The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce honored 23 businesses with awards Thursday night at the annual Targeted Business and Industry Banquet held at the Knicely Center. General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant 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 in an effort to recognize and salute targeted businesses and industries throughout South Central Kentucky for their accomplishments. 2016 has been an exciting year thus far for South Central Kentucky, with announcements totaling $432 million in investments and the creation of 514 new jobs, including the state’s largest announced investment.
“Each year, the Targeted Business and Industry Banquet is our opportunity to recognize the impact that targeted businesses in our region have on our community,” stated Chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors Mark Iverson. “We were pleased to have a great slate of winners tonight. 2016 has been another outstanding year in South Central Kentucky, and we’re delighted to be able to celebrate those accomplishments here tonight.”
Keynote Hal Heiner, Secretary of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet noted, “I am honored to participate in the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce’s Targeted Business & Industry Banquet. I look forward to meeting this year’s award winners and celebrating local companies who are providing great jobs and growing Kentucky’s economy.”
The John B. Holland Business of the Year, renamed in 2011 to honor Mr. Holland and his dedication to business success in the community, was awarded to General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant for their recent $293 million expansion announcement, the state’s largest single investment so far in 2016 and part of over $770 million in investment in this community in just the past 2 years.
In attendance to accept the award from General Motors was Plant Manager Kai Spande.
“We are honored to be receiving these awards, and are pleased with the tremendous support we get from the chamber,” said Kai Spande, plant manager for General Motors Bowling Green Assembly. “We do here what GM does everywhere it operates, and that’s provide good quality jobs in manufacturing, one of the most important sources of economic growth and prosperity. This year’s expansion is part of a series of investments, and is not a short-term project; it demonstrates GM’s long-term commitment to the community of Bowling Green and to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
In June of this year, General Motors invested $293 million into the Bowling Green Assembly plant to upgrade and modify the plant’s vehicle assembly operations with new technologies and processes. These changes are being made in conjunction with and in addition to the construction and startup of the previously announced $439 million paint shop investment in 2015.
For more than 30 years, the Bowling Green Assembly Plant has positively impacted the community. As a landmark along Interstate 65, the Bowling Green Assembly Plant and the National Corvette Museum drive tourism for car enthusiasts, tourists and citizens alike. In 2015, the Corvette Assembly Plant reported 53,738 tourists from around the world visited the plant to see American manufacturing firsthand. The National Corvette Museum attracted 221,000 tourists to Bowling Green and Warren County in that same year. In March, Trade & Industry Development magazine recognized GM as one of 15 companies across the nation to receive their 10th annual CiCi award for Corporate Investment as a result of the $483 million investment GM made in the Corvette Assembly Plant in 2015.
President’s Club Bronze Star Partner The Murphy Construction Group which includes Scott, Murphy and Daniel, Scott & Murphy, Inc. and Hartz Contracting sponsored this year’s Business of the Year Award.
The General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant was also presented with a Green to Gold Award, sponsored by the President’s Club Gold Star Partner BGMU. The award is 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.
GM Bowling Green has made a $2 million investment in an 850kwh solar array in their ongoing sustainability effort of the plant. This is the largest array by an auto maker and will produce 1.2m KW of energy – enough energy to build 850 corvettes or run 89 homes. General Motors, company-wide has saved $80m since 1983 through green initiatives.