FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 9, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear highlighted continued growth in Kentucky’s vast manufacturing sector as Big Rapids Products plans to extend its Montgomery County presence with a $4.5 million expansion that will create 44 additional full-time jobs.
“Our economy continues to see momentum, and manufacturers like Big Rapids Products play an important role in that,” said Gov. Beshear. “This is a great day for Montgomery County and the residents of Mt. Sterling. I want to thank the company’s leadership for their continued support and look forward to seeing years of future success here in the commonwealth.”
Due to the increased demands of its customer base, Big Rapids Products will expand the footprint of its Mt. Sterling facility at 310 Flint Drive to add extensive machinery and equipment that will grow the operation’s production capacity.
“Big Rapids Products does mostly stamp and assembly for automotive products, and we are branching out into solar field hardware, appliance hardware and various other stampings for the agricultural industries,” said Josh Siple, vice president of operations at Big Rapids Products. “The updates at Flint will be used to manufacture, warehouse and ship. Big Rapids enjoys being in the Mt. Sterling location. It’s a good, centralized location, and we do not want to move. As long as we can keep making products, we want to be here.”
Founded in 1977 in Michigan, Big Rapids Products supplies metal stampings and assemblies with three facilities in Big Rapids, Michigan, and two facilities in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. The company produces components for the automotive industry and the appliance manufacturing sector, as well as solar, aerospace, agricultural and food service sectors. In Mt. Sterling, Big Rapids Products currently employs 50 full-time equivalents between its locations at 102 Adena Drive and 310 Flint Drive.
This expansion adds to Kentucky’s significant manufacturing sector, which administration-to-date has seen more than 580 private-sector new-location or expansion projects commit to invest nearly $22 billion and create more than 29,400 full-time jobs.
Montgomery County Judge/Executive Chris Haddix spoke on the positive business climate in the county.
“We are continuing to see companies like Big Rapids wanting to expand and invest in Montgomery County,” said Judge Haddix. “I think it reflects what a positive business climate our city and county are creating. We are open for business in Montgomery County and excited about Big Rapids Products investment in opportunities for our local citizens.”
Mt. Sterling Mayor Al Botts mentioned the job creation and opportunities the expansion will bring.
“Big Rapids is a proud company with a good track record of providing quality jobs and opportunities for their workforce,” Mayor Botts said. “We are excited to hear of their desire to expand operations here. In these challenging times, we are incredibly pleased to see a company that wishes to grow with us, and we are very excited to see them do so. An investment from the state of Kentucky will allow this project to become a reality and provide a tremendous boost for our local economy.”
Mt. Sterling – Montgomery County Industrial Authority and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jason Rainey spoke on how important this investment is to the community.
“We are excited to have Big Rapids continuing to invest in its Mt. Sterling operations,” said Rainey. “Big Rapids is an important local employer, and we are pleased we are going to have more job opportunities in our community for our citizens. These new jobs will be over $27 an hour including related benefits. We appreciate the support of the executive branch and the Cabinet for Economic Development, and the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) board recently approving tax incentives for this investment in Montgomery County.”
Big Rapids Products’ investment and 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 approximately 46,000 full-time jobs and more than 850 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling $25.9 billion in announced investments.
The Governor also 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.
Gov. Beshear recently 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 recently announced that Kentucky set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history. Over the past 15 months, the rate has been between 3.8%, the lowest rate ever recorded, and 4%, marking the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history. Kentucky has now achieved a 3.8% unemployment rate during four months since the beginning of 2022.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in April preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $1.2 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $4.5 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 44 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $27.28 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, Big Rapids Products 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 Big Rapids Products, visit BRProducts.com.
A detailed community profile for Montgomery 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.