Industry thrives after plant closure

Thirteen years ago many local families worried what would happen next. Ingersol Rand in Mayfield closed its doors, costing hundreds of workers their jobs. Tonight, the community has rebounded stronger than ever.

Universal Compressor Solutions in Graves County announced they are growing their business by 10 more jobs. Managing member with Universal says it was because of a combination of support from the community and other local vendors, but the success of Universal and others wouldn't have been possible without the closure of another big industry.

Ace Compressor Co-owner and manager, Johnnie Lee enjoys going to work now. He says his time with Ingersoll Rand is barely a memory at this point. Lee says when Ingersoll Rand shut its doors, it was if a family was broken apart that had a big impact on the area. But in trying to get back on his feet, Lee says the skills the plant left behind helped build up the good they already had going.

"It was just putting the right people in the right places and their background was a vital part of that," says Lee.

He recognized that specialized business can build itself given the right workforce. He says it simply revolved around the key people.

Graves County Judge Executive Jesse Perry says growth is good at any rate. He says he feels as though the compression industry is a sleeping giant. Perry says, "I'll take one (job) like I'll take 100, and that's what's happening with this industry."

Ace Compressor says they want to pass on their skills so they can be continued. Lee says they're working with students in the local and tech schools.

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