SEKRI talks updates

Published 11:57 am Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Economic development is an important aspect of any city, and when SEKRI (Southeastern Kentucky Rehabilitation Industries) came to Pineville and Bell County last November to set up shop, they were met with optimism and open arms by city officials and the public.

SEKRI manufactures clothing and gear for the military that include caps, thermal covers and other similar items.

During the May 8 Bell County Fiscal Court meeting, Stan Baker of SEKRI addressed the court with a progress report of the plant up to this point.

The mission statement of SEKRI is to primarily employee people with “significant” disabilities. There is emphasis on what that means, as the common image a person may conjure in their mind of what a disabled person is does not necessarily apply to SEKRI’s standards. A person can be disabled in ways that extend beyond the physical and visible.

Baker began his update by discussing the upgrades they made to the old building they moved into, noting that many of the materials used for the project were acquired by people and businesses from the area.

The SEKRI doors opened on Feb. 2 of this year.

At the time of Baker’s address to the court, SEKRI employed 62 people in a full-time capacity. Of the 62 employees, 44 are classified as disabled.

“Annualized payroll at the plant right now is just over a million dollars…this facility has an economic impact to this area between six and seven million dollars every year,” said Baker.

From there, Baker demonstrated one of the newest products being produced at the plant in Pineville, a one-man tent that SEKRI is making for a new commercial customer.

“I don’t know if we’ve ever made a tent…but this is really cool. It’s a departure from what we do but it’s a really neat piece to see,” said Baker.

Baker closed his statement by thanking the court and Bell County as a whole for being welcoming.

“I can’t say this wouldn’t have happened without you guys helping us out, but it would taken a lot longer and would have been a lot harder,” he said.