FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 26, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear highlighted further momentum of the state’s manufacturing sector as automated machinery manufacturer Chism Machine and Gage Inc., doing business as Chism Automation, will expand its existing operation in Somerset with an $800,000 investment creating 10 full-time Kentucky jobs.
“Small, Kentucky-owned businesses help fuel our economy, and as they grow, expand and thrive in our communities, the commonwealth’s historic economic momentum will only continue,” said Gov. Beshear. “I want to congratulate Chism Automation’s leadership on this expansion and look forward to the company’s continued success in Pulaski County.”
The investment will allow leaders at Chism Automation to double the size of their current facility’s machine build area to 16,000 square feet. The increased space will help accommodate new equipment and growing business. The project will also include a massive increase in power supply, moving from a 480-volt, 3-phase, 400-amp service to a 2,000-amp service. This electrical increase will allow the operation to power multiple assembly lines filled with robots, motors and other automated machinery that require high power consumption. Chism Automation will add 10 full-time jobs through the investment, which will include engineering, technician and materials positions.
“We partner with our customers to provide a level of support that our competitors can’t or won’t provide and we do it quickly when needed,” said Kyle Chism, founder and president of Chism Automation. “We compete with Japanese, German and out-of-state automation groups that are great technically but can’t provide our level of local support. Customers that once came to us with one- and two-robot-sized projects are asking for assembly lines with five to 10 robots. We have managed a few of these types of projects with current resources but need more space, electrical power and staff to facilitate growth.”
Founded in October 2007, Chism Automation builds robotic applications and automated machinery for manufacturers, including the automotive industry. Chism Automation partners with world-class robot, vision and industrial component manufacturers, integrating cutting-edge technology and design processes to develop consistent, high-quality results. The company expanded to its current facility in Somerset in 2015 and has built over 100 automated applications and robotic projects since that time.
Pulaski County Judge/Executive Marshall Todd is excited to see the company help advance the community forward: “To have Chism Automation here locally and be so connected to the next frontier of advanced robotics, putting us at the forefront of an inevitable future, is an honor and a privilege. This administration believes in moving Pulaski County forward, and nothing represents that better than the robotics industry.”
Somerset Mayor Alan Keck commended the company for providing quality job opportunities in the area: “Kyle Chism is an entrepreneur through and through. It’s been amazing to watch his business flourish while providing opportunities for young engineers to stay in and move to our area. We are certainly grateful for his vision and execution and excited about his plans for growth.”
Chris Girdler, president and CEO of the Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority, highlighted the company’s growth and key role in the local community: “Kyle Chism is a great example of what a strong work ethic, good morals and an entrepreneurial spirit can produce. From meager beginnings, Chism Automation has grown into a leader in the robotics industry, and this upcoming expansion exemplifies his drive and the continuation of a homegrown success story. Kyle, his family and team members are an integral part of our community, and I’m so excited to see their continued prosperity. I greatly appreciate the Cabinet for Economic Development and their assistance to so many of our businessmen and women in Somerset and Pulaski County. We are continuing to see record growth in the Capital of Lake Cumberland, and it inspires us daily at SPEDA to keep pushing forward with our new economic development model.”
Chism Automation’s investment and job creation builds on recent economic momentum in the commonwealth.
On Oct. 10, Gov. Beshear reported that General Fund receipts for September 2023 totaled over $1 billion, marking the 13th 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.
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 904 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling over $27.8 billion in announced investments, creating 48,700 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. Recently, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Kentucky’s credit outlook from stable to positive.
Site Selection magazine 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.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) today preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $200,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $800,000 and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 10 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $36.10, 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, Chism Automation 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 Chism Automation, visit chismautomation.com.
A detailed community profile for Pulaski County can be viewed here.