Welcoming a new employer

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Editorial: Feb. 9, 2014

ISSUE: Hendrickson USA to open new manufacturing facility
New plant strengthens Hardin County’s value

Hardin County received more good news as local and state officials announced another vehicle-related manufacturer will be setting up shop in Elizabethtown.

Hendrickson USA, a leading manufacturer of suspension systems, axle systems and other components for the medium to heavy-duty transportation industry, will open a new facility in Elizabethtown’s T.J. Patterson Industrial Park. Set to open late this year, Hendrickson says the new plant should be fully operational by January 2015.

Their decision to come to Elizabethtown represents an increased investment in Kentucky by Hendrickson.

The company already operates facilities in Lebanon and Somerset. The success they have had with the strength of the workforce and the quality of production generated at those sister facilities no doubt played an influential role in the decision to come to Hardin County.

Yes, the $1.55 million tax incentive opportunity offered by the state through its Kentucky Business Investment Program can be too large a carrot to pass up. But few, if any, companies would risk investment in a state where the workforce fails to perform to its expectations regardless of any tax advantages provided.

For this reason, we can say thanks to Hendrickson workers in these nearby communities for their diligence and hard work.

More importantly, the $20 million, 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to be built here will offer additional punch to the value proposition local economic and industrial development tout to other manufacturers seeking a new or expansion home.

When one company in an industry sees and takes advantage of a competitive advantage a community and its workforce offers, others take note, too. And when that happens, momentum begins to build. Such has been the case locally and we’re eager and excited about this momentum continuing in Hardin County.

Company spokesman Mark Slingluff pointed to several key advantages our community provided that led to choosing Elizabethtown for its expansion. Proximity provided by the Interstate 65 corridor and other key highway systems plus the closeness to the Lebanon and Somerset plants were important, he said. The immediacy of educational and training opportunities available locally and nearby were key, too.

Slingluff went on to say Hendrickson feels Hardin County offers a skilled workforce its company can use to accomplish its business objectives. We know we have that asset to offer.

The 75 employees to be hired at competitive salaries and wages in engineering, quality control, supervisory and production positions should prove to be just the beginning for Hendrickson’s future in Elizabethtown.

We look forward to greeting this new manufacturer as a neighbor and welcome the employment opportunities Hendrickson will offer for Hardin Countians.

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.