FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 20, 2021) – Kentucky businesses are continuing to grow and expand, and today Gov. Andy Beshear announced Universal Piping Industries Inc. (UPI), a subsidiary of Gallagher-Kaiser Corp. and fabricator of prepackaged industrial piping assemblies, will construct a new operation in Georgetown and consolidate its existing Lexington facilities, adding 25 new high-wage jobs.
“In a record-breaking year for job announcements, I am encouraged to see more businesses expanding their existing operations within the commonwealth,” Gov. Beshear said. “Universal Piping Industries is a longstanding asset to Central Kentucky, and I would like to congratulate them on this expansion. Growth from manufacturers like UPI is vital to our goal of building a better Kentucky for years to come, and I look forward to seeing them succeed.”
UPI will relocate to a 108,000-square-foot facility on nearly 13 acres in Lanes Run Business Park in Georgetown. Planned construction is expected to begin in February 2022 and be completed by April 2023. The expanded state-of-the-art operations will allow UPI to prefabricate customized piping and equipment to be installed at manufacturing facilities throughout the United States. UPI currently serves a variety of Kentucky’s top industries including automotive, chemicals, manufacturing, financial institutions and health care.
The project will be a relocation of two existing operations in Lexington. Company leaders expect the consolidated site will retain the company’s existing 53 Kentucky employees, and new job creation will include pipefitters and metal trades workers. The project also contributes to rising wages in the commonwealth, with an expected average hourly wage of $51 including benefits.
“For 17 years, our talented Kentucky team has provided UPI customers around North America with the highest quality piping assemblies,” said UPI President Joseph Kaiser V. “We’re excited to not only grow this workforce, but proud to provide them with the most sophisticated manufacturing space to perform their craft. Importantly, this investment reflects our faith in the community and their continued contribution to our success.”
Troy, Michigan-based UPI is wholly owned by Gallagher-Kaiser (GK). Founded in 1952, GK is a privately owned, highly experienced corporation that serves as a global leader in the engineering, procurement and construction of complete paint finishing systems, HVAC systems and industrial buildings.
Scott County Judge/Executive Joe Pat Covington said he is appreciative for the opportunities UPI’s presence brings to the area.
“We are grateful for the investment in our community by Universal Piping Industries,” Judge/Executive Covington said. “The diverse and well-paying job opportunities will open doors for individuals to use their skills and build a great career.”
Kentucky manufacturers are critical to the state’s continued economic success, as they operate nearly 5,000 facilities, employing more than 250,000 people across the state. Georgetown Mayor Tom Prather highlighted UPI as the latest addition to the commonwealth’s portfolio of manufacturing suppliers.
“Universal Piping Industries’ decision to expand to Georgetown heralds substantial employment opportunities for residents, critical resources for the area’s manufacturing partners, and a broad impact to the local and regional economy,” said Mayor Prather. “We could not be more excited to welcome them to their new home in Georgetown and Scott County.”
Jack Conner, executive director of Scott County United Inc., said he was glad to see UPI growing and expanding within the region as the latest in this year’s string of expansion announcements throughout the commonwealth.
“It is so gratifying when one of our manufacturing partners decides to expand their operations in Georgetown/Scott County and Universal Piping Industries is one of those,” Conner said. “Their presence in the Lanes Run Business Park speaks volumes of their trust in our partnership.”
UPI’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger in response to the effects of the pandemic.
This year, the commonwealth has shattered every economic development record in the books. Year-to-date, private-sector new-location and expansion announcements include a record $11 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 17,000 full-time jobs across the coming years. Through September, Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage for projects statewide is $24.15 before benefits, a 10% increase over the previous year.
In September, Gov. Beshear, Ford Motor Co. Executive Chair Bill Ford, CEO Jim Farley and Dong-Seob Jee, president of SK Innovation’s battery business, announced the single largest economic development project in the history of the commonwealth, celebrating a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs and places Kentucky at the forefront of the automotive industry’s future.
In July, thanks to strong fiscal management by the Beshear administration, the state budget office reported the commonwealth ended the 2021 fiscal year with a general fund surplus of over $1.1 billion – the highest ever in the commonwealth – and a 10.9% increase in general fund receipts to $12.8 billion.
In May, Moody’s Analytics published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky, noting mass vaccination as the driving force behind a sustained recovery in consumer services. The state’s recovery, Moody’s said, benefited from earlier reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods over services. The report also found Kentucky’s manufacturing industry outperformed the nation’s since the national downturn last year.
Fitch Ratings in May improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery. The state’s April sales tax receipts set an all-time monthly record at $486.5 million, as did vehicle usage tax receipts at over $64 million.
In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million. Site Selection also placed Kentucky in a tie for fifth in its 2021 Prosperity Cup rankings, positioning the state among the national leaders for business climate.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in December preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $350,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $12.76 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 25 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $51 including benefits across those jobs.
Additionally, KEDFA approved UPI for up to $350,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
In addition, UPI can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.
For more information on Universal Piping Industries, visit UniversalPiping.com.
A detailed community profile for Scott County can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.