It isn’t scheduled to open until next spring, but Crown Cork & Seal can-making plant is already earning awards.

In a ceremony held online Tuesday, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce presented its Targeted Business and Industry Awards, with the John B. Holland Business of the Year Award going to Crown for its $147 million investment in a 327,000-square-foot plant now being built in the Kentucky Transpark.

When it’s fully operational, the Crown plant is expected to employ more than 120 workers who will be making 1.3 billion cans per year at a rate of 2,800 cans per minute.

At a groundbreaking in February at the 44-acre Crown site, chamber President and CEO Ron Bunch said the presence of aluminum manufacturing in the region helped bring this large employer to Bowling Green.

“The aluminum presence in this region certainly played a role in their decision,” Bunch said. “Kentucky is becoming quite well-known for producing aluminum for cans and for the automotive industry.”

A subsidiary of Pennsylvania-based Crown Holdings Inc., Crown Cork & Seal landed in the Transpark after being courted by 20 other locations across three states.

Crown, which needed to quickly add to its complement of 239 plants in 47 countries, was approved for $3 million in tax incentives by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority.

Timothy Donahue, Crown’s president and CEO, said the presence of aluminum manufacturers like Russellville’s Logan Aluminum and the work of state and local economic development professionals led to the company landing in the Transpark.

“We’re all over the world, but Bowling Green is as welcoming as any environment we operate in,” Donahue said at the groundbreaking.

Crown was one of 12 businesses honored during the online awards.

“This is our annual opportunity as a community to appreciate and recognize special achievements in our area,” chamber board Chairman Eric Walker said in a news release. “Our businesses have faced many uncertainties this year, so it was extra special being able to honor them.”

The chamber presented awards to targeted businesses in five other categories: Newcomer, Business Expansion, Green to Gold, Business Innovation, and Healthcare Enterprise, in addition to recognizing local impact stories amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The winners:

Newcomer – Crown Cork & Seal and Dollar General, which is investing $26 million in a 160,000-square-foot cold storage and distribution facility in the Transpark.

Business Expansion – CGS Machine & Tool and Henkel. CGS, a parts producer for manufacturers, is expecting to create 15 full-time jobs and invest $2.75 million in its Bowling Green facility. Henkel invested $70 million in its Bowling Green facility to continue to grow such brands as All, Purex, Persil and Sun laundry detergents.

Green to Gold – Performance Foodservice, one of the largest food service distributors in the United States, completed the expansion of its cooler, freezer and chill dock and converted from electric rooftop refrigeration to an ammonia system. Through an investment of $2.7 million, the company has realized a 60 percent reduction in utility use.

Business Innovation – Trace Die Cast offers die casting solutions for the global automotive industry. The company invested $15 million and created 20 jobs with the addition of new battery-tray assemblies for hybrid vehicles made by Ford Motor Co.

Healthcare Enterprise – Med Center Health and Tri-Star Greenview Regional Hospital. Med Center Health, southcentral Kentucky’s largest integrated health care system with more than 3,800 employees, invested about $198.9 million in capital this year. Greenview made $10 million in capital improvements and created 100 jobs.

Impact Stories awards went to three companies that have seized business opportunities presented by the coronavirus pandemic to make a positive impact on the community.

Pink Lily was recognized for quickly reworking its clothing lineup to take advantage of the “work from home” market and exceeded its sales expectations for 2020. It also donated 2,500 masks and care packages to local hospital employees.

Pan-Oston was recognized for its innovative impact through retooling products to meet new safety standards required for businesses. The company designed and produced several protective barrier products to keep customers operating safely throughout 2020.

Logan Aluminum was recognized for donating much-needed personal protective equipment to 17 health care and public service entities across the region.

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.

​– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.

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