Business

Lexington information technology, design companies team up, expand

Hensley-Elam co-founder Russ Hensley, left, with Shatterbox founder Jeff Ruth, says Hensley-Elam's purchase of 51 percent of Shatterbox should allow both firms to serve customers better.
Hensley-Elam co-founder Russ Hensley, left, with Shatterbox founder Jeff Ruth, says Hensley-Elam's purchase of 51 percent of Shatterbox should allow both firms to serve customers better.

Lexington information technology firm Hensley-Elam has acquired a stake in the expanding local design studio Shatterbox in hopes of offering a more well-rounded set of services.

"When people think creative, we weren't the first stop," said Russ Hensley, who co-founded Hensley-Elam in 1998. "This will change that."

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority on Thursday approved $200,000 in tax incentives for Shatterbox's plans to hire 15 employees, who would earn an average hourly wage including benefits of $28. Both companies will continue to be operated separately.

Today, Shatterbox is Jeff Ruth, who founded the company last year after previously working at Elevation Creative Studios.

With Hensley-Elam's assistance, Shatterbox will be able to offer clients assistance with programming and technology needs, he said.

"As I speak to my clients, most have to go to all these different places to get all their stuff like logos, printing and programming done," Ruth said. "This is a way we can combine these two different sides of the brain to create this kind of powerhouse."

Hensley-Elam, which has 24 employees, holds a 51 percent stake in Shatterbox, according to the state tax incentive agreement, with Ruth holding the remainder.

Hensley said the goal is to have more than half of Shatterbox's customers be from outside the state. By contrast, 80 percent of Hensley-Elam's business is now inside Kentucky.

"We're more known for technology, but we were always looking to see how to be more competitive in creative design," Hensley said.

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