Five years ago, Rob Middleton’s construction company began to feel the squeeze as residential and commercial jobs nosedived amidst a sagging economy.
Despite profits that dipped up to 60 percent in 2009-2010, the Mason business owner says he’s continued to add jobs and enjoy growth – thanks, in large part, to Kings Island.
Construction work at the Mason amusement park represents 20 percent of business for R.E. Middleton Construction, the 50-employee company Middleton started as a one-man contractor in 1994.
“Kings Island is the steadiest customer I have,” he said. “Our market is still horribly bad, but Kings Island is a place where it is still good. That has allowed my company to grow in the past five years.”
Business is set to get even better after Kings Island announced earlier this month it will begin construction on a new $24 million record-breaking roller coaster designed by Swiss firm Bolliger and Mabillard, or B&M.
Banshee will become the world’s longest inverted steel coaster when it opens next April, park officials say. And with 4,124 feet of track and six stomach-churning inversions, it’s also one of the priciest, making it the park’s single largest investment in its 41-year history.
The project, which will be built with materials produced locally and by Ohio companies, is expected to inject tens of millions of dollars into a state economy that’s seen slow job growth in the past year and is holding at 7.2 percent unemployment, according to recent state jobs reports.
The announcement led U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown to issue a statement applauding the park’s economic partnerships with Ohio businesses and the “hundreds of millions of dollars” it funnels into the state economy each year.
“Roller coasters have put Ohio on the map and for good reason,” Brown said in a press release issued last week. “Designing and building a roller coaster is an exact science, and Ohio’s manufacturing, skilled labor and dedication to excellence is unparalleled.”
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Few know that science better than Ken Miller, an operations manager at Clermont Steel Fabricators. He has 40 years experience building the steel skeletons for roller coasters.
Roller coasters are big business for the Batavia steel plant, which has been the exclusive manufacturer of the world-renowned B&M roller coasters since 1989.