ASHLAND, Ky. (KT) – The chairman of Braidy Industries, the aluminum rolling mill coming to northeastern Kentucky, revealed the identities of shareholders with Kentucky connections in an opinion piece Sunday morning on Kentucky Today.
Craig T. Bouchard chastised the Louisville media for “waging an unimportant fight” that amounts to “political fluff” concerning the shareholders' connections to Gov. Matt Bevin or other state agencies. “This would never be tolerated in the world of private enterprise,” he wrote.
Braidy Industries announced in April a proposed $1.3 billion investment in the plant scheduled to be built in South Shore in Greenup County. He said they chose the area over 20 other potential sites in multiple states for several reasons, including “a treasure trove of highly skilled and dedicated work-ready families waiting to work for us.”
Bouchard said there are eight shareholders of Braidy Industries, with founding employees also participating in a stock incentive program. Commonwealth Seed Capital and Charles Price, a member of the company’s board of directors and an industrialist from Louisville, are the only shareholders in Kentucky. All other Braidy shareholders are in other states or countries, he said.
He called Price “a mentor” and the one responsible for Braidy looking at a bid from Kentucky in the first place.
“I request all of the state’s politicians, lawyers and media professionals to focus on real problems, such as economic development, the brewing pension crisis, the opioid epidemic destroying homes and schools, and our treasure: the kids. Could we please work together on those problems instead of inventing irrelevant issues?” he wrote.
Last December, the state legislature unanimously approve a $15 million investment into eastern Kentucky without revealing many details. Bouchard said the company placed “great value in the state having skin-in-the-game" and it did have an impact on the deal. However, he said the funds represent only 1 percent of the total investment.
Bouchard said Gov. Matt Bevin personally asked the company to consider Kentucky. "He was determined to bring advanced manufacturing jobs back to our region. This meant a lot to us,” Bouchard said.
It means a lot to people in northeastern Kentucky as well, with many embracing the revival that could come if the rolling mill opens as expected in 2020.
“After scouting Indiana, North and South Carolina and Texas, we found a beautiful place full of exceptional people," Bouchard said. "In fact, after announcing our choice, we received roughly 3,500 job applications for our 600 jobs. Obviously, we found our team, and we found our home.”