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Georgia Manufacturers Celebrated at the 2013 Governor’s MAW Luncheon in Atlanta - Six local companies recognized

The 2013 Governor’s Awards Luncheon honoring the Manufacturer of the Year nominees and winners from across Georgia was held Wednesday, April 3, at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta. Co-hosted by the Technical College System of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the awards luncheon is the highlight of Manufacturing Appreciation Week (MAW), celebrated this year April 1-5. This is the 19th year celebrating MAW in Georgia.

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle was the featured speaker. In his keynote remarks, Lt. Gov. Cagle spoke of the role of manufacturing in Georgia’s economy, and how the state keeps this vital sector healthy.

"When we’re helping existing companies and looking for new companies to locate in our state, the biggest question they always have is, 'How are you going to provide the qualified workers that I’m going to need to succeed,'" said Cagle. "And through our Quick Start program, we lead the nation in workforce development, because we’re focused on what industry needs. Manufacturing is critical to our long-term success as a state."

Six local manufacturers were nominated for a statewide Manufacturer of the Year award: BWay Corporation (Homerville), D.L. Lee & Sons (Alma), Georgia Biomass, LLC (Waycross), Lee Container (Homerville), Milliken & Company (Alma), and Progress Rail Services (Waycross). These companies were nominated, according to OTC Vice President Andy Brannen, because they demonstrated corporate responsibility, workforce excellence, and positive economic impact. All of them deserve recognition and accolades for their contributions to our communities.

Two nominees had representation at the luncheon: Georgia Biomass and Progress Rail Services. Attendees from Georgia Biomass were Paul McMillan, Ron Rozier, and Tyrone Smith. The economic impact of Georgia Biomass, LLC on surrounding communities and the port of Savannah in the form of landowners, logistics, equipment vendors, and wood contractors exceeds 300 million. According to Georgia Biomass Plant Manager Ken Ciarletta, the Waycross plant uses over 150 fiber suppliers from surrounding areas in Southeast Georgia.

In addition, Georgia Biomass is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified and has demonstrated corporate responsibility and community involvement. Among other “good deeds,” Biomass employees have given their support to Autism Awareness Day, March for Cancer, Easter Seals, Megan’s House, and the Ware County School Cornerstone Program. Officials with the company also serve on various civic and community boards.

Plant manager Billy Thompson attended from Progress Rail. In operation since 2000, Progress Rail Services has also made a considerable economic impact on Pierce County and the surrounding area. The plant employees 60 to 75 people, supports local businesses, and gives back to the community through charities. Officials at Progress Rail have also worked closely with OTC to enhance rail training programs. Most recently, Progress Rail refurbished a locomotive to donate to the college. The overall contribution will, more than likely, exceed $200,000. Employees of the company enjoy a great benefit package and a clean working environment.

Other community leaders who made the trip to Atlanta in support of manufacturing were Eva Byrd, executive director of the Waycross - Ware County Chamber of Commerce (WWCOC), Matt Thompson, WWCOC 2014 chair elect; Larry Gattis, WWCOC 2014 chair; Matt Carter, executive director of the Pierce County Industrial Development Authority; and Bob Hereford, executive director of the Okefenokee Area Development Authority.

Six Okefenokee Technical College officials attended the luncheon: Dr. Glenn Deibert, president; Andy Brannen, VP for economic development; Jason Rubenbauer, director of continuing education; Charlie Gibson, director of career services; James Mock, campus police chief; and Cindy Tanner (not shown), director of public relations and information.

In his proclamation declaring April 1-5 as Manufacturing Appreciation Week, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal noted the tremendous contribution manufacturing makes to the state's economic well-being. Nearly 9,500 manufacturing facilities are located in Georgia, according to the proclamation, and they provide 349,138 jobs and generate more than $18 billion in wages in the state each year.

Georgia’s 2013 Manufacturer of the Year awards went to Southwire Company in Carrollton and Douglas (large category - more than 500 employees), Nordson Corporation in Swainsboro (medium category - 150-500 employees), and DIRTT Environmental Solutions (small category - fewer than 150 employees) in Savannah.

Sponsors of this year’s MAW were AT&T, BB&T, Georgia Power, Georgia Tech: Enterprise Innovation Institute; HA&W, and Pattillo.

MAW Photo 1

Photo: 1
A host of local community and business leaders joined Georgia Biomass and Progress Rail officials at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta recently for the 2013 MAW Governor’s Luncheon. Attendees were Ron Rozier (L to R), Dr. Glenn Deibert, Tyrone Smith, Matt Thompson, James Mock, Eva Byrd, Billy Thompson, Senator Tyler Harper, Bob Hereford, Larry Gattis, Matt Carter, Andy Brannen, and Jason Rubenbauer. Not pictured: Charlie Gibson and Cindy Tanner.

MAW photo 2

Photo: 2
Charlie Gibson (left), OTC career placement director, and Paul McMillan, HR manager of Georgia Biomass, are shown standing in front of one of the many displays of art at the Georgia International Convention Center during 2013 MAW. Each year students from across the state are invited to create artwork for the MAW design contest. All entries are displayed in the atrium of the convention center during the Governor’s Luncheon.

MAW Photo 3

Photo: 3
Charlie Gibson (L to R), OTC career placement director, is shown here with Paul McMillian, Ron Rozier, and Tyrone Smith of Georgia Biomass. Others (not shown) dining at the “Waycross” table were Cindy Tanner and Larry Gattis.

Photo: 4
Progress Rail Services was among the Georgia manufacturers who received recognition at the Governor’s MAW Luncheon for excellence and contributions to Georgia and the community. Okefenokee Technical College, along with the Pierce County Industrial Development Authority and the Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, nominated the rail company for a “best of the best” award. Matt Carter (seated, left), executive director of the Pierce County Industrial Development Authority, and Billy Thompson (seated, right), plant manager of Progress Rail Services, are shown here with OTC officials Andy Brannen, vice president for economic development, and Jason Rubenbauer, continuing education director. Others at the table included OTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert, Bob Hereford of OADA, and Eva Byrd, Matt Thompson, & Larry Gattis, officials of the Waycross-Ware County Chamber of Commerce.


MAW Photo 5

MAW Photo 6

Photo: 5 & 6
Georgia Biomass was among the Georgia manufacturers to receive recognition at the Governor’s MAW Luncheon for excellence and contributions to Georgia and the community. Okefenokee Technical College, along with the Okefenokee Area Development Authority, the Waycross-Ware County Chamber, and the Waycross-Ware County Development Authority, nominated the company for a “best of the best” award. A few days following the MAW Luncheon, Bob Hereford (front, L to R), Larry Gattis, Eva Byrd, and Cindy Tanner (far right) visited Georgia Biomass to congratulate company officials and present Biomass employees with a recognition plaque.


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