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Canadian company creating electricity technology moving into former Murray plant, creating 150 jobs

Liam Niemeyer
Gov. Andy Beshear shaking hands with Hollobus Technologies leadership on Wednesday.

A Canadian company making new electricity distribution technology is taking over a former engine plant in Murray with plans to create 150 full-time jobs.

Hollobus Technologies, a subsidiary of British Columbia company Superior Tray Systems, will invest $2.25 million in taking over the former Briggs & Stratton engine plant to create electricity distribution components for a variety of industrial projects. The company plans to locate its headquarters, its manufacturing operation and its R&D facility in the western Kentucky plant. The Briggs and Stratton site shuttered in 2020 affecting about 600 full-time jobs and leaving a facility that’s existed since the 1980s empty.

Speaking inside the former Briggs & Stratton plant Wednesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the jobs created by the new operation could help other nearby western Kentucky communities 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 everybody in this area of the state that there is a big, bright future,” Beshear said. “There is a reason to rebuild, to stay. There are good jobs.”

According to a release 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 to Kentuckians over the next ten years and paying an average hourly wage of $22 including benefits. The release also states Superior Tray Systems has provided electrical power distribution connectors for many projects including New York City high rises, the city of Boston’s water treatment plant, offshore oil rigs in Texas and more.

Murray Mayor Bob Rogers said the deal for Hollobus Technologies to move into the plant had been in the works since 2019, following the announcement by Briggs & Stratton that the plant would be shuttered.

Mihaela Adams, manager of global business development for Hollobus Technologies, said their electricity distribution technology uses pipes instead of wires to transfer electricity from “point A to point B” that could be used for a wide variety of industrial projects including nuclear energy, universities, skyscrapers and more.

Liam Niemeyer
Some of Hollobus' equipment on display inside the former engine plant in Murray.

She said the former Briggs & Stratton building, the availability of skilled labor and the friendly atmosphere of the community were reasons why the company chose Murray to locate.

Hollobus Technologies President Martin Cox said the company plans to hire a completely local workforce at the operation, including recruitment from Murray State University.

“We hope to put Murray on the map as a birthplace of an industry-leading disrupter,” Cox said. “What we do here is different than anyone else in the world.”

Cox said some of the products the company will make haven’t been designed yet and will be designed with the help of local talent. Adams, the business development manager, said the designs of their technology are still “in infancy” and are proprietary information. But she said the company is “here to stay.”

Zachary Szeszol, 26, of Murray, worked at the former Briggs & Stratton plant for five years. He said he the new company coming in is “bittersweet” because he made many good friends and memories at the former plant.

“To see this plant and Murray growing is awesome,” Szeszol said. “Walking in here today it was bittersweet because, I mean, I got cold chills just seeing this emptiness.”

"Liam Niemeyer is a reporter for the Ohio Valley Resource covering agriculture and infrastructure in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia and also serves Assistant News Director at WKMS. He has reported for public radio stations across the country from Appalachia to Alaska, most recently as a reporter for WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio. He is a recent alumnus of Ohio University and enjoys playing tenor saxophone in various jazz groups."
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