FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher and Economic Development Cabinet Acting Secretary Gene Fuqua announced today that Western Rivers Boat Management, Inc., currently based in Arkansas, will move its company headquarters to Paducah. The project is expected to create 33 new full-time jobs within two years of operation with an average annual wage of more than $54,000.
“The relocation of Western Rivers Boat Management’s headquarters to Paducah is an outstanding addition to the state’s economy, one that will create high-quality, well-paying jobs for the citizens of the commonwealth,” said Governor Fletcher. “We look forward to building an ongoing partnership with Western Rivers as they grow and prosper here for years to come.”
The headquarters operation, which is expected to be fully operational by June 1, 2007, will consist of a 15,680 square-foot distribution and warehouse facility. In addition, the project will include a towboat repair facility which will provide welding of additional steel to the hulls of the towboats and barges and routine maintenance of engines and towboats. The repair facility will allow Western Rivers to perform its repair operations “in house” rather than performing the repairs in Mississippi or Louisiana.
“We are happy to be able to relocate our headquarters to a city and county that understands the importance of the river industry and offers the quality of life that made it an easy decision for us to move our families and company to Paducah,” said Western Rivers Boat Management President Charles Strait. “The support provided by the city of Paducah, McCracken County, the Greater Paducah Economic Development Council, the Paducah McCracken County Riverport Authority and the Commonwealth of Kentucky was invaluable as well. We are looking forward to relocating our families and employees to Western Kentucky within the next month.”
Western Rivers, a family-owned business established in 1996, provides crewing and management services for the inland marine towing industry. Vessels operated by Western Rivers transport barges loaded with rock, steel and grain for their customers, which are located along the inland river systems of the United States. The company currently operates 27 towboats and harbor tugs.
“Western Rivers is an impressive and innovative marine service company. They require that their employees possess a superior skill set. The city is very happy to secure the corporate headquarters of this premier river company and recognize it as a new addition to the vibrant marine industry in Paducah,” said Paducah Mayor Bill Paxton. “We knew our constant and persistent efforts would land us an impressive company, and Western Rivers is one. The state tax incentive certainly played a major part in this project. The city welcomes the relocating employees with open arms. I know they will feel right at home.”
“This is a great day for Paducah/McCracken County,” said McCracken County Judge Executive Van Newberry. “Western Rivers is an outstanding example of a growth-oriented marine company with ties to the area. One major advantage Paducah offers Western Rivers, in addition to the quality of life, is the strong locally-based infrastructure available to build upon the success the company enjoyed over the past 11 years.”
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved Western Rivers Boat Management, Inc. for tax incentives up to $750,000 under the Kentucky Jobs Development Act (KJDA), an incentive program designed to attract and expand technology- and service-related industries in the state.
A community profile for Paducah can be found at the following link: http://www.thinkkentucky.com/EDIS/cmnty/index.aspx.
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The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency in Kentucky responsible for creating new jobs and new investment in the state. New business investment in Kentucky in 2006 totaled more than $3.4 billion with the creation of over 18,200 new jobs. Information on available development sites, workforce training, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other resources is available at www.thinkkentucky.com.