Half a century ago, a group of local visionaries had the foresight to form the Boyle County Industrial Foundation (BCIF), and the county has never been the same since. The BCIF has spent 50 years working to make Danville and Boyle County the type of community that is attractive to businesses, and subsequently recruiting businesses to keep local residents employed and the economy thriving.
“BCIF has been a part of every industrial project recruited to Boyle County since December 1961,” says Jody Lassiter, president and CEO of the BCIF and the Danville/Boyle County Economic Development Partnership. “Our record includes a ‘who’s who’ of Danville industries: R.R. Donnelley & Sons, American Greetings, Caterpillar, Hobart, Dana, Panasonic, Timberland, and Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems.”
Preparing a Community
Since 1961, BCIF has successfully developed several industrial sites and parks to house the factories and businesses that would eventually follow. The group started by developing sites along Stewarts Lane and Lebanon Road, and continued with planned parks at Enterprise Center and John Hill Bailey Industrial Park.
In addition to preparing sites for business, BCIF has also worked to prepare the local workforce to meet the needs of potential employers. For instance, the group led the community effort and donated the land to build the Danville campus of Bluegrass Community & Technical College in 2001. “The college has been a critical factor to our new industrial recruitment and service for training to existing industries,” Lassiter says.
In 2006, the BCIF board of directors took the lead in forming the Danville/Boyle County Economic Development Partnership. BCIF is the only economic development organization partner that financially supports the EDP and shares its executive with the EDP.
Notably, BCIF has executed all these successes “without one cent of public funding for 50 years,” Lassiter says. Instead, the foundation has financed its operations through the issue of investor shares, the subsequent sales of its land, and the reinvestment of its proceeds.
Building and Maintaining an Industrial Base
As BCIF has recruited business and industry to Boyle County, it has played a major role in shaping the local economy. “BCIF has largely built a diverse industrial base for Danville/Boyle County that over the years has created thousands of jobs for men and women in our community and region,” Lassiter says. “These good incomes have provided consumers with the buying power to purchase goods and services from retailers and service providers. And, these industries and their employees have furnished a significant tax base for city and county governments in Boyle County.”
As the foundation looks beyond its half-century mark, it aims to continue building and maintaining a strong base of industry in the region. BCIF has broadened its development practices to own and lease industrial buildings as a new mode of investment and income to ensure that the foundation will remain well-financed for years to come. And the BCIF's primary goal is “to continue to give Boyle County a competitive edge for new business recruitment and existing business growth in what is a more challenging economic environment,” Lassiter says. Here’s to another 50 years of success.
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