Ashland Alliance

President’s Report – Oct. 20, 2017

Moving Ahead Together

To say this was an ordinary week in the region and at the Alliance would be an understatement. While I can’t cover all the details of this week's news, I will try to share some light and insight with you, our members and friends. I appreciate the opportunity to share with you how your organization is working to make this community a better version of itself. At times, I can’t share in real-time how and what is going on. The last couple of weeks is a good example of this.

First and foremost, Braidy Industries is building a $1.3 billion facility here. The papers got the story correct. The project ran into engineering challenges that could have delayed it. This is very important because Braidy has pre-sold over 100% of their 300,000 tons of product. It is not easy to build a plant of this size with the 100-200 ton machinery they will have. Locations that fit this description are not located everywhere. But, Craig Bouchard stood in Greenup County at the McConnell House and said we will build this and we will put people back to work.

EastPark was created in 1998-99 to be a regional economic development park for all of Northeast Kentucky. It was created by the five counties of FIVCO working together to have the best chance for their citizens to work within the region and live in their communities of choice. There is something else I think is a key component as well. A little over 2 years ago the Alliance with our partners, Kentucky Power and the EastPark Board worked diligently on site certification for EastPark. While no one usually knows what a site certification means or all the work it represents, there is no way we could have moved at the speed we did if we did not have all the due diligence complete and ready when the opportunity presented itself.

This move and retention of the project also could not have happened without the leadership and partnership of our local County Judge-Executives and their Fiscal Courts. Judge Bobby Carpenter, from the beginning, has been a driving force in attracting and maintaining this project for Greenup County and the region. This along with the willingness of Boyd County Judge-Executive Steve Towler made for the opportunity to work together for a positive outcome for the entire region. I personally want to thank both men and their Fiscal Courts for moving this forward.

I do have feelings of remorse for residents of South Shore. I am sorry that this project could not be placed there. There are no words that I can say that replaces the scope of this project. But, it is remaining in the region and Eastpark was created for their benefit of employment as well. This has been a very good week even if a bit stressful. The commitment of Braidy Industries and our local leaders will pay off for generations to come.

I will close with this. Even with the headlines being all things Braidy, the Alliance is getting ready for several other great events. The 38th Annual Community Leadership Class Graduation is next Friday at Bellefonte Country Club. It won’t be long for full-fledged events related to the Winter Wonderland of Lights Parade on November 21st. It is also time for you to get your tickets for Ashland Alliance Annual Dinner featuring Governor Matt Bevin and Braidy Industries President and CEO Craig Bouchard, November 20th. This evening is a celebration of Northeast Kentucky and is sure to be the event of the year.

We have a lot to be thankful for this week in the region. Let’s keep working together and moving forward. Thank you for your support and the opportunity to work with a great staff, board and members of the Alliance. Together we are making a difference.

—Tim Gibbs, Ashland Alliance President and CEO

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