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Twenty-eight companies add 1,303 jobs in NKy

In 2011, 28 companies either expanded or relocated to Northern Kentucky, creating 1,303 high-paying, full-time jobs.

That tops the 22-company goal the region's Tri-County Economic Development Corporation set for last year, and marks the highest number of companies moving to or investing in Boone, Kenton and Campbell County in several years. In addition to direct job creation, 1,536 indirect jobs were also created.

Tri-Ed has spent the last half-dozen years recruiting companies in specific sectors including advanced manufacturing, life sciences and technology, says Tri-Ed Senior Vice President Karen Finan.

"We've done very aggressive marketing. Even during the downturn, folks were out talking about Northern Kentucky to a very targeted group. Now that we're having an economic upturn, we are seeing some of the results of that," Finan says.

Nearly two-thirds of new jobs were in advanced manufacturing. Other growth sectors include office/tech, life sciences and e-commerce.

The largest investment came from advanced manufacturing company, ZF Steering in Florence. The company, which makes steering components for passenger cars and SUVs, is planning a $95.8 million expansion. ZF Steering will build two 175,000-square-foot buildings and hire 374 employees in two years.

Healthwarehouse.com, a growing online, mail-order pharmacy, relocated to Northern Kentucky from Loveland, Ohio, bringing nearly 50 jobs and its large medication warehouse. Healthwarehouse.com sells only FDA-approved and legal-for-sale drugs, and is licensed in all 50 states. It's one of only 24 Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) accredited pharmacies in the country. The company plans to create 220 jobs in the next two years.

A bright spot for the struggling Cincinnati International Airport (CVG) is the growth of international shipping company, DHL Express. The $47 million airport cargo hub expansion, in Hebron, will take about 14 months, creating 285 jobs, including 120 full-time positions.

"CVG has been such an asset for us," Finan says. "It's a highly efficient airport in our backyard. The growing DHL air cargo hub is really a positive for companies in the area."

In addition to airport services, state economic incentives, local infrastructure and the region's distribution workforce have many fast-growing startup companies looking at Northern Kentucky, Finan adds.

"Smaller, but impactful, companies are coming in, 10,000 to 20,000 square feet at a time," she says.

Written by Feoshia Henderson
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