Blockware Mining, a Chicago-based bitcoin mining company building a facility in Paducah’s Industrial Park West, has named Jeremy Witten as executive vice president of engineering.

Witten, a Kentucky native, has lived in Paducah since 2008. In his new role, he will oversee the development and rollout of Blockware Mining’s new mining facilities, focusing on energy efficiency, utility rate negotiation, system process evaluation, cryptocurrency data center design, and lean manufacturing.

Blockware announced back in June its plans to invest $50 million and hire 20 new employees over a 24-36-month period in a new facility being constructed on five acres in the industrial park.

“We are pleased to add Jeremy to our team and his expertise will help us continue growing our operations while providing excellent infrastructure support and colocation services,’’ said Michael Stoltzner, Blockware’s president and CEO.

“Jeremy’s experience in energy efficiency and rate negotiation will be tremendously valuable to our customers looking to execute mining operations while utilizing as little energy as possible.”

Witten has 15 years of experience building and managing industrial operations, including maintenance, electrical, engineering, environmental compliance, and construction as well as experience conceptualizing and building cryptocurrency data centers. He previously served as vice president of engineering services at Navier Inc., a leading consultancy firm providing innovative solutions for mining digital currency.

He holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Louisville.

Even before joining Navier, Witten was working with and developing a relationship with Greater Paducah Economic Development officials, along with Big Rivers Electric and Jackson Purchase Energy, he said, realizing the Paducah site was an ideal location.

“After joining with Navier, the discussion with Blockware started moving and heated up, to the sense it just made sense (to build here). That’s kind of the genesis of it,” he said.

“Not all mining companies have a commitment to building the best possible operating environment at their facilities. Blockware Mining has taken a serious, engineering-based approach to facility development and are ensuring that facility architecture and design decisions are driven by the goal of ensuring the best return on investment.”

On Thursday, Stoltzner, Witten and Bruce Wilcox, GPED president/CEO, are scheduled to address the Kentucky Legislature’s interim joint committee on economic development and workforce investment. That appearance will be an opportunity to discuss the benefits of cryptocurrency projects, the long-term outcomes and how they can spur economic development, Witten said.

Kentucky is well positioned for crypto-mining growth, aided by legislation passed abating taxes on power bills to encourage investment, he said.

In addition, the projects can “replace a lot of the industry that we’ve already lost that has been difficult to re-establish. Mining is so flexible and unique that it can locate basically anywhere and provide an immediate benefit, good wage-paying jobs and tax income that a small city or large city alike, in most other cases, wouldn’t have access to.”

Follow David Zoeller on Twitter, @DZoeller_The Sun

Follow David Zoeller on Twitter, @DZoeller_The Sun

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