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Knauf celebrates 40 years

Thies Knauf, right, who launched the local operation of Knauf Insulation in 1978, talked with many well-wishers downtown Friday evening at “Knauftoberfest.” The companysponsored the First Friday event to mark its 40th anniversary in Shelbyville.

By JOHN WALKER - jwalker@shelbynews.com

Hundreds of people turned out on the Public Square Friday evening in downtown Shelbyville to mark the 40th anniversary of Knauf Insulation, one of the city’s largest employers.

“Knauftoberfest” featured German-themed music, costumes, foods and, of course, large steins of beer.

The company started in Germany in 1932 as a gypsum mining operation.

Now, Knauf is a multinational corporation with more than 38 manufacturing sites in 16 countries, employing tens of thousands around the globe.

Shelbyville is the U.S. corporate headquarters. The local company started here in 1978.

Thies Knauf and his family lived in Shelbyville for 10 years.

“And I loved every minute of it,” Knauf said, pausing to speak as he mingled in the crowd downtown talking with many well-wishers.

Knauf maintains a home here and visits Shelbyville regularly.

“We still spend our vacations here,” he said.

He had come over directly from Germany and was leaving Saturday, he said. 

Since opening in Shelbyville 40 years ago, Knauf now operates multiple facilities in the U.S. that employ some 1,900 people.