November Manufacturer of the Month: Flex Films

Elizabethtown and Hardin County are home to many manufacturers that are innovative leaders in their industries as well as vital contributors to our region’s economy. EHCIF’s Manufacturer of the Month is an opportunity to recognize these companies and increase awareness of the manufacturing activity happening every day right here in the Elizabethtown area.

To see the role Flex Films plays in everyday life, you only need to walk down a supermarket aisle. The Flex Films team in Elizabethtown manufactures a variety of films for the flexible packaging of food and household goods — from candies and snacks to pet food — as well as other consumer products such as balloons and tote bags.

The Elizabethtown facility is the largest division of UFlex Group, one of the world’s leading flexible packaging companies. The company made a home in Elizabethtown in 2010, after seeing that the community shared many of its core values. Those values include trust and respect, providing value to customers, thinking globally and acting locally, innovation, speed and socio-environmental sustainability.

The plant, located on North Black Branch Road, is a perfect example of modern advanced manufacturing. The highly automated and technologically advanced operation offers a spotless, climate-controlled environment with opportunities to engage in meaningful and interesting work. With a team of about 170 employees, the company continues to grow in Elizabethtown. Current career opportunities include: materials engineer, development technologists, development managers, production associates and more.

At the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation, we could not be prouder that Flex Films is succeeding and growing in Elizabethtown. We’re thankful for the company’s investment in our local economy, but we also appreciate that Flex Films has become a true community partner, supporting a number of initiatives to ensure a bright future for Elizabethtown and Hardin County.

Our thanks to Elizabethtown Mayor Jeff Gregory, Kenny Rambo, CEO of Heartland Communications Consultants and co-chair of Elizabethtown Community and Technical College’s University Center campaign, and representatives of the manufacturing community for joining the Elizabethtown-Hardin Industrial Foundation’s monthly facility managers meeting today. Mayor Gregory discussed various city projects underway, and Rambo provided an update on the University Center.

For more information, or to RSVP for the next facility managers meeting, please contact the industrial foundation at 270-737-0300.

Oct. 4 is National Manufacturing Day

Today is National Manufacturing Day! We’re proud so many innovative, thriving manufacturers have located and expanded in Elizabethtown and Hardin County. These companies include global leaders in the manufacturing of silicone-based products, plastics, automotive frames, brakes and glass, and much more. The entire manufacturing community plays a vital role in creating good jobs, driving our economy and enhancing the quality of life of our region. Here’s a quick look at the manufacturing sector’s recent impact on our community.

August Manufacturer of the Month: Structures USA

Elizabethtown and Hardin County are home to many manufacturers that are innovative leaders in their industries as well as vital contributors to our region’s economy. EHCIF’s Manufacturer of the Month is an opportunity to recognize these companies and increase awareness of the manufacturing activity happening every day right here in the Elizabethtown area.

Public works projects across the country depend on the team at Elizabethtown-based Structures USA and VSI Sales. Structures USA manufactures overhead sign structures used on interstates as well as highway lighting, traffic signal poles and related products. VSI Sales engineers and markets the products fabricated by Structures USA.

Co-located in a 90,000-square-foot facility at 333 Peterson Drive, the companies started operating in Elizabethtown in 2013 with three employees. Since then, the team has grown to about 50, including welders, machine operators, industrial maintenance techs, estimators, drafters and others. In addition, Structures USA has invested greatly in the state-of-the-art equipment at the Elizabethtown plant.

The manufacturer sees new opportunities and growth ahead, now under the leadership of parent company Nova Pole International Inc., a Canadian owned company also known for quality infrastructure products.

At Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation, we’re proud Structures USA and VSI Sales call Elizabethtown home. We thank them for their contributions to our community and wish them continued success.

ECTC presents workforce programs at facility managers meeting

Our thanks to Elizabethtown Community and Technical College for hosting the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation monthly facility managers meeting today. ECTC President Dr. Juston Pate shared information about several programs and initiatives designed to strengthen the manufacturing community.

ECTC and U.S. Army Garrison Fort Knox recently partnered to create the Advanced Manufacturing Career Skills Program (CSP). The program gives transitioning soldiers at any duty station across the globe an opportunity to come to Fort Knox, train at ECTC and earn industry certificates that lead to in-demand careers. The program presents a unique opportunity for employers to connect with transitioning soldiers and create a new pipeline of highly skilled talent.

Pate also discussed the University Center, which will bring multiple university partners to Elizabethtown, making higher education more accessible and affordable. University partners will offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs that align with the needs of local employers.

In addition, the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship is available for Kentucky residents who do not have a degree and are interested in high-demand career fields including manufacturing.

The next facility managers meeting is at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 19 at EHCIF. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Cherri Spalding at 270-737-0300.

EIFTC Donates $25,000 to ECTC to Develop Mobile Classroom for Local Business and Industry


Thanks to a generous investment by the Elizabethtown Industrial Foundation Training Consortium,   it will be more convenient than ever for employers to benefit from Elizabethtown Community and Technical College’s customizable training programs. This $25,000 donation supports ECTC’s development of a mobile classroom that will bring hands-on instruction directly to companies starting this fall.  ECTC looks forward to serving EIFTC members and other businesses throughout the region with this valuable new resource!  Additional information about the Elizabethtown/Hardin County Industrial Foundation can be found at



Pictured are members of EIFTC along with Dr. Pate, President of ECTC


The Elizabethtown/Hardin County Industrial Foundation Training Consortium was founded in 1987 by a group of existing businesses and industries, the Elizabethtown/Hardin County Industrial Foundation, the Hardin County Facility Managers Association and the Elizabethtown Community and Technical College to provide training needed to upgrade the skills of their employees.

The EIFTC is still a vital training program today and is cost effective way to upgrade the skills of existing employees.  Some of the reasons why a company should join EIFTC are:

  • Upgrade employee skills
  • Cost-effective training solutions
  • Access to local training resources
  • Training at multiple levels
  • Workforce needs assessment
  • Monthly forums
  • Customized curriculum
  • Flexible class schedules
  • Computer software training
  • Invaluable networking opportunities
  • Strategic Community partnerships.

    Pictured are Tommy Wheatley from Metalsa presenting a plaque in appreciation to Jeff Mills-Akebono for his service as Chairperson of EIFTC for 2018-2019

    Contact the Elizabethtown/Hardin County Industrial Foundation at  or visit our website for additional information on becoming a member

June Manufacturer of the Month: E-town Truss

Elizabethtown and Hardin County are home to many manufacturers that are innovative leaders in their industries as well as vital contributors to our region’s economy. EHCIF’s Manufacturer of the Month is an opportunity to recognize these companies and increase awareness of the manufacturing activity happening every day right here in the Elizabethtown area.

E-town Truss, a family owned and operated business, has played a role in building up Elizabethtown, Hardin County and many other Kentucky communities since it was established in 1977.

At its facility on Valley Creek Road, this local company builds custom roof trusses and floor trusses, which are shipped to job sites typically within a 75-mile radius of Elizabethtown. The company, equipped to build trusses with up to an 80-foot clear span, produces products for single-family homes, multi-family dwellings and commercial properties. Working with a long list of area builders and contractors, E-town Truss has left its mark on countless homes and buildings.

This year, the company marked a milestone anniversary. Twenty years ago, Bobby and Kim Tabb purchased the business from Mrs. Tabb’s father. As Mr. Tabb will tell you, the E-town Truss team shares a commitment to Elizabethtown and takes pride in seeing the city’s continued growth and prosperity. They are also grateful to give back to the community. For instance, E-town Truss has been a valuable partner to Habitat for Humanity of Hardin County.

Elizabethtown recognized for foreign direct investment

Below are excerpts from an article titled “FDI Clusters” in the the current issue of Southern Business Development magazine. The full article is available here.

You can learn more about the Elizabethtown industrial facilities with foreign ownership here.

Small and Medium-Sized Cities in the South Attracting Foreign Direct Investment In a Big Way

There are many destinations in the South for foreign direct investment (FDI). Profiled here are the top small and medium-sized markets for FDI in the 15-state Southern region. These markets were chosen based on the number of projects they have captured from foreign companies over the last 25 years.


Elizabethtown, Ky.

Elizabethtown, Ky., has enjoyed long-term growth in foreign direct investment from Belgium, England, France, Germany, India, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico and The Netherlands. Elizabethtown’s prime central location, low energy prices, community attributes and more have landed new projects like India-based packaging giant Flex Films (2010) and The Netherland’s Eurotrol (2016), which produces quality control products for in vitro diagnostics. In addition, foreign investors’ success in Elizabethtown has led to multiple expansions. AGC Automotive (Japan), for example, has tripled its footprint since coming to Elizabethtown in the late 1980s, and the latest expansion at automotive supplier Metalsa (Mexico) will create 250 new jobs.

Other small and medium-size FDI clusters in Kentucky include Nelson County, Bowling Green, Clark County, Danville-Boyle County, Georgetown-Scott County, Christian County, Bullitt County, Shelby County, Simpson County, Marion County, Mercer County, Owensboro, Murray, Somerset and Richmond.

Growing manufacturer finds new ways to recruit young talent


Any manufacturing executive will tell you that talent recruitment is a top driver for remaining competitive, and attracting bright young employees is certainly part of the mix. At the same time, our communities and the Lincoln Trail region collectively must find new ways to retain our region’s young talent so that we can develop the workforce our businesses need to grow.

With that said, I’m excited to see many employers connecting with our youth, helping them discover opportunities to start high-demand careers here. The latest example is a new hiring model adopted by Metalsa.

Already one of the global automotive supplier’s largest operations, Metalsa’s Elizabethtown plant is expanding to create 250 new jobs this year and in 2020. To help prepare a workforce to match its growth, Metalsa launched its Jump Start program.

The program is designed to attract new high school graduates to the company. Working with seven area high schools, Metalsa introduced itself to high school seniors who could begin working for the company after they graduate and turn 18. Interested students were invited to apply and those selected will work full-time, earning good wages and benefits.  

The Jump Start program waives the typical minimum experience requirements for new high school grads, and it allows applicants to choose one of two paths — the Direct Hire Path or the Tuition Reimbursement Path.

Metalsa’s Direct Hire Path appeals to students who are more interested in starting a career immediately and it offers opportunities to participate in Metalsa’s apprenticeship programs.

Jump Start participants on Metalsa’s Tuition Reimbursement Path are immediately eligible for scholarships through Elizabethtown Community and Technical College as well as Metalsa’s tuition reimbursement program. Tuition reimbursement is not normally an immediate employee benefit.

“Jump Start is a great example of how employers can tap into ECTC’s programs and offerings to recruit and retain a higher quality workforce,” ECTC president Dr. Juston Pate said. “It’s a win for the employee and the company.”

Pate also co-chairs the Unlocking Local Potential Subcommittee of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board’s Workforce Crisis Task Force. The committee is focused on increasing work-based learning opportunities in our region’s in-demand sectors, including advanced manufacturing.

Too many young people in our region lack an understanding of the career opportunities available to them locally. Secondly, students who go away to college commonly stay away, Pate said, because they connect with employers and careers close to the colleges they attend.

The committee’s work is guided by this principle: When we create opportunities for students to experience work-based learning locally, they become much more likely to choose to stay in their home communities. These opportunities include everything from a high school student’s daylong job shadowing, to a college student’s semester-long internship, to full apprenticeship programs. Ultimately, it’s an effort to grow our population, our workforce and our economy.

What we’re seeing at Metalsa is one example of an individual employer’s plan to unlock local potential. As president of the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation, I applaud Metalsa’s new approach. Not only are the company’s representatives taking steps to ensure the up-and-coming labor force is aware of local job opportunities, but they’ve created a realistic pathway to a long-term career for new grads.

Rick Games is president and COO of the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation. He can be reached at 270-737-0300.

RELATED EVENT: Apprenticeship Summit, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., April 10, Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, Room 212 Regional Post-Secondary Center. Employers are invited to learn about the benefits of apprenticeships and how ECTC and KCTCS can help companies establish apprenticeship programs. For more information, contact Mike Hazzard, Dean of Workforce Solutions and Technical Programs, at 270-706-8686 or