FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 16, 2021) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear congratulated Kinetic Mesh wireless networks provider Rajant Corp., as leaders cut the ribbon on the company’s new Rowan County facility, a project that will create 100 full-time jobs over the coming years with a $2 million investment.
“Our path to a brighter future for Kentuckians relies on the growth of innovative, high-tech companies like Rajant,” Gov. Beshear said. “This expansion within Rowan County highlights our effort to create quality job opportunities for our residents and emphasizes what we already know: Our talented workforce is second to none and our state is the perfect home for businesses focused on long-term growth. I want to thank Rajant’s leadership for this commitment to the commonwealth and look forward to the company’s continued success in our state.”
Rocky Adkins, Gov. Beshear’s senior advisor, attended the ribbon-cutting with local officials and Rajant leadership as the company also celebrates 20 years in business, which includes a presence in Morehead since March 2015. As part of the company’s growth in Rowan County, Rajant in 2020 announced its move from a 9,600-square-foot facility on Main Street to a nearby 48,000-square-foot manufacturing space on nearly 14 acres in the MMRC Industrial Park. Originally announced as a 26-job project, company leaders now expect to create 100 jobs in the years ahead at the new Morehead facility. The move positions the company to increase production of products and services with further capabilities, including artificial intelligence (AI), while also improving its commercial and military product lines.
Rajant has benefitted from Morehead State University’s Space Engineering Program, with graduates contributing to the company’s current staff of 24 people in Rowan County, including designers, engineers, service technicians and assemblers.
“Furthering our investment in Kentucky is a testament to the potential we wholly believe exists for high-tech businesses like Rajant,” said Rajant Chairman, CEO and co-founder Robert Schena, who joined Gov. Beshear today via video for the Team Kentucky update to speak about the expansion. “We’ve only met with encouragement, support and vision for what is to be a bright future for the Appalachian region. We encourage other companies to participate in the economic development and cultivation of talent the state has to offer.”
U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers noted the company’s significant growth since locating in Morehead.
“Rajant Corp. has made an impressive impact in Eastern Kentucky over the last six years, and I am excited to see this innovative company expand five times larger than when they first opened their doors in Morehead,” Congressman Rogers said. “Rajant’s growth is proof that we have the best workforce in the country and high-caliber students graduating from Morehead State University’s state-of-the-art Space Science program who are ready for the incredible internship and employment opportunities available at Rajant. It is also refreshing to see companies in our region that are still expanding and ramping up production despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Established in 2001 in Malvern, Pennsylvania, Rajant develops dozens of products and technologies leveraging the company’s patented InstaMesh networking software. The technology facilitates mobile communications in some of the world’s harshest and most demanding environments. Rajant currently operates under contract with U.S. Department of Defense contractors to build the next generation of wireless communications for voice, data, video and other applications. The company’s commercial markets include mining, ports, transportation, oil and gas, public safety and agriculture, among other industrial applications. Rajant currently employs 160 people across three U.S. locations.
Rajant’s new facility is among approximately 4,500 manufacturing-related operations in Kentucky, which employ about 260,000 Kentuckians statewide. The commonwealth is a national leader in manufacturing, with about 13% of its workforce holding a job in the sector compared to the U.S. average of 8.5%.
Morehead Mayor Laura White-Brown said this relocation will facilitate even more success for the company in the future.
“It has been great to see Rajant grow in our community over the past six years, culminating in this new facility that will position the company for further growth in the years ahead,” Mayor White-Brown said. “Today is a great day for Rajant and for Morehead as a we begin our next chapter together.”
Rowan County Judge/Executive Harry Clark highlighted the quality job opportunities created by Rajant’s growth in the area.
“High-tech companies like Rajant are leading the way in creating quality jobs for our residents, and today’s ribbon-cutting signifies a major step forward in the partnership between the company and our community,” Judge/Executive Clark said. “I hope to see Rajant continue to grow in Rowan County for years to come.”
Russ Ward, board chair of the Morehead Rowan County Economic Development Council, recognized the talented workforce in the region that allows companies like Rajant to thrive.
“We know we have a great skilled workforce here in Morehead and Rowan County, and the growth of a company like Rajant shows companies realize it as well,” Ward said. “Rajant has been a great addition to our community since locating here in 2015 and I know we will continue to grow together in the years ahead.”
Rajant’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger following the effects of the pandemic.
In July, thanks to strong fiscal management by the Beshear administration, the state budget office reported the commonwealth ended the 2021 fiscal year with a general fund surplus of over $1.1 billion – the highest ever in the commonwealth – and a 10.9% increase in general fund receipts to $12.8 billion.
Year-to-date, private-sector new-location and expansion announcements include more than $2.8 billion in total planned investment and the creation of 6,600-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Through July, Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage is $23.47 before benefits, a 6.2% increase over the previous year.
In May, Moody’s Analytics published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky, noting mass vaccination as the driving force behind a sustained recovery in consumer services. The state’s recovery, Moody’s said, benefited from earlier reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods over services. The report also found Kentucky’s manufacturing industry outperformed the nation’s since the national downturn last year.
Fitch Ratings in May improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery. The state’s April sales tax receipts set an all-time monthly record at $486.5 million, as did vehicle usage tax receipts at over $64 million.
In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million. Site Selection also recently placed Kentucky in a tie for fifth in its 2021 Prosperity Cup rankings, positioning the state among the national leaders for business climate.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in May 2020 preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $300,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $2 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 26 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $25 including benefits across those jobs.
Additionally, KEDFA approved Rajant for up to $50,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
In addition, Rajant can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.
For more information on Rajant Corp., visit Rajant.com.
A detailed community profile for Rowan County can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.