The contrast between that day in January 2016, when County Judge-
Executive Mike Anderson learned that Belden was closing the doors of
the local plant forever, and when the announcement was made last
Thursday that Fitzgerald Industries had bought the manufacturing
building and was bringing 250 jobs into the local economy is a stark
Anderson remembers that January morning more than two years ago as
"heartbreaking." He was awakened early to the news that the community
was losing more than 200 jobs and a factory that had been such a
significant mainstay in this community was leaving.
Last week, Anderson was elated to bring good news of a new
manufacturing plant and more jobs for local residents.
"This is definitely a winner for Wayne County," said Anderson, after
the announcement of Fitzgerald Industries' plans to open a
manufacturing facility. "I am extremely proud that Fitzgerald
Industries LLC is locating in Monticello. I have worked very closely
with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Office, as well as
the Fitzgerald team for the last eight months."
"Losing Belden to Mexico was a huge hit for our Monticello and Wayne
County area," Anderson continued. "I look forward to a long and
lasting partnership with the Fitzgerald team. Thanks to those who
assisted my office from Kentucky Economic Development to make this
partnership a reality."
The official announcement came through Governor Matt Bevin's office
on March 29. Fitzgerald Industries II LLC, which manufactures
aluminum dump truck beds, will invest $6 million to create 250 full-
time jobs. The investment will reconfigure the plant and add
machinery to cut, form, and weld aluminum sheet for production of
commercial-grade dump beds for Class 8 trucks. The facility will also
form steel parts for use in fabrication of steel dump truck bodies.
Tommy A. Fitzgerald, president of Fitzgerald Industries, described
his family's enthusiasm about reopening the once bustling cable
"The Fitzgerald family has made it their mission to invest in,
partner with, and create well-paying manufacturing jobs in
communities, particularly in rural communities, that others have
left," Fitzgerald said. "The Monticello project aligns perfectly with
our mission. We are very excited about the opportunity to put
Kentuckians back to work and we appreciate the support of the state,
local, and federal officials who are helping keep manufacturing in
the United States."
Based in Sparta, Tenn., Fitzgerald Industries is wholly owned by the
Tommy C. Fitzgerald Legacy Trust, whose namesake has been in business
for over 30 years and through its family of companies, employs more
than 700 people in Kentucky and Tennessee. The Fitzgerald family of
companies includes Fitzgerald Truck Parts and Sales, Fitzgerald
Glider Kits, Fitzgerald Peterbilt, Fitzgerald Collision and Repair,
Fitzgerald Trailer Sales and Fitzgerald Towing and Recovery Equipment.
Last week's announcement was the culmination of many months of hard
work for a lot of people behind the scenes, including Anderson. In
fact, there has been talk about Fitzgerald buying that building since
it went on the market. The company showed interest in the facility
early on in the process.
State economic development officials got involved to help put
together an incentive package for Fitzgerald Industries.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in March
preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2.4
million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The
performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its
investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax
credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
Fitzgerald also can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills
Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive
no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost
customized training and job training incentives.
"This a possible game changer for the Wayne County economy," said
State Representative Ken Upchurch. "It's exciting to see a company
invest millions for much needed jobs for our community. The potential
this brings is limitless."
State Senator Max Wise, of Campbellsville, said the jobs and
investment will help propel the city and county.
"I am pleased to welcome Fitzgerald Industries to Monticello,"
Senator Wise said. "I was happy to assist in attracting this $6
million investment and the estimated 250 new jobs Fitzgerald
Industries plans to bring to the area, which will provide great
opportunities to our citizens and a strong boost for our local
economy. Thanks to those at Fitzgerald Industries and the Cabinet for
Economic Development for making this a reality."
Monticello Mayor Jeffrey Edwards said the project will make a
positive impact on the community.
"The City of Monticello is very excited about the positive impact on
our city and county that a company like Fitzgerald Industries will
have," Mayor Edwards said. "We look forward to having them be a part
of our community and for a bright future in Monticello going forward."
Anderson said that at this point he is uncertain what the timetable
will be for Fitzgerald's opening. He said that any announcements will
be made as soon as information is available.
Anderson added that county government remains committed to helping
Fitzgerald, as well as the other employers in this community. "Every
job is important," said Anderson.