(WHAS11) -- A photograph making the rounds of politicos and press Tuesday was Governor Steve Beshear at the announcement (see news release below) of the expansion of a Lexington ceiling and vertical fan manufacturing plant.
The company's name, Big Ass Fans, is usually an attention getter. And the photographer's framing of this shot has now provided the governor's rivals both a chuckle and a photo suitable for framing.
It's not the first time Big Ass fans have been a factor in a memorable photo with Beshear present.
During a June, 2010 appearance by Vice-President Joe Biden in Louisville, GE Executive Jim Campbell collapsed and fell off the dais in the heat of a sweltering manufacturing plant at Appliance Park. GE told WHAS11 that Biden's staff had requested that the Big Ass fans be turned off so the comments on stage could be more easily heard.
Governor Steve Beshear joined company and local officials today to announce Lexington-based Big Ass Fans will build a 72,000-square-foot facility in Lexington. The project will add 150 jobs and entail an $8 million investment.
“I’m delighted to see this expansion and witness the tremendous success of Big Ass Fans, a Kentucky-based company,” Gov. Beshear said. “These new jobs will have a positive impact for the community, creating quality jobs in the Lexington area. I’m glad the Commonwealth could play a role in making this growth possible.”
The expansion includes 56,000 square feet for office space and 16,000 square feet for storage/warehouse space on Jaggie Fox Way in Lexington, where the company has an existing 45,000-square-foot research and testing facility. Big Ass Fans also plans to maintain its Lexington campus location off Winchester Road.
Founded in 1999, the HVLS (High Volume Low Speed) Fan Company changed its name to Big Ass Fans in 2002 and has become a leading manufacturer of ceiling fans for industrial, agricultural, commercial and residential customers. The fans range in size from 5 feet to 24 feet in diameter and use low horsepower motors to generate energy-efficient air movement for large spaces. There are more than 65,000 Big Ass Fans installed worldwide in locations such as manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, horse arenas, dairy barns, stadiums, restaurants, health clubs and homes.
“While our name may be funny, we take our business seriously,” says President of Big Ass Fans, Carey Smith. “Our company’s success can be credited, in large part, to the quality employees we have attracted and maintained in central Kentucky. Combining this pool of talent with products that really work has led to enormous success, which we’re proud to now reinvest back into the community.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in Lexington, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
KEDFA also approved Big Ass Fans for tax benefits up to $210,000 through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, which 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.
“This announcement is good news for Lexington,” said Lexington Mayor Jim Gray. “We’re proud to be home to Big Ass Fans. They bring good jobs to our city, and we have citizens who need those jobs.”
“This is an exciting announcement for central Kentucky,” said Sen. Kathy Stein, of Lexington. “This investment by Big Ass Fans is an investment in our community. The 150 new jobs resulting from this expansion will provide a boost to our local economy and new opportunities for our workforce. Big Ass Fans continues to enhance our position as the prime location for innovative businesses to plant themselves, grow roots and be cultivated into the fertile soil we are developing to be the regional leader in excellence in our new economy. Gov. Beshear shows his continued leadership in job creation to seek out and support this excellent industry. This is the kind of leadership we need and have come to expect from Gov. Beshear. Thank you, Governor.”
“This is great news for our community and one of its signature businesses,” said Rep. Susan Westrom, of Lexington. “I want to thank the company for making this investment, especially for the jobs it will generate, and I’m glad that the state could play a role in helping to make all of this possible. Big Ass Fans has really put Lexington on the map, because of its name and certainly because of its quality work.”
“Commerce Lexington Inc. has always enjoyed working with Big Ass Fans, and we’re thrilled that they are expanding in Lexington,” said Bob Quick, CCE, president and CEO, Commerce Lexington Inc. “Big Ass Fans is a great example of a homegrown company that has an international reach. We’re proud they call Lexington home.”
For more information on Big Ass Fans, visit www.bigassfans.com.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ThinkKentucky or follow on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/ThinkKentucky.
A detailed community profile for Lexington (Fayette County) can be viewed at http://thinkkentucky.com/EDIS/cmnty/index.aspx?cw=053.
Follow Governor Beshear on Twitter @Govstevebeshear, read the Governor’s personal notes on his blog at http://blog.governor.ky.gov/, and view his video commentaries at http://www.youtube.com/governorbeshear.