Ashland Alliance

New facility in Wurtland to hire 130 employees; $16 per hour average pay

WURTLAND, Ky. The average wage for Wright-Mix Material Solutions employees at the planned Wurtland facility will be about $16 per hour, plus benefits, local economic development officials said Friday.

The Pikeville-based concrete company, along with Gov. Matt Bevin, announced Thursday Wright-Mix plans to create 130 jobs and invest $8.5 million in a new production facility at a river port in Wurtland.

The facility could be operating by January, and will specialize in fully-automated toll blending and bagging operations.

The announcement captivated a careworn northeastern Kentucky region already electrified by recent promises of future jobs – most notably, the 550 attached to the planned Braidy Industries aluminum mill in EastPark.

Wright-Mix Material Solutions plans to move into a building at the Greenup-Boyd Riverport previously owned by Sun Chemical Corporation. The company would also build storage facilities to house raw materials and finished products, and may also keep two other smaller buildings on the property. The Greenup-Boyd Riverport Authority has owned the property since 2013, when Sun Chemical sold it after closing its pigment-production plant, a move that impacted 30 workers.

Nickie Smith, board member of the Greenup-Boyd Riverport Authority, said Wright-Mix approached the authority board about expanding its company into Wurtland four months ago.

Board members proceeded to meet with Wright-Mix executives five times, said Smith, who is also the Boyd County economic development director. The riverport authority worked with the Ashland Alliance, the Greenup Fiscal Court and Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration to secure the deal.

Wright-Mix agreed to a lease-purchase contract with the riverport authority, Smith said. After 10 years, the company will take full ownership of the property. The company is securing about 48 acres of property, which is priced at $25,000 per acre, Smith said.

Wright-Mix is set to receive financial help from the state in the form of tax incentives of up to $1.5 million.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority in June gave preliminary approval for the company to receive the money through the Kentucky Business Investment program, according to state officials.

If the company meets job and investment targets, it can receive a portion of its $8.5 million investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments.

Ashland Alliance President and CEO Tim Gibbs said Wright-Mix executives were likely magnetized to northeastern Kentucky based on logistical advantages, including easy river, rail and highway access.

The company will receive raw materials via barge, rail and truck. It will ship products by truck and train.

“We feel the location fits our distribution needs and the 50-acre size of this property will allow us to grow our multiple companies going forward,” Shannon Wright, Wright-Mix president and CEO, said in a news release.

The company plans to renovate its new building to about 80,000 square feet. It sells non-shrink grouts, thin-skin liners, gunite, shotcrete and cement-based products.

Renovation work on the new facility is set to begin in August.


UPDATED 11/14/2017

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