Owensboro Riverport Authority | 1771 River Road | P.O. Box 21955 | Owensboro, Kentucky 42304

Magazine ranks city as No. 1

Owensboro Ranked # 1 nationally in terms of productivity by Expansion Management Magazine Inside E.D., “The Newsletter for Economic Development Professionals

By Keith Lawrence


When it comes to transportation and warehousing, Owensboro is the most productive -- and profitable -- metropolitan area in the nation.

That's according to the October issue of Expansion Management Magazine's Inside E.D., "The Newsletter for Economic Development Professionals."

The publication ranked the Top 25 communities nationally in terms of productivity in the transportation, warehousing and distribution sector.

Owensboro was tops with an average of $269,259 in revenue per employee.

Corpus Christi, Texas, placed second with $244,662 per employee -- nearly $25,000 per employee less.

Louisville was 17th at $154,358.

Productivity was calculated by taking the total revenue of local transportation and warehousing companies and dividing it by the number of employees, the publication said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Owensboro metro area -- Daviess, Hancock and McLean counties -- had 78 transportation and warehousing companies in 2002 with 1,406 employees.

The report said those companies generated $378.5 million in annual revenues and had a payroll of $60.26 million.

That's an average of 18 employees per company and an average income of about $42,674 per employee.

Nick Brake, president of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp., said the national honor comes at a good time.

The EDC, he said, "is in the process of identifying a new five-year vision and goals, which include targeting industries for regional economic growth."

"Logistics and distribution will be key targets for our economic development strategy," David Fort, EDC chairman, said in a news release. "This data demonstrates the strength of our regional work force and infrastructure in productively dealing with the complex issues in this ever-evolving industry."

The 2002 economic census figures show 42 trucking companies and 14 trucking support companies making up the majority of the local companies in the study. Six warehousing companies are also listed.

Brake said Kentucky state government uses different standards for that sector of the economy.

It also includes such distribution companies as UniFirst, Barton Brands, WaxWorks/VideoWorks, Miles Farm Supply, Packaging Unlimited of Western Kentucky and Tapscott's.

Tapscott's, an Owensboro-based floral wholesaler, is one of UPS' largest customers in the region, Brake said.

"We ship hundreds of packages a day from our Owensboro warehouse to customer locations all across the country," David M. Rosenberg, president/chief executive officer, said in a news release. "Our central location and proximity to major logistics partners here in Kentucky certainly helps us maximize time and cost efficiency."

"Our region is well positioned with such a productive work force and planned improvements to our infrastructure," Brake said.

"From the air cargo opportunities that could result from the expanded runway at the airport, to the work being done in economic development by the Riverport Authority, and improvements in our highway transportation corridors, with such a central location Greater Owensboro could realize a competitive advantage in the logistics and distribution industry," he said in a news release.

The Owensboro Riverport isn't included among the companies in the census report because it's a public agency, Brake said.

But the riverport is planning a new 30-acre terminal on the old Green River Steel property east of Owensboro that will create an estimated 50 to 75 jobs and include several new warehouses.

Brake said the Inside E.D. ranking is "very attractive to site-selection people. It will help us effectively tell our story."

"This proves what we've been saying recently, all of the pieces of the puzzle for our transportation infrastructure are there, with the exception of a federal highway designation," said J. Todd Inman, chairman of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce.

"We have air, rail and barge facilities better than anywhere in the state, much less the nation," he said. "Couple that with our work force productivity and you have a winning combination."

Inman said: "This goes to show you that employees in our area do above average work -- in fact, they are No. 1 in productivity. Everyone here knows we have a good hard-working employee base. They just need jobs to show off their skills.

"I agree with increasing our focus on education, but this shows, without a doubt, we have the people here today that can be productive and beneficial," Inman said. "All they need is a job to prove it."

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