My wife Stephanie and I were born and raised in Ashland at a time when the town and surrounding region were thriving. We both left after high school and eventually settled in Lexington with, like many, no intentions of ever returning. But opportunity – and family – called us home.
I wasn’t born in eastern Kentucky. I moved here and made it my home.
A Letter from Braidy Industries Chairman and CEO Craig Bouchard
A dedicated coalition of regional business leaders, economic development officials, state cabinet workers and politicians has worked tirelessly for decades to put in place the building blocks for economic development. Their efforts led to Braidy Industries decision to locate in Northeast Kentucky.
Kentucky is the sparkling crown jewel of America, says Governor Matt Bevin. It’s just gotten a little dusty over the course of the last few decades.
Six term Judge-Executive of Greenup County has overseen
A trend: the general direction in which something is developing or changing.
Kentucky's aluminum production capacity is among the higest in the nation with 190 aluminum related facilities employing more than 20,000, according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Econonic Development. The Bluegrass boats two aluminum smelters, Kentucky Smelting Technology in Paris and Century Aluminum in Hawesville in addition to downstream processors, extruders, diecasters, and fabrication facilities. Since 2014, 92 new aluminum expansion projects have been announced, with 23 coming in 2017 alone. The projects represent a $2.9 billion in investment over four years and together more than 2,800 full-time jobs.
When the Braidy Industries mill starts making aluminum, Kentucky will be home to another secret recipe. This one won’t be a finger-lickin’-good blend of 11 herbs and spices. Instead, it’s a space-age mix of alloys that will make aluminum lighter and stronger to make vehicles weigh less yet be safer on the road.
Braidy’s state-of-the-art 1.8-million-square-foot (about 40 acres) aluminum mill will “walk” before it “runs” when it opens in 2020, said Mill General Manager Gregg Whigham. “We will start with some easier aluminum products. They are not all the same. Some of them are easy to make and they go into easy applications,” he explained.
Braidy Industries’ decision to locate in northeast Kentucky has triggered a chain-reaction that has already affected daily life and commerce in the region. Local leaders from all aspects of local society foresee an additional array of positive changes that will come as the infusion of manpower, minds, money, and the hope Braidy has inspired, reverberates through the community. Bridges asked these leaders to share their reflections – and dreams for the future – to illustrate what the development could mean for our collective future.
Head of the Department of Materials Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Former Director of Technology Development (and Licensing), Massachusetts Institute of Technology
President and CEO, Business Executives For National Security (BENS)
Professor, Harvard Business School
President and Chief Executive Officer, Charah LLC
Mill General Manager
Chairman and CEO of Braidy Industries
Executive Vice President of Engineering
Senior Vice President of Human Resources
Front Office Assistant
Chief Operating Officer
Senior Vice President of Government Relations
Chief of Staff Administration, Executive Assistant to CEO Craig Bouchard