LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 14, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear joined Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton and leaders of Funai Microfluidic Solutions (FMS) to celebrate the high-tech company’s recent relocation of its business unit headquarters to Lexington from Osaka, Japan.
“The commonwealth’s technology sector has been expanding, and Funai’s decision to move its headquarters here shows it’s only growing stronger,” said Gov. Beshear. “It’s truly exciting that Funai’s leadership has chosen Lexington as the company’s business headquarters, and it shows that we’re building an economy here that works for all our people.”
“Congratulations to Funai,” Mayor Gorton said. “Lexington is a great place for technology companies. Our talented, highly educated workforce supports their success.”
Mike Marra, chief technology officer at FMS, said the relocation will allow the company to further tap into Lexington’s thriving technological landscape.
“The relocation of our headquarters to Lexington was a natural progression as our facility transitioned from an R&D center to the driver of our global strategy,” Marra said. “Our local dedication to advancing this technology over the course of three decades, in collaboration with the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, has facilitated the attraction of top-tier talent. The unique blend of pioneering technology and exceptional skill sets within this facility fuels our vision.”
The resonance of this strategic shift was further amplified by Koji Yamanaka, CEO of the business unit. He also expressed gratitude for Kentucky’s support of the business community.
“The support of programs such as the Kentucky Business Investment Program and Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA) has made Lexington a welcoming ecosystem for our endeavors,” Yamanaka said. “This acknowledgment reinforces our commitment to spearheading innovation in our domain. As we celebrate our 10th year as a technology powerhouse in the Lexington region, this recognition is truly an honor.”
Raymond Fortuna, director of business development, encapsulated the diverse and dynamic nature of FMS’s endeavors.
“Each day at FMS presents new challenges and opportunities. Our spectrum ranges from high-speed printing technology for food expiration dates to cosmetic devices that redefine skin aesthetics,” Fortuna said. “The establishment of the Funai Life Sciences division is a particular highlight. Our recent partnership-driven product launch revolutionizes drug discovery by enabling smaller labs to afford capabilities historically reserved only for larger operations.”
Funai’s growth has been steadfast, elevating its workforce from 34 full-time employees in January 2020 to the current tally of 50 employees. The company’s commitment to expanding in-house capabilities was affirmed by David Graham, Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems development manager.
“Our significant investment in March 2022, amounting to nearly $4 million for key equipment procurement, has substantially enhanced our production throughput,” Graham said. “This augmentation also strengthens our supply chain resilience, fortifying redundancy and mitigating risks.”
Commerce Lexington President and CEO Bob Quick, said, “We are excited to welcome the division headquarters of Funai Microfluidic Solutions, a Funai Electric Co. LTD subsidiary, to Lexington. We are grateful for their investment in expanding microfluidic technology in our region’s industrial printing and life sciences sector. We applaud their R&D work to enhance this cutting-edge technology with practical applications in drug delivery, discovery and diagnostics. Funai joins a growing group of international companies with headquarters in the Greater Lexington Region. We look forward to continuing our work with the team at Funai as they continue to provide quality high-tech jobs to our community and find innovative solutions in the field of life sciences.”
In June 2022, Gov. Beshear announced that Funai was expanding in Lexington. Today’s announcement of Funai’s relocation of the FMS headquarters and growth in Lexington furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth.
Last week, Gov. Beshear reported that General Fund receipts for July 2023 totaled $1.1 billion, marking the 11th straight month with revenues over $1 billion. The Governor also recently announced that his administration secured the largest General Fund budget surplus and Rainy Day Fund, as well as the most jobs filled in state history.
The General Fund budget surplus at the end of fiscal year 2023 was more than $1.55 billion. Nearly all of the $1.55 billion surplus will go into the commonwealth’s Rainy Day Fund, bringing the fund to a record balance of $3.7 billion – a 2,700% increase since Gov. Beshear took office in 2019.
Gov. Beshear also announced an increase of 6,400 jobs filled, bringing the commonwealth to 2,015,600 filled jobs in June. That is a record number of nearly 60,000 more jobs filled than before the pandemic.
This year, the Governor 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 870 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling approximately $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 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 in December 2021 preliminarily approved Funai for up to $200,000 in tax incentives through the 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, the company 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 Funai, visit www.FunaiSolutions.com.
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.