CHARLESTOWN — A concrete wall manufacturer with big plans for Southern Indiana has started production at its Charlestown facility.
Ohio Valley Precast, an offshoot of the Lexington, Kentucky-based Bristol Group, bought 100 acres of land at 15602 Charlestown Betlehem Road in January with plans to initially build a 35,000-square foot facility on around 20 acres.
Ohio Valley Precast manufactures large precast concrete wall panels, which are often used to build the frames for large warehouses like the ones seen at River Ridge Commerce Center.
Last week, Ohio Valley Precast started partial production at its Charlestown facility, which will ramp up in the coming weeks and months.
Around 22 people have been hired by Ohio Valley Precast so far, and Bristol Group President Todd Ball is looking to hire 10 to 12 more workers immediately. Anyone interested in applying can contact Bob Day, Jr. by calling 502-216-4193.
Ball confirmed that most workers at the plant will make $20 an hour, which is above Clark County's average wage, although many employees are currently being hired for less due to inexperience.
But, Ball said, “They’re making great progress, and we’ve already given some raises.”
Production, quality control and maintenance workers are currently employed at the facility. Over the next five years, Ohio Valley Precast expects to create up to 80 jobs.
The Charlestown facility will eventually expand physically, with construction occurring in two more phases. The second phase will include the creation of offices, but details on the third phase are unclear.
Ball said that each phase will likely add around 35,000-square feet of building to the existing facility.
“I would say we’re really encouraged with the market’s response to this new plant, and I can’t exactly predict it, but I think [the second phase is] going to be soon,” he said.
Expansion timeframes will continue to depend on the market because Ohio Valley Precast’s products are custom made for customers, Ball said.
Ohio Valley Precast also ships its concrete walls and erects and places their panels for their customers.
Ball said that he’s had a good experience working with Clark County officials so far. The county council voted in November to turn Ohio Valley Precast’s land into an economic revitalization area and to provide the company with some tax incentives. Ohio Valley Precast has also been promised up to $625,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation as long as the company hires the number of workers they pledged to.
Ball founded Bristol Group, a design, engineering and construction firm, in 1997. In 2003, the company started offering precast structural and architectural concrete systems to its clients, which include Hitachi Automotive, North American Stainless, Marriott and United Parcel Service.
Ball decided to move Bristol Group’s precast operations to Southern Indiana and to make them into their own company because of the strong growth in the area, he said.
Ball said that he felt that the workforce in the area was capable of supporting the business. The Charlestown facility is also close to the raw materials needed to create precast concrete, including sand from the Ohio River and cement plants, such as Leigh Hanson Speed Cement Plant. The creation of the Lewis and Clark Bridge was also a plus to Ball.