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Tri-ED recognizes 23 ‘Thoroughbred’ companies which expanded or located in NKy region in 2014

Thoroughbred Award winners (Photos by Mark Hansel)

Thoroughbred Award winners (Photos by Mark Hansel)

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune Contributor

The Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (Tri-ED) recognized 23 companies at its annual Northern Kentucky Thoroughbreds award ceremony Monday.

The event, which took place at the Northern Kentucky University METS Center in Erlanger, recognizes companies that announced new locations or expansions in the region in 2014.

Kenton County Judge-Executive Kris Knochelman, chair of the Northern Kentucky Tri-ED board, provided the opening comment at the seventh annual Northern Kentucky Thoroughbreds Celebration.

“We are very honored that (representatives of) 19 of these companies who have announced projects are with us today,” Knochelman said.

The 23 companies combined to create 2,087 jobs with a total economic impact of more than $423 million, according to Tri-ED’s 2014 Annual Report.

The Thoroughbred Award

The Thoroughbred Award

Leading the way were the air courier DHL, with a $46 million investment and eBay, Inc., which invested $30.5 million to expand its Boone County facility.

Dan Tobergte, president and CEO of Tri-Ed, said economic development is a team sport and the diverse companies that received the awards are some of its key members.

“We recognized attraction, expansion and the start-up companies, as well,” Tobergte said. “These are all primary industry companies. They create job because they export a product or service outside the region and bring dollars back in for us.”

One of the start-ups recognized with a Thoroughbred Award was Tixers, a web-based company that allows customers to exchange tickets they can’t use for credits that can be applied to future events.

Alex Burkhart, CEO of Tixers, said the company located in the region because of UpTech, the Northern Kentucky business accelerator, but has decided to remain as its business model evolves.

“We have recently been acquired by another company, but we are keeping our Tixers offices in Northern Kentucky mainly due to the flexibility of the business,” Burkhart said. “But it’s also the support from the region, especially being recognized as an early-stage company with a Thoroughbred award for what we have accomplished.”

Alex Burkhart of Tixers

Alex Burkhart of Tixers

Phil Castellini, chief operating officer of the Cincinnati Reds gave the keynote address and provided details about the team’s role as host of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in July.

“Major League Baseball brings this event into your town, but it’s very much their event,” Castellini said. “As host, there’s really very (few) things you can do to get input into this and a lot of it is some of the events that you wrap around the game, but we’d like to put our Cincinnati spin on this.”

Major league Baseball has sent a contingent of about 30 people to Cincinnati once a month since late last year for planning purposes and the group was in town for Opening Day festivities.

“I can promise you, it is the biggest, baddest Opening Day in all of baseball,” Castellini said. “We are trying to illustrate to the league that we know how to do things here. We certainly know how to throw a party in Greater Cincinnati and we intend to do that.”

Castellini showed a video of the previous All-Star Games that took place in Cincinnati, which included a highlight of the 1970 game that the National League won when Pete Rose bowled over catcher Ray Fosse to score the winning run.
“They gave me that video that you just saw and, as you can imagine, we had to edit that video to make it ours, because it sure as…didn’t include that Pete Rose highlight, Castellini said.

Phil Castellini speaks about the Reds

Phil Castellini speaks about the Reds

Castellini emphasized that the week of All Star game festivities would be very much a regional event with activities on both sides of the river. He pointed out that the Covington bicentennial celebration will coincide with the game and the Reds very much want to incorporate that into the planning

Robert Hoffer, a Tri-ED board member and a partner with the law firm Dressman Benzinger LaVelle, presented Duke Energy with the Northern Kentucky Thoroughbred’s 2015 NKY Boost Ally Award.

The honor is given to a local organization that shows exceptional service to Northern Kentucky businesses through coordination with NKY Boost, Tri-ED’s business retention and expansion program.

“Duke Energy has not only supported all aspects of economic development in Northern Kentucky, but it has also taken a lead role in addressing workforce challenges,” Hoffer said.

Chuck Sessions, vice president, government and community affairs for Duke Energy Kentucky, said supporting economic development is a function of being a good community partner.

“We want to help businesses and industry and our customers in Northern Kentucky grow and thrive,” Sessions said. “If our customers and our communities are successful, then it bodes well for our business as well.”

The event was hosted by Local 12 anchor reporter Bob Herzog.

Companies awarded 2015 Thoroughbred Awards:

Ace Machine
Altrista Plastics LLC
Archer Daniels Midland Co.
Avure Technologies, Inc.
Beckman Coulter
Corrosion Resistant Reinforcing
DHL Express (USA)
Keebler Company
Load Banks Direct, LLC
Perfetti Van Melle
RANDY’S Worldwide
Sterling Cut Glass Co., Inc.
TeeSpring Inc.
XPO Logistics

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