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OVC announces new acquisition – Expects to add 50 jobs within two years

By: Greg Bird



Photo by Greg Bird

OVC President J.C. Egnew (second from left) announced a new business venture for the Stearns manufacturing plant Monday. He was joined in the announcement by Anthony Hines of OVC, Judge Executive Doug Stephens, OVC Pland Manager Brian Maxwell and Carl Hauptmann and John Gilbay from Sotera.

On Monday J.C. Egnew, President of Outdoor Venture Corporation, announced the purchase of Sotera Defense Solutions’ Engineered Solutions division, and will be moving operations to Stearns.

Egnew said he expects to create about 50 new jobs in McCreary County through the acquisition and production should begin as soon as next month, with the first products rolling off the line by the start of the new year.

Sotera’s Engineered Solutions produced services and components for expeditionary systems for the U.S. military. The modular units, such as field kitchens, latrines, showers and water purification and recycling are a vital part of military operations establishing forward bases and expeditionary units.

On Monday Egnew led media and local officials on a tour of the facility where the new manufacturing plant will be located, in the same building where tent and steel insulated panel products are already produced.

Egnew said the addition of the new product line integrates directly into OVC’s existing core business, which has been growing recently.

“This will give our business greater stability and a bigger footprint with the U.S. Military,” Egnew said. “It greatly increases our range of operations.”

Egnew added the acquisition will be able to seamlessly fit in with existing manufacturing being done in Stearns, and will complement each other.

The tent and I-Beam paneling being manufactured in the old LeSportsac plant will be used to construct the new modular components, making the majority of the components on site.

What can not be made on site will have to be imported, but other industries could eventually relocate to the Stearns area as a result of the production as well Plant Manager Brian Maxwell said. “Other jobs and industries will follow.”

Two years ago OVC expanded their field by acquiring a company that produced steel insulated panels. The panels (iPanel) can be used to construct walls, floors and roofs for permanent or temporary energy efficient buildings.

Combined with the existing tent-making and iPanel production, the Stearns plant will easily be able to add the new product line to the existing operations.

“J.C. was a good visionary,” Sotera’s John Gilbay said.  “He evolved his business from soft wall to hard shell structures and brought OVC’s market into a fully integrated system.”

One of the products that will be manufactured in Stearns is a mobile kitchen unit that could be transported directly to an area of forward deployment. Once in place the unit could be “unfolded” and ready to cook meals for up to 800 people within 45 minutes.

Egnew thanked several people for their support in the project including insurance agent Buddy Wilson and Judge Executive Doug Stephens for his support, but he saved the most praise for the people of McCreary County and Stearns.

“The basic foundation is faith in the environment we are in,” Egnew said. “We have the support, people and resources right here. If we didn’t have faith in the county and the people, we wouldn’t be doing this.”

Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation helped OVC with the acquisition by providing financing, technical assistance and general business acquisition experience.

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