FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 13, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear congratulated Harbor Steel & Supply Corp., a distributor and manufacturer of fabricated products for the steel and aluminum industries, as company and local leadership gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on a new $8 million operation in Bowling Green that is creating 25 full-time jobs.
“I want to congratulate Harbor Steel & Supply on this new facility in Bowling Green,” said Gov. Beshear. “This is the company’s second location in the commonwealth, and the commitment they have shown our workforce and communities is amazing. I look forward to seeing them continue to grow and thrive here.”
Harbor Steel announced in September 2021 plans to locate its second Kentucky facility in Warren County. In May 2022, the company broke ground on the 50,000-square-foot facility in the Kentucky Transpark. In addition to the initial investment, the operation provides an opportunity for potential future expansion and job creation. The company’s investment included the acquisition of laser machines, press brakes for forming, automated saws and other equipment.
Harbor Steel also currently operates in Lexington, where it opened in 1991 and employs 60 Kentuckians. The Bowling Green facility will support overflow from the Lexington operation and support the growth of the company’s customer base and service area.
Last year, Gov. Beshear announced the city of Bowling Green and its officials will implement upgrades at the Kentucky Transpark behind a $1 million investment, building on one of the fastest-growing industrial parks in Kentucky.
“Our project in the Transpark has been incredible,” said Harbor Steel President Michael Weis. “The state of Kentucky, the officials in Warren County and Bowling Green have been very supportive throughout this build. The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce has created a perfect climate for business and industry to thrive in the area. All of us at Harbor Steel appreciate the kindness and support from everyone in the area.”
Muskegon, Michigan-based Harbor Steel was founded in 1952 and has become a complete metal service center for its customers in seven locations across the central United States. The company distributes and manufactures fabricated steel products and specializes in processed sheet and plate for a variety of markets. Harbor Steel’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 Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia.
Warren County Judge/Executive Doug Gorman thanked company leadership for their commitment to Warren County.
“Harbor Steel’s investment in our community is a testament to the strength of our workforce and pro-business environment,” said Judge Gorman. “We are grateful for their confidence, and we look forward to watching them grow for years to come.”
Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott showed his excitement for the new facility.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the grand opening of Harbor Steel’s exciting new facility today,” said Mayor Alcott. “Their project plays an integral part in maintaining South Central Kentucky as a vibrant manufacturing hub.”
Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Ron Bunch wished the company luck.
“Harbor Steel’s emphasis on quality control, on-time delivery and total customer service has driven their company’s success,” said Bunch. “We are honored to celebrate the grand opening of their new facility here in Bowling Green and look forward to their success in our community.”
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley congratulated Harbor Steel on its grand opening.
“TVA and Warren Rural Electric Cooperative Corp. congratulate Harbor Steel & Supply on its opening in Bowling Green,” said Bradley. “We are proud to partner with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce to support companies like Harbor Steel & Supply, that create job opportunities and investment in the region, and we celebrate this occasion together.”
Harbor Steel’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth.
Last month, Gov. Beshear announced there are more than 2 million jobs filled in Kentucky – the most in state history – according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in its federal survey of business establishments. And the Governor highlighted that 57,000 new jobs have been filled since the beginning of his administration.
The Governor recently announced that Kentucky set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history. On May 18, Gov. Beshear announced that Kentucky set a new historic low unemployment rate of 3.7%, which is the lowest rate ever recorded in the commonwealth.
Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced more than 860 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling $26.8 billion in announced investments.
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.
The Governor also secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth and announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK On celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. In April 2022, the Governor was joined by leadership at 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.
That position was strengthened even further in May 2023, when the Governor and leaders at Toyota announced a $591 million investment across multiple projects as the company’s largest manufacturing operation in Georgetown introduces its first battery electric vehicle. Growth within the EV sector continued into June as Gov. Beshear joined INFAC North America to break ground on the company’s $53 million investment to support EV-related production in Campbellsville.
Over a two-month period this year, Kentucky secured two credit rating increases from major agencies. On May 12, Gov. Beshear announced that his administration obtained the first state-level credit rating upgrade in 13 years and the first-ever upgrade from Fitch Ratings. On June 29, Gov. Beshear announced the commonwealth received its first-ever rating increase from S&P Global Ratings.
Site Selection magazine recently placed Kentucky first in the South Central region and top-5 nationally in its 2023 Prosperity Cup ranking, which recognizes state-level economic development agencies for their success in landing capital investment projects. The publication also 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. In July 2023, the state reported receipts for fiscal year 2023 totaling $15.1 billion, which exceeded budgeted estimates by $1.4 billion, making it the largest revenue surplus in history.
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.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in September 2021 preliminarily approved an incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide tax incentives based on the company’s investment and annual job and wage targets.
Additionally, KEDFA approved Harbor Steel for 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 Steel 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 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.