Kyndle 9 19

HENDERSON, Ky. — Kyndle honored four outstanding companies in Henderson, McLean, Union and Webster counties with Industry of the Year honors at a luncheon today.

The 2017 Kyndle Industry of the Year in the respective counties were:

• Webster County — Independence Bank

• Henderson County — Hydro Aluminum

• McLean County — A&S Fabricating Co.

• Union County — Huff Technologies

Listed below are summaries of the award recipients:

Hydro Aluminum, located at the Henderson County Riverport, is an aluminum recycler. The company buys scrap aluminum and combines it with new, primary metal to produce cylinders of aluminum, called billet, that are used by customers that operate extrusion plants.

The Norway-based company came to Henderson County in 2001, repurposed a vacant industrial building, hired local workers and paired knowledge, innovation and environmental stewardship into a modern productive venture serving its customers with high quality materials and serving this community with quality jobs and community involvement.

The Henderson plant produces more than 90,000 metric tons of metal per year and employs 54 people, with starting wages of $18 per hour plus benefits.

The plant was the first remelter in the U.S. to utilize state-of-the-art technology to yield primary-quality billet.

Hydro and Plant Manager Bill Painter have worked diligently over several years to improve the plant’s production capability while also providing a safer working environment for employees.

As an aluminum recycler, it re-purposes scrap material that otherwise could have ended up in a landfill. Recycling aluminum uses only a fraction of energy required to produce primary aluminum, which also benefits the environment.

“This company thought so much of their potential in Henderson County that in addition to acquiring their building at the Henderson County Riverport, they also bought dozens of adjoining acres, either for their own growth or to facilitate the recruitment of a partner company, which would add more jobs and income for local folks,” Henderson County Judge/executive Brad Schneider said in announcing the award.

Hydro partnered with Kyndle and marketed Henderson to their customers as the business-friendly place. Hansens Aluminum, a South Africa-based company, has announced that it will construct an $18.4 million, 90-employee aluminum extrusion and machining plant on a portion of the Hydro property and will be buying aluminum from them, Schneider said.

A&S Fabricating, located in Livermore, is a custom steel fabrication and machine shop. In 1968, Ronnie Ashby and Henry Sonner — hence “A&S” — worked part time at night to produce steel tool boxes for pickup trucks while maintaining their respective full-time day jobs. They became business partners the following year when they formed A&S and began operations in a small one-room block building.

As the company grew, it moved to ever-larger locations, the presenter, McLean County Judge/executive Kelly Thurman, said.. Ashby sold his interest in the business to Sonner in 1971. The following year, Sonner and his wife, Shirley, purchased a seven-acre tract of land and constructed a 7,500-square-foot shop.

Over the past 48 years, A&S Fabricating has undertaken 18 expansions and today operates a 110,000-square-foot plant and employs 25 people. Its custom-fabricated and machined products have shipped as far away as Austria, Switzerland and South America, with the majority shipped across the United States.

A&S attributes its success to its founders, past and present employees and its many customers. Today, the company is operated by a second generation of Sonner’s three daughters: Venea Hounton, Sabrina Sonner and Karen Whitaker, who oversee daily operations along with General Manager Greg Gordon. The company recently became a self-certified Woman-Owned Small Business through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Although the company no longer fabricates its nostalgic steel tool boxes, its dedicated and experienced workforce continues to provide custom metal fabrication and complete machine shop services including large and small machining, sandblasting and painting, assembly and equipment building and contract repair services. Its customers include those in the aluminum, construction, dredging, mining, plastics, power plant, recycling, steel mill and water treatment industries.

Huff Technologies Inc. in Morganfield is a designer and manufacturer of custom testing, inspection, assembly and process equipment. It serves the automotive, industrial and mining industries.

Huff Technologies “is a powerhouse in Union County,” presenter Kim Humphrey said, noting that among many other things, Huff “helped build the overland beltline for River View Coal” near Uniontown, where she works.

Darrel and Glenda Huff established the company in 1987 as a high-tech small business in Union County serving clients across the United States. Huff, a mechanical engineer, began by building dynamometers to measure torque and performance for racing motorcycles.

In 1998, the Huffs built a 3,200-square-foot facility on three acres in the Morganfield Industrial Park. Just two years later, they added another 10,000 square feet. In 2005, they bought a neighboring building and continued to grow. Today they employ 10 people, many of them skilled engineers.

Among Huff Technologies’ creations is a machine that cut the crust off Smucker’s Uncrustable peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at its plant in Scottsville, Kentucky. Previously, workers had to cut off the crust by hand, Humphrey said.

Darrel Huff serves as president of the Morganfield Lions Club — this year directing the largest three-day festival in Union County, the club’s Corn Festival — and has been involved with Union County First. He plays bass guitar in the worship band at his Baptist church and, with a guitar-playing friend, shares his love of the Lord at the nursing home. Glenda Huff helps run the company while raising three children who are all becoming members of the high-tech working class.

Like any other small-business owners, the Huffs look to take care of their clients and skilled staff while looking for growth and trying to better their community.

Independence Bank in Webster County has roots dating back more than a century with the formation of two independent banks, Farmers & Merchants Bank McLean County in 1909, followed by the establishment of the Providence State Bank a few years later.

In 1971, brothers-in-law Charles A. Reid and Maurice E. Reisz acquired the two banks. Reid’s son Chris soon joined his father and uncle, and assumed a leadership role.

In 1997, their two small companies were incorporated under one name and began a rapid expansion into surrounding communities throughout Kentucky.

Today, it remains a locally owned and operated community-oriented organization with 24 locations across Kentucky, including two in Webster County as well as locations in Henderson and McLean counties and beyond. It boasts assets of more than $2.1 billion.

It is the largest company in its industry in Webster County with more than $92 million in assets. Much of its leadership team lives in or was raised in Kyndle counties.

Independence Bank is recognized as a premier employer. Last spring, for the ninth time in the past 12 years, it has been ranked as one of Kentucky’s Best Places to Work by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management. This year it was ranked No. 8 among 29 finalist companies statewide in the medium-size category consisting of 150-499 employees.

Independence Bank was also named a Best Bank to work for by the American Banker’s Association in 2016, finishing first in the state and 14th in the nation overall.

The bank also is active in nonprofit projects, from raising money for the Sebree Elementary School playground and the Feed Seniors Now program to the Youth Ag Safety Day and the Shake, Rattle and Roll Tractor Drive to Happy Feet and scholarships for Webster County High School seniors.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Chuck Stinnett

 

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