While touring the facilities of McKechnie Vehicle Components in Kentucky last month, USDA Rural Business and Cooperative Programs Administrator Judy Canales got up close and personal with many of the company’s employees whose jobs were saved thanks to assistance from Rural Development and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
McKechnie Vehicle Components was the recipient of a $5 million Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan through a local lender – Citizens Commerce Bank in Nicholasville – that made it possible for the company to finance efficiency improvements that are saving money, increasing profits and making it possible to create 45 new jobs – with additional growth possible. Funds for the loan guarantee came from the Recovery Act.
“We are really proud of McKechnie and we are happy to be part of the (economic) turnaround for manufacturing,” said Linda Torakis, majority owner. “I am super-proud of our team and especially the people that come to work every day in the factory.”
Canales was joined by U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler and Rural Development State Director Tom Fern for a presentation on the company’s operations. McKechnie is a leading manufacturer of decorative exterior trim products for companies such as Ford, GM, Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Volkswagen, Chrysler and Mercedes. The group then toured the facility and talked with employees on the factory floor, who demonstrated how the automotive parts are made.
Efficiency improvements that were made possible by Rural Development’s investment include the implementation of robotics to reduce material and energy consumption, the development of a closed-loop water handling system that eliminates process wastewater and the creation of a process of nickel and chrome recovery that recycles heavy metal that was previously discarded.
To learn more about how your business can benefit from the Business Guarantee program click here.