LANCASTER — A global engineering and consulting firm has not only helped secure high-paying jobs for some central Kentuckians, but also recently opened a brick-and-mortar headquarters in Lancaster that employees local residents.
Sustainable Solutions Inc., or SSI, until recently was a home-based operation run by Garrard County resident and company CEO Scott Shinn and a handful of telecommuting employees. However, the company has grown so much that opening a traditional business office was necessary. Five people work in the Pleasant Retreat Drive office, but that comprises only about 10 percent of SSI’s workforce. Shinn and his wife, Amanda, opened SSI three years ago.
After SSI was awarded a U.S. government contract, Shinn trained and deployed 39 technicians who will spend at least a year installing and maintaining X-ray equipment in¿Afghanistan. In March, Shinn, with the help of Garrard Economic Development Director Nathan Mick, held a large-scale job fair in Lancaster. Out of the 39 workers hired, eight hailed from Garrard, Boyle, Lincoln, McCracken and Madison counties. Each position pays more than $100,000 a year plus an array of benefits such as 30 days paid vacation.
"SSI is an international company helping to create new jobs in our community and abroad while providing safety services and security expertise throughout the world,” Mick said. “We are thrilled that SSI made the decision to invest in our community and expand its world headquarters in Garrard County as SSI continues to grow and provide important global security services.”
Shinn credits Mick for the success of the Lancaster job fair, which drew visits from members of communities as far as Bowling Green and Louisville.
"Without Nathan's help we could not have been as successful putting local people to work," Shinn said. "We're excited to be able to add any revenue to the local economy by opening our office in Lancaster."
Shinn, Mick and Erica Sluder, business services specialist with Central Kentucky Career Center, focused much of their recruitment efforts on out-of-work military veterans. Shinn is a former U.S. Air Force technician who credits the military for giving him the education and work experience he needed to get SSI out of his home basement and into a traditional office setting. In these economically challenged times, the military still offers some of the best opportunities for young people to gain education while earning a living, Shinn said.
Shinn has five children and lived in Lancaster since 2006. He is a member of Unity Baptist Church in Danville and has attended Garrard’s Mt. Hebron Baptist Church as well as White Oak Baptist Church in¿Somerset. Shinn’s wife, Amanda, is vice-president of SSI.
Besides helping the federal government through his business, Shinn feels an even higher calling to help needy people in central Kentucky.
“We feel part our calling to show Christ's love is feeding people,” he said. “(Owning SSI) has blessed us with the time, availability and the resources to do these things. We feel that God, family and the local church is the most important parts of our lives.”
The Shinns also plan to help Mick and other local leaders with their long-standing efforts to bring a veteran’s memorial to Lancaster. Scott Shinn has met numerous veterans, including a surviving POW from the Korean War, and believes they deserve more recognition. He said military personnel literally write blank checks that could include the cost of their own lives to the United States.
“(Potential death) is part of the deal and I think we tend to overlook that,” Shinn said.