GLASGOW – Nemak was named Industry of the Year on Thursday by the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce at its quarterly breakfast meeting.
Randy Dickey, plant manager for the two manufacturing facilities – Plant 1 at 20 Prestwick Drive and Plant 2 at 400 American Ave., provided a little education for the crowd at the Louie B. Nunn Lodge at Barren River Lake State Resort Park about what the company does globally and locally.
The two plants here that were first opened in 1993 under different ownership were acquired by Nemak in 2012. They employ a total of about 300 people, with about 40 percent at Plant 1 and the rest at Plant 2.
Nemak is an original equipment manufacturing supplier for the automotive industry that originally focused on powertrain components but has expanded its focus recently to “innovative lightweighting,” finding ways to make an increasing number of automotive components while reducing components' weight but increasing their mechanical strength and physical properties and also trying to ensure they are produced at the most competitive costs.
“We are a high-pressure die-casting operation that produces aluminum castings,” Dickey had told the Glasgow Daily Times earlier.
The products manufactured in Glasgow include oil pans, bed plates, pump brackets, cam carriers, transfer cases, front covers and converter housings, according to his presentation.
Nemak's corporate home is Monterrey, Mexico, and it has roughly three dozen plants globally, including in central and eastern Europe, India, China, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, he said.
“We are very, very happy and very, very proud of this award ...,” Dickey said. “This is evidence that we're moving in the right direction.”
Nemak personnel at the breakfast were presented with a white banner declaring the company as Industry of the Year. Also as part of the award, the company got to choose one of its employees to receive a scholarship for the industrial maintenance program at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College.
Phillip Neal, SKYCTC's president, announced the full scholarship and said that Mark White of Glasgow has been working at what became Nemak for 21 years.
“His career has included positions in the tooling and operations departments, where he has been an operator, a team leader and a supervisor,” Neal said. “He has recently accepted a position in the maintenance department as a technician. This is where he states he has found fulfillment and would like to remain. Earning a degree in industrial maintenance technology, along with his experience and knowledge that he has gained over the years at Nemak, will enable him to reach his goals.”
White did not attend the breakfast so Dickey accepted it on his behalf.
Neal also announced a nursing scholarship that will finish out Kayla Miller's education at SKYCTC. She is a 2015 Barren County High School graduate who still resides in the county and a current student in the licensed practical nursing program, expected to graduate in 2020, he said. She is already working as a certified nursing assistant at Signature HealthCARE, he said.
He said SKYCTC was proud to sponsor Friday's breakfast.
“We have strived since 1939 – this is our 80th anniversary – to train a highly qualified work force for this region,” Neal said.
Through SKYCTC's foundation's efforts to build scholarships “so we can help our students go to school and incur as little debt as possible,” he said, nearly two-thirds of its graduates over the last couple of years have graduated with zero debt.
Neal added that of the 42 institutions of higher education in the commonwealth, “the percent of our graduates that graduate with a two-year degree and stay local is the highest of all those 42 institutions. We have the highest local placement rate …. That's your celebration, because you're the ones hiring the graduates.”
Ernie Myers, executive vice president and chief operations officer for the chamber, said that more than 200 people attended the 7 a.m. event at Barren River Lake State Resort Park.
Also during the gathering, Madison-Smith Machine & Tool was named Small Business of the Quarter.
Tina Hiser, who chairs the chamber's Business Development Committee, said that company has grown from 10 employees in a 4,000-square-foot facility when it started in 1983 to nearly 70 employees working in spaces totaling more than 81,000 square feet.