Bouchard

Braidy Industries CEO Craig Bouchard speaks to a packed crowd at the Carter House in Vanceburg Wednesday.

CHRISTY HOWELL-HOOTS, THE LEDGER INDEPENDENT

VANCEBURG -- Braidy Industries Chief Executive Officer Craig Bouchard discussed the details of his business to a packed crowd at the Carter House Wednesday.

Braidy Industries will break ground on a $1.3 billion aluminum factory in April. Two years later, the factory doors will open and begin producing aluminum for automotive and aerospace companies around the world.

The company was originally slated for construction in South Shore, but due to issues with the property, the company was moved to East Park on the Greenup County/Boyd County line.

"The top six car companies and the largest aerospace company have already partnered with us," he said. "We have already sold our mill 200 percent. That means our material has been pre-bought for seven years.

"I don't like to refer to us as an aluminum company," he said. "We are about producing materials for things that move that use less carbon. Cars must reach 50 miles per gallon. They can't do that without making cars lighter. Think of us as a lightweighting company."

According to Bouchard, the company has partnered with several entities in order to build the plant, including the Michigan Institute of Technology which had a team working on creating stable monocrystalline technology.

In addition to several partnerships, Bouchard said the company was also able to lower production costs to the point the factory will be the lowest cost mill globally.

It will cost Braidy Industries $575 per ton of exposed aluminum, while the largest competitor of Braidy Industries will cost over $1,000 per ton.

"That's aluminum that would go into the hood or trunk of a car," he said. "When we open our doors, our biggest competitor wouldn't be able to meet our prices."

Bouchard said in order to gain customers before opening the doors, he also offered companies a 5 percent discount to sign with Braidy Industries.

"That's a 5 percent discount for seven years," he said. "They all signed on. We're going to be very profitable."

Bouchard said the building, which will be the size of two Pentagon buildings, will need 1,000 contractors and $1.3 billion to build. Once completed, 600 people will be hired to work inside the plant.

"It's not like your typical plant," he said. "There will be no emissions. You'll see a lot of people walking around with iPads."

Bouchard said while his company is not unionized, there are a lot of benefits to working for Braidy Industries.

The starting pay, in production, will be $65,000 per year. There will be a full onsite gym for employees and a daycare for working parents.

"You can drop your baby off, go to work, go visit on lunch and then take it home," he said. "There will also be a cafeteria where lunch is served for only $1 a day. We want to do that, because we don't want employees to have to leave for lunch and maybe come back late. We want everything you need right there."

Bouchard said at the end of each year, around Christmas, the company also provides a bonus to employees.

"I take 5 percent of the company's profits for the year and I split it up for the employees," he said. "Everyone from the secretaries to the president get the same bonus. I'm very popular then. Those bonuses are dependent on the sales for the year and it's not unheard of to get a $30,000 check."

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Bouchard also said his company has contracted with Ashland Community and Technical Center where students who graduate from a program tailored to the needs of his company, with a "B" average and no drug problems, will be guaranteed a job.

"So you'll be guaranteed a job starting at $65,000 a year," he said. "And, when you hit the age of 65, you automatically receive a 10 percent increase in your salary. I want the best people in Kentucky and we don't want to lose our older employees. We need them because they know things and they can help teach the younger employees."

Braidy Industries also makes a goal to hire veterans.

"We always work to hire veterans," he said. "We're especially looking to hire Kentucky veterans."

According to Bouchard, several other companies have already reached out about relocating to be closer to his company.

"We're going to be doing a lot of great things in Eastern Kentucky," he said.

Bouchard credits Gov. Matt Bevin, State Rep. Rocky Adkins, Lewis County Judge-Executive Todd Ruckel and many others for bringing Braidy Industries to Kentucky.

"We had 24 offers," he said. "Bevin contacted us and said to not make a decision before we saw Kentucky. This was the last area we saw. Bevin, (Ruckel) and (Adkins) were instrumental in getting us to Kentucky."

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