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Making the cut

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PDCI Automotive expected to bring 60 jobs to the community

By Stephen Lega

Gov. Steve Beshear joined several local officials Monday to participate in the ribbon-cutting for a new factory that is expected to bring 60 jobs to Lebanon.

PDCI Automotive, a division of Pacific Die Cut Industries, will be opening in the old Kroger building, which is across the street from the Independent Stave Company.

"Kentucky's on a roll in more than one way," Beshear told a tent filled with local officials and dignitaries.

He mentioned that Pikeville College won the NAIA men's basketball championship, and Bellarmine University won the NCAA men's Division II title. The University of Kentucky is back in the Final Four, and now PDCI Automotive is preparing to open for business in Marion County.

"This company is coming here and making a $1.6 million investment," he said. "Folks, that's something to celebrate."

Mike Behnam, founder and president of Pacific Die Cut Industries, said the company started 22 years ago in Haywood, Calif., and he never would have dreamed they would open a plant in Kentucky. Nevertheless, as the automotive industry moved its assembly plants out of California, PDCI officials visited Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

"We soon realized no state was as business-friendly as Kentucky, and no one genuinely welcomed us into their community as much as the people in this county and this town," Behnam said.

PDCI Automotive will be opening one of the most sophisticated automotive fabrication and converting factories in the world, according to Behnam. He added that PDCI Automotive would begin recruiting its workforce late in the second quarter of this year. Within three years, he said he anticipated having 60 employees.

"I have no doubt that we will soon be running our facility here with three shifts," Behnam said.

Lebanon Mayor Gary Crenshaw said the city, county and local economic development office worked together to bring PDCI Automotive to the community.

"It takes all of us working together to do this," he said.

Crenshaw also singled out Marion County Economic Development Director Tom Lund for his work on behalf of the community. In the past two decades, 38 companies and more than 4,500 jobs have come to Marion County, Crenshaw said.

Marion County Judge/Executive John G. Mattingly recognized Dr. Salem George and Elmer George for their efforts. He added that community and cooperation were integral to the recruiting process.

"As a community, we're always striving to improve ourselves," Mattingly said.