Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 29, 2013

$17M plant planned for Lewis County

Ray Schaefer
The Independent

VANCEBURG — An Alabama company plans to build a $17 million plant in Lewis County, officials said Thursday would create up to 65 jobs.

Nelson Brothers LLC, of Birmingham, announced it wants to begin construction next month on a 10-acre site at the intersection of Ky. 8 and Scaffold Lick Road north of St. Paul, which is about three miles east of Garrison. The plant is scheduled to be finished by November.

“We’ve been working on this for a long time,” Lewis County Judge-Executive Todd Ruckel said. “It’s going to be a positive impact for our community.”

The new plant replaces one in Charlestown, Ind., which is scheduled to close by the end of the year. Jon Giesen, Nelson Brothers’ director of national accounts, said Vanceburg won over a site in Pike County, Ky. Giesen said the company would employ nearly 65 full-time employees, who would earn approximately $75,000 a year in salary and benefits. Another 100 workers would be hired for the construction phase, and Giesen said the new workers would be hired locally.

According to Giesen, the new plant would inject up to $5 million annually into the local economy. Nelson Brothers makes what are called emulsifiers for the surface mining industry. Giesen said they bind together substances such as ammonium nitrate and high-grade mineral oil, which are otherwise incompatible. The resulting substance is then used with a detonator as an explosive.

“Everything that comes into the plant will be on rail, all raw materials,” Giesen said. “Everything that goes out will be trucked … basically into our direct business in central Appalachia and to our distributor network in the East. Emulsifiers stabilize the mixture.”

Kevin Cornette, economic development director of the Buffalo Trace Area Development District in Maysville, said Nelson Brothers had been looking for a new site for about a year.

“(Lewis County) had a little better site, flat land,” Cornette said.

Giesen called Lewis County “an ideal location” in relation to Nelson Brothers customer base. “Lewis County is a very progressive community,” he said. “We have received overwhelming support from the community, county and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

The company will also receive a $1.62 million tax break over the next 15 years. State Sen. Robin Webb (D-Grayson) said the Cabinet for Economic Development approved it Thursday morning, and she didn’t think taxpayers would begrudge the incentive.

“(Nelson Brothers) is a legitimate company, a national company,” Webb said.