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Halton Brings Its HQ Home
May 21, 2015 (Scottsville, KY) by Matt Pedigo, C-T News Editor
The Halton Company, already one of Allen County’s major employers, announced last week that it’s also bringing its North American headquarters to its Scottsville plant.
The Finland-based company (halton.com) is an industry leader in the design and manufacture of industrial, large-scale and restaurant air ventilation/filtration systems—it even has product lines for marine applications.
In a $3.7 million investment in its Scottsville plant, Halton will be adding 10,300 square feet to its Scottsville plant for headquarters as well as research and development space. The headquarters will be moving out of Western Kentucky University’s business incubator/accelerator in the former Bowling Green Mall, where it has been for about nine years.
“It’s a home run for Scottsville to have Halton put their North American headquarters here, along with research and development,” said Allen County Economic Development Director Richie Sanders. “We don’t know what other opportunities this may offer as they develop other products here. I want to thank the leadership of Halton and (Halton Americas President) Rick Bagwell they’ve always been a great community partner.”
“We are always pleased to see our operations expand,” Mika Halttunen, chairman of Halton’s board of directors stated in a press release form the office of Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D). “The atmosphere of cooperation that the Commonwealth of Kentucky provides and the willingness of the local city and county officials to work with established companies make investments into our growth more sound and prudent, both for the company and the community.”
In 1969, Halton was founded in Finland by Seppo Halttunen, The growing company reached this continent in 1978, establishing a Canadian facility. Its first sales offices in the US opened in 1982. As it continued to expand, Halton became the Halton Group, after it purchased or merged with others in similar markets. Halton established its Scottsville plant in 1997, on Industrial Drive, off Old Gallatin Road just south of White Plains. Initially, the plant employed 27 people; its workforce size has fluctuated with economic times, but it currently employs about 112 people.
Bagwell said the addition is tentatively slated for completion and occupation around January of 2016. In addition to those employed by outside firms for the construction process, Halton plans to add about 10 to 12 employment positions to its roster, including some in manufacturing. Roughly another six positions would move here from the current Bowling Green headquarters.
The move to bring Halton’s manufacturing, research/development and North American headquarters all to one site is intended to enhance efficiency through faster, more ready communication between the departments, Bagwell said. It will also bring customers closer to the manufacturing process as well, he said.
“I would like to thank the state, county and local authorities for their cooperation and their part in our growth over the years,” Bagwell said. “The cooperation and working relationship with the local Allen County-Scottsville Industrial Development Authority (IDA), the county judge and the mayor makes Scottsville a great place to live and work.”
The IDA and Economic Development Director Richie Sanders worked with state officials as well as Halton executives to help develop an incentives package. This included the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority’s (KEDFA) approval of up to $100,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, approved in a late April meeting where Sanders spoke on behalf of Allen County.
According to the Governor’s Office press release, the program allows “approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment.” Sanders noted that KEDFA agreements are performance-based; if a company doesn’t deliver in terms of adding jobs, it doesn’t get the tax break package.
Further support from the Kentucky Innovation Network—which works with businesses to plan and build new ventures and expansions—and the Kentucky Skills Network was also involved. Companies with membership in the Skills Network are “eligible to receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives,” the release states.
“Halton is already a wonderful contributor to Allen County, so this latest announcement means it will have an even bigger positive impact on our community,” said State Rep. Wilson Stone (D-22nd District), of Scottsville. “I want to thank its leaders for making this decision and our local and state officials for working with the company to help make this possible.”
“I appreciate Halton Group choosing Scottsville to set up their research and development operations and am proud that we could meet their needs in this new endeavor,” adds State Sen. David Givens (R-Ninth District. “I know our community will continue to help Halton Group thrive and expand.”
Allen Judge/Executive Johnny Hobdy expressed gratitude for Halton’s recent decision, but also for the company’s actions in general.
“Halton’s been a great corporate citizen ever since they’ve come here—not only in jobs but in their support of many other programs in the community,” he said. “We are extremely excited with the Halton Group’s announcement to further their investment in Scottsville and Allen County by bringing their North American headquarters to Allen County. They’re good corporate citizens.”
Hobdy noted that, among many charitable endeavors, the company donated back to the IDA an 18-acre Industrial Drive land tract it had bought when the plant was established. This made possible the IDA’s “spec” building that has been leases by Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems. Halton has also been a major donor to the Laura Turner Dugas Fund for Allen County, donated a $40,000 three-dimensional printer to the Allen County Career and Technical Center and is a major sponsor for South Central Kentucky Crime Stoppers, among other causes. The company also designed an produced ventilation systems for the Allen County Intermediate Center’s gymnasium.
“It is an important part of our strategy that each of our units is a good, responsible corporate citizen,” said Halton CEO Heikki Rinne. “Working with and giving back to the community is ingrained in our corporate thought process.”
“Halton has always been a great asset to Scottsville,” said Scottsville Mayor Rob Cline, adding praise for North Central Telephone Cooperative and Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation for having made infrastructure improvements over the years that give major industries what they need to stay in the county. “We are extremely pleased that Halton has chosen to locate their North American Headquarters here.”
The people were another deciding factor in the decision, Bagwell said.
“I’ve said this often; I probably sound like a broken record,” he said. “I think the people of Scottsville and Allen County, and surrounding counties, are good people and have a good work attitude. And the community supports the industries they have there. Allen County is a good place to live and work.”
To find out more about the Allen County-Scottsville Industrial Development Authority please view their website at: www.scottsvillegrowth.com.