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June 2012
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Paducah to see 600 new jobs this year

BY CORIANNE EGANcegan@paducahsun.com

Three companies representing millions in investment and more than 600 new jobs will be fully functional by the end of this year.

Whitehall Industries, Macco Organiques and TeleTech Holdings will all have completed buildings and be hiring workers before this winter, Paducah Economic Development president Chad Chancellor said. PED made the announcements at different times last year, but now that funding and permits are approved, this year will be full of open houses and hiring announcements, Chancellor said.

"When you announce things, you are usually a year or two off from things actually starting to happen," Chancellor said. "There's design work to do, permits to get, and a lot of other things to take care of. But we are really excited for this year."

Macco Organiques, a Canadian-based company, announced last March it would expand to the United States with a plant in Paducah. The public-private partnership represents an $11.5 million investment and 40 new jobs, and Macco agreed to take over PED's spec building in Commerce Park and manufacture pharmaceuticals. 

The design phase for that project is almost complete - Chancellor said he got a peek at the plans earlier this week - and the company plans to add more than 15,000 square feet to the existing location. PED hopes to put the bids out for the project in early March, a timeline that will hopefully allow Macco to occupy the building by November and be in production by December, Chancellor said.

Macco has already hired a plant manager and will hire some other key players in the next two months. Hiring for production workers is expected to begin this summer.

Whitehall Industries is finished with construction on its new building off Olivet Church Road. The aluminum extrusion auto parts manufacturer will employ 150 when it is in full production, but small-scale production started in December. Employees are attending training sessions in Michigan, Chancellor said. The company originally thought it would take up to four years to be at full employment numbers, but Chancellor said it is looking like it will be up to par by the end of the year. PED plans an open house this spring.

"The best thing about Whitehall is that every single company or person that has worked with them in this city has something nice to say," Chancellor said. "From the furniture suppliers to the people they are getting insurance from, everyone has enjoyed working with them."

One of PED's biggest job announcements - 450 jobs and a $5 million public-private investment from call-center Teletech Industries - is expected to be fully functional by the fall. The newly constructed building in Commerce Park will be completed by spring, Chancellor said, and PED has secured state funding to start the design process on Teletech's downtown location at Fourth Street and Kentucky Avenue. Because Teletech wants to occupy both buildings at the same time, it will likely be early fall before they move in.

After a year of announcements, Chancellor said he is looking forward to the coming year when people can actually get to work. PED continues to recruit businesses to the area, but the 600 new jobs leave local leaders optimistic, whereas the jobs climate could have been less promising.

"Right before Christmas, I got to go over to the Whitehall building and see everyone at work," Chancellor said. "I know a guy personally over there, and I was really glad to know he had found a job before the holidays. That's why we do this."

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.

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