expansion completed in 2009, Kop-Flex will have added over 165 jobs to its Florence location. A division of Emerson Electric, the company manufactures mechanical power transmission drives, components and bearings that serve a wide variety of industries, including aggregate, forestry and wood products, grain and biofuels, power generation, food and beverage and HVAC.

FASTEMP Glass, founded in 1981, stocks more than 30 different types and sizes of glass, from clear to colored and patterned. FASTEMP's furnace tempers glass from 1/8" to 1/4" thick to serve markets that include automotive, marine, recreational vehicles, display cases and fireplace screens.

Gates Corporation produces V belts and synchronous belts, industrial hoses and hydraulics. Formerly known as The Gates Rubber Company, Gates is one of the world's largest manufacturers of industrial and automotive belts and hoses, plus a host of related products.

HAHN Automation, Inc. began an expansion project to construct a 25,000 square-foot facility in Hebron. Founded in Germany in 1992 and operating in Kentucky since 2001, Hahn is a full-service supplier of custom automation equipment serving the automotive, consumer and pharmaceutical industries.

Innomark Communications specializes in large point-of-purchase displays used in retail establishments. After acquiring one of the world's largest five-color lithographic printing presses in 2010, the company's plans for expansion include the design, printing and packing of advertising displays for the consumer products industry.

Jacobs Automation, a leading automation technology provider located in Hebron, secured Series A financing from Blue Chip Venture Company and a loan from the Kentucky Department of Commercialization and Innovation. The company's premier product, PackTrak, replaces hardware with software, eliminating changeover time and cost, while reducing the end user's carbon footprint.

LeanCor is the only Third Party Logistics provider (3PL) wholly dedicated to the application of lean principles throughout the supply chain. Recognizing that not all companies have the volume and leverage of large manufacturers, LeanCor designs, implements and manages lean supply chain and logistics networks for any size company.

North American Spring Enterprises Company is a new company that will manufacture open coil innerspring mattress products for one of its bedding manufacturer affiliates, Simmons Bedding Company ("Simmons") or National Bedding Company LLC ("Serta"). These affiliates sell Simmons and/or Serta branded mattresses throughout the United States and Canada and through licensees worldwide.

Parkway Products, founded in 1946, has both headquarters and a manufacturing facility in Boone County. The company is a global leader in custom molding technologies with nine facilities located throughout North America. In 2010, Parkway expanded its existing facility from 55,686 square feet to 110,166 square feet.

PEMCO established operations in NKY in 2010 in the South Airfield area of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. With operations in Florida and Alabama, the 50-year-old company specializes in all levels of airframe maintenance checks, plus interior, avionics, structural and cargo modifications (MRO). PEMCO expects to hire up to 250-300 persons at full capacity.

Pratt Display, a Division of Pratt Industries, located a manufacturing facility in Boone County to produce point-of-purchase displays for in-store marketers and other Pratt customers. Pratt is the 6th largest paper and packaging company in America. The privately-owned company operates three high-tech 100% recycled paper mills, as well as corrugated sheet and box plants throughout the Eastern United States and Mexico.

The Renaissance Group LLC, which does business as Renaissance Investment Management, is a registered investment advisor. Founded in 1978 in Cincinnati, the company's 25 employees moved to the Covington riverfront in May 2010. Renaissance provides investment management services to a variety of clients including high net worth, institutional and sub-advisory relationships.

TiER1 Performance Solutions helps large organizations use information and knowledge to improve performance. With over 100 world-class clients including Macy's, FedEx, PNC, Wendy's, and the US Air Force, TiER1 has averaged annual growth of 30% per year and has been named to the Inc. 5000 list four straight years.

ZF Steering Systems, LLC announced plans in 2010 to invest $95.8 million over the next three years and create 374 full-time jobs. The company, a 100% subsidiary of ZF Lenksysteme GmbH, based in Germany and located in Kentucky since 1994, manufactures steering and suspension components for passenger cars and SUVs.

ZoomEssence utilizes their patent-pending DriZoom technology to deliver liquid quality flavors & ingredients in a powder form. In 2010, ZoomEssence created 20 jobs. The company was formed in Hebron in 2008.

Zumbiel Packaging is the largest U.S. supplier of beverage packaging that does not produce its own paperboard. The company will build a new 180,000 square-foot facility next to its existing facility in Hebron.

3z.net is a data center offering fully integrated, high-tech cloud and physical solutions for business. While not included among the 2010 Thoroughbreds, 3z.net was recognized for a grant it received through ezone.