Wednesday October 18, 2017
News Topics

Registration deadline is Oct. 22

A Nov. 2 economic development forum focused on west Louisville will examine strategies and available resources to help rebuild and sustain communities.

The University of Louisville’s College of Arts and Sciences is offering the public event, “The Future of Our Community: West Louisville Economic and Community Development Forum,” at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, 1701 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. The program runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Advance registration is required by Oct. 22 for the forum, which includes lunch. Participants should visit and pay online or by check; fees are $60 for corporate representatives, $50 for individuals and $40 for students.

Forum breakout sessions will focus on creative financing for individual and large construction projects, economic opportunities for minority-owned firms, successful neighborhood planning and access to lending opportunities. Panelists will include residents, developers, financiers, entrepreneurs and government and community group representatives.

WAVE 3 News anchor Dawne Gee will serve as mistress of ceremonies for the event.

The program includes a 12:45-2:15 p.m. luncheon panel with former National Basketball Association players Derek Anderson and Darrell Griffith discussing “Giving Back: The Power of Investing in the Community” and a tribute to philanthropist and civic leader Charlie Johnson.

The A&S international, diversity and engagement programs office organized the forum. Other partners are Brown-Forman Corp., OneWest, PNC Bank, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis-Louisville Branch, Louisville Metro Council, Louisville Housing Authority, Louisville Forward, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth and UofL’s urban and public affairs department.

For a full schedule of sessions and speakers, see the forum’s website. For more information, contact Clest Lanier at 502-852-3042 or

EnterpriseCorp, the entrepreneurial support arm of GLI, welcomed nearly 300 people to the Kentucky Derby Museum for the annual Evening of Entrepreneurship, presented by Wyatt Tarrant & Combs, Wednesday evening. The event featured a keynote presentation by Frederique Dame, a well-known angel investor and former product engineer for Uber, and gave the region’s startup community a chance to celebrate their accomplishments and look ahead to the work that needs to be done to accelerate the region’s startup community.

“We’ve taken huge steps forward in just a year’s time and as other communities have taught us, once the ball is rolling it’s hard to stop it. We have every reason to be optimistic about the state of entrepreneurship in our region. Yes, there are challenges that we need to take head on to keep up the pace of this progress, but there is so much to be proud of and so many opportunities to connect, engage and grow our region’s startups,” Lisa Bajorinas, Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Talent for GLI, told the crowd during her State of Entrepreneurship address.

The theme of this year’s program was customer development, specifically the clients that have made the biggest impact on local startups and entrepreneurs. Dame’s speech centered on her time at Uber and how the company scaled from early stage to global success by listening to their drivers and customers pain points and working from that point.

“Building a product with the customer is not only essential. It’s also really fun,” Dame said. “If you’re not building for the customer, then what is your business actually doing?”

Dame also took the chance to comment on the landscape of tech startups and how established companies and entrepreneurs can work together.

“Being beta testers, as a large customer, would be incredible help to small startups and the large companies can benefit from the collaboration with startups to increase their agility within their markets,” Dame said.

In addition to Dame’s address, Mary Tapolsky took home 2017’s EnterpriseCorp Award, which recognizes an individual that has made a significant contribution to Louisville’s entrepreneurial community.

Tapolsky is the Director for Technology Commercialization and Program Administration for UofL’s Nucleus. She focuses on developing and administering programs and services to help facilitate the creation and success of startup and early stage companies. These programs include LaunchIt, an entrepreneur training program that has graduated over 380 entrepreneurs, RevIt – Accelerating Customer Growth, VetStart, Open Office Hours, e + i Entrepreneurs Meet Innovators, Nucleus MeetUps, and Startup Seminar Series – Educating Entrepreneurs. In addition, she administers the Nucleus Startup Grants program and has been instrumental in recruiting more than twenty technology-based companies to One Innovation Center.

Automotive frame manufacturer Metalsa Structural Products Inc. will add 113 jobs at its Owensboro facility with a $36.5 million expansion to produce a new line of stamped and welded components.

“With three production facilities in the commonwealth, Metalsa stands as one of our largest automotive employers,” Gov. Bevin said. “We are grateful for this additional expansion and these new jobs. This will strengthen Kentucky’s economy and further propel us toward our goal of being the American center of engineering and manufacturing excellence. We welcome this growth and congratulate both Metalsa and the Owensboro community on their success.”

The $36.5 million will include investment in robotic welding cells, assembly line robots, infrastructure and building expansions to increase the facility’s square footage to accommodate the new production line and additional warehouse space. The expansion began this summer and hiring is for September 2018 through June 2019. Company leaders expect production to begin in March 2019.

In Kentucky, Metalsa currently employs about 2,700 people at three vehicle-frame facilities. It established the Owensboro facility in 1997, opened its Hopkinsville plant in 1989 and its Elizabethtown plant dates to 1994.

Established in 1956 as Manufacturas Metálicas Monterrey with a plant in Churubusco, Mexico, the company initially produced structures for the construction industry then began manufacturing automotive parts four years later. The company changed its name to Metalsa in 1980. Current products include frames and fuel tanks for light and commercial vehicles, among other items.

Kentucky’s automotive industry — a key sector of the commonwealth’s economy — employs more than 100,000 people at 500-plus facilities across the state. This year through August, the industry announced a dozen new locations or expansions totaling $3.9 billion in investments. Those are expected to create more than 3,100 full-time jobs.

Kentucky’s ideal location as a gateway between the nation’s two auto-production hotbeds offers suppliers the opportunity to produce components in a low-cost, right-to-work state and ship their products quickly and cost-effectively to assembly plants in Kentucky and across the Midwest and South.

Sen. Joe Bowen, of Owensboro, said the announcement will benefit the region for years to come.

“It is a great day when a company that already employs so many Kentuckians chooses to expand its operations in our city,” he said. “I am pleased that Metalsa chose to increase its investment in its Owensboro facility and I thank them for their dedication to our community.”

Rep. Suzanne Miles, of Owensboro, commended Metalsa on its commitment to the region and thanked those involved with landing the project.

“I want to congratulate Metalsa Structural Products on their expansion and thank them for their continued investment in the 7th District,” Rep. Miles said. “This expansion will create jobs for the Owensboro area and bring continued economic development to our region. Metalsa Structural Products has long been a successful corporate and community partner for Owensboro, and I want to applaud all those who made this investment possible.”

Owensboro Mayor Tom Watson said the company’s growth reflects the pro-business climate of the community.

“The City of Owensboro is proud and honored to be the site of Metalsa’s expansion,” Mayor Watson said. “The company’s commitment to Owensboro is a testament to our positive business environment, a highly-skilled workforce and superb quality of life. We look forward to working with this fine corporate citizen for many years to come.”

Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly welcomed news of the expansion.

“On behalf of the fiscal court and the citizens of Daviess County, I congratulate Metalsa on their expansion,” Judge Mattingly said. “This project will create high-wage jobs, and illustrates the company’s confidence in our workforce and community.”

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in June preliminarily approved Metalsa for tax incentives up to $3.5 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

In addition, Metalsa can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. In fiscal year 2016, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for nearly 95,000 Kentuckians and 5,000 companies from a variety of industry sectors.

For more information on Metalsa, visit

A detailed community profile for Daviess County can be viewed at

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.

Mayor Greg Fischer today announced a $200 million economic development plan for about 35 underused acres in Butchertown that will be anchored by a 10,000-seat, 15-acre soccer stadium, allowing Louisville to compete for an MLS franchise.

“This is an exciting, worthwhile project that takes an underused, very visible swath of land and creates a vibrant new stadium district that builds on the momentum downtown, in Nulu and Butchertown,” the Mayor said. “This is a smart opportunity, and when smart opportunities to move our city forward come up, we’re going to grab them.”

(Listen to Mayor Greg Fischer Podcast segment about the development and stadium)

Louisville City Football Club (LCFC) will build the $50 million stadium and serve as developer of the overall project, which will include retail, a hotel and offices, built by private investment.

Louisville Metro Government’s sole investment is $30 million to purchase the land for the development and do brownfield remediation and public infrastructure improvements. The project is expected to increase hotel, restaurant and retail amenities nearby and create a “stadium district” where the soccer stadium, Louisville Slugger Field and the Yum! Center are all within blocks of each other, along the same line of sight.

The city’s $30 million portion will be covered by general obligation bond — $25 million to buy the land and $5 million as a contribution to brownfield remediation and public infrastructure.

No Metro tax dollars will be used for stadium construction. In fact, LCFC will pay $14.5 million back to the city over 20 years from sales of land, rent from leases of land, and stadium rent. In addition, if the stadium hits certain financial markers, the city has an opportunity to share in the upside of that growth, up to $2 million.

(See the factsheet about the development and stadium)

On behalf of Louisville City Football Club, Chairman and President John Neace, thanked Mayor Fischer and Louisville Forward “for their commitment to the growth of professional soccer in Louisville.

“Today marks another important step in our vision to be the best United Soccer League club in the country, with the ultimate goal of bringing Major League Soccer to Louisville,” Neace said. “We look forward to building a world-class soccer stadium and surrounding development that continues revitalization in the Butchertown neighborhood.”

With Metro Council approval, the city will work with LCFC on an application to the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) for a mixed-use TIF for the project.

To be eligible for state participation in a TIF, the local applicant (the city) must have some financial participation in the project; in this case, the city’s participation would be the money spent on land acquisition, brownfield remediation and debt service of the bonds to pay for the land.

The city will not commit any of its local property tax revenues to be included in the TIF.

Construction of the project will comply with Metro Ordinance 37.75 with respect to minority, women and local participation goals: 20 percent minority participation, 5 percent women participation, with 75 percent of the work going to residents of the Louisville MSA.

A city-commissioned feasibility study confirmed that a soccer-specific stadium is needed to maintain and grown professional soccer in Louisville. The study called for a soccer-specific stadium, with the ability to hold 10,000 seats, to be built by 2020.

Congratulations to our August Sanitation and Food Excellence (SAFE) Award winner, St. Joseph Children’s Home.

To be eligible for nomination, a food service establishment must:

  • have maintained an A placard for two successive routine inspections
  • serve foods such as meat or egg products, which if mishandled, have the potential to be associated with food borne illness
  • must have their food service permit for at least one year
  • have a history of compliance with regulations
  • have certified food maagers as required by LMCO Ch. 118

Surrounded by young people who spent their summer working, Mayor Greg Fischer today declared the 2017 SummerWorks season a big success, with more than 5,200 youth ages 16-21 employed – breaking last year’s record total.

That number includes 800 youth employed by companies and organizations that directly teamed with the city and KentuckianaWorks to provide more extensive career training, led by a new SummerWorks partner, YouthBuild. Overall, a record 150 employers hired youth this summer.

“This year’s program was focused on creating deeper, more effective learning experiences for our youth participants, and YouthBuild did a phenomenal job in leading this effort,” the Mayor said.  “Our 800 core placements received training to create résumés and prepare for job interviews, as well as coaching throughout the summer from YouthBuild staff or key private sector employer-partners.  This effort helps us ensure that Louisville is a city of opportunity for all our young people.”

At a season-closing event at Kentucky Kingdom, two of those 800 young people shared their summer job experiences.

Munirah Sajjida, 17, said she has “loved my work” at the non-profit Plymouth Community Center. Munirah, who had been struggling with school attendance issues and other problems, also participates in the city’s ReImage program, designed to keep court-involved youth from getting into further trouble.   She credited the SummerWorks program and ReImage with helping to get her life headed in a positive direction.

Jon Russell, who was hired back for a second summer as an assistant in human resources at Fourth Street Live! said his SummerWorks job “has given me skills that will be valuable to my dream of opening my own department store.”

Fourth Street Live! presented him with a scholarship, which he will use to attend the University of Kentucky. The company plans to award a scholarship yearly to a SummerWorks youth.

Mayor Fischer said such SummerWorks’ “employer champions” hired youth, ages 16-21, for jobs in hospitals, restaurants, groceries, banks and hotels. Working closely with supervisors and mentors, young people worked on manufacturing assembly lines and grocery check-out lanes, assisted companies with their IT and human resources needs, helped process insurance claims, worked in pharmacies and helped ship packages around the world.

Several of Louisville’s largest companies greatly increased their hiring, including GE Appliances, Ford, Humana and Kindred Healthcare.

Employers new to the program included 21st Century Parks, Coastal Cloud, Hilliard Lyons, Hyatt Hotel, McDonald’s local franchises, MedAssist, MSD, Speed Art Museum, University of Louisville and Workwell Industries.

A combination of public and private funding sponsored SummerWorks jobs at more than 85 non-profit organizations and city agencies, including Boys and Girls Clubs, Kentucky Shakespeare, the Food Literacy Project, Louisville Metro Police, Louisville Fire, EMS, Metro Parks, Family Health Centers, Americana Community Center and Louisville Grows.

Funding for those jobs included $600,000 that the Mayor and Metro Council placed in last year’s city budget, as well as $100,000 each from the James Graham Brown Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation and the family of businessman Paul Diaz.

This year, SummerWorks expanded its focus on creating job experiences that build entrepreneurial skills in young people. Small grants were provided to six partner organizations that helped youth learn to start their own business, learn computer coding, and gain invaluable on-the-job training in the medical field, building trades, and technology.

“We are thrilled to see this initiative grow and evolve in both the quantity of and quality of the job opportunities young people are able to experience,” said Michael Gritton, executive director of KentuckianaWorks, which operates the SummerWorks program.

Many of the companies joining SummerWorks this year were recruited by Greater Louisville Inc., the Metro Chamber of Commerce.

“GLI was pleased to partner with the Mayor’s SummerWorks Program and successfully recruit 30 new GLI investor companies and create 225 summer jobs for youth in our community,” said Kent Oyler, president & CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. “Hands-on experience in the workplace is critical for raising young persons’ expectations and building a quality workforce.”

The Mayor launched SummerWorks right after taking office in 2011, in response to the elimination of federal funding for summer jobs.  That first year, 200 young people were placed in jobs. The program was recognized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2014 as one of the nation’s best summer jobs programs for young people.

SummerWorks continues to work closely with Jefferson County Public Schools to place students in jobs that match up with what they are learning in school, and jobs in the key business sectors the city is strategically growing, such as technology, healthcare and business services.

Other companies participating included the Belle of Louisville, GlowTouch Technologies, Harland Clarke, Louisville Urban League, Louisville Zoo, Norton Healthcare, Oxmoor Auto Group, Speedway, Thorntons and YMCA of Greater Louisville.

The Mayor urged employers to make plans now to hire or support summer jobs for 2018. More information is at 

Louisville Metro Animal Services expected its Pay It Forward free adopton promotion to last about a month, but Louisvillians proved LMAS wrong! Six months later, the free adoption promotion is still going strong, thanks to Jefferson County’s compassionate animal lovers who continue to pay it forward.

The free adoption promotion got underway in January when LMAS offered $1,000 worth of free adoptions. LMAS asked adopters to pay it forward with donations to help cover adoption fees of other shelter pets. LMAS promised to continue offering free adoptions until the money ran out. Today, the Pay It Forward free adoption promotion is still going strong, thanks to those who continue to donate!

As a result, more than 400 additional animals have been adopted, compared to year-to-date 2016, in which 150 animals were adopted! LMAS hopes to continue this life-saving promotion indefinitely. Continued support from compassionate community members gives LMAS hope that this goal will become a reality.

Help save a shelter pet today and pay it forward! Click here to make a donation to LMAS’ non-profit fundraising entity, Friends of Metro Animal Services. FOMAS is dedicated to saving animals’ lives. Help them help the shelter pets of LMAS!

Pay It Forward FREE adoptions include vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery and microchip. All cats (6 mos. or older) and dogs (40 lbs. or more) are free. Puppies and kittens are not included in the Pay It Forward FREE adoption promotion. The promotion is meant to encourage the adoption of animals who are often overlooked in the shelter.