Louisville Companies Thrive in Possibility City
PHOTO CREDIT: Antony Boshier
Louisville has the infrastructure of a major metropolitan city with the supportive nature of a tight-knit small town, making it a hospitable environment for businesses big and small. Known as Possibility City, Louisville's benefits include a low cost of doing business (labor, office rent, etc.) and low taxes.
“Louisville is a city where businesses are growing and prospering. We have a quality workforce and a wonderful quality of life,” says Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson. “Louisville is providing the business climate and talent to help [companies] flourish. It’s these kinds of partnerships that are helping our region emerge from the recession poised for growth.”
Headquarter for Headquarters
With a workforce that draws from a 24-county bi-state area, Louisville has attracted a large and diverse roster of companies choosing to make the city their home base.
GE Appliance Park, for example, serves as the global headquarters for GE Appliance & Lighting. The 900-acre complex, which houses senior management, research and development, sales and marketing as well as manufacturing distribution and administration services, employs approximately 5,000 and contributes an estimated $425 million annually to the city’s economy.
GE is investing $150 million to produce hybrid-electric water heaters, energy-efficient, front-loading washers and dryers and several new appliance components, creating more than 800 new jobs. The new hybrid technology will allow GE to be the first U.S. manufacturer to introduce a water heater that meets the new U.S. Department of Energy’s 2014 ENERGY STAR requirements.
The company is also a responsible and respected community partner, working with local schools and charities to provide volunteers, grants and appliances for major community projects.
Louisville is also headquarters for Fortune 500 business hubs such as Yum! Brands (Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell), Kindred Healthcare and Humana, Inc., one of the country’s largest publicly traded health and supplemental benefits companies. Like many of Louisville’s businesses, Humana is committed to helping the city reduce its carbon footprint, reduce energy consumption and expand its bottom line. Recently, the employees of Humana’s Louisville headquarters pledged to save more than 18 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions as part of the EPA’s Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR initiative.
With 1 million vehicles produced, Kentucky ranks third in U.S. auto manufacturing, behind Michigan and Ohio. Ford, a fixture in Kentucky since 1912, has two assembly operations in the Louisville area. The automaker has outlined plans for a major retooling and reinvestment in Louisville, a project that could cost up to $600 million and make the plant capable of assembling multiple types of fuel-efficient vehicles.
The University of Louisville partnered with the University of Kentucky, the Commonwealth and Argonne – the country’s leading transportation-related research facility – to establish the Kentucky-Argonne Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center that will facilitate the development of advanced lithium-ion batteries and advanced manufacturing technologies to reduce battery production costs.
Location, Location, Location
When Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens was looking for a place to locate his Geek Squad City, a self-contained hub where hundreds of agents work to repair computers within 24 hours of receiving them, the head of the computer service company says Louisville was a natural choice – primarily because of the UPS Worldport.
United Parcel Service, Inc. started in Louisville in 1982 with 150 employees and a mere 200,000 square feet. In April 2010, the shipping giant completed a $1 billion expansion that grew the facility to 5.2 million square feet, increased sorting capacity by 37 percent and added some $600 million to Louisville’s economy.
“We looked at a lot of locations,” says Tom Volta, UPS vice president of human resources in Louisville. “Louisville provides us with the best opportunity. Most locations in the U.S. are within three days. It is the farthest western portion of the Eastern time zone.”
Top Ranked and Rated
• named one of North America's "Small Cities of the Future" by Foreign Direct Investment magazine in 2009
• named one of the Most Livable U.S. Cities for Workers by WomenCo.com in 2009
• named one of the Cities to Watch in the 2009 Smarter Cities environmental survey
Find more on companies in Louisville, KY.