3M’s presence in a small Kentucky town, from overhead projectors to Post-It notes

Eric Opland is the 3M Cynthiana plant manager.
Eric Opland is the 3M Cynthiana plant manager. Cynthiana Democrat

3M Cynthiana is a juggernaut of Kentucky industry.

Most Cynthiana residents have driven pastthe New Lair Road plant more times than they can count, but some might not know that they’ve used products that were made there.

If you’ve ever used Post-It notes or Scotch tape, odds are they were made in Cynthiana.

“We supply all of the U.S and even ship some worldwide,” plant manager Eric Opland said.

3M Cynthiana has been Harrison County’s largest employer for decades.

Opland said the plant employs about 560 people. For the past 20 years, it has employed between 500 and 600 people consistently, making it a longtime major player in Cynthiana’s economy.

Jobs at the plant include machine operator, industrial maintenance, engineering, supply chain and logistics, human resources, safety specialist, and manufacturing leadership.

According to its website, 3M Cynthiana’s employees give about$30,000 annually to the United Community Fund. They also lot a combined 2,500 hours a year in volunteer community support.

3M Cynthiana also gives about $30,000 a year to the community in grants. One was a $20,000 environmental grant for Flat Run Veterans Park in 2016.

3M Cynthiana opened in downtown in 1969, and a year later, it moved to a larger plant on New Lair Road.

Originally, the factory produced overhead projectors and copy machines. Then, in the mid-1980s, the Post-it product line was moved to Cynthiana and the plant was expanded. It’s now about 450,000 square feet.

Post-It products and Scotch tapes are the primary products at 3M Cynthiana, but but the company makes hundreds of items in factories nationwide.

Historically, 3M’s products have included sandpaper and old movie reels, VHS tapes and reflective material for road signs.

Safety is a high priority at the plant and there are regular emergency drills year-round.

Opland said 3M Cynthiana has people on site at all times who can perform CPR, and training includes spills and other factory hazards.

Opland, a self-proclaimed engineering nerd from South Dakota, has been with 3M Cynthiana for about six months.

“What I love the most about it is the passion our employees have for improvement,” he said.