Ford cuts in Louisville likely to be small

2020 Ford Escape. | Photo by Boris Ladwig

While Ford Motor is cutting about 7,000 salaried positions globally, the impact on Louisville likely will be small.

Ford has about 12,500 hourly workers at its two Louisville production plants, but only about 550 salaried employees.

A Ford spokeswoman told Insider that while she could not disclose how many salaried employees would be affected by each location, she said that “there would be no reason to think that Louisville (will have) a greater share of the cuts.”

Given that Ford is cutting about 10 percent of its salaried workforce, Louisville stands to lose about 55 jobs.

The reduction of 7,000 employees across the globe is part of a previously announced $11 billion restructuring effort that Ford says is critical to lowering production costs.

Ford told Insider that the job cuts will be achieved through “voluntary and involuntary” separations and that those include the 1,500 employees who left voluntarily at the end of last year.

The restructuring, which Ford is calling Smart Redesign, also include changes in production plants, such as a reduction of manufacturing complexity. The automaker said late last year that it will reduce the number of available vehicle configurations by 80 percent for the next generation of vehicles.

The Ford Escape, for example, which is produced exclusively at Louisville Assembly Plant, comes in thousands of configurations currently, but the number will be reduced to 25 for the 2020 model. The changes will allow for more efficient manufacturing, which will increase production speed and lower costs by about $70 per vehicle — or about $21 million per year at LAP.

While the salaried job cuts will save Ford about $600 million a year, an industry analyst said that Ford has to cut significantly more jobs to achieve its cost reduction goals, according to The Detroit Free Press. The paper reported that Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said that Ford has to cut an additional 23,000 salaried jobs “in the near term” if it wants to reach its cost-cutting goals. —Boris Ladwig

Humana Foundation awards $2M in grants to local nonprofits

The Humana Foundation has awarded more than $2 million in grants to nearly 30 local nonprofits that contribute to Louisvillians’ well-being and health.

Recipients, which include Adelante Hispanic Achievers, CASA of the River Region, Down Syndrome of Louisville, ElderServe, Louisville Orchestra, Louisville Urban League and the West Louisville Performing Arts Academy, will receive between $25,000 and $325,000 each.

The foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Louisville-based insurer, also awarded $325,000 to the University of Louisville and Interapt to provide software training “to historically marginalized adults in the West End.” Up to 25 people will be selected to learn programming and software development skills, plus get $100 a week stipend.

The grants are part of the foundation’s new Louisville Community Relations program.

For this year’s grants, the foundation gave special consideration if the applicant worked in a partnership with other organizations and if the projects focused on “inclusion, diversity, equity and belonging in order to break down barriers that keep all citizens from engaging the services and opportunities Louisville has to offer.”

Foundation CEO Walter D. Woods said in a news release, “We believe it is our role to enhance the well-being of our community by supporting and encouraging collaboration in multiple sectors where leadership, culture and systems work together.”

The grants were awarded based on input from volunteers from Humana’s Network Resource Groups and an online vote from local employees. The foundation said the company also encourages employees to support grant recipients with skills-based volunteerism.

“By putting their business skills to work for local organizations, Humana employees will be able to help increase local health and well-being,” the foundation said. —Boris Ladwig

The Refinery Events opens in former Kye’s location in Jeffersonville

For years known as Kye’s I and Kye’s II, the event space at 500 Missouri Ave. in Jeffersonville has reopened as The Refinery Events officially opened for business with a ribbon cutting May 22.

The century-old buildings offer 18,000 square feet of space for private events with exposed beams and brick to go with high ceilings. The two event halls making up The Refinery are divided by a courtyard. Co-owners Alex Hunnicut and Paul Latham take over the space from Kye Hoehn, who sold the buildings to Commercial Logistics last September and announced her retirement.

Customers renting the space can choose their own vendors for events at no additional cost or fee, including licensed and insured caterers or bar services. In addition, The Refinery will feature an in-house design team to transform the space by request with flowers, linens and lighting. —Kevin Gibson

Norton Commons receives design award

Norton Commons won an international award for its design. | File Photo

Norton Commons, the 600-acre community in the East End, was honored this week by the Congress for the New Urbanism in its 19th annual Charter Awards.  These awards recognize architecture, planning, development and landscape designs that offer options for affordable housing, mixed-use and public space in a variety of settings.

Norton Commons is among eight Charter Awards this year.

Norton Commons began development in 2003 and was designed by the master planner Andrés Duany of DPZ CoDESIGN, with design development and Town Architect review under the direction of Michael Watkins Architect LLC. The developer was Traditional Town LLC. The mixed-use community was built on a 600-acre farm.

“More than a study, more than an idea, Norton Commons is an example of the Great American Small Town, modeling a better place to live for the citizens of Louisville,” said Charles Cash, former director of the Louisville Metro Planning and Design Services, in a news release.

Winners, located in 11 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as well internationally, will be formally announced at a ceremony at the Ali Center June 14.

The Congress for the New Urbanism 27 will be held in Louisville from Jun.12 – Jun. 15. —Kevin Gibson

Derby City Whisker Club members score international awards

Patrick Fette

For the fourth consecutive year, Louisville’s Patrick Fette is an international champion at the World Beard & Moustache Championships.

Fette is one of nine members of the Derby City Whisker Club who competed in the event, which this year was held in Antwerp, Belgium. he claimed first place in the English Style Moustache category.

Previously, Fette won for English Style Mustache in 2013 in Leinfelden-Ecterdingen, Germany; 2015 in Leogang, Austria, and 2017 in Austin, Texas. In addition, Eric Simpson got 3rd place for Natural Full Beard 0.1-15 Centimeters in 2017 in Austin.

Other Derby City members to win medals this year include Alexia Hall, second place in the Women’s Realistic Beard category; Melissa Fette, second place in the Women’s Realistic Moustache category; and Jason Hall, second place in the Alaskan Whaler category. —Kevin Gibson

Russell neighborhood gets new health center

West Louisville has a new option for health care services.

The Russell Neighborhood Health Center has opened at West Broadway and 15th Street near Fifth Third Bank.

The nearly 11,000-square-foot facility is owned and operated by the Park DuValle Community Health Center, which broke ground on the $3 million building last October.

The new center is designed to ensure that Russell has access to quality health care and a variety of services, Park Duvalle Chief Executive Ann Hagan-Grigsby said last year.

The Russell center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and replaces the former Park DuValle at City View location on Chestnut Street. Services include both adult and pediatric medicine as well as women’s health and dental health services. There also will be telehealth services for mental health.

People without insurance can receive care on a sliding fee scale with the proper paperwork.  The center also accepts private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.—Darla Carter

In Brief

Kentucky Interfaith Power and Light says it will offer a tour of solar installations at houses of worship in Louisville on Tuesday, May 28.


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