FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 14, 2022) – Gov. Andy Beshear congratulated Advanced Handling Systems LLC, a Hy-Tek Material Handling company and leader in full-service integration of automated fulfillment and distribution products, on the grand opening of its newly renovated innovation space in Erlanger yesterday. The innovation lab is a catalyst for 35 new, high-wage jobs with a more than $500,000 investment.
“As we work toward building an economy that works for all Kentuckians, high-tech job opportunities will play an increased role in those efforts,” Gov. Beshear said. “This investment by AHS and Hy-Tek is creating quality jobs in Northern Kentucky and supporting distribution and logistics growth, which is one of our state’s thriving key industries. Thank you to the company leaders for their commitment to the commonwealth. I look forward to seeing what’s next for AHS and Hy-Tek in Kentucky.”
The 20,000-square-foot AHS Innovation Lab on 351 Kenton Lands Road in Erlanger features robotic technology for distribution and fulfillment centers in its demonstration facility – highlighting the company’s latest innovative solutions. Together, Hy-Tek and AHS integrate warehouse robotic systems such as autonomous mobile robots and collaborative robotic arms. To date, the company has filled 35 positions with plans to continue hiring efforts throughout the remainder of 2022. Yesterday’s event was held in tandem with the Package Fulfillment, Logistics and Delivery Expo being hosted in Cincinnati.
“With Hy-Tek’s acquisition of AHS, we are thrilled to be a part of Kentucky’s techno-focused growth,” said Dave Tavel Sr., vice president of sales at AHS. “We’ve observed the increased activity of robotic training in the easternmost part of the state. The environment in Northern Kentucky and the growth in logistics led us to locate our innovation lab near our corporate office. The future of our industry will rely on the emerging technologies that we integrate, test and evaluate within our lab. We will continuously review new and better ways to solve our customers’ challenges. It’s an exciting time for our industry, and we are thrilled to call Kentucky home.”
Established in 1967, AHS works with customers within the material handling sector to assess needs for and implement automated technology across industries such as e-commerce, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, retail, food and beverage and wholesale operations. Earlier this year, AHS was acquired by Hy-Tek Holdings, a material handling automation integrator that maintains a separate facility in Hebron. Hy-Tek, founded in 1963, is based in Columbus, Ohio, and employs 550 people across 10 U.S. locations. Hy-Tek has acquired Johnson Stephens Consulting, World Source, Fascor, BP Controls and, most recently, AHS.
“Hy-Tek/AHS is the only systems integrator in North America to integrate robotics offerings from Exotec and Caja robotics systems,” said Donnie Johnson, president of integrated systems at Hy-Tek. “Robotics are growing rapidly in the e-commerce and distribution areas in our business sector. Hy-Tek can offer end-to-end solutions for our valued customer base. Our clients prefer working with Hy-Tek/AHS due to our broad product offering and comprehensive design-build capabilities.”
The newly renovated innovation lab builds on Kentucky’s thriving logistics and distribution sector. Since the start of the Beshear administration, companies within the sector announced more than 5,600 full-time, Kentucky-resident jobs across more than 90 facility expansion and new-location projects with $605 million in private-sector investment in the commonwealth.
Kenton County Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann thanked AHS for locating in Northern Kentucky.
“AHS is an excellent addition to the growing supply chain cluster in Northern Kentucky,” Judge Knochelmann said. “Congratulations to the company on the grand opening of its innovation lab. We’re thrilled they have a space to demonstrate their high-tech material handling and robotic systems.”
Erlanger Mayor Jessica Fette noted that AHS will bring customers to Northern Kentucky to build on the region’s integrated fulfillment and distribution presence.
“AHS designs extremely technical, automated solutions for customers in a variety of industries that are developed by systems and software engineers,” said Mayor Fette. “We’re excited to have AHS and its employees in Erlanger and look forward to the company’s continued growth and success.”
Lee Crume, president and CEO of Northern Kentucky Tri-ED, said the systems AHS builds and its employees are integral to the logistics technology subcluster in the region.
“The AHS innovation lab is a unique asset in Northern Kentucky,” said Crume. “We welcome AHS and are enthusiastic about their relationships with Northern Kentucky University and Cincinnati State Technical and Community College to provide student interns exposure and experience with their sophisticated systems.”
The opening of the innovation lab furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.
In 2021, the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage for projects statewide in 2021 was $24 before benefits, a 9.4% increase over the previous year.
In the past year, the Beshear administration announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. And in April of this year, the Governor was joined by leadership at Envision AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
The economic momentum has carried strongly into 2022, with both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings upgrading Kentucky’s financial outlook to positive in recognition of the commonwealth’s surging economy.
And Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky at 6th in its annual Prosperity Cup rankings for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
For April 2022, the state budget director reported the highest-ever monthly General Fund receipts of $1.84 billion. That is up 34.9% over last April’s collections, bringing Kentucky’s year-to-date growth rate to 16.4%.
Also in April, the state reported a 3.9% unemployment rate, which was the lowest rate ever recorded. In May, the rate fell to a new record low of 3.8%.
In July, Kentucky’s record-breaking economic momentum continued as Gov. Beshear announced this week that Kentucky’s fiscal year 2022 General Fund receipts grew at the highest rate in 31 years.
To learn more about AHS, visit AHS1.com.
For more information on Hy-Tek and details on its other acquisitions, visit Hy-Tek.com.
A detailed community profile for Kenton County can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.
Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at governor.ky.gov, kycovid19.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.