Kyndle presents four Industry of the Year awards

Kyndle honored four outstanding companies in Henderson, McLean, Union and Webster counties with Industry of the Year honors at a luncheon on Monday.

Named the 2017 Kyndle Industry of the Year in the respective counties were:

- Henderson County: Hydro Aluminum

- McLean County: A&S Fabricating Co

-Union County: Huff Technologies

-Webster County: Independence Bank


Here are summaries of the recipients:

Hydro Aluminum, located at the Henderson County Riverport, is an aluminum recycler. The company buys scrap aluminum and combines it with new, primary metal to produce cylinders of aluminum, called billet, that are used by customers that operate extrusion plants.

The Henderson plant produces more than 90,000 metric tons of metal per year and employs more than 50 people.

The plant was the first remelter in the United States to utilize state-of-the-art technology to yield primary-quality billet 

Hydro and Plant Manager Bill Painter have worked diligently over several years to improve the plant’s production capability while also providing a safer working environment for employees. 

As an aluminum recycler, it re-purposes scrap material that otherwise could have ended up in a landfill. Recycling aluminum uses only a fraction of energy required to produce primary aluminum, which also benefits the environment.

From a community point-of-view, Hydro helps recruit new industries to Henderson to provide even more employment opportunities, most notably the recruitment last year of Hansen Aluminum, which will build an $18 million plant adjacent to Hydro.


A&S Fabricating, located in Livermore, is a custom steel fabrication and machine shop. In 1968, Ronnie Ashby and Henry Sonner — hence “A&S” — worked part time at night to produce steel tool boxes for pickup trucks while maintaining their respective full-time day jobs. They became business partners the following year when they formed A&S and began operations in a small one-room block building.

As the company grew, it moved to ever-larger locations. Ashby sold his interest in the business to Sonner in 1971. The following year, Sonner and his wife, Shirley, purchased a seven-acre tract of land and constructed a 7,500-square-foot shop.

Over the past 48 years, A&S Fabricating has undertaken 18 expansions and today operates a 110,000-square-foot plant and employs 25 people. Its custom-fabricated and machined products have shipped as far away as Austria, Switzerland and South America, with the majority shipped across the United States.

A&S attributes its success to its founders, past and present employees and its many customers. Today, the company is operated by a second generation of Sonner’s three daughters: Venea Hounton, Sabrina Sonner and Karen Whitaker, who oversee daily operations along with General Manager Greg Gordon. The company recently became a self-certified Woman Owned Small Business through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Although the company no longer fabricates its nostalgic steel tool boxes, its dedicated and experienced workforce continues to provide custom metal fabrication and complete machine shop services including large and small machining, sandblasting and painting, assembly and equipment building and contract repair services. Its customers include those in the aluminum, construction, dredging, mining, plastics, power plant, recycling, steel mill and water treatment industries.


Huff Technologies Inc. in Morganfield is a designer and manufacturer of custom testing, inspection, assembly and process equipment. It serves the automotive, industrial and mining industries.

Darrel and Glenda Huff established the company in 1987 as a high-tech small business in Union County serving clients across the United States.

Darrel Huff serves as president of the local Lions Club and has been involved with Union County First, while Glenda Huff helps run the company while raising three children who are all becoming members of the high-tech working class.

Like any other small-business owners, the Huffs look to take care of their clients and skilled staff while looking for growth.


Independence Bank in Webster County has roots dating back more than a century with the formation of two independent banks, first in McLean County in 1909, followed by the establishment of the Providence State Bank a few years later.

In 1971, brothers-in-law Charles A. Reid and Maurice E. Reisz acquired Farmers & Merchants Bank in McLean County and Providence State Bank. Reid’s son Chris soon joined his father and uncle, and assumed a leadership role. 

In 1997, their two small companies were incorporated under one name and began a rapid expansion into surrounding communities throughout Kentucky. 

Today, it remains a locally owned and operated community-oriented organization with 24 locations across Kentucky, including two in Webster County as well as locations in Henderson and McLean counties and beyond. It boasts assets of more than $2.1 billion. 

It is the largest company in its industry in Webster County with more than $92 million in assets. Much of its leadership team lives in or was raised in Kyndle counties.

Independence Bank is recognized as a premier employer. Last spring, for the ninth time in the past 12 years, it has been ranked as one of Kentucky’s Best Places to Work by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management. This year it was ranked #8 among 29 finalist companies statewide in the medium-size category consisting of 150-499 employees.

Independence Bank was also named a Best Bank to work for by the the American Banker’s Association in 2016, finishing first in the state and 14th in the nation overall.

The bank also is active in nonprofit projects, from raising money for the Sebree Elementary School playground and the Feed Seniors Now program to the Youth Ag Safety Day and the Shake, Rattle and Roll Tractor Drive to Happy Feet and scholarships for Webster County High School seniors.

Kyndle would like to thank The Gleaner and Union County First for the use of images throughout this site.