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SHEPHERDSVILLE – Gov. Steve Beshear enjoys the $20 million investment that Magna International brought to Bullitt County and the commonwealth of Kentucky.
And he is proud that the seat-making factory will help Kentucky become third in the country in auto industry-related jobs as a percentage of jobs in the state.
But the most important number Beshear is thankful for is the number of jobs being created.
“That’s 450 jobs for Kentucky families,” said Beshear during special ribbon cutting ceremonies Tuesday afternoon at the Magna Seating plant located in the Cedar Grove Business Park.
“That’s what is so exciting,” Beshear said of the jobs.
The ceremony marked the official opening of the plant, which will eventually hire over 450 employees. Originally, the plant was looking to hire 234 workers.
The plant will be the maker of seating for the new 2013 Ford Escape, being built in the Fern Valley Road assembly plant.
“What a great day,” said Magna Seating president Mike Bisson.
The exhaustive search for a plant location spanned over two years ago.
“I didn’t know Bullitt County existed two years ago,” admitted Bisson.
But the search process narrowed the field from 75 to just one – Shepherdsville.
He joked that the reason the Bullitt County site was selected was its proximity to its customer, Ford Motor Co., Interstate 65 and Jim Beam, which is located in Clermont.
With that in mind, Beshear presented Bisson with a mug to sip beverages that might be produced in Clermont.
Bisson said he was very excited about the state-of-arts facility and he was also excited about the momentum seen in the auto industry during the latter portion of 2011.
With added production, Bisson said that results in more jobs.
Steve Alderson, general manager of the local Magna Seating facility, said the 140,000 square foot building with the capacity to produce 380,000 units a year.
When fully staffed, the facility will have an economic impact of over $90 million annually for the state, while spurring an additional 742 direct and indirect jobs.
Beshear said the state’s incentives have been very successful to not only lure new companies but to also help existing factories expand.
Through the state’s Kentucky Business Investment program, the company is eligible for $8.5 million in incentives.
“This happened because a lot of people together to make it happen,” said the governor.
Bob Fouts, director of the Bullitt County Economic Development Authority, said he had been waiting for this occasion for a long time.
“What a day for Bullitt County and for the people who work here,” said Fouts.
He said it is a partnership that brought the international company to Bullitt County.
Shepherdsville mayor Scott Ellis was also very pleased with the ribbon-cutting.
“This is a great day for Shepherdsville, Bullitt County and the commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Ellis.
Bullitt County Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts proclaimed it Magna Seating day in the county. She was also excited about providing jobs for the people in the community.