• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

LEDVANCE announcement ‘great news’

A news release from LEDVANCE announcing that the maker of Sylvania light bulbs is investing millions of dollars and adding 20 new jobs at two plants is good news for the local economy, according to Woodford Economic Development Authority (EDA) Chairman John Soper.

Company spokesman Glen Gracia said three of the new jobs are in Versailles and those employees are already working, but he didn’t know how much new money the company had invested in Versailles.

Soper said the move sends a positive signal to other companies.

“It’s kind of like getting a passing grade on a test, you know – getting an ‘A.’ You get confidence in yourself, so that’s the way I see it. It’s no different than when you look at Midway Station. Once we got AHK (American Howa Kentucky) in there, all of a sudden, other companies started looking at it and saying, ‘Well, this company did their due diligence and made an investment. Maybe we should make the same investment,” Soper said.

According to the release, “This initiative transitions 200 jobs from making traditional lighting products, whose demand has been declining, to new LED technology and also adds 20 new jobs. LEDVANCE has achieved this milestone by upgrading its St. Marys, Pennsylvania and Versailles, Kentucky factories.”

Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott said the release was great news for the city.

“It validates what we have done locally to improve our quality of life and business environment and is also a testament to our public school system. We are grateful for LEDVANCE and their contributions to our community, and look forward to many more years of working together,” said Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott.

“It’s a big shot in the arm any time a company makes a major investment in their plant in the local community. It just kind of sends a lot of positive reinforcement to all the other industry in town that they’ve made the right decision,” Soper said.

In November of 2014, the company celebrated its 50th anniversary in Versailles, and Plant Manager Michael McNulty told The Sun, “We’re really looking to continue to operate out of this facility for a long time.” At the time, OSRAM Sylvania employed more than 600 in Versailles.

Last year, the company changed names from OSRAM Sylvania to LEDVANCE.

The news release said its Sylvania LED light bulbs “are assembled via the new manufacturing lines managed and operated by U.S. employees, with most of the products using glass made at the Versailles factory.” LEDVANCE is active in more than 120 countries and has about 9,000 employees, the release said.

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