Diverse Sectors Are on Board the Economic Train in Paducah

From ice cream and health care to locomotives, barge operations and uranium, Paducah’s business climate is good - and varied.

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On Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 17:17
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From ice cream and health care to locomotives, barge operations and uranium, Paducah’s business climate is good – and varied. According to the Greater Paducah Economic Development Council, the top three employers in the city are Lourdes Hospital with 1,700 workers, Western Baptist Hospital with 1,500 and the United States Enrichment Corp. plant with 1,142 employees.

The hospitals have been Paducah fixtures since the early and mid-20th century. The Paducah USEC plant is the sole operating uranium enrichment operation in the United States. The fact that companies are locating in Paducah is no surprise. In 2008, Southern Business & Development magazine named Paducah one of 10 Small Towns in the South That Deserve a Second Look. McCracken County Public Schools have 890 employees and the Paducah Public Schools district employs 600. Although they are not major employers, two unique businesses call Paducah home. Dippin’ Dots, an ice cream product that looks like small beads, was invented by founder Curt Jones two decades ago in his Illinois hometown.

Today, Dippin’ Dots – sold in amusement parks, at fairs, festivals and in shopping malls – are made at the company’s headquarters in Paducah. The company employs 220. All Aboard! That’s the cry at the 270-employee VMV Paducahbilt, which refurbishes and repaints locomotives from all over the world. Ingram Barge built its new Paducah Landing office and warehouse and parking area downtown several years ago. The company has had a significant part of its inland marine support in Paducah since 1984 and has 700 employees here.

The United States Enrichment Corp. plant is a subsidiary of USEC Inc., a top supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants.

The Paducah gaseous diffusion plant set a new production record in December 2007, topping its previous record set in 1994.