The business that President Obama will visit on Friday is in southwestern Indiana but has its roots in Central Kentucky.
Millennium Steel Service began 13 years ago with a meeting between CEO Henry Jackson and Toyota, which makes its popular Camry in Georgetown.
Jackson was, at the time, president and CEO of Jackson Plastics Inc., a plastic injection molder in Nicholasville and a supplier to Toyota, as well as other auto and appliance makers, according to the company's website.
Partnering with Toyota, Jackson created Millennium Steel, which takes rolls of steel and processes it for use as car parts for automakers.
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In a decade, revenues grew from $37 million in 2001 to $250 million in 2011, and the number of employees grew from 10 to 54, according to the site. Millennium now has offshoots in Texas, and another company, Synova Carpet in North Carolina.
On Thursday, Jackson said he thinks that his story illustrates how the government can help young people climb out of poverty to a better life.
A native of Chicago, Jackson said was raised by his grandparents. But after a stint in the Army in Vietnam, he graduated from DePaul University, worked for Clark Equipment for 20 years and went on to get an MBA from Notre Dame before starting his own business.
"Without government programs, I never would have gotten started," Jackson said. The G.I. Bill allowed him to go to college and get his bachelor's, which gave him a chance at a career. And when he started his own business, he had help from the Small Business Administration, he said. And along the way, there has been federal support for workforce eduction and federal loans for equipment purchases, he said.
What message does Jackson hope to convey to the president?
"We've got to figure a way to educate our kids from birth. If we educate them, we won't have as big a problem with youth as we do today," Jackson said. "Failure to educate creates long-term problems in society and builds a prison population.
"Everybody doesn't have to got to college but everybody needs a secondary eduction. The government has got to find a way to give us pre-Head Start and school before you're five years old. And we've got to get back to teaching kids Civics in school. You've got to teach kids to be citizens of the United States. And teach the arts, along with mathematics and English."
According to a statement released by the White House, President Obama is visiting Millennium Steel in Princeton, Ind., near Evansville, as part of Manufacturing Day and to "highlight the progress we've made building a New Foundation for the American economy ... and underscore the steps we need to take to continue our progress and ensure that more middle-class families feel that progress in their own lives."
Jackson said that he plans to have his family, including his wife, three adult children and five grandchildren there to see the president tour his plant.
Jackson is also involved in public service in Kentucky. He's chairman of Kentucky Technology Inc., is a member of the University of Kentucky Research Foundation, and is on the boards of directors of the Fayette County Urban League and the University of Kentucky Fund.
He has previously served on the boards of SECAT, the Blue Grass Airport Authority, the Lexington Chamber of Commerce, the University of Kentucky Business Partnership Foundation, the Chandler Medical Center, and the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees; and was also a commissioner of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, and a member of the University of Kentucky Center for Robotics and Manufacturing Systems.
A contingent of Jackson's business community colleagues from Lexington will be traveling to Indiana for Obama's visit, including Urban League president and CEO P.G. Peeples, Waffle House franchise owner Ray Daniels and contractor Allen Carter.
Obama's remarks at Millennium Steel are closed to the public.