Ventra Plastics first honoree to receive Inaugural Corporations for the Commonwealth award

By Chris Cooper -

Ventra Plastics, a local automotive parts manufacturer in Logan County, is the first recipient of the Inaugural Corporations for the Commonwealth award for a civic-oriented large business in the state of Kentucky. The prestigious award will be given by Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes on Wednesday, July 29 at 2 p.m. at Ventra Plastics, 140 Progress Dr. Russellville. Joining Grimes will be Ventra Plastics General Manager Ron Barbe, Logan County Judge Executive Logan Chick, and Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton.

The first of the year Grimes, Kentucky’s chief business official, launched “Corporations for the Commonwealth,” a program to recognize both large and small businesses that commit to being leaders in their communities and in Kentucky.

“Kentucky businesses keep our economy going and growing, but they also deserve recognition for their dedication to public service and civic action,” said Grimes. “More than 100,000 businesses have started in the Commonwealth since I took office, and I’m proud to spearhead this initiative to honor those that go out of their way to improve their communities.”

Immediately upon taking office in January 2012, Grimes worked with state and national partners to release Kentucky’s first-ever Civic Health Index, which uses data from the 2010 Census to examine various aspects of civic participation. From November 2012 through May 2013, Grimes conducted the Civic Health Initiative, hosting 15 public forums across the state to forge new partnerships and formulate innovative strategies to improve civic engagement in Kentucky.

It was evident through the Initiative that businesses play an important role in the civic health of their communities. From permitting employees to take leave time for volunteer activities, to organizing service programs, to providing incentives for employees who contribute to non-profit organizations, businesses are participating in and fostering efforts to improve their communities and our Commonwealth.

Semi-annually, Corporations for the Commonwealth will choose one large (more than 50 employees) and one small (50 employees or fewer) organization through a nomination process that is open to the public.

Nominees must have demonstrated a commitment to corporate giving, a drive to improve local and/or regional social conditions, and a culture of giving within their organizations. They must also be registered with the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office.

Ventra Plastics has 250 employees which places the industry in the large corporation category of the award process. The company, which was founded in 1992, was nominated by Paula Timberlake, Administrative Assistant to the Logan Economic Alliance for Development (LEAD) board based in Russellville.

The Logan Economic Alliance for Development is charged with a mission to LEAD economic development initiatives prospering over 27,000 residents in Logan County, and its four cities of Adairville, Auburn, Lewisburg, and Russellville.

“Ever since Ventra Plastics came to Logan County they have been very community minded,” said Timberlake. “That goes from plant manager Ron Barbe and trickles down to those who work at the industry. Ron has expounded on that theory of community mindedness to his employees and management team. He works closely with our Russellville Area Technology Center and employs students from there. He has always been very involved with our schools systems as well. I would say one of main reasons I nominated Ventra Plastics is through working with Ron with the Leadership Logan program. Ron has always been open to touring from Leadership Logan classes. He leads the group through the plant and is always so positive and upbeat. You can see that same environment with Ventra employees. Whenever our classes leave Ventra, there is always someone who says, ‘I can work at Ventra.’ This says a lot about this company,” added Timberlake.

Ventra Plastics provides a range of plastic molding, vibration welding and assembly services. The company also offers battery boxes, cowl linings, fenders, step pads, mirror covers, stone deflectors and air dampers. Ventra Plastics in Russellville offers products for automobiles of various makes, such as Acura, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda and Nissan. It has achieved ISO 14001 certification. The company is spread over an area of more than 100,000 square feet. Ventra Plastics Russellville provides front grille covers, splash shields, wheelhouse liners and accelerator pedal stops. It offers rigid fixture testing and in-house laboratory services. It has manufacturing plants in Canada, Europe, Mexico and the United States. The company operates engineering, design and sequencing divisions.

By Chris Cooper

To contact Chris Cooper, email or call 270-726-8394.

To contact Chris Cooper, email or call 270-726-8394.

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