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Auto Suppliers, Vendors Meet at inaugural SPARK Conference

KAIA event draws about 150 to discuss building supplier relationships

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 23, 2016) – Every vehicle model is made with thousands of parts and components, and thousands of companies are vying to supply those parts and systems to automotive manufacturers and Tier 1 firms. That reality is what sparked the idea for the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association’s first event focused on bringing together suppliers and buyers.

The inaugural SPARK Conference was held Monday in Louisville with nearly 150 in attendance. The event drew attendees from 10 states and Japan. The presenting sponsor was Air Hydro Power.

Michael Robinet, managing director of IHS Automotive, talked about the economic outlook for the nation’s auto industry during Monday’s SPARK event.

“One question we kept getting from our auto suppliers in Kentucky was, “How do we get connected to the OEMs and Tier 1 companies?” said Dave Tatman, executive director of KAIA. “We really wanted to focus on answering that question. We created an intimate event that brought together suppliers with the people who buy their products.”

A key component of SPARK was a series of matchmaking sessions between smaller suppliers and procurement representatives from Kentucky automakers and larger suppliers. The one-on-one matchmaking sessions lasted 15 minutes each.

Tony Bryant, a representative with Pikeville-based Johnson Industries, said the matchmaking sessions were a great way to meet decision-makers at companies he otherwise might not reach.

Johnson Industries, a KAIA member, makes electric and diesel-powered vehicles used in the mining industry to transport coal. The company is now marketing a product that could be used in auto plants to transport parts and supplies.

“We are trying to diversify,” Bryant said. “We met with Toyota, and we are meeting with Ford and a couple of others. We have a lot of good equipment. If we can make something for the auto industry, it would be great.”

The SPARK event also included presentations and panel discussions from experts, including:

  • Lindsay Chappell, industry editor of Automotive News
  • Brian Miller, international trade specialist, U.S. Commercial Service
  • Leonard Fox, VP of Operations, Integrated Manufacturing and Assembly
  • Jean Marie Thrower, founder and CEO, Supplier Development Systems
  • Michael Robinet, automotive economy expert, IHS Automotive

Chappell, who delivered the keynote address, said SPARK provided a great opportunity for industry members to gain insights and build business relationships.

“This type of event generally offers the benefit of bringing together people who otherwise have no reason to get together,” Chappell said. “I can go offer my product to you, but I can’t go someplace with a lot of other people who are conversing, proposing and marketing to each other.

“It also illustrates the point that people all over the state in the auto industry have things in common,” he added. “They have common issues. They have common challenges.”

With information sessions on exports, cultivating diversity among suppliers and the economic outlook for the auto industry, SPARK also supported the overall goals of KAIA, Tatman said.

“It’s an exciting time for the auto industry in Kentucky,” Tatman said. “KAIA was created to advance and promote this growing industry, and we use events like SPARK to facilitate discussions about the challenges and opportunities that exist for our members.”


Kentucky Auto Manufacturers to “SPARK” Business at KAIA Conference

Louisville Forward sponsors speed networking with top manufacturers

FRANKFORT, Ky.  (April 4, 2016) – Every successful relationship begins with a spark – and the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association (KAIA) is playing matchmaker at SPARK, a new half-day automotive conference in Louisville.

SPARK is designed for Kentucky’s robust automotive supplier sector, particularly procurement and supply chain representatives.

Manufacturers looking for a long-term relationship with that special supplier should try SPARK’s speed-networking session, which matches procurement representatives with potential suppliers for short one-on-one pitch meetings.  The KAIA conference, sponsored in part by Louisville Forward, also includes sessions with industry leaders on timely topics such as diversifying your supply chain and developing export connections.

“One of the benefits of KAIA membership is the continuous networking opportunities with OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers,” said Dave Tatman, executive director of KAIA.  “SPARK will accelerate those potential relationships between suppliers, driving new business and partnerships among Kentucky’s world-class auto manufacturing facilities.”

SPARK’s novel speed-networking opportunity is a must for auto supplier businesses seeking new growth.  A limited number of attendees will meet one-on-one with procurement representatives from Ford, Toyota, Mubea, AGC Automotive, Akebono Brake, Asahi Forge, Hitachi Automotive, Sumitomo Electric, and more.  These speedy sit-downs will give each attendee about 15 minutes to make a connection with the professionals directly involved in materials and services acquisition.  Each attendee is guaranteed at least four matchmaking meetings.

For those who want to hear the latest automotive news and innovations from industry insiders, the SPARK sessions won’t disappoint.  Speakers and panel discussions will cover topics from sparking a supplier relationship to the global automotive economic forecast.

Lindsay Chappell, industry editor for Automotive News magazine, will serve as SPARK’s keynote speaker and panel moderator.  He will be joined by industry leaders including:

  • Michael Robinet, global advisory managing director, IHS Automotive
  • Laura Lyons, president, ATech Training
  • Jean Marie Thrower, CEO, Supplier Development Systems
  • Leonard Fox, COO, VP of operations, Integrated Manufacturing and Assembly
  • Joe Mazzeo, founder and owner, Integrated Lean and Quality Systems

Kentucky’s vast network of automotive manufacturing, supplier and service-related companies provide a significant impact on Kentucky’s economy, adding $14 billion annually to the state’s GDP. With four major auto manufacturing plants, the state is the third-largest producer of light vehicles in the country, topping more than 1.3 million cars, trucks and SUVs last year.

“KAIA is the only professional association designed just for Kentucky’s booming automotive industry, and conferences like SPARK show how KAIA provides real and repeated value to our members,” said Tatman.

SPARK will be held at Noah’s Event Venue at 12451 Plantside Drive in Louisville on Monday, May 23, from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Registration is open at

Tickets for the SPARK conference are $100 for KAIA members, $150 for nonmembers.  Ticket packages for the speed-networking session include the SPARK conference and at least four matchmaking meetings, and are $350 for KAIA members, $400 for nonmembers.  The speed- networking option cannot be purchased separately.

Executive Director Update: Spark

We kicked it up into overdrive for the first quarter of 2016, with no signs of slowing down for the rest of the year.

Our biggest news is that we’re launching a half-day conference in May called SPARK. You’ll find more details below, but a unique feature of this conference is a matchmaking component, where companies seeking to become automotive suppliers can schedule introductory meetings with key manufacturing companies in Kentucky – including Ford and Toyota. Exhibit space and sponsorships are also available.

We started 2016 with a trip to the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, where autonomous cars, fuel economy, lightweighting and a shift in safety focus to crash avoidance were hot topics.

In February, KAIA joined key state legislators in Frankfort to announce Kentucky’s first automotive caucus. We look forward to working with this bipartisan group over the coming years on issues important to our members – including workforce training, tax policy, technology and infrastructure.

A few days later, we released new statistics demonstrating our continued growth and importance to the Commonwealth’s economy. In 2015, the industry produced more than 1.3 million cars and light trucks, increasing production of passenger vehicles by 2.4 percent and maintaining its status as the nation’s third-largest producer of cars, light trucks and SUVs. Automotive employment grew from more than 85,000 to nearly 90,000 and the number of auto-related manufacturing facilities grew to more than 480. Keep up the great work!

Finally, I attended the South Carolina Automotive Summit in February and will participate in the Southern Automotive Workforce Solutions Summit in Huntsville, Ala., this summer. These conferences are invaluable in tracking industry trends, both globally and right here in the Southeast, which we can share with our members and at our own events.

We continue to work on building membership and bringing you programs like SPARK and AutoVision that add value in terms of networking and professional development. We’ve added several members this year. Let us know if you’d like to join. If you’re already a member, we’d love for you to help us by reaching out to potential members in your circle. Call me at 270-349-2355 to learn more.

I look forward to seeing you at SPARK in May and AutoVision in September!

Dave Tatman, Executive Director

Let us hook you up

KAIA is playing matchmaker on May 23 in Louisville with SPARK: Connecting Kentucky’s Automotive Industry. Lindsay Chappell of Automotive News, who did such a great job for us at last year’s AutoVision, will be the keynote speaker and moderate discussions, including building supplier relationships, cultivating diversity among suppliers, and more.

If networking in the exhibitor hall isn’t enough for you, a limited number of exclusive packages will allow you to schedule 15-minute meetings with several procurement representatives from Kentucky’s leading automotive companies. Companies sending procurement representatives include AGC Automotive, Akebono, Ford, Hitachi, Mubea, Sumitomo and Toyota.

Sponsorships and exhibit space are available, and we hope you’ll join us for what is sure to be an engaging conference.

Looking ahead

Speaking of conferences, we have set the date and location for AutoVision 2016: September 12-13 in Lexington, KY.

If you recall, the inaugural conference last year was a resounding success, and we’re looking to top it. We plan to bring you a larger, more integrated exhibit hall, and we’re lining up insightful speakers and panelists.

Thank you to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development for renewing its presenting sponsorship. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or reserving exhibit space for AutoVision 2016, you can download a sponsorship packet here.

Kentucky Auto Manufacturers Continued Driving Economy in 2015

State now has nearly 90,000 auto workers, billions more in investments coming

FRANKFORT, Ky. (February 22, 2016) – Kentucky’s already strong automotive industry continued its growth in 2015 thanks to continued investments by local, state, national and international firms.

The widespread effects of the industry are illustrated by new statistics detailing jobs, investments and production by automakers, parts suppliers and other auto-related manufacturers.

New numbers from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development show that if lined up bumper to bumper, the more than 1.3 million vehicles produced in Kentucky last year would span more than 4,000 miles. That’s nearly the distance from Frankfort, Ky., to Frankfurt, Germany.

The sustained power and growth of this industry maintained Kentucky’s status as the third-largest producer of cars and light trucks in the country.

But the industry’s economic power is even greater.

The Kentucky automotive industry is one of the strongest in the nation and vital to the state’s economy. In 2015, it:

  • Increased production of passenger vehicles by 2.4 percent, to 1,306,989 cars and trucks;
  • Employed nearly 90,000 people statewide – up from 85,552 in 2014;
  • Increased the number of auto-related manufacturing facilities to more than 480; and
  • Announced 79 new projects totaling $2.8 billion in investments.

For example, Toyota debuted its Kentucky-made Lexus ES 350 in October, which was expected to add about 750 jobs in Georgetown. In December, Ford announced that it would invest $1.3 billion to build 2017 F-Series Super Duty trucks at its Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, which is expected to create 2,000 jobs. General Motors announced a total of $483 million in facility upgrades at its Corvette plant in Bowling Green during 2015. A $439 million investment announced in May will bring a new 450,000 square-foot paint shop, among other changes, and a separate $44 million, 36-job investment announced in December will increase production capacity for the Corvette Z06 high-performance model.

Suppliers of automotive parts, services and technologies also announced 75 investments in new or expanding locations, which are projected to create 2,593 jobs, including:

  • a $13.4 million, 145-job project by Dr. Schneider Automotive Systems in Russell Springs
  • a $261 million, 450-job expansion by Bowling Green Metalforming in Warren County
  • an $84.5 million expansion by Robert Bosch Automotive Steering Systems in Florence, expected to add 212 jobs.

“The automotive industry is vital to the state, both economically and culturally,” said KAIA executive director Dave Tatman. “These are products that are made here and shipped all over the world, showcasing Kentucky workmanship to a global audience.”

Tatman noted that an economic impact study completed last year by the University of Louisville Urban Studies Institute showed that the Kentucky auto industry:

  • Contributes more than $14 billion to the state’s gross state product
  • Supports Kentucky families with an average wage that tops $58,000 a year
  • Directly or indirectly supports 1 out of every 18 jobs in the state
  • Ranks first in the nation in per-capita vehicle production

These statistics were recently presented to Gov. Matt Bevin and a newly-formed bipartisan legislative caucus. The Kentucky Automotive Caucus is made up of state lawmakers who have pledged to work with auto manufacturers on key issues such as business-friendly tax policies, technology development and workforce training. Gov. Bevin declared Feb. 2 “Automotive Industry Day” in Kentucky.

“No matter on which side of the political aisle you sit, or whether you drive a Toyota Camry or a Ford F-Series Super Duty truck, a thriving, growing automotive industry is good for the state and good for the families it employs,” said Tatman.


About the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association

The Kentucky Automotive Industry Association (KAIA) was established to advance and promote Kentucky’s automotive industry by providing leadership and creating collaborative partnerships. As the primary state association designed to unite Kentucky’s automotive manufacturers, suppliers and service providers, KAIA serves as a unifying voice that strives to anticipate and address common challenges and achieve shared goals. By creating a forum for best practice sharing, leveraging the expertise of world renowned automotive-related companies, the association seeks to further grow and strengthen the industry across the Commonwealth.

To learn more, visit or follow the association on Facebook ( or Twitter (

KAIA, State Legislators Announce New Automotive Caucus to Support Flourishing Automotive Manufacturing Industry

Industry added new jobs, facilities in 2015

Governor ProclamationFRANKFORT, Ky. (February 2, 2016) – Kentucky’s automotive manufacturing industry is booming, and Kentucky legislators have launched the state’s first Automotive Caucus in order to work directly with the industry to keep the automotive manufacturing sector growing and strong.

This bipartisan group of lawmakers has pledged to collaborate with automotive manufacturers and the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association (KAIA) on key issues in the coming years, including workforce training, business-friendly tax policies, technology development and more.

“When it comes to Kentucky’s automotive manufacturing industry, political party labels don’t apply,” said caucus co-chair Rep. Jim DeCesare of Bowling Green. “This is an industry that employs tens of thousands of Kentuckians and makes products known all over the world. We want to work with these manufacturers to ensure the industry’s ongoing success.”

“Automotive manufacturing is Kentucky’s largest manufacturing industry, and because of our central location, low energy costs, and outstanding workforce, our state is well-positioned to continue its record of success in building the cars and trucks the world wants to buy,” said caucus co-chair Speaker Pro Tem Jody Richards of Bowling Green. “In order to keep Kentucky at the forefront of auto manufacturing, we must work together to ensure these businesses have what they need to maintain that momentum.”

To symbolize the interconnected nature of the state’s auto manufacturing industry, lawmakers assembled a large puzzle of the state which showed industry statistics on each piece. Two out of every three Kentucky counties are home to at least one manufacturing facility, and 20 percent of the state’s exports are tied to the auto manufacturing industry.

As the state’s largest manufacturing sector, automotive manufacturers are keenly interested in developing the next generation of manufacturing workers, and are anxious to work alongside lawmakers, educators and others to develop manufacturing career paths for young Kentuckians. The average wage of an auto manufacturing worker is more than $58,000, and many of those jobs do not require a four-year college degree.

“Today’s manufacturing employee is a problem-solving multi-tasker, with adaptable skill sets in math, electrical engineering, personnel management and software development,” working in teams, collaborative settings, said KAIA executive director Dave Tatman. “KAIA sees real economic opportunities for Kentucky students at multiple levels of education, everything from some post-high school training in a trade all the way up to four-year college degrees.”

Over the last five years, about 340 auto manufacturing businesses have announced new locations or expansions in the state, representing 20,000 new jobs and nearly $4.5 billion in new capital investments. The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development reported the industry added jobs and new businesses.

  • More than 136,500 people are employed by the auto industry in Kentucky.
  • Kentucky ranks third in the nation in car production.
  • Kentucky ranks second in the nation in light truck production.
  • Nearly 1.3 million cars and light trucks were assembled in Kentucky in 2014.
  • Kentucky exported more than $5.5 billion in vehicles and parts in 2014.

Members of the Automotive Caucus include:

Rep. Rocky Adkins
Rep. Linda Belcher
Rep. Johnny Bell
Rep. Robert Benvenuti III
Rep. Kevin Bratcher
Rep. George Brown
Rep. Tom Burch
Rep. Denver Butler
Rep. John Carney
Rep. Larry Clark
Rep. Hubert Collins
Rep. Leslie Combs
Rep. Will Coursey
Rep. Ron Crimm
Rep. Jim DeCesare
Rep. Mike Denham
Rep. Bob DeWeese
Rep. Jeff Donohue
Rep. Jim DuPlessis
Rep. Joseph Fischer
Rep. Jim Glenn
Rep. Jim Gooch
Rep. Derrick Graham
Rep. Jeff Greer
Rep. Cluster Howard
Rep. Kenny Imes
Rep. James Kay
Rep. Kim King
Rep. Martha Jane King
Rep. Thomas Kerr
Rep. Adam Koenig
Rep. Stan Lee
Rep. Mary Lou Marzian
Rep. Donna Mayfield
Rep. Tom McKee
Rep. David Meade
Rep. Michael Meredith
Rep. Russ Meyer
Rep. Suzanne Miles
Rep. Charlie Miller
Rep. Jerry Miller
Rep. Terry Mills
Rep. Phil Moffett
Rep. Brad Montell
Rep. Tim Moore
Rep. David Osborne
Rep. Sannie Overly
Rep. Marie Rader
Rep. Jody Richards
Rep. Steve Riggs
Rep. Bart Rowland
Rep. Steven Rudy
Rep. Sal Santoro
Rep. Dean Schamore
Rep. Rita Smart
Rep. Diane St. Onge
Rep. Wilson Stone
Rep. James Tipton
Rep. David Watkins
Rep. Gerald Watkins
Rep. Jim Wayne
Rep. Russell Webber
Rep. Addia Wuchner
Rep. Brent Yonts
Rep. Jill York
Sen. Dorsey Ridley
Sen. Dennis Parrett

Kentucky-Made Cars to be First to Drive Across New Lincoln Bridge

Caravan will represent each of Kentucky’s automotive manufacturers

FRANKFORT, Ky. (December 4, 2015) – A caravan of Kentucky-made cars and trucks will be the first vehicles to drive across the new Abraham Lincoln Bridge during Saturday’s public “Walk the Bridge” event in Louisville.

Kentucky Automotive Industry Association executive director Dave Tatman said the bridge opening is an unparalleled opportunity to showcase the state’s soaring auto manufacturing industry at an historic event for the region.

“The Lincoln Bridge is an absolute marvel – beautifully designed, engineered, and built with care by folks who live right here in the region. It makes perfect sense that the first vehicles on the bridge will also be beautiful products made with pride by Kentuckians,” said Tatman. “Plus, the new bridge is an essential link for logistics for our state’s auto manufacturers and suppliers. The Lincoln Bridge will be a vital part of delivering Kentucky’s outstanding auto products to consumers around the country.”

The caravan will begin on the Kentucky side and will carry federal, state and local officials to the formal ribbon-cutting. The caravan will then exit on the Indiana side to complete the trip across the span. Naturally, the first car in the caravan will be Ford’s Lincoln Navigator – a nod to the bridge’s new name.

Thousands of visitors are expected to tour the structure during the “Walk the Bridge” event this Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Lincoln Bridge is expected open to traffic by Monday morning.

Kentucky is home to more than 460 automotive manufacturing businesses, including four major assembly plants. These businesses employ nearly 85,000 people and drive $14 billion in annual economic impact. Kentucky produced 1.3 million vehicles in 2013, ranking the state third in light vehicle production in the country.

The Lincoln Bridge Inaugural Caravan includes:
Ford Lincoln Navigator: A ruby red 2016 Lincoln Navigator built at Louisville’s Kentucky Truck Plant will lead the caravan across the Abraham Lincoln Bridge. The Navigator, North America’s original luxury full-size SUV, has been delivering uncompromising levels of luxury and capability since 1998.

Lexus ES 350: The Lexus ES 350 joined Kentucky’s automotive manufacturing lineup in October 2015, marking the first time a Lexus vehicle has been made in the country. More than 1.5 million training hours and an investment of $360 million went into bringing Lexus’ best-selling sedan on-line in Georgetown, Ky.

Corvette: Known around the world as America’s sports car, the Corvette is the world’s longest-running, continuously produced passenger car with more than 1.6 million produced. When the first Corvette rolled off the line more than 60 years ago, it was born an icon, and GM has continued this reputation for the car with six decades of refinement and innovation. GM began production of the esteemed Corvette at the Bowling Green, KY assembly plant in 1981, and the facility has remained the exclusive home of the Corvette for more than 30 years.

Ford Escape: The Louisville Assembly Plant is home to the redesigned Ford Escape. Every 42 seconds, a new Escape is driven off the Assembly line proudly built by the UAW/Ford employees. Since 2012, Louisville has built more than 1 million Escapes, making it the highest- volume producing plant in North America.

Toyota Camry: The Toyota Camry, America’s best-selling car for 13 years in row, comes out of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. in Georgetown and is the product of more than 7,500 Kentuckians. In 2015, Camry was named the most American-made car on the road by, with 75 percent of its parts sourced in the U.S., and a large percentage coming from right here in Kentucky.

Ford Super Duty: The bestselling truck for 38 years and running, a 2016 F250 King Ranch 6.7L Diesel Super Duty truck is built at the Louisville Kentucky Truck Plant. Just this week, Ford announced it will add 2,000 jobs and invest $1.3 billion to support production of the new aluminum-bodied Super Duty.

Questionnaire: Matt Bevin

Matt_BevinWhat opportunities do you see to further strengthen Kentucky’s position in the global automotive industry?

My running mate and I have both worked in manufacturing – I own a manufacturing company and Jenean worked as a crew supervisor on the production floor at General Motors and worked her way up to a plant manager. We understand the struggles faced by our manufacturing industry from every level.

Our state is extremely well-positioned to be a hub for manufacturing with our low utility costs, DHL and UPS facilities, abundance of natural resources and our connectivity to other states via road and waterways. But, we need real reform – especially tax reform – to make Kentucky more manufacturing-friendly and to attract new companies and new talent.

We also need to fight back against federal regulations that have killed thousands of jobs in KY. As Governor, I will challenge government overreach into our state by federal agencies and I will not enforce onerous federal regulations that are economically detrimental to our state and harmful to our citizens. The Obama Administration’s one-size-fits-all regulatory issuance that does not take into account scale of risk is especially burdensome to small business manufacturers who help drive our economy.

I support passing Right-to-Work legislation. Right to Work legislation would help make Kentucky a more attractive place for new businesses. Not passing such legislation, puts us at a disadvantage to bordering states such as Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, and other states in our region with whom we compete for jobs. Kentucky is the only southern state that has not enacted right to work legislation and we can no longer afford the opportunity cost of being an outlier.

Lastly, we need to increase career and technical education (CTE) opportunities for students and working adults. Through CTE, we can develop a highly-skilled, highly-qualified workforce which will attract more businesses to move to Kentucky, including in the automotive industry.

How will your administration utilize and support economic associations such as KAIA?

KAIA is a valuable resource to understanding challenges faced by the automobile manufacturing industry, as well as in finding solutions to problems and concerns. I will work with KAIA to strengthen the automobile manufacturing industry, and KAIA will always have a seat at the table in my Administration.

What are 3 ways your administration will seek to enhance workforce development in Kentucky, particularly in regard to advanced manufacturing?

There is a strong correlation between education, a highly skilled workforce, and economic stability within a state. More highly skilled workers means we attract higher value jobs, in turn, decreasing unemployment and increasing wealth creation. Expanding career and technical education (CTE) opportunities prepares more students for successful careers and grows better paying jobs in numerous fields.

As Governor, I will incentivize and support an education system that results in a highly employable workforce. This includes integrating more CTE courses into secondary education and increasing well-structured vocational training programs to develop workers with the technical and life skills necessary to contribute to and thrive in a strong economy.

Under our Administration, Kentucky will adopt policies that allow education and training to be guided by the labor market, with the flexibility for schools to work with local businesses to help students develop real-world skills. Our Administration would seek to give more control to local communities, school boards, educators, and parents over curricula so they can align education with the skills employers need on both a local and global level.

Our Administration will also make a deliberate effort to partner our technical schools and training centers with private manufacturers for resource sharing and training purposes. We will be committed to developing these types of mutually beneficial relationships to ensure a highly-skilled workforce and to make the transition from postsecondary education to employment as smooth as possible for both students and employers.

What is your plan to keep energy costs low and reliable in Kentucky?

I would begin aiding our coal industry by not enforcing onerous federal regulations that are economically detrimental to our state and harmful to our citizens. This includes EPA regulations destroying our coal industry.

A Bevin-Hampton Administration would also work to reform our judicial review process that holds up coal production and nuclear power plants in frivolous lawsuits and bureaucratic red tape.

Growing other areas of Kentucky’s energy sector should also be incentivized. Our state is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. We can lower the cost of energy, decrease our dependence on foreign oil, and create badly needed jobs by exploring and developing these resources.

What changes, if any, will your administration recommend for Kentucky’s tax code regarding businesses?

Kentucky desperately needs comprehensive tax reform. Both personal income tax and corporate income tax rates must be gradually decreased. This will leave a higher percentage of earnings in the hands of job creators and Kentucky families and will make us more competitive with surrounding states.

I believe we should begin immediately to phase out the inventory tax in Kentucky. And, we need move from taxing production to taxing consumption.

We must reduce the complexity of our existing tax code. Our new tax code must be simpler, easier to understand and easier to comply with.

Questionnaire: Jack Conway

Jack_ConwayWhat opportunities do you see to further strengthen Kentucky’s position in the global automotive industry?  

Our automotive industry has deep roots in Kentucky – employing tens of thousands of our family members, friends and neighbors and contributing billions to our economy. As Governor, I’m committed to making the business environment in Kentucky better for our automotive industry and for all employers across the state.

Improving the business environment for employers like our automotive industry includes investing in infrastructure across the Commonwealth because it’s critical that our businesses have dependable, safe and efficient roadways. My plan also includes realigning our workforce training program to ensure that workers are getting the skills they need to get hired, especially in areas like advanced manufacturing where employers have a need for more skilled workers. I’m also committed to continuing my work as Attorney General in combating federal overreach that jeopardizes Kentucky’s low-cost energy because I know how important it is for employers across the Commonwealth.

Finally, I will hold the line on taxes to keep Kentucky’s businesses competitive. As Governor, I’ll conduct a top-to-bottom review our tax incentives to make sure that businesses have the tools they need to expand and create more good paying jobs.

How will your administration utilize and support economic associations such as KAIA?

Groups like the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association are an important voice for employers across Kentucky. KAIA provides critical insight into the priorities and needs of the automotive industry and the industry’s employees. As Governor, I will bring groups like the KAIA to the table when making important decisions about Kentucky’s budget and economy, because our employers know best what they need to thrive.

What are three ways your administration will seek to enhance workforce development in Kentucky, particularly in regard to advanced manufacturing?

Building the best workforce is an important part of my plan to create more Kentucky jobs because too many of our employers can’t find enough skilled workers to fulfill their needs. As Governor, I’ll aggressively expand existing successful apprenticeship programs, like the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME), with the goal of being the first state in the nation to have a coordinated, multi-industry statewide apprenticeship program to help workers earn while they learn.

We also need more and better employer engagement and coordination between government, our education community and labor organizations to do away with redundant training, and focus on workforce development programs that meet the demands of today’s employers. As Governor, I’ll request that colleges within the Community and Technical College System conduct an annual assessment to identify the top three leading industries for growth in their communities to ensure that they are providing nearby employers with customized training programs that meet their needs.

To meet our workforce challenges, we also need to ensure that Kentucky’s students are making smart decisions about their futures. As Governor, I’ll implement a new program for high school juniors and seniors to help them do exactly that. The Kentucky PLAN (Pathways to Learning, Achievement, and New Opportunities) Program will provide students with information about regional economic opportunities, growing industry sectors, and best practices to evaluate higher education options. The program will also connect schools and students with local businesses and education leaders who can speak directly to students and educate them about their options following graduation.

What is your plan to keep energy costs low and reliable in Kentucky?

As Attorney General, I was proud to stand up for Kentucky consumers and businesses to keep our energy prices low. I advocated for Kentuckians before the Public Service Commission, preventing nearly $1 billion in utility rate increases for our families. And I fought the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when it threatened Kentucky’s low-cost energy prices through federal government overreach – suing the EPA and winning a case before the Supreme Court just this year to stop the agency from forcing regulations on Kentucky that would raise our energy costs and jeopardize jobs.

As Governor, I’ll continue to challenge the EPA’s regulatory agenda when it threatens Kentucky’s jobs and businesses. And I’ll appoint commissioners to the Public Service Commission who understand the importance of keeping our energy prices low, because I know our low-cost energy attracts and keeps businesses and jobs in our state.

What changes, if any, will your administration recommend for Kentucky’s tax code regarding businesses?

Our tax code needs to be reformed to make sure we are in the best position to grow Kentucky’s economy and create more good-paying jobs. I’m committed to holding the line on taxes and I support eliminating the state portion of Kentucky’s inventory tax to keep our Commonwealth competitive. Any attempt at broader tax reform needs to done through bipartisan cooperation with input from groups across Kentucky.


KY Automotive Industry Celebrates Production of State’s First Lexus in Georgetown

“Today’s first Lexus is a strong endorsement of Kentucky’s outstanding automotive workforce and manufacturing facilities,” said Dave Tatman, executive director of the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association. “Toyota has continued to invest in Kentucky because they know that Kentuckians in the auto sector make outstanding products, with dependable suppliers and reliable infrastructure. That combination of talent, facilities and resources makes Kentucky an unbeatable location for the booming auto industry, and we at KAIA are proud to be part of today’s historic event.”