Louisville Forward, Greater Louisville Inc., share recognition as top economic development groups for 2016

June 7, 2017

Mayor Greg Fischer and Kent Oyler, president and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc., today announced that Louisville Forward, the city’s economic development organization, and Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI), the city’s chamber of commerce, have been jointly recognized as Top U.S. Economic Development Groups for 2016 by Site Selection magazine. 

Working together in 2016, with partners in two states and 15 counties, these two groups have helped the Greater Louisville region welcome 70 projects, representing nearly $1.4 billion in investment and more than 8,500 jobs. GLI attracts leads looking at the region and transitions projects to the local economic development organization after the company has narrowed its search.

“Louisville is seeing tremendous growth right now – from our highly skilled workforce to infrastructure improvements to our welcoming and inclusive culture - and quality companies are investing in our city at a rate never seen before,” said the Mayor. “This recognition is proof that our strategic partnership with GLI is working and the hard work of our economic development team, led by Chief Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, is paying off.”

As the economic hub for the region, Louisville Forward had a banner year in 2016, locating 61 projects in Jefferson County, representing $1.3 billion in investment, and creating 6,820 new jobs. Louisville Forward also celebrated the $310 million expansion of UPS Centennial Hub and the announcement of Computershare’s regional office with 1,100 jobs, representing a $32 million investment.

“This award proves that this region continues to be the best place in the world to relocate, expand or start a business. The diversity of resources here and the collaborative, community attitude make this an excellent market for new business,” said Oyler. “We will use this momentum to encourage more investment throughout our 15 counties.”

In 2016, GLI generated 9 leads for the 15-country region, resulting in projects representing $69 million in investment, and creating 1,750 jobs with an additional 43 projects in the pipeline to end the year. GLI also celebrated the launch of OneJet flight service out of Louisville International Airport, which was facilitated by GLI’s Regional Air Coalition and the Louisville Regional Airport Authority. 

Louisville Forward was formed in July 2014 to unite economic development efforts and built environment functions, allowing business owners to go from concept to permit in one streamlined agency. To achieve its goals of raising the median wage across the city and growing the number of jobs, the Louisville Forward team focuses on five strategic business categories that are historic and contemporary areas of strength to Louisville; Advanced Manufacturing, Food and Beverage, Lifelong Wellness and Aging Care, Logistics and eCommerce, and Business Services.

Since its creation, Louisville Forward has helped businesses create nearly 12,000 new jobs in Louisville, representing an investment of more than $2.4 billion dollars. This award marks the third straight year that Louisville Forward has been recognized by Site Selection magazine.

GLI is focused on growing the regional economy. As the region’s largest convener of business leadership, GLI leads global economic and outreach strategies focused on business attraction; nurtures the entrepreneurial eco-system; and champions the development of the community’s talent base.  As the voice of Greater Louisville’s business community, GLI advocates for a pro-business environment and facilitates businesses engagement on issues that impact regional competitiveness. 

The recognition is based on six criteria – total projects, total investment associated with those projects and total jobs associated with those projects; and those same three numbers calculated per capita for the metro area. 

Top projects for the groups that are featured in the May issue of Site Selection magazine include:

Clariant Corporation – headquartered in Switzerland, Clariant Corporation, a leading manufacturer of catalysts, announced the development of a $100 million manufacturing plant located on Hill Street near 12th and 13th Streets. Clariant created 41 new jobs with the expansion of the Louisville operation. 

Evolent Health – a strategic alliance between Passport Health Plan and Evolent Health created The Medicaid Center of Excellence. The Center is the first of its kind in the country and combines Passport’s expertise in Medicaid managed care with Evolent’s industry-leading technology and operations to offer centralized services for provider-led Medicaid health plans nationwide.

Guess, Inc. – located in Jefferson Riverport International, Guess Inc. announced its $11.5 million expansion to build a second warehouse of 232,500 square feet, more than doubling the footprint of the distribution center. The new warehouse created 200 new jobs, bringing its total employee count to 600.

In addition to the projects mentioned above, Louisville Forward and GLI partnered to attract global law firm Hogan Lovells to open its global business services center in Louisville, an $8.9 million investment, creating 250 high-quality jobs.

Click here for more information about Louisville Forward.

Click here for more information about GLI.