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Manufacturers can’t get enough high-quality, light-weight aluminum these days. Add to that the goal of lowest-carbon environmental impact, and there were no suppliers up to the task until today.
More than a financial transaction, this investment and partnership is a commitment to a shared vision that revolutionary innovation can achieve and what some thought impossible—combining the largest supplier of the highest quality prime aluminum with the lowest cost and most environmentally friendly aluminum mill.
Lord Barker, the Chairman of En+ Group, Rusal’s parent company calls this focus on environmental responsibility, value for money, and positive community impact the “trinity of scale.” Barker who sat in the House of Lords of the UK Parliament, and served as the Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, has long led the charge for economically viable environmental responsibility.
It’s no surprise Braidy Industries caught Barker’s eye, as they are the first aluminum mill to secure a “minor contributing source” air permit from the Federal EPA, and which is targeting carbon emissions targets 20% lower than the competitive field.
Barker says, “I am amazed by the sheer scale of what Braidy Industries is building. Not only will the mill be the 13th largest building on earth, but it’s been designed with insurgent technologies [from Veloxint and NanoAl], in a future proof way that will enable the plant to win global transportation OEM customers.”
At the scale Braidy plans to produce, Barker says, “Rusal was the only aluminum producer in the world that could supply both the quality and quantity of prime aluminum to meet Braidy’s requirements and demand.”
The transportation sector is one of the leading buyers of high-quality, light-weight, low-carbon aluminum, and Barker said that Braidy Industries location, within 250 miles of half of major U.S. automotive production—many of whom have pre-committed hundreds of millions of dollars in orders—was a further indicator of the business’s economic viability.
Barker said, “We’re proud to be the cornerstone investor in this important project.” As a part of the investment, Barker will now serve as Co-Chairman of the Board of the Braidy Atlas mill, alongside Craig Bouchard, the company’s founder and Braidy Industries CEO and Chairman of the Board.
Transforming the world of aluminum from an unexpected place—Appalachia in the heart of Kentucky
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of global investors and advancing the worldwide aluminum industry, but Bouchard is most excited about changing the world right here at home in Ashland Kentucky.
What started as an idea for an innovative business, has become a way of life and a plan for a community where his team has set down roots. Bouchard worked with economic developers, strategic partners, and politicians on both sides of the aisle, not only to start an aluminum company but to renew Ashland in the model of the mill-towns common in the last century.
He says, “I want Ashland to be a community spilling over with high-paying jobs and a broad range of home values, schools, healthcare, and a safe place where young people want to stay and raise their families.”
I grew up near Hershey Pennsylvania and knew the legend of Milton Hershey as a business person, an innovator and the creator of a “company town,” complete with all the things that made the citizens at home. Everyone revered Hershey, but he has 125 years of history behind him that Bouchard currently lacks.
Some people just don’t believe that businessmen with plenty of means—but not all the means to get an aluminum mill running—have those “Hershey” kind of good intentions anymore. To counter their concerns, Bouchard has taken to Facebook to have his say directly with the people. He’s gone to local schools to talk about the impact Braidy Industries can have in transforming Ashland, turning the tide of opioid addiction and revitalizing an area that needs not only dreamers by doers.
Today—this advanced manufacturing concern from Kentucky—goes worldwide
Governor Matt Bevin, in partnership with entrepreneurs like Bouchard, is working to make Kentucky the seat of advanced manufacturing in America. He’s made significant progress in a few short years bringing nearly $19.4 Billion in investments to the state and helping to create more than 51,412 jobs.
Bevin worked tirelessly to bring Braidy Industries to Kentucky and won unheard of and unanimous bi-partisan support for the State to make a strategic equity investment in Braidy Industries.
Unlike the now imploded New York City Amazon deal, where a corporation gets enormous incentives in the form of grants and gifts—with no exchange of shares or shareholder value—Kentucky will be a direct beneficiary in Braidy’s success.
According to a recently completed economic impact study done by economist Dr. James V. Koch, “The Braidy Atlas mill will contribute $2.8 Billion to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and $1.54 Billion to Eastern Kentucky by the year 2021. In addition, over 18,025 new jobs will be created as a result, amounting to the generation of 31,000 incremental job years for the Commonwealth.”
Bouchard says, “When Braidy Industries prevails—with much thanks to Governor Bevin’s leadership—the citizens of Kentucky will not only have abundant job opportunities, they will have an asset to show for their tax dollars. That’s a good thing.”
Go big or go home and do it at home
Bouchard, whom I met in August of 2018, proved to be much more than a “man with a plan.” He is a man with success (and failure and then success) in the high stake’s world of banking, private equity, metals, manufacturing expansions, buyouts, hostile takeovers, and the coalition-building it takes to do both big things and good things.
That experience has helped Bouchard not only make his dream a reality but is helping the concerned citizens, the doubters, the media and many hopeful people that needed a win, see this tremendous undertaking come to fruition.
With today’s strategic investment of $200M from Rusal, other major investors in the wings, and Braidy Industries’ plan to go public by the end of 2019, the future of Ashland and the face of global aluminum is about to change forever—for the good.
(And the local Kentucky media said in not so whispered voices, “It’s about time.”)
April 14, 2019 at 09:57PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs