FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 30, 2021) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Harbor Steel & Supply Corp., a distributor and manufacturer of fabricated products for the steel and aluminum industries, will construct a second Kentucky facility with an $8 million investment that will create 25 full-time jobs in the years ahead.
“Harbor Steel & Supply has been a quality Kentucky employer for the past 30 years, and I am thrilled to see the company grow its presence in our state,” Gov. Beshear said. “This project reflects Kentucky’s strength in the metals industry, and it continues the unparalleled economic momentum our state has seen in recent months. I wish the company well as it establishes its second Kentucky facility and hope to see even more growth in the future.”
Leaders at Harbor Steel plan to construct a 50,000-square-foot facility in the Kentucky Transpark that will allow for potential future expansion and job creation. The investment will include the purchase of laser machines, press brakes for forming and automated saws, among other equipment. Company leaders anticipate construction will begin in spring 2022 and be completed by the third quarter of next year.
Harbor Steel maintains an existing presence in Lexington, where it opened in 1991 and currently employs 60 Kentucky residents. The Bowling Green operation will support overflow from the Lexington facility and position the company to grow its customer base and service area.
“All of us are very excited about locating our new facility in Bowling Green! We believe the location and infrastructure in the region gives us tremendous opportunity for sustainable growth,” said Michael Weis, president of Harbor Steel. “We look forward to expanding our service area in Kentucky while growing our processing capabilities.”
Founded in 1952 and based in Muskegon, Michigan, Harbor Steel distributes and manufactures fabricated steel products, specializing in processed sheet and plate for a variety of markets. The company’s services include sheet and tube laser cutting, plasma cutting, flame cutting, saw cutting, forming and machining of hot-rolled and cold-rolled aluminum and stainless steel. Aside from its Kentucky presence, the company operates in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia.
The new Harbor Steel operation will add to the state’s 230-plus metals-related facilities that employ approximately 25,000 Kentuckians. In 2021 alone, Kentucky’s metals industry has spurred approximately $920 million in planned investment and roughly 1,600 expected new jobs for Kentucky residents.
Warren County Judge/Executive Mike Buchanon said the project continues recent economic success in the region.
“Warren County is a great place to do business, and Harbor Steel & Supply is one more shining example of our strong business community,” Judge/Executive Buchanon said. “We are grateful for their continued confidence and investment in our community.”
Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott said Harbor Steel is an important part of the community’s continued growth.
“Congratulations to Harbor Steel & Supply, which is launching an exciting expansion project,” Mayor Alcott said. “Harbor Steel will serve as a key contributor to Kentucky’s booming fabricated metals industry, and the company has been integral in establishing South Central Kentucky as a vibrant manufacturing hub. Harbor Steel’s drive to succeed is impressive, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds as they further expand their operations.”
Ron Bunch, president and CEO of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, said Harbor Steel will be a great fit for Warren County.
“We are excited to celebrate the groundbreaking of Harbor Steel’s new facility here in Bowling Green,” Bunch said. “They will be exemplary members of our business community. Their growth is no surprise, and we look forward to their future in our community.”
John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of economic development, welcomed the company’s expansion plans.
“TVA and Warren RECC congratulate Harbor Steel & Supply on its decision to locate operations in Bowling Green. Helping attract new job opportunities and investment in the region is fundamental to TVA’s mission of service,” Bradley said. “We are proud to partner with the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce and Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to help further that mission and support companies like Harbor Steel & Supply’s business success in the valley.”
Dewayne McDonald, president and CEO of Warren RECC, said he looks forward to a long-term partnership with Harbor Steel.
“We are excited to welcome Harbor Steel & Supply to the Kentucky Transpark. We are pleased to have them as a member and we look forward to working with them for many years to come,” McDonald said.
Harbor Steel’s investment and planned job creation adds to a recent wave of economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger in response to the effects of the pandemic.
This week Gov. Beshear, Ford Motor Co. Executive Chair Bill Ford, CEO Jim Farley and Dong-Seob Jee, president of SK Innovation’s battery business, announced the single largest economic development project in the history of the commonwealth on Monday, celebrating a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs and places Kentucky at the forefront of the automotive industry’s future.
This year alone, the Governor has announced over $8.7 billion in total planned investment and 11,700 full-time jobs in private sector new-location and expansion projects across the coming years. Through July, Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage was $23.47 before benefits, a 6.2% increase over the previous year.
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.
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) today preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $500,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $8 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 25 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $30 including benefits across those jobs.
Additionally, KEDFA approved Harbor Steel for up to $100,000 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, Harbor 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 Harbor Steel, visit HarborSteel.com.
A detailed community profile for Warren 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, Instagram @CEDKYgov and LinkedIn.