Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, along with federal, state and local officials, joined executives from Flash Steelworks, Inc. to break ground on a new steel manufacturing facility in Middlesboro. Over the next 15 years, Flash Steelworks will invest $12.1 million and create 250 full-time jobs at an hourly rate of $39, including benefits. Of those, 100 new jobs are expected to be created in the next three years.
At the groundbreaking, Lt. Gov. Coleman also announced $1 million in Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) funding will aid in the construction of the steel manufacturing facility. The ARC funding will be matched by $5 million in state funds, allocated from the 2022 state budget.
“As more companies look to move to Kentucky, we want to make sure we are giving them the support they need,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “Flash Steelworks is betting on Kentucky, and we are ensuring they’ll be here for the long-haul.”
Flash Steelworks is a private steel manufacturer that uses a unique and highly specialized electronic/thermal process to produce blast-resistant, yet lightweight, military-grade plate steel. The company has a contract with the federal Department of Defense to produce armor for the U.S. military.
“Flash Steelworks is very pleased to team with everyone in the State of Kentucky to produce a world-class armor plate to protect those in harm’s way,” said Gary Cola, Jr., founder and chief technology officer at Flash Steelworks. “Starting in Middlesboro, we will deploy leading-edge advanced steel technology and products in what is planned to be a regional industrial hub. This new facility is just a first step toward bringing many truly high-paying, long-term jobs to Southeast Kentucky to the benefit of all.”
Bell County Judge/Executive Albey Brock commended the teamwork that made this project possible.
“This new facility is going to bring 100 good-paying jobs to Bell County over the next few years,” said Judge Brock said. “We are excited to see this kind of long-term investment in our community. So many people have worked to secure this funding, and to see it come together is incredible. Many thanks to everyone who has worked so hard on this project.”
Middlesboro Mayor Rick Nelson spoke on the significant impact this project will have on the local economy.
“The new steel facility is going to provide good-paying jobs to Middlesboro, and Bell County as a whole,” Mayor Nelson said. “These kinds of investments help our community grow and diversify our economy. It’s a big win for Middlesboro, and we want to thank all the partners involved in securing this project.”