Biz Briefs of the Week: May 30, 2013

New East End Tire Discounters Opens

Tire Discounters announced the opening of a new Louisville location at 10530 Westport Road. The store will mark the eighth Tire Discounters in the Louisville area and bring the total number of Kentucky stores to 27, which collectively employ over 250 people throughout the Commonwealth. Family owned and operated, and founded by Chip Wood in 1976, Tire Discounters’ goal for the new design is to make the purchase of tires and automotive service as customer-friendly as possible.

The store is a radical departure from the image many have of a typical tire store, both in aesthetics and in the overall customer experience. Comfort, transparency and efficiency are all enhanced by a variety of new features, and the store design and construction set new industry standards for use of eco-friendly materials and energy efficient technology.

“Tire Discounters is changing what the tire store experience can be,” said Jamie Ward, Tire Discounters executive vice president. “Our East End customers will enjoy an unparalleled in-store experience, that when combined with our distinctive customer service results in unmatched customer satisfaction.”

The new design focuses on female customers, which represent a majority of tire buyers. The resulting space is a vast departure from a stereotypical tire store – a clean, contemporary environment customers enjoy spending time in. Plans are in place to renovate existing store locations with the new featured design benefits.

Many buyers say they feel confused and overwhelmed by the process of tire purchasing and auto service. The new Tire Discounters store was designed with an expanded showroom with room for additional product displays and information so customers can make a more educated decision. Communication barriers are removed by providing technicians with individual tablets, creating a clearer personalized interaction for every customer.

The innovative store design also provides added transparency to waiting customers through video feeds that are featured in the waiting room, enabling customers to watch their car as it’s worked on every step of the way. Drive through bays and updated ergonomic placement of equipment means more efficient service.

Tire Discounters focused the store redesign on customer comfort during service time and incorporated many amenities that customers suggested were highly desirable. Patrons will have access to complimentary Wi-Fi, a refreshment bar and a variety of television programming. To meet the needs of parents, the Tire Discounters “Store of the Future” also provides a child’s play area and family restrooms equipped with diaper changing stations.

The new Tire Discounters store design also paves the way for new, high, eco-friendly standards in both construction and store operations. Construction includes energy efficient glass, use of recycled rubber materials in flooring and landscaping; LED lighting and light reflecting roofing. Digital in-store presentations and communications will reduce the use of paper, while state-of-the-art energy efficient air compressors and rotary shock waves (car lift technology) will save energy.

The eco-friendly construction and operation efficiencies build on current Tire Discounters green initiatives that include recycled oil and tire programs and nitrogen inflation of tires, which significantly extends the life of tires, creates fuel efficiency and cuts down on emissions. Tire Discounters also offers Valvoline NextGen semi-synthetic recycled motor oil as its preferred oil in all locations. Combined with the increased energy saving construction, Tire Discounters is creating a paradigm shift in energy efficient tire and automotive servicing.

The new store will feature eight service bays and 10 employees and offer other products and services, such as wheels, shocks and struts, brakes and automotive repair. The store will be open to serve customers Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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New One-Stop Center Will Connect People to Manufacturing Jobs

A new one-stop center aims to boost manufacturing employment in the Louisville area by offering resources for both companies and individuals seeking jobs.

The Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center, which opened May 13, is providing manufacturing skills training programs and English as a Second Language classes with more planned later this summer. The center is located at 160 Rochester Drive, Building W, on the campus of the Airport Industrial Center in South Louisville.

“The opening of this center comes as local manufacturers are growing and hiring more employees,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “It’s a great opportunity to connect people still looking for a job or wanting a better job with the skills and certifications they need to succeed.”

Career counselors will help connect jobseekers with available manufacturing jobs and make sure they have the right training and skills for the work. The center also offers employers a place to post job openings and to access basic manufacturing skills training for existing employees.

“Louisville is a national leader in the revitalization of American manufacturing, and the Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center will help us continue to build on that progress,” said Congressman John Yarmuth. “Connecting workers with good jobs and employers with a well-trained workforce will help Louisville families succeed in the 21st century economy.”

An eight-week Certified Production Technician training class will start in August. Upon completion of the course, students are qualified for entry-level positions in manufacturing and will have nine college credits. Call 502.276.9711 to find out how to qualify for the training.

“We are seeing tremendous growth in our manufacturing sector and this new center will connect job seekers with the training they need to fill the jobs being created,” said Eileen Pickett, executive vice president of Community & Economic Development for Greater Louisville Inc.

One company anxious to benefit from the center is Louisville-based Westport Group, an axle assembler, manufacturing and logistics firm which has expanded operations into several different areas since 1986.

Jefferson Community and Technical College, a center partner, will offer short-term, entry-level courses for college credit that can result in immediate manufacturing employment. The courses are free to qualifying jobseekers. After completing the courses, jobseekers and employed workers can take additional courses at JCTC that lead to certificates or college degrees.

Training programs are also available to help prospective manufacturing employees gain the National Career Readiness Certificate and the Certified Production Technician certificate. In the fall, JCTC will offer the Multi-Skilled Technician Certificate, a 16-credit hour hands-on course that leads to a college credential.

“At the Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center, students who might have thought they didn’t have a chance at a high-wage, high-demand job can get that chance,” said Tony Newberry, JCTC president and CEO. “JCTC is pleased to partner with KentuckianaWorks on this exciting opportunity that promises not only to improve the lives of the students but also the economic health of our community.”

The center will also have a key relationship with nearby Iroquois High School and its Magnet Career Academy. Free work-focused English as a Second Language instruction will be offered that is customized to include manufacturing terms and vocabulary. Iroquois students will benefit by having access to the certificate programs and training as well as career exploration in manufacturing and tours of area facilities. Selected graduating seniors from Iroquois will participate in summer classes for the Certified Production Technician Training.

Partners in the Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center are KentuckianaWorks, Greater Louisville’s Workforce Investment Board; JCTC; Jefferson County Public Schools – Adult Education, Career and Technical Education and Iroquois High School Magnet Career Academy and the Louisville Redevelopment Authority.

Louisville Waste and Recycling Worker Earns National Honor for Safe, Exemplary Service

Randy “Waylon” King.

Randy “Waylon” King.

Randy “Waylon” King, a garbage truck driver for Rumpke Consolidated Companies, Inc. in Louisville, Ky., was honored as Driver of the Year in the Regional Industrial Category by the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA) at a national awards ceremony in New Orleans.

“All garbage men and women provide vital services keeping their communities clean and healthy by picking up waste and recycling,” said EIA Board of Trustees Chairman Charlie Appleby. “Among that important group, recipients of the EIA Drivers of the Year award stand out. They are the very best in our industry. They have excellent safety records, demonstrate respect for their companies, and provide high standards of customer service.”

With a 22-year, clean driving record with Rumpke, King drives an average of 800 miles per week along his city routes for 65 garbage pickups. King has been praised for his easygoing demeanor, his team leadership and his devotion to training new drivers. He was selected from a group of nearly 900 applicants nationally and from 11 applicants in Kentucky.

“Waylon’s record of professionalism, loyalty, quality customer service and dedication to safety has more than earned him the admiration of the waste and recycling industry and distinction as Driver of the Year,” said Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of EIA.

King’s employer, Rumpke Consolidated Companies, Inc., is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rumpke has been committed to keeping neighborhoods and businesses clean and green since 1932 by providing environmentally friendly waste disposal solutions and recycling options. It is one of the nation’s largest privately owned residential and commercial waste and recycling firms, providing service to areas of Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia.

The awards ceremony was part of the waste and recycling industry’s national trade show, WasteExpo 2013, in New Orleans.

Ten FedEx Drivers Earn Honors at the  Kentucky Truck Driving Championship

Ten drivers representing FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX) operating companies placed among the top finishers at the 2013 Kentucky State Truck Driving Championship in Louisville on May 17-18.

  • Wayne Crowder, a driver for FedEx Freight based in Louisville, captured his fifth state title with a win in the Flatbed class.
  • FedEx Express driver Doug Adams (Hebron) finished first in the 5-Axle class for his fourth Kentucky title.
  • FedEx Freight driver Rickie Livingston, based in Louisville, captured first place in the Straight Truck class.
  • Augustus Kern, a FedEx Express driver based in Cincinnati, Ohio, earned first place in the Step Van class.
  • Hebron-based FedEx Express drivers Mark Campbell and Dwayne Heaverin captured the second-place trophies in the Straight Truck and 3-Axle classes, respectively.
  • Brad Mertz, a driver for FedEx Freight based in Louisville, placed second in the Tank Truck class.
  • FedEx Express drivers Janet Hoard (Louisville) and Bill Court (Hebron) finished the sweep in the Step Van class with their second- and third-place finishes, respectively.
  • Louisville-based FedEx Freight driver John Higgs finished third in the 4-Axle class.

The entire FedEx team of competitors earned the third-place team trophy.