ASHLAND, Ky. — Throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, the governor uttering the name of your hometown has been something to avoid.

Gov. Andy Beshear, though, announced positive happenings in Ashland on Thursday afternoon. Danieli USA, the American subsidiary of Danieli & C. SpA (Buttrio, Italy), is coming to northeastern Kentucky. Pronto.

Danieli signs are already displayed on the ESM building located between Members Choice Credit Union and AK Steel’s Ashland Works, which is no longer in operation and under the ownership of Cleveland Cliffs.

Danieli is renting its 130,000 square-foot space from a private owner — it is not associated with Cleveland Cliffs or AK Steel.

Danieli’s service facility in Ashland brings with it 61 total jobs, eight of which have already been filled. The 53 new jobs feature an average wage of $31 an hour plus benefits. The investment in the facility is projected to be more than $12 million.

Danieli is slated to begin operations before September. It’s a well-known name in the metals industry.

The mission of Danieli, according to its website, is “to provide its customers the best services in terms of repairs, refurbishment and overhaul of equipment by installing original OEM parts and applying the unparalleled knowledge of the equipment and their operating functionality.”

According to Ashland Alliance President Tim Gibbs, Danieli was originally drawn to the area as a prime spot to serve its steel-producing clients in Kentucky.

Said Gibbs: “We are proud to welcome Danieli Corporation to Ashland. This, once again, shows the talent and opportunity this community has to offer to the world. Danieli is a world-class company that has great opportunity now and for future growth here.”

Rocky Adkins, Senior Adviser to the governor, said it fits the northeastern Kentucky work force perfectly.

“It’s right in our wheelhouse,” said Adkins, an Elliott County native. “Our people are machinists and welders. We have an excellent work force.”

Gibbs said the building is in immaculate shape.

“New lighting, cleaning, painting, epoxy of floors,” Gibbs said.

Adkins said on behalf of him, the governor and the Cabinet for Economic Development, “we are very pleased to make an announcement to add much-needed jobs to the region.”

State government has worked closely with ACTC President Dr. Larry Ferguson, Adkins said, to help pave the way to job opportunities such as these for students.

Adkins hopes this is one of many similar announcements to come.

“These types of projects and types of conversations are on the front burner every day in Frankfort,” Adkins said.