Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation

Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation

A California-based customer service company locating an office in Owensboro has already hired nearly one-quarter of the 840 employees it plans to have in Daviess County.

Alorica is in the process of renovating the BB&T building in downtown Owensboro and will occupy four floors of the five-story building, with a restaurant and other commercial space planned for the sidewalk level.

While construction is in progress, Brescia University is partnering with Alorica to train some of the 200 employees who have already been hired.

Ken Muché is a spokesman for Alorica and says the collaboration with Brescia is an outstanding partnership.

Owensboro Municipal Utilities

Owensboro Municipal Utilities is switching to a different source of energy after more than 100 years of burning coal.

There’s a lot of talk - and hope - among some Kentucky residents that coal will make a comeback. But Owensboro Municipal Utilities says it’s seen the writing on the wall and coal will be completely phased over the next six years. 

Sonya Dixon is a spokeswoman for OMU.

“This is a monumental change in the way that OMU has done business. You know, we have burned coal for the last 117 years and obviously, this is a shift, but we feel it’s a positive one in the best interest of our customers.” 

Rhonda J. Miller

Kentucky manufacturers are confronting a problem facing the entire United States – a shortage of skilled workers for technically sophisticated industries. A recent study found that two million manufacturing jobs in the U.S. will go unfilled over the next decade due to a lack of trained workers. A program developed in the Owensboro region is confronting that shortage with an apprenticeship program called GO FAME. 

At Sun Windows in Owensboro, President Frank Anderson says the machinery for production gets more sophisticated every year.

“This our insulated glass room. And the robot is applying the spacer material that separates the two panes of glass. And it’s all done automatically without ever touching a human hand.”

That’s the trend in advanced manufacturing and that’s the reason GO FAME was created. GO FAME stands for Greater Owensboro Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education. 

Apprentices take classes two days a week at Owensboro Community and Technical College. Companies pay at least half the tuition and at least $12-an-hour for work time.

After three years on the job, Shannon Wetzel Boutin is resigning as Executive Director of the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau. She'll be moving to the private sector October 19th as a product manager at Specialty Foods Group.

The chairwoman of the CVB board, Ruth Ann Dearness, expects to launch a national search to replace Boutin after they decide on a new definition for the job.

All previous executive directors of the Bureau have come from Owensboro.

In the past three years since Boutin has been Executive Director, the CVB saw revenue double from its 3% tax on hotel room rentals and tourism spending increase by more than 3.5%.

Emil Moffatt

An Ohio River boat festival held in Owensboro for the past five years has been scrapped.

The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports the Dragon Boat Festival didn't draw enough participants. Owensboro public events director Tim Ross says organizers wanted 15 to 20 teams.

Boats of 20-member crews row along the river in front of English Park. Last year's event drew 13 teams, down from a high of 30 in 2013.

The event had been moved back from August to Sept. 17.

Ross says the festival could be held again in future years.

Greater Owensboro Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education

A program to address the shortage of skilled workers for advanced manufacturing is expanding in the Owensboro area.

The project is called GO FAME, which stands for Greater Owensboro Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education. 

It’s a collaboration among regional businesses and Owensboro Community and Technical College. Students are trained as advanced manufacturing technicians in an 18-month apprenticeship program.

William Mounts, president of GO FAME and vice president of Omico Plastics in Owensboro, says companies are doing their part to improve the future workforce by investing in the students.

“We pay them a minimum of $12 an hour and we pay a minimum of half their tuition. Some organizations pay full tuition. Some organizations, like mine, we pay half the tuition plus books. We would have paid full tuition for one student, but we wanted to take two.”

GO FAME launched in March 2015 with 12 businesses and 15 students. It’s expanded to 22 businesses training 35 students.

Apus Air

Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport is getting a new flight school that trains pilots for Chinese airlines.

Apus Air announced this week that it is constructing a flight training center at the airport. The project will create 35 jobs.

CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation Madison Silvert says the regional airport is a perfect fit for the company’s needs. 

 “They were looking for an airport that had the right balance of runway links and amenities and low traffic so they could provide a confident environment for new trainees,” says Silvert.

The California-based company is making an investment $1.65 million in the new facility.

Owensboro Aims to Attract Entrepreneurs

Aug 18, 2015
Rhonda J. Miler

Owensboro is aiming to attract talented entrepreneurs by highlighting its revitalized downtown, new riverfront,  convention center, new restaurants, arts organizations and good schools. 

Joe Berry is vice president of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation. He says public-private partnerships like the Owensboro Centre for Business and Research provide office and laboratory space, including $2 million in shared lab equipment, and that helps attract talent.

The basic goal for economic development in any region is generally to go out and attract big manufacturers that create lots of jobs.  

That’s still important. But  Berry says there’s a big advantage in tapping into the nation’s entrepreneurial spirit.

"If you look at economic data and trends that are emerging around the globe, we are, quite frankly, in a global war for talent," said Berry.

"Regions that are able to attract and retain talent are the ones that are going to remain economically competitive in the long run," he said.

Berry says it starts with local talent launching startups in technology, life sciences and traditional small business.  A dozen of those companies are in the 37,000-square-foot Owensboro Centre for Business and Research. 

"An evolving and growing part of our local economy is companies that are operating in this kind of space," said Berry. "So the purpose of this business incubator is to truly grow and foster those kinds of new companies in this region and help further diversify our economy and create the companies of tomorrow."