BRODHEAD, KY – EST Tool & Machine, Rockcastle County’s largest manufacturer, is expanding its capacity and will add eight to 12 new employees in the next year. It is actively seeking to hire six people immediately.

EST, which currently employs 30 people, needs additional equipment to meet the growing demand of new and existing customers.

To finance two new machines, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation approved a loan package this month of up to $750,000.

“Our customers’ business is growing rapidly, and ours is growing with it,” said Steve Taylor, president of EST Tool & Machine. “Kentucky Highlands has been a tremendous asset. Anything we need, they always make it happen, and they’ve provided loans more economically than anyone else.”

It’s a dramatic turnaround since the recession, when EST reduced its staff to four people in 2009.

A family-owned custom tool and machine shop, EST moved from Springfield, OH to Brodhead, KY 15 years ago to increase production space and get closer to a large portion of their customers.

EST’s clients include several Kentucky companies, such as International Crankshaft of Georgetown; Okonite Corp. and Asahi, both of Richmond; and Millennium Forge of Louisville. It also has a pair of clients in Arkansas.

KHIC has helped EST with financing since it first moved to Kentucky and has worked on multiple financing since then.

“EST Tool & Machine is a great example of the importance of entrepreneurs and small businesses to our communities and our economy,” said KHIC President & CEO Jerry Rickett. “Kentucky Highlands is proud to be a partner with a company that continues to thrive and grow.”