Jun. 2—For the first time in two years, a group of local industry leaders gathered for lunch to celebrate the future.
The Richmond Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC) held its annual Richmond Industries Luncheon at the Madison County Extension Center with a free dinner for members of the local industry and manufacturing communities. Sunny's catered the lunch with a full BBQ dinner. It was sponsored by Louisville Gas and Electric/Kentucky Utilities and the Lexington Board of Realtors.
RIDC is the economic development arm of the city of Richmond, according to Executive Director David Stipes. Its primary goal is to promote economic development in the city and to focus on job growth and retention.
Stipes said the organization's main goal is to attract new industries in and help take care of the ones that are already in place.
"We try to do an industrial appreciation luncheon once a year," Stipes explained. "Mainly to bring industry representatives together in one place to interact with each other. We'll have plant managers, companies represented by their HR staff, companies represented by their engineering team. It's just a variety of folks that will be here, we've tried to reach out to the industries in Richmond and the Richmond area so that we can get a good mix of folks here and show our appreciation for the jobs that they have brought to this community and the jobs they are maintaining."
Stipes said the dinner was also about thanking industry workers for working through the additional strain of the pandemic and supply chain issues affecting the globe. Twenty-five industries and manufacturers of various sizes attended the luncheon.
They included: Bechtel, Bluegrass Stockyards, Bluegrass Regional Recycling, Concrete Materials Co. LLC, Diversified Tool & Development, Framebridge Inc, Kokoku Rubber Inc, Lectrodryer LLC, Precision Tube Inc, Qualex Machining, Richmond Auto Parts Technology (RAPT), TRB Lightweight, BP Products, and AppHarvest.
Stipes noted the sense industrialism in Richmond reaches beyond the industrial park, with areas like the Eastern Bypass, Boggs Lane, and more also featuring industry jobs.
"Our hope is that people will begin to put names and faces together again. Some of these industries have long-term employees that know each other," Stipes said. "But others have had some changes in staff and we wanted to be sure that people can interact with each other. We also wanted the industries to know who their city and county representatives, and utility representatives are."
Among those in attendance were Mayor Robert Blythe, Judge Executive Reagan Taylor, City Manager Rob Minerich. Blythe invoked a sense of survival after the turmoil of the last two years.
"I said in my state of the city address... I said Richmond is poised for greater greatness. And I found that to be true even with what we've been doing these past couple plus years," Blythe said. "We're here today as survivors in the personal sense with respect to the health sense. But also your business is... the fact that you're here today representing your businesses today means you have survived."