The Harlan County Economic Development Authority heard a presentation from Advantage Kentucky Alliance during a meeting on Monday.
According to the Advantage Kentucky Alliance website, AKA is a statewide, not-for-profit partnership that provides assistance and training to help manufacturers of all sizes grow, improve their manufacturing and business strategies and processes, adopt advanced technologies, increase productivity, reduce costs, and improve competitiveness.
Chairman Pete Cornett handed the floor over to Advantage Kentucky Alliance Project Manager George Biggs for his presentation on what services the non-profit could offer the county.
“What I’ve prepared is a presentation explaining who we are and then some information on some of the industry that’s failing and some of the things we actually do to help,” Biggs said.
Biggs told the panel AKA is a member of the National Institute for Standard and Technology.
“It’s a government grant program,” said Biggs. “There’s at least one in every state…we are the only one in Kentucky.”
Biggs explained AKA offers services such as helping clients with leadership development by training in areas such as leading teams communicating effectively.
“We make suggestions on how to improve electric, water, gas, sewer, telephone, the whole shooting match,” Biggs explained.
Biggs told the panel his organization has worked with companies that have shifted from offering equipment and services to the coal industry to working with other areas of industry.
“Some of the companies out there now were doing coal industry and were wanting to move to construction,” Biggs said. “We teach OSHA and safety training…with that they have their certification so that now they can go ahead and do road industry or construction.”
Biggs also talked to the group about the process of tech scouting.
“We had a company…that was working in the mining industry,” Biggs said. “They’d been doing things like wheels for mining carts…stuff like that for the mining industry.”
Biggs said the company had downsized and was only running at approximately 50 percent capacity.
“They got us to do tech scouting for them,” Biggs said. “I took a list of every piece of equipment they had. Then I went out in the field and checked other companies that had the same equipment and asked what they were making.”
Biggs said he discovered one of the companies that had been doing similar work for the mining industry was now making materials for the automotive industry and another was working in the oil industry.
“I gave them this information,” Biggs said. “Now their utilizing their equipment to capacity.”
Biggs also mentioned helping seed out new industry for the area.
Cornett asked if a time could be set up to speak with Biggs at greater length.
“Can we set up a time for you to come back and speak to a small group and maybe even show you a couple properties we have available that you could keep in mind?” asked Cornett.
Biggs agreed to set up a meeting to discuss the subject further.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde