Frankfort, KY (STL.News) Kentucky continues to show its strength in the distribution and logistics sector as today Conner Logistics Inc., a third-party logistics provider, announced plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from California to Kentucky with a starting investment of $1.3 million, creating 20 full-time jobs in Pulaski County.
“Distribution and logistics continues to be a strong point for Kentucky’s growing economy, and I am glad to welcome Conner Logistics Inc. to that flourishing industry in the commonwealth,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. “CLI is a company with leadership focused on long-term growth, and I anticipate much more to come as they establish their new headquarters in Pulaski County.”
CLI will establish its new corporate headquarters at a yet-to-be-determined location in Somerset. While the company will maintain existing operations in Arizona, California and Nevada, the new Kentucky location will allow the company to better serve customers in the Eastern U.S. The Kentucky operation also will further CLI’s partnerships with major/national logistics providers.
“Conner Logistics is very excited to announce the relocation of our corporate headquarters to Somerset, Kentucky,” said Sean Conner, CEO of CLI. “It is our hope that through a partnership with the Commonwealth of Kentucky and our collaboration with the local leaders in Somerset, Conner Logistics Inc. can serve the economy and citizens of Kentucky through employment opportunities, community involvement and operational excellence.”
Founded in 2002, CLI provides a range of services as a third-party logistics provider, including fulfillment and warehousing, line haul and transportation and same-day courier services. The company currently operates six facilities in California with additional locations in Arizona and Nevada.
CLI adds to Kentucky’s thriving distribution and logistics sector, which includes more than 580 facilities employing nearly 78,000 residents statewide. In 2020, distribution and logistics companies announced 33 new location and expansion projects in Kentucky, expected to create more than 1,600 full-time jobs with over $313 million in announced investments.
This investment from CLI adds to recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger following the effects of the pandemic.
Last week, Gov. Beshear announced Kentucky’s year-to-date private-sector new-location and expansion figures, which include over $2 billion in total planned investment and the creation of 4,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Through May, Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage is $23.15 before benefits, a 4.7% increase over the previous year.
Last month, Moody’s Analytics published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky, noting mass vaccination as the driving force behind a sustained recovery in consumer services. The state’s recovery, Moody’s said, benefited from earlier reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods over services. The report also found Kentucky’s manufacturing industry outperformed the nation’s since the national downturn last year.
Fitch Ratings last month improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery. The state’s April sales tax receipts set an all-time monthly record at $486.5 million, as did vehicle usage tax receipts at over $64 million.
In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million. Site Selection also recently placed Kentucky in a tie for fifth in its 2021 Prosperity Cup rankings, positioning the state among the national leaders for business climate.
Pulaski County Judge/Executive Steve Kelley looks forward to building a strong relationship with the region’s newest employer.
“It is exciting to see strong, growing companies choose Pulaski County as their corporate headquarters,” Judge/Executive Kelley said. “We boast a good record of growth among our local industries, and I look forward to working alongside the Conners to help them continue to prosper here in Pulaski County.”
Somerset Mayor Alan Keck said the project speaks to a broader effort to position the community for economic growth.
“We are humbled the Conner Logistics family chose Somerset not only for the company’s headquarters, but also as their personal home,” Mayor Keck said. “It’s evident they did so because of the exceptional change we’re seeing here, change that wouldn’t have been possible without the collaborative effort of our team in the last two and a half years to make Somerset a place people truly want to live and work. The Conners have built an incredible, thriving business, and I look forward to partnering with them as we continue our work to build a thriving community.”
Chris Girdler, president and CEO of the Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority, said CLI’s leaders have already made themselves part of the community.
“It has been a joy getting to know the Conner Logistics family, and we welcome them from California with open arms to Somerset and Pulaski County to establish their new corporate headquarters,” Girdler said. “The Commonwealth of Kentucky presents a wealth of opportunity for those looking to relocate, and here in the capital of Lake Cumberland we are seeing unprecedented growth and success. It is an exciting time and the Conners have already been very engaged in our community and the great values of which they operate their company are evident.”
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in April preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $400,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $1.3 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 20 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $44.50 including benefits across those jobs, which include executive and managerial positions.
- By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
In addition, CLI 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.