Lt. Gov. Coleman, Flash Steelworks, Inc. Break Ground on $12.1 Million Steel Manufacturing Facility Creating 250 Well-Paying Jobs in Southeastern Kentucky

Project approved for $1 million in Appalachian Regional Commission funding

MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (Oct. 12, 2022) – Today, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, along with federal, state and local officials, joined executives from Flash Steelworks, Inc. to break ground on a new steel manufacturing facility in Middlesboro. Over the next 15 years, Flash Steelworks will invest $12.1 million and create 250 full-time jobs at an hourly rate of $39, including benefits. Of those, 100 new jobs are expected to be created in the next three years.

At the groundbreaking, Lt. Gov. Coleman also announced $1 million in Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) funding will aid in the construction of the steel manufacturing facility. The ARC funding will be matched by $5 million in state funds, allocated from the 2022 state budget.

“As more companies look to move to Kentucky, we want to make sure we are giving them the support they need,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “Flash Steelworks is betting on Kentucky, and we are ensuring they’ll be here for the long-haul.”

Flash Steelworks is a private steel manufacturer that uses a unique and highly specialized electronic/thermal process to produce blast-resistant, yet lightweight, military-grade plate steel. The company has a contract with the federal Department of Defense to produce armor for the U.S. military.

“Flash Steelworks is very pleased to team with everyone in the State of Kentucky to produce a world-class armor plate to protect those in harm’s way,” said Gary Cola, Jr., founder and chief technology officer at Flash Steelworks. “Starting in Middlesboro, we will deploy leading-edge advanced steel technology and products in what is planned to be a regional industrial hub. This new facility is just a first step toward bringing many truly high-paying, long-term jobs to Southeast Kentucky to the benefit of all.”

Bell County Judge/Executive Albey Brock commended the teamwork that made this project possible.

“This new facility is going to bring 100 good-paying jobs to Bell County over the next few years,” said Judge Brock said. “We are excited to see this kind of long-term investment in our community. So many people have worked to secure this funding, and to see it come together is incredible. Many thanks to everyone who has worked so hard on this project.”

Middlesboro Mayor Rick Nelson spoke on the significant impact this project will have on the local economy.

“The new steel facility is going to provide good-paying jobs to Middlesboro, and Bell County as a whole,” Mayor Nelson said. “These kinds of investments help our community grow and diversify our economy. It’s a big win for Middlesboro, and we want to thank all the partners involved in securing this project.”

In addition to the ARC and state funds, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in September preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $3 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $12.1 million and annual targets of:

•     Creation and maintenance of 250 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
•     Paying an average hourly wage of $39 including benefits across those jobs.

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, the company 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.

About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia and help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation. More information is available here.