Gov. Steve Beshear visited Propulsys headquarters Tuesday afternoon to announce a $9.5 million expansion for “next-generation” upgrades to the multi-national Hopkinsville plant.

In addition to developing several new technologies, the investment would call for new employees with new skills, said Propulsys CEO and President Rich Maddux. Maddux then congratulated the local school board for improvements in education and said he hoped Beshear would continue to put education first. Local Superintendent Brady Link and Board of Education Chairman Barry Cornelius were also in attendance and sat on stage with the heads of Propulsys, Beshear and local officials.

Bill Nichol, board chairman at Propulsys, said the investment was a “very special event in the life of our company,” and thanked a number of local officials and businesses for their support. With the expansion, Propulsys will be able “to compete globally,” Beshear said.

Propulsys, founded as White Hydraulics Inc. in 1977, is one of the largest manufacturers of high-speed, low-torque motors. It has offices in Europe and an additional plant in China. Overall, the company employs 520 people worldwide with 207 workers in Hopkinsville. The expansion is essential to local families since it allows those 207 employees to retain their jobs, Beshear said.

Impressed with the success of the Hopkinsville plant, Maddux said the local investment would help the company evolve even more.

Every five years, Propulsys undertakes a strategic planning session. The expansion was part of the strategy plan to hit a larger market share and increase product potential, Maddux said.

Mayor Dan Kemp also spoke during the event and said the investment would create a “better product” that would be “more competitive on a worldwide basis.”

Other speakers at the event were Judge-Executive Steve Tribble and Eston Glover, chair of the Economic Development Council.

Propulsys will also receive a tax incentive of $3 million from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority through the Kentucky Reinvestment Act, which helps Kentucky companies make “significant capital investments” to facilities, according to a Beshear press release.

Near the end of the announcement, Beshear awarded the company’s founder, Hollis White, and his wife, Louis, the titles of Kentucky Colonel. It is considered the highest title of honor in Kentucky and can only be awarded by the governor.

More awards were given out when Kemp handed Maddux a pendulum clock representing the past and the future of Propulsys in Hopkinsville. Maddux then presented Beshear with the framed signatures of Propulsys employees showing “how much the commonwealth means to the business,” Maddux said.

REACH BENJAMIN JOUBERT at 270-887-3240 or

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