Kentucky Power Co.’s return a nice boost

The return of the corporate offices of Kentucky Power Co. to the company’s original home in Ashland is a more symbolic gesture than an economic boost for this community, but it is one we welcome.

In making the announcement of the move Wednesday, Kentucky Power President and Chief Operating Officer Greg Pauley said only about eight people are expected to be directly impacted by the move. Although they represent the company’s best and highest paid employees and are just the type of people that any community would most want, eight jobs are not enough to have much of an impact on this community’s economy.

Still those eight jobs include Pauley and other top executives including the managing director of regulatory and finance, managers for external affairs and corporate communications, and an executive assistant. In short, the major decisions at Kentucky Power, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, soon will again be made in Ashland and not Frankfort.

Kentucky Power also announced that some management officials currently working out of the company’s service center in the Paul Coffey Industrial Park will move to the new office, communications manager Allison Barker said.

We continue to think that the greatest negative impact of Ashland Inc.’s decision to move its corporate headquarters from Ashland to Covington was the “brain drain” that occurred from the loss of all those Ashland Inc. employees who served on the boards of non-profit agencies, were active leaders of the churches they attended and the schools of their children, and volunteered scores of hours helping to make Ashland a better place to live and raise a family. You can’t put a price tag on the value of such people to a community, and although much smaller in number, these are just the type of employees and their families that Kentucky Power is returning to Ashland. We welcome them and wish there were more of them.

The company hopes the move will help it reconnect with those in the 20-county area it serves. The move is expected to happen by January, Pauley said.

“We need to be back there and we chose Ashland because if our longstanding relationship with the community,”?Pauley said.

The company is not planning to return to its former executive offices in the beautiful four-story building at the corner of Central Avenue and 17th Street in downtown Ashland. That building now is occupied by a large real estate office, a brokerage firm, a new restaurant and other businesses. It offers far more space that Kentucky Power now needs.

The company is still looking for appropriate office quarters, Barker said.

The relocation comes a few months after the company said it would reorganize to streamline operations and improve reliability in eastern Kentucky. An Ashland office will better serve customers not only in Northeast Kentucky but in Kentucky Power’s Hazard and Pikeville districts, Barker said.

As one would expect, local officials are welcoming the company back with open arms.

“We’ve done so much good working with them on economic development. This move will strengthen that relationship to the next level,” said Ashland Alliance President Tim Gibbs. “With what we do and the tools they bring to the table, it will be a mutually beneficial relationship.”

He’s right. Kentucky Power has always been a leader in area economic development efforts, and it recently awarded $300,000 to economic development projects in eastern Kentucky, including improvements and marketing at the EastPark industrial park.

Ashland Mayor Chuck Charles joined others in cheering Kentucky Power’s the announcement.

“It puts them back in the middle of the service area where customers will have better access to them. I?say, welcome home, because it’s good for all of us,”?Charles said.

Indeed it is.

The (Ashland) Daily Independent

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