Targeted Business and Industry Awards Banquet Celebrates Businesses and Growth in South Central Kentucky

Bowling Green Metalforming Receives 2017ís Business of the Year

Published Wednesday, October 25, 2017 7:45 am

The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce honored 20 businesses with awards Tuesday night at the annual Targeted Business and Industry Banquet held at the Knicely Center. Bowling Green Metalforming received the top award of the evening, the John B. Holland Business of the Year Award.

The banquet is held each year in conjunction with Targeted Business and Industry Month to recognize and salute targeted businesses and industries throughout South Central Kentucky for their accomplishments. South Central Kentucky has experienced great success in 2017 with projects totaling $203.8 million in investments and the creation of 508 jobs.

“Each year, the Chamber dedicates the month of October to celebrating the contributions and value that our targeted businesses and industries bring to South Central Kentucky," said Robbin Morrison Taylor, 2017 Chair of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “These companies employ thousands of people and invest millions of dollars in our region. The annual appreciation banquet is an opportunity for us as a community to recognize special achievements and milestones as well as to honor these businesses for the many ways they make South Central Kentucky the very best place to live and work in the Commonwealth."

“Bowling Green and Warren County are doing things right,” said Terry Gill, Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “They are a model for economic development in the state because they have been so successful. I appreciate the work of chamber leaders and the entire business community as well as local and state public officials. Their collective partnership is outstanding.”

The John B. Holland Business of the Year, named to honor Mr. Holland and his dedication to business success in the community, was awarded to Bowling Green Metalforming for going above and beyond capital investment and job creation numbers announced in 2015. Bowling Green Metalforming has added an additional 442 jobs and $92 million on top of that investment. Since 2014, Bowling Green Metalforming has doubled their total, full-time employment to 1,692 people.

In attendance to accept the award from Bowling Green Metalforming was General Manager Keith Gameson. 

“We are very proud to receive the Business of the Year award from the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce,” said Gameson. “Our decision to make Bowling Green, Kentucky, our home has been a great one. We have a supportive community and dedicated workforce, and we look forward to our continued growth and success. On behalf of the company, thank you to the city of Bowling Green, the Chamber and all its members for making our expansion a positive experience.”

Bowling Green Metalforming is the Kentucky Transpark’s original anchor tenant, breaking ground in 2004. Since then, they have grown to be the largest automotive manufacturing employer in the region and are a leader in South Central Kentucky’s automotive industry, supporting companies like General Motors and Ford Motor Company.

In 2015, Bowling Green Metalforming announced a project totaling over $261 million in capital investment and 450 new jobs – the second largest capital investment project in Kentucky that year and the largest corporate expansion announced in all of South Central Kentucky since their groundbreaking in 2004. Bowling Green Metalforming’s combined investment breached $500 million with five expansions growing to more than 950,000 square-feet on 132 acres.

The Business of the Year Award was sponsored by President’s Club Bronze Star Partner The Murphy Construction Group which includes Scott, Murphy and Daniel, Scott & Murphy, Inc. and Hartz Contracting.

The Chamber presented awards to targeted businesses in seven other categories:

  • Business Education Partnership – Sponsored by Martin KIA
  • Healthcare Enterprise – Sponsored by Gerald Printing
  • Impact
  • Newcomer – Sponsored by Quality Personnel
  • Business Expansion – Sponsored by President’s Club Bronze Star Partner Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Business Innovation – Sponsored by President’s Club Bronze Star Partner Stewart Richey Construction
  • Green to Gold – Sponsored by President’s Club Gold Star Partner BGMU

 In addition to Secretary Terry Gill, new Kentucky Association of Manufacturers Executive Director Lee Lingo and Chamber President and CEO Ron Bunch were on hand to present awards.

 Business-Education Partnership Award – Sponsored by Martin KIA

 Winners in this category are recognized for outstanding partnerships between businesses and local schools. The 2017 Business-Education Partnership Award was awarded to Bowling Green High School, Med Center Health and TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital for their work on the Bowling Green High School Medical Arts Academy.    

In September, Bowling Green High School, in conjunction with Med Center Health and TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital launched their Medical Arts Academy. In order to ensure the Academy had the equipment and supplies needed to sustain the program, both Med Center Health and TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital stepped up with generous donations. Thanks to them, students will get to learn on equipment identical to what they will use in a real life healthcare setting.

 The Academy currently offers certifications in pre-nursing, fire science, EKG technician and phlebotomy technician. At present, 146 students are enrolled in the Medical Arts Academy with more to come as the school adds Medical Administrative Assisting and EMT certification in the coming years.

 Healthcare Enterprise Awards – Sponsored by Gerald Printing

 For South Central Kentucky healthcare organizations that expanded operations in 2017, investing capital and creating new jobs for local residents.

 Graves Gilbert Clinic

 Graves Gilbert Clinic is currently celebrating its 80th Anniversary this year. In 2016, Graves Gilbert Clinic continued its significant investment in our region with capital and leasehold improvements of $15.2 million which generated 85 new jobs. Graves Gilbert Clinic is a multi-specialty, physician-owned practice of approximately 200 physicians and physician extenders that spans multiple counties and more than 30 locations. This year they will see over 600,000 outpatient visits.

 TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital

 TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital is committed to providing the highest-quality health care to residents of Warren County and the Greater Bowling Green area. This commitment to quality afforded TriStar Greenview to be one of only two hospitals in Kentucky to meet the states strict quality standards, and receive approval for a new ambulatory surgery center.

 The TriStar Greenview Surgery Center will open in summer 2018 with state-of-the-art surgical and procedure suites and will perform a variety of procedures ranging from general surgery and gynecology to orthopedic and urology. Their commitment to highest-quality health care continues with investments in new state-of-the-art technologies that enhance patient safety and surgical outcomes. TriStar Greenview is the region’s only facility to offer O-arm® intraoperative imaging and navigation system for spine surgeries as well as da Vinci Xi robot with Trumpf TruSystem® 7000dV advanced operating table. TriStar Greenview’s commitment is also evident in various other upgrades and modernization project throughout their existing facility.

 Along with the investment of $20 million, TriStar Greenview has added 100 new employees to meet the needs of the Greater Warren County area and to continue to provide excellent care to our community members.

 Med Center Health

 Med Center Health, South Central Kentucky’s largest integrated healthcare system with over 3,600 employees, invested approximately $37.5 million dollars in capital this past year with over $21.8 million used to implement a new system-wide Electronic Medical Record and $3.7 million to renovate the OB floor at The Medical Center in Bowling Green. In addition to this capital spending, Med Center Health provided over $101 million dollars in uncompensated benefits to the communities it serves across the South Central Kentucky region.

 Impact Award

The Impact Award is new for 2017. This award recognizes South Central Kentucky businesses that through outstanding leadership, partnerships and financial support have a significant impact on the future of their sector.

This year’s Impact Award goes to Med Center Health, Western Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky for their collaboration on a new regional Medical School to be located on the campus of The Medical Center at Bowling Green.

In June 2017, officials broke ground on a new 48,000 square-foot facility on the campus of The Medical Center at Bowling Green that will house the University of Kentucky College of Medicine’s satellite program. A partnership between the University of Kentucky, The Medical Center at Bowling Green and Western Kentucky University, this four-year, regional campus medical school is the first of its kind in Kentucky. Slated to open in the Fall of 2018, the school will offer clinical experiences at The Medical Center while offering the same curriculum as UK’s Lexington Campus. The school adds a critical element to the growing healthcare economy in the South Central Kentucky region and together with the hospital that shares its campus, will serve as the anchor for a healthcare corridor envisioned by the community’s 2016 engaged strategic plan. The new school brings with it unprecedented opportunities to maintain and grow highly skilled talent in our region while developing a state-of-the-art facility and healthcare economy at the same time.

Newcomer Awards – Sponsored by Quality Personnel

For companies that are new to South Central Kentucky and have announced a location here within the past 12 months.

 Carter Lumber Company

 Carter Lumber of Kent, Ohio, announced the location of their new $10 million Kight Home Center manufacturing facility at the Kentucky Transpark, creating 50 new jobs in South Central Kentucky, in July of this year. This project will have an estimated economic impact of $114 million for the Bowling Green community over the next 10 years.

 Stratus Plastics International Kentucky

 Stratus Plastics International of Windsor, Ontario announced the location of their first United States facility in Morgantown this summer. Stratus Plastics is an injection molding service manufacturer and supports many Tier 1 automotive suppliers. They specialize in research and development in long and short run injection molding production. This announcement is a $4 million capital investment and will create 29 new jobs.

 Business Expansion Awards – Sponsored by President’s Club Bronze Star Partner Tennessee Valley Authority

For South Central Kentucky companies that expanded operations in 2017, investing capital and creating jobs for local residents.


 This joint venture was the second largest capital investment in the state in 2014 with their investment of $150 million and projected 80 new jobs in Bowling Green at their Kentucky Transpark location. Three years later and those numbers have far-surpassed expectations. Capital investment numbers have grown to over $200 million and Constellium/U-A-C-J now employs 130 people – 50 more than initially planned.

 LORD Corporation

 LORD Corporation invested $25 million in their Bowling Green manufacturing facility to accommodate their growth. This expansion project will create 80 jobs. The primary products created in South Central Kentucky include: bonded rubber parts, shock, and vibration and noise control products for the vehicle and equipment industry mostly for agricultural and construction equipment.


 Houchens Industries, Inc. subsidiary and retail technology solutions company Pan-Oston announced its Bowling Green expansion in June at the Kentucky Transpark with the purchase of the park’s first privately developed speculative building. This $3.6 million project will create 15 jobs and includes additional space for warehousing, technology development and testing space. Pan-Oston recently celebrated their one-millionth customer order.

 Southern Recycling

 Southern Recycling is the region’s premiere recycling company for South Central Kentucky’s rapidly growing industrial and manufacturing facilities and has been the exclusive provider of curbside recycling in Warren County since 1995. In order to better serve South Central Kentucky, Southern will be developing 45 acres on Louisville Road with state-of-the-art scrap processing equipment and facilities. This $6 million project will initially create 4 new jobs, as well as increase their capacity to handle the anticipated growth of Warren County for years to come.

 Taz Trucking

 This year Taz Trucking invested $9 million in its facility located in the South Industrial Park, adding much needed office space and a repair shop to operations and creating 40 new jobs.

 Business Innovation Awards – Sponsored by President’s Club Bronze Star Partner Stewart Richey Construction

 For South Central Kentucky companies that – through product or process – best exemplify innovative leadership.


Eezy is a web-based company specializing in connecting graphic designers, illustrators and artists to free and premium design resources from brands all around the world. Their websites attract millions of users every month. In 2017, Eezy created a free-for-download vector graphics editor. This project was completed for under $10,000 and spurred the need for two new positions at Eezy; a web developer to maintain the product as well as a customer service representative to assist software users.

Berry Global

Last year, Berry launched a new decorating process at their Bowling Green facility – Luster. Luster is a revolution in plastic closure decoration and is available in custom and stock colors, textures, patterns and special effects. This hot foil stamp printing process results in a premium metallic look that is used to accentuate product branding. Luster specifically serves the spirits industry by providing an innovative and unique way for brand owners to convey a premium product image.

Until now, the primary way brand owners could achieve this look was with more expensive, less user-friendly metal closures. Berry Global in Bowling Green is the only plastic spirits closures manufacturer that offers this product.

HeathCo LLC

HeathCo is the manufacturer and marketer of Heath®Zenith branded products. Through innovation HeathCo has compiled a large portfolio of patented technologies and products giving them the competitive edge as an industry leader in the intelligent lighting and door chime markets. The HeathZenith brand of products is sold in over 10,000 retail outlets worldwide including home centers, hardware stores, lighting showrooms, wholesale clubs and mass merchants. HeathCo’s drive to innovate, design and build quality products for their customers is the cornerstone to their success.

Holley Performance Products

From September 2016 to September 2017, Holley has launched a total of 2,185 SKUs, which serve the automotive aftermarket and are a mix of performance parts, service parts, vehicle dress up parts and apparel. Holley has invested in new technologies and techniques to improve products as well, including: 3D plastic printing, 3D metal printing, laser scanning and electronic testing to speed up testing and diagnosis of Holley products. These new initiatives have added personnel in engineering, product management, sales, customer support, production and marketing and have generated a substantial amount of new product revenue.

 Green to Gold Award – Sponsored by President’s Club Gold Star Partner BGMU

 For companies that – through product or process – best exemplify “green” leadership as it pertains to the region’s goals to become a leader in this emerging field.

 Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, LLC

 Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, LLC is a designer, developer, manufacturer and distributor of products used in air brake systems for commercial vehicles. This year, Bendix made capital improvements to their operations in Bowling Green, including new energy-efficient lighting throughout the facility, new air compressors and upgrading gas-powered forklifts to electric. All in all, these improvements equate to about a 4.4 million kilowatt, or $350,000 savings in electrical usage, annually.

 Finally, the Chamber would like to extend a special thank you to each of our sponsors for making the 2017 Business and Industry Banquet a success. In addition to the award sponsors listed above, the following Chamber partners sponsored a portion of the event:

  • US Bank
  • CGS Machine & Tool
  • Gerald Printing
  • Warren County Water District



About the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce:

Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was named the 2009 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,300 partners and is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. Its primary goals are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region.