FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 15, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced continued momentum of the state’s manufacturing sector as Lexair Inc. will expand existing operations in Lexington with an $8.5 million investment creating 14 quality jobs.
“A key aspect of building a strong economic foundation is having homegrown companies, ones founded and built right here in the commonwealth, find success and thrive,” said Gov. Beshear. “Lexair has been a staple in Kentucky’s manufacturing industry for over four decades, and I am thrilled to see them continue to grow and believe in what Kentucky has to offer. I look forward to their continued success here in the commonwealth.”
The project will see the company expand its current operation in Lexington by 35,000 square feet, bringing its total operational space to over 78,000 square feet. The expansion will allow for additional space to house manufacturing assets from Keystone, an Emerson brand, for the U.S. Navy markets. These assets include intellectual property licenses for technology that are trademarked by Emerson. All manufacturing for these products will move from Emerson’s Pasadena, Texas, facility to Lexair’s new and expanded factory in Lexington.
“We are going back to our roots with this acquisition,” said Lexair President Wes Allen. “We started as a defense contractor 45 years ago, and these products are very synergistic to our current operations. This expansion provides for the future viability of Lexair, benefiting its customers, employees and community for many years to come.”
Founded in 1977, Lexair is a third-generation family-owned manufacturing corporation located in Lexington. The company manufactures machine tool products, commercial hydraulic and pneumatic control valves and a series of CO2 evacuation compressors and stainless valves for the U.S. Navy. The company has been involved in the naval and industrial markets for over 45 years. Lexair understands the critical importance of these products for the U.S. Navy supply base and is committed to providing the highest quality products to support the needs of the U.S. Navy and its customers.
This expansion adds to Kentucky’s thriving manufacturing sector, which includes more than 5,000 facilities and employs over 250,000 people statewide. Administration-to-date, more than 550 new location and expansion projects within the industry are expected to create nearly 26,000 full-time jobs with over $18.6 billion in new investments.
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton looks forward to the company’s continued success and creation of quality manufacturing jobs in Lexington.
“Lexair is a growing family business that plays an important role in the defense of our country,” said Mayor Gorton. “I have visited their shop, and it is clearly a great place to work. Congratulations, Lexair. We appreciate the good manufacturing jobs you bring to our city.”
Bob Quick, president and CEO of Commerce Lexington, is excited that Lexair will continue to invest in and provide well-paying jobs to the community.
“For many years, Lexair has provided excellent customer service, product engineering, component machining and manufacturing right here in Central Kentucky,” said Quick. “Through new product development and acquisitions, as well as an innovative team of people, Lexair has been able to expand and grow jobs. We appreciate the company’s continued investment in Lexington and look forward to more success for Lexair in the future.”
Lexair’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.
Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced the creation of 43,700 full-time jobs and 838 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling $24.7 billion in announced investments.
The Governor has now secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth.
In 2021, the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years.
That momentum continued strongly into 2022 with 248 new-location and expansion announcements totaling 16,000 full-time jobs behind nearly $10.5 billion in new investment.
The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010 and an 11.5% increase over the previous year.
Gov. Beshear also announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. And in April 2022, the Governor was joined by leadership at Envision AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
Kentucky’s success has been noted by both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings, which have upgraded the state’s financial outlook to positive in recognition of the commonwealth’s surging economy.
Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky second nationwide and first in the South Central region for its annual Governor’s Cup ranking for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
Gov. Beshear’s administration is projected to post the four highest years of budget surpluses in Kentucky history, and the state’s rainy day fund has a record balance of $2.7 billion.
Recently, Gov. Beshear announced a new “Supply Kentucky” initiative with the goal of boosting job growth, reducing costs and providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies.
The Governor also announced that Kentucky set the lowest annual unemployment rate in state history for 2022 at 3.9%. This is the lowest rate seen since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting state unemployment rates in 1976.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in December 2022 preliminarily approved a 10-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 over $8.5 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 14 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $41.97 including benefits across those jobs.
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, Lexair can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.
For more information on Lexair, visit lexairinc.com.
A detailed community profile for Fayette 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.