ASHLAND, Ky. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul met with leaders of Braidy Industries in Ashland on Thursday, saying the arrival of the aluminum manufacturer in the Tri-State will offer a much-needed and very exciting economic boost to the region.
"I don't think I have the words to say how exciting it is," said Paul, R-Ky. "It is a really big deal for them to be locating here. Its been tough. I've been here and to have a brand new company, brand new industry, probably hiring some of the people who have those skills in metal works, that will probably get jobs with Braidy — I think it is great for the community and the area."
Paul gathered with Braidy leaders and also representatives from local government, business and industry in a closed-door meeting to talk about Braidy. The senator wanted to hear what his office can do to help Braidy and the region's related economic growth.
Braidy is building a $1.3-billion aluminum mill in nearby South Shore, providing 550 high-paying jobs in the region. The company is developing its headquarters in downtown Ashland at the Community Trust Building.
Braidy executives said Thursday the project is on track. Braidy board member John T. Preston said the company is positioning itself to supply markets with the aluminum product it needs for the modern era.
"The key thing we are focusing on is global need for light-weighting of automobiles and airplanes," Preston said. "Anything that moves (you) want to reduce the amount of fuel consumption and the amount of pollution coming out of it. We think that created a vacuum, if you will, where there hasn't been much innovation over the last 50 years. We are stepping in to fill that vacuum. We are going to be the first new...greenfield aluminum mill, in the United States in the last 40 years. We think that gives us a huge advantage on the quality and the cost."