A Canadian company making new electrical distribution technology is taking over a former motor plant in Murray with the intention of creating 150 full-time jobs.
Hollobus Technologiesa subsidiary of the British Columbia company Top tray systems, will invest $2.25 million in the takeover of the former Briggs & Stratton engine plant to create power distribution components for various industrial projects. The company plans to locate its corporate headquarters, manufacturing operations and R&D facilities in the western Kentucky plant. Briggs and Stratton website closed in 2020 affecting around 600 full-time jobs and leaving a facility that has existed since the 1980s empty.
Speaking inside the former Briggs & Stratton factory on Wednesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the jobs created by the new operation could help other nearby communities in western Kentucky recovering from the December tornado outbreak.
“These jobs mean a lot, but the fact that it’s here means a lot too — breathing new life into this facility and showing everyone in this area of the state that there’s a big and bright future,” Beshear said. . “There is a reason to rebuild, to stay. There are good jobs.
According to a statement from Beshear’s office, Hollobus Technologies can get up to $1.2 million in tax incentives as long as it meets goals of creating 150 full-time jobs for Kentuckians over the next ten years and that he pays an average hourly wage of $22, including benefits. The release also states that Superior Tray Systems has provided electrical power distribution connectors for numerous projects, including New York City skyscrapers, Boston City Water Treatment Plant, oil rigs offshore in Texas, etc.
Murray Mayor Bob Rogers said the deal for Hollobus Technologies to move into the plant had been in place since 2019, following Briggs & Stratton’s announcement that the plant would be closed.
Mihaela Adams, global business development manager for Hollobus Technologies, said their power distribution technology uses pipes instead of wires to transfer electricity from “point A to point B” which could be used for a wide variety of industrial projects, including nuclear power, universities, skyscrapers and more.
She said the former Briggs & Stratton building, the availability of skilled labor and the friendly community atmosphere were the reasons the company chose Murray as the location.
Hollobus Technologies President Martin Cox said the company plans to hire an all-local workforce at the site, including recruitment from Murray State University.
“We hope to put Murray on the map as the birthplace of an industry-leading disruptor,” Cox said. “What we do here is different from anyone else in the world.”
Cox said some of the products the company will make have yet to be designed and will be designed with the help of local talent. Adams, the business development manager, said the designs for their technology are still “in their infancy” and are proprietary information. But she said the business is “here to stay”.
Zachary Szeszol, 26, from Murray, worked at the former Briggs & Stratton factory for five years. He said the new business coming in was “bittersweet” because he had made a lot of good friends and fond memories at the old factory.
“To see this plant and Murray grow is awesome,” Szeszol said. “Walking in here today was bittersweet because, I mean, I got chills just seeing this emptiness.”