BRANDENBURG, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear joined local officials and Nucor Corporation leadership for the grand opening of the company’s $1.7 billion steel plate manufacturing mill in Meade County, a project that has created several hundred new high-quality manufacturing jobs.
“Nucor and Kentucky have a longstanding partnership, and I’m excited that we continue to build on that by opening Nucor Steel Brandenburg,” said Gov. Beshear. “This steel plate manufacturing mill provides opportunities for Kentucky workers, their families and the community in Meade County. I want to thank Nucor’s leadership for their continued commitment to the commonwealth.”
Located in the Buttermilk Falls Industrial Park along the Ohio River in Brandenburg, the 1.5 million-square-foot operation provides Nucor with 1.2 million tons of annual capacity for steel plate production. Nucor Steel Brandenburg already employs 440 people, and the average annual compensation is more than $72,000, exceeding job and pay targets when the project was first announced. Positions include equipment operators, production specialists, safety and environmental technicians, engineers and office support staff.
“Congratulations to the Nucor Steel Brandenburg team for safely and successfully starting up our new plate mill, which will make the sustainable steel products that serve as the building blocks of our modern American economy,” said Leon Topalian, chair, president and CEO of Nucor Corporation. “We are grateful for the support we have received from state leaders, as well as local officials in Meade County and the city of Brandenburg.”
Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nucor is North America’s largest recycler and the nation’s largest steel and steel products producer. The company employs over 31,000 people at more than 300 facilities, primarily located in North America. In Kentucky, Nucor and its affiliates employ approximately 2,000 people at numerous facilities, including Nucor Steel Gallatin, Nucor Steel Brandenburg, Nucor Tubular Products, Nucor Insulated Panels, multiple recycling facilities that collect and recycle scrap metal, and a 50% ownership stake in Steel Technologies.
Meade County Judge/Executive Troy Kok congratulated Nucor on the opening: “On behalf of the Meade County Fiscal Court and myself, we would like to congratulate Nucor Steel Brandenburg on hosting their grand opening. It has been a pleasure to help make the steel industry a strong partner for our community. We look forward to a long-term working relationship.”
Brandenburg Mayor Bryan Claycomb spoke on the positive long-term impact of the project: “On behalf of the citizens of Brandenburg, along with Brandenburg city government, we want to show Nucor Steel Brandenburg our excitement and anticipation of a budding working relationship. We feel the citizens of our region will see long-term positive outcomes from job creation and subsidiary companies. Congratulations on the grand opening.”
Meade County-Brandenburg Industrial Development Authority Chairman David Pace mentioned the job opportunities the project has already provided: “Meade County-Brandenburg Industrial Authority is as excited today as we were in late 2018 on the first visit of Nucor Steel. It has been an adventure to be able to work alongside the many folks needed to make Nucor Steel Brandenburg a reality. To be able to offer high-paying skilled careers to many of our citizens is a dream come true. We would like to thank all the Nucor management for choosing Meade County and Brandenburg as the new home for the latest plate mill. Congratulations and welcome as you host your grand opening.”
Nucor’s investment and planned job creation builds on recent economic momentum in the commonwealth.
The Governor announced in August that his administration secured the largest General Fund budget surplus and Rainy Day Fund in state history. Last month, Gov. Beshear reported that General Fund receipts for August 2023 totaled over $1 billion, marking the 12th straight month with revenues over $1 billion.
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.
This year, the Governor announced that Kentucky set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history.
Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced nearly 900 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling over $27.5 billion in announced investments, creating 48,000 jobs. This is the highest investment figure for any governor in state history.
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 introduced 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. In September, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Kentucky’s credit outlook from stable to positive.
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 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.
For more information on Nucor, visit Nucor.com.
A detailed community profile for Meade 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.