River Valley People & Places - March 2016
Kentucky’s automotive manufacturing industry is booming and Kentucky legislators have launched the state’s first automotive caucus to work directly with the industry to keep the automotive manufacturing sector growing and strong.
This bipartisan group of lawmakers has pledged to collaborate with automotive manufacturers and the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association (KAIA) on key issues in the coming years, including workforce training, business-friendly tax policies, technology development and more.
“When it comes to Kentucky’s automotive manufacturing industry, political party labels don’t apply,” said caucus co-chair Rep. Jim DeCesare of Bowling Green.
Two out of every three Kentucky counties are home to at least one manufacturing facility, and 20 percent of the state’s exports are tied to the auto manufacturing industry.
As the state’s largest manufacturing sector, automotive manufacturers are interested in developing the next generation of manufacturing workers, and are anxious to work alongside lawmakers, educators and others to develop manufacturing career paths for young Kentuckians.
“Today’s manufacturing employee is a problem-solving multi-tasker, with adaptable skill sets in math, electrical engineering, personnel management and software development,” working in teams, collaborative settings, said KAIA executive director Dave Tatman. “KAIA sees real economic opportunities for Kentucky students at multiple levels of education.”
Team’s PRP’s nationwide network of automotive recycling professionals continues its expansion with the addition of Mullins Auto Parts in Springfield and Mt. Olive, Illinois.
“Welcoming these new recyclers to our Team PRP organization is a wonderful start to 2016,” said Mark Gamble, Team PRP’s Executive Director. “These businesses further strengthen our network of parts trading and logistics, offering more for our many repair shop customers across the country.”
With two locations in Illinois, Mt. Olive and Springfield, Mullins Auto Parts is a family-owned company headed by Brent Mullins. Originally started as a small recycling business in 1987, Mullins now offers a large inventory of recycled parts and processes about 650 vehicles each year on their 12-acre property.
Plaza Tire Service has opened a six-bay store in Mt Vernon. This is its ninth location in Illinois and brings the company total to 57 stores.
Brian Elbert of B&D Fabrications in Villa Ridge, is celebrating 20 years in business, “Twenty years of making fun,” he said. Specializing in rear ends he has done more than 8,000 rear-ends in his one-man shop. Chassis fabricating Mustang II front ends for many applications, such as his own Volvo 544 powered by a hot-rodded Buick V6, and older customs. He has come a long way from his start in a two-car garage.
Long time AC Delco and Raytheon Instructor Mark Ingram is now working for the Garage Guru program offered by Federal Mogul. Ingram has been with the company since April 2015, but has been part the St. Louis training scene for many years. His career began in his father’s NAPA Store and Machine Shop. He later attended SIU Carbondale and completed his bachelor’s degree in Automotive Technology. Ingram worked as a technician in independent shops and for dealerships before pursuing his career in training.
Federal Mogul has a new warehouse distribution center in Maryland Heights, located on the same property as its training center. The 10,000 square-foot facility employs 135 workers.