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Hendrickson aims to open in 1 year

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Suspension system manufacturer attracted to local workforce, amenities

By Marty Finley

Hendrickson USA LLC should be fully operational in Elizabethtown by January 2015, spokesman Mark Slingluff said.

The company, a global manufacturer and supplier of suspension systems and components for heavy-duty vehicles, announced plans last week to place a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in the T.J. Patterson Industrial Park on North Black Branch Road in Elizabethtown. The expansion into the city is expected to create 75 jobs as part of a $20 million investment.

State and local officials said construction should be finished later this year with the facility on 30 or more acres near UPS Supply Chain Solutions.

In coming weeks, the company will place advertisements in area newspapers and post information on job websites about the open positions, Slingluff said. The company also wants to work with Elizabethtown Community and Technical College to promote the positions locally, he said.

Slingluff said Hendrickson will look to fill salary and non-salary positions.

Salaried positions include roles for manufacturing engineers, quality and control technicians, production supervisors and human resources administration, he said. Non-salaried positions include welders, material handlers and machine operators, Slingluff said.

Asked about salary ranges for the jobs, Slingluff said those figures still are being calculated by Hendrickson officials.

“We’re confident we’re going to be competitive with whatever the market is offering down there,” he said.

Hendrickson, headquartered in Itasca, Ill., already operates facilities in Lebanon and Somerset and was attracted to Elizabethtown because of its proximity to Interstate 65 and other highway systems, he said.

Slingluff said the company also was impressed with the level of educational and training programs nearby and the availability of workers.

“We feel there’s a skilled workforce down there,” he said.

The state offered an excellent incentives package, Slingluff said.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved preliminary authorization for up to $1.55 million in tax incentives for the company as part of the Kentucky Business Investment Program, according to the governor’s office.

These incentives are driven by performance and give companies the ability to retain a percentage of their investments through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by hitting certain targets.

News of Hendrickson’s announcement elicited enthusiasm from  Hardin County and Frankfort as Gov. Steve Beshear proclaimed it a great opportunity to create new jobs and proof of the state’s status as a hub for the automotive industry.

Elizabethtown Mayor Edna Berger said the company will be a sound corporate partner.

Local legislators said the announcement was a boon for the county as officials look to develop more jobs in the region.

“It’s very exciting to see a high-tech global manufacturer choosing to call Elizabethtown home,” said Rep. Jimmie Lee, D-Elizabethtown, in a statement. “Hendrickson’s investment is proof that Elizabethtown’s highly skilled workforce is second to none.”

Marty Finley can be reached at 270-505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.