What appears to be a source of pride, joy and jobs for Hazard, Perry County and surrounding counties held its grand reopening last Thursday. Those attending the event were greeted with a banner which said “I Am Sykes, How Far Will You Let Me Take You?” Among those welcoming the group to the local Sykes Enterprises site were Chuck E. Sykes, CEO of Sykes Enterprises and Chris Melton, Manager of the local facility.
Sykes Enterprises’ spokesmen reiterated their company’s continued commitment to Hazard and Perry County. When the reopening plans were started, it was hoped that the local facility would have an employee base of about 100 people, but it was announced that it is now hoped that the Hazard facility will employee 400 people by the end of this year.
Sykes Enterprises, which is based in Tampa, Fl., is a Fortune 500 company with an employee base of 27,000 in its global operation. Sykes continues to grow its numbers by marketing the company and its capabilities through their satisfied customers.
Two of the local officials welcoming Sykes back to Perry County had some most interesting remarks for all of those who attended the event. Hazard Mayor William D. Gorman told Chuck E. Sykes, while pointing to his lapel, that the diamond lapel pen he had on his jacket was given to him by Mr. Charles Sykes, the founder of the company, when he was in Hazard to break the ground for the present facility.
The Mayor’s historical remark was followed by that of Perry County Judge Executive Denny Ray Noble, who told Sykes he had always remembered the senior Sykes’ instructions about speech making, and those were to “always speak from the heart.” Following that, Judge Noble thanked Chris Melton and his wife Elizabeth for the good things they have done for this area.
Hazard-Perry County Chamber of Commerce President Tony Whitaker presented Sykes with a Kentucky Colonel certificate that had been delivered to the local facility by Kentucky’s First Lady Glenna Fletcher. Mrs. Fletcher had to leave before the ribbon cutting to attend another function. Following his being named a Kentucky Colonel, Mayor Gorman presented Mr. Sykes with a Key To The City as well as a proclamation naming him a Duke of Hazard. In thanking Mr. Whitaker and Mayor Gorman, Mr. Sykes told the group that his wife, a native of Louisville, would be thrilled too see the two honors.
During the festivities, the point of the necessity to have skilled labor by building skills and intellectual know-how was stressed, and while talking about those points, the Hazard Community and Technical College was thanked for the support they have been since the reopening of Sykes.
There has long been talk about the distance from which Central Kentucky industries draw employees, and at the Thursday event, it was told that Sykes’ Hazard operation has employees who drive over 40 miles to and from their work here.
Presently, some of the training classes at the local Sykes start as early as 6:00 a.m. while others run as late as midnight. Once the Sykes Enterprises’ Hazard operation has met the demands of the company’s customers, having Sykes back in Hazard could mean a total local payroll of between $8 and $10 million annually. With those potential numbers, Sykes will mean much to this community as well as the surrounding areas.