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Public and Private Partnership

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Angell-Demmel receives $1 million state grant and plans to expand adding 52 new jobs, possibly 100 by 2013

By The Staff

Gov. Steve Beshear made a quick stop in Marion County last week to present a $1 million check to the City of Lebanon.

While Lebanon Mayor Gary Crenshaw admits that a visit from the governor is always welcomed, it's even better when he has a check in hand.

However, this time it was a bit more personal for Crenshaw.

The check, which was a $1 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), will benefit Angell-Demmel North America Corp., with its upcoming expansion.

Crenshaw's mother worked at Angell-Demmel in 1965. And, as fate would have it, his son works there now.

"The money that she earned helped send me to college," Crenshaw told the crowd gathered at Angell-Demmel for the governor's visit last week. "My son works in this plant now. The money he earns keeps him out of my house."

While Crenshaw's comments drew laughter from the crowd, they are a perfect example of the impact Angell-Demmel has had on local families, not to mention the local economy. The corporation hopes to continue providing Marion County families with jobs for generations to come, and its upcoming expansion is proof of that with the creation of 52 new jobs.

The expansion is a direct result of the company being awarded a seven-year contract with Mercedes-Benz, U.S. International Inc. to produce decorative aluminum trim for the doors and instrument panels. The CDBG grant will allow for the purchase of equipment necessary to begin production of these new trim parts later this spring.

In addition to the grant funds, Gov. Beshear also announced the preliminary approval of tax incentives for Angell-Demmel up to $2.5 million through the Kentucky Business Investment Program. The incentive, which was approved by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, is intended to encourage the company to make additional investments in the Lebanon plant that could lead to another 110 jobs at the facility.

According to Beshear, every job is a sacred thing and expanding existing industries is a key strategy to helping Kentucky come out of the recession.

"Like a lot of other states around this country, Kentucky has been hit pretty hard by this global recession that we're all experiencing," he said. "But, job by job, company by company, and community by community we're working energetically to turn this economy around and get our people back to work. If we get our people back to work all of our other problems with solve themselves."

John Turner, board member of Angell-Demmel, said without the grant funds and the assistance from the state, the expansion might not have been possible.

"Today is a demonstration of public and private partnership at its best," Turner said.

According to Turner, over the next 12 months Angell-Demmel will be transformed through the addition of nearly $5 million in new capital equipment. And, there is the potential to add more than 100 new jobs by the end of 2013 for a totally new product line - something that is beyond metal, he said.

Marion County Economic Development Director Tom Lund congratulated Angell-Demmel on its upcoming expansion, touting it as one of the best places to work in Lebanon. He also thanked Gov. Beshear for his focus on economic development.

"We're proud of this governor," Lund said. "This governor has been a very staunch advocate for business and economic development. It's certainly been a real breath of fresh air to have a governor that we can work with to help us create jobs and develop our economy in the Commonwealth of Kentucky."

Editor's note: Angell-Demmel first located in Lebanon in 1965, and has grown to become one of the leading manufacturers of decorative trim worldwide for the automotive, home appliance and consumer electronics industries. The company currently employs 102 persons. Products manufactured at the Lebanon facility include aluminum wheel covers, automotive interior trim products and aluminum appliance panels. The new contract with Mercedes-Benz represents a breakthrough into a broader market for Angell-Demmel with other contracts to follow in future years. The Lebanon facility provides more than $8 million annually in gross wages for the local economy.