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It was announced last week that one business in Springfield will receiving a hefty tax incentive that will help the company expand and could equate to more jobs in Washington County.
INOAC Group North America has called Springfield home to one of its facilities for nearly 25 years, and its recent approval for a $2.45 million tax incentive is the latest remind that the company will be part of the community for years to come.
“INOAC is very committed to being a resident of Washington County for a very long time. It is part of our long-term plan,” said Kurt Krug, vice president of North American human resources. “Obviously, we look at expansions and we look at starting new facilities in other parts of the world, but we always have and continue to maintain the Springfield operation on that footprint. We’re here for the long haul.”
Krug also said that while the details have not been finalized in regard to how the money will be spent, equipment upgrades and job creation will be at the forefront.
“Specifically, it’s still to be decided, but generally, the great majority of that will go toward two things,” he said. “One is infrastructure and investment in technology and equipment. The second, of course, will go toward workforce development and training.”
Krug said the ability to create new jobs and potential changes to infrastructure were among the factors considered in the application process for the tax incentive and that Springfield-Washington County Economic Development Authority (SWEDA) Executive Director Daniel Carney was essential to the process.
“Kentucky has a very, very proactive cabinet for economic development. We work very closely with Secretary Larry Hayes’ team and we work very closely with Daniel Carney and SWEDA, who, to be honest, was the driving force in putting this package together for us.”
Carney said the decision to lend INOAC a hand was an easy one, because their plans for the future align with what Washington County has envisioned.
“INOAC is an outstanding company with a worldwide presence, and they really have a great vision on how they can continue to thrive for years to come,” Carney said. “It’s really just sharing in that vision with them, and always looking for ways that we can support their goals.”
Carney said the partnership doesn’t end with him, however, and that it takes the community coming together to make projects like the expansion at INOAC a possibility.
“Whether it’s working with (INOAC) to develop a workforce development strategy, assisting with infrastructure needs or helping with incentives that can help keep business in Washington County, we want to be there every step of the way,” Carney said. “That includes my entire board of directors and all of our local elected officials. We get great support from the mayor and city council, as well as the county judge and fiscal court.”
Krug said when considering new projects, the availability of a skilled workforce and proximity to customers are among the chief criteria evaluated. Springfield’s link to higher education locally and central location to a number of INOAC’s clients made it the ideal choice.
Carney added the community welcomes the boost with open arms.
“It’s always very encouraging when a company looks to expand in Washington County, that tells us that they are happy doing business here, and that they see this community as part of their long-term future,” he said. “The job growth that comes from a project like this is great, but it goes much deeper than that. INOAC is a wonderful community partner, and they do so much behind the scenes that really impacts Washington County in a number of ways.”
Krug was named as a board member to the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association, which Gov. Steve Beshear announced earlier this year, and he said the latest changes fall in line with the governor’s vision for the state.
“The expansion that we are planning to do in Washington County clearly aligns with the goals and the objectives that the governor outlined when he introduced the association back in April,” Krug said. “This sort of demonstrates the state’s overall commitment to building new industry as well.”
The organization — whose board members include Secretary Hayes, representatives from Toyota, Ford and GM, as well as suppliers similar to INOAC — has made it its mission to spread the word about the auto industry in Kentucky.
“Our charge is really to raise awareness and be advocates for the automotive industry,” Krug said. “Kentucky is the No. 3 supplier of automobiles in the U.S. and most people don’t know that.”
Carney, who spoke to The Sun recently about the potential for Washington County to bring in new business, said SWEDA’s priority remains tending to the needs of the community’s existing companies.
“Sure, it’s always exciting to see a new company or business open in the community, but our best opportunities for growth are with the companies that are already here,” Carney said. We are really blessed in this community to have many great organizations like INOAC that have established themselves in Washington County. That’s why SWEDA has made it a priority to focus on retention of existing business, and this project is a direct example of how that can pay off.”