Mayor Brandi Harless Joins Ballard County Judge-Executive Todd Cooper on Economic Development Trip to China

Date of release:  January 15, 2019

Mayor Brandi Harless and Ballard County Judge-Executive Todd Cooper are heading to China on Thursday, January 17 for three days of meetings with Shanying International Holdings, the parent company for Global Win and Phoenix Paper.  Shanying invited Judge Cooper and Mayor Harless to attend a conference for global employees, business partners, government officials, and guest speakers.

In August 2018, Global Win signed a letter of intent to purchase the former Verso Corporation paper mill in Wickliffe with a $150 million investment expected to create 500 full-time jobs.  Since that time, Global Win and local leaders have forged a great working relationship leading to the invitation by Global Win’s parent company, Shanying, for local elected leaders to meet with its CEO and board of directors in China.  Furthermore, Global Win representatives are traveling with Mayor Harless and Judge Cooper.

Mayor Brandi Harless said, “This is an incredible opportunity to have face-to-face conversations with a company that sees the valuable resources and skilled workforce available in Western Kentucky.  I look forward to discussing potential new partnerships for additional economic development opportunities that will benefit this entire region.”

Ballard County Judge-Executive Todd Cooper said, “With the signing and closure of the sale for the former Verso mill, it brought hope for the entire region surrounding Wickliffe.  The decision for the purchase of the paper mill was the beginning of a tremendous economic development boost and will bring employment opportunities for area residents, contractors, vendors, and other companies.” 

“Mayor Harless and other leaders in surrounding counties have been tremendous partners and supporters of the Global Win acquisition.  We are looking forward to continuing to build on current relationships and partner with Global Win to promote their success going forward,” added Cooper.

In November 2018, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin along with representatives from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development spent a week in China strengthening relationships with Chinese companies already operating Kentucky as well as developing new business and government connections for future growth.

“Making this trip to China will further strengthen relationships with the executives investing in the Wickliffe mill and additionally fortify the economic wellbeing of a significant portion of West Kentucky,” said Vivek Sarin, executive officer and co-leader of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

Sarin added, “I commend both Mayor Harless and Judge Cooper on their eagerness to extensively travel to advance current developments and pursue more opportunities for West Kentucky.  Further, they see the long-term value in advancing the sub-national ties the Bevin Administration has created with China’s corporate and government leaders.”

Erran Persley, the cabinet’s executive director for international affairs and business development, also traveled to China in November 2018 with Gov. Bevin and Sarin.

According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, eight Chinese-owned companies including Global Win operate facilities in Kentucky, currently employing approximately 8,700 people.

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