Steel manufacturer breaks ground on new Middlesboro plant

Published 3:06 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2022

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MIDDLESBORO — Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, Middlesboro Mayor Rick Nelson and Bell County (Kentucky) Judge-Executive Albey Brock, joined executives from Flash Steelworks recently to break ground on the new steel manufacturing facility in Middlesboro.

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Over the next 15 years, Flash Steelworks will invest $12.1 million and create 250 full-time jobs at an hourly rate of $39, including benefits. Of those, 100 new jobs are expected to be created in the next three years. The facility will be located at the old tannery site.

“The new steel facility is going to provide good-paying jobs to Middlesboro, and Bell County as a whole,” Nelson said.

“These kinds of investments help our community grow and diversify our economy. It’s a big win for Middlesboro, and we want to thank all the partners involved in securing this project.”

Coleman announced $1 million in Appalachian Regional Commission funding will aid in the construction of the steel-manufacturing facility. The ARC funding will be matched by $5 million in state funds, allocated from the 2022 state budget.

“As more companies look to move to Kentucky, we want to make sure we are giving them the support they need,” Coleman said.

“Flash Steelworks is betting on Kentucky, and we are ensuring they’ll be here for the long-haul.”

Brock has been working along with Flash Steelworks, as well as federal, state, and other local officials for roughly six years to bring Flash SteelWorks and good jobs to Middlesboro.

“We are excited to see this kind of long-term investment in our community” Brock said. “So many people have worked to secure this funding, and to see it come together is incredible. Many thanks to everyone who has worked so hard on this project.”

Gary Cola, CEO and co-founder of Flash Steelworks, brings his company, and his ideas, to Middlesboro because two groups came together that needed each other. The city of Middlesboro needed good jobs, and Cola needed help bringing his dreams to fruition.

Flash Steelworks is a private steel manufacturer that uses a unique and highly specialized electronic/thermal process to produce blast-resistant, yet lightweight, military-grade plate steel. The company has a contract with the federal Department of Defense to produce armor for the U.S. military.

“Stronger than titanium, lighter than aluminum, and able to stop speeding bullets, our low-cost flash technology produces the world’s highest overall performing metal for energy efficiency improvement in agriculture, architecture, armor, automobiles, bicycles, bridges, containers, cables, dump trucks,” Cola said.

“Rigorously tested by the U.S. Army, Flash is proven the world’s highest performing weldable armor plate for vehicles and structure. Flash’s entirely new field of metals research, patented in nine countries, leads to mass reduction, performance improvement, and simultaneous cost savings.”