County lands Fortune 500 company

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By Walt Reichert

Cleveland, Ohio-based Eaton Corporation announced plans to build an $80 million data center in the Kingbrook Commerce Park in Simpsonville, the Shelby County Industrial and Development Foundation announced Tuesday.

"It's not everyday we get a Fortune 500 company," said Libby Adams, executive director of the industrial foundation.

Eaton told the industrial foundation it plans to build a 90,000 square foot facility in Simpsonville and a twin data center in Jefferson County. The data center here will employ 15-20 full-time workers with a payroll of $1.1 million to $1.5 million and benefits worth approximately 24 percent of payroll. Workers will include a data center manager, analysts and engineers. The Simpsonville facility will be built on about 20 acres of land off the new entrance to Kingbrook from U. S. 60.

Eaton has 203 manufacturing sites in 30 countries and is involved in the automotive, trucking, electrical and fluid power industries. The company had sales of $13 billion in 2007.

According to literature provided by the company, Eaton's IT needs are increasing while its existing data centers are outmoded and in need of expansion. The company wanted to build the two centers within 30 miles of each other. It had looked at sites in Georgia, Kansas, Ohio, North Carolina, New Mexico and South Carolina before picking the sites in Shelby and Jefferson counties.

Shelby County Industrial and Development Foundation President Bobby Hudson said Jefferson and Shelby counties worked together to land the projects in the respective counties. Officials from Shelby County, including Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger, Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty and Simpsonville Mayor Steve Eden worked with officials from Jefferson County, including Mayor Jerry Abramson, and Greater Louisville Inc. to land the project, Hudson said. The officials had been working on the project since late winter of this year and learned they landed Eaton about a month ago, he said.

"People didn't think Shelby County and Jefferson County could work together, but we worked hand-in-hand," Hudson said.

Initially, the company was looking at three sites in Shelby County, Hudson said.

Fiscal Court magistrates were asked at their meeting Tuesday night (Sept. 2) to approve a resolution allowing Eaton to apply for an industrial revenue bond for both the Shelby County and Jefferson County facilities. Results of that vote were not in by press-time.

Hudson said the landing of Eaton "puts Shelby County on the map."

"This is a real coup," Hudson said. "This is the big fish."