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Victoria Conaway and Simmons Manufacturing Co. Officials Join OTC Staff in Atlanta for MAW Luncheon

The development authorities of Bacon, Brantley, and Clinch, along with the MAW 1Okefenokee Area Development Authority (OADA) and Okefenokee Technical College hosted a luncheon at the Railway Express Depot on April 24, 2008, to honor local manufacturers who provide jobs and contribute greatly to our economy. Members of the development authorities, community leaders, and elected officials from six counties – Bacon, Brantley, Charlton, Clinch, Pierce, and Ware – were on hand to celebrate the successes of the manufacturers over the past year.

OTC President Gail Thaxton welcomed everyone to the 2008 Annual Local Manufacturing Appreciation (MAW) Luncheon, and Charlie Gibson, OTC Director of Career Services, gave the invocation. MAW 2

Following lunch, which was catered by K. D.’s Café, Dr. Thaxton praised and thanked the honored guests, stating, “You (the manufacturers) form the glue that holds our community together. We are here today to acknowledge your contributions and ask that you continue to partner with the development authorities and OTC as you pursue future successes.”
Waycross Mayor, Clarence Billups, also welcomed the group and expressed his appreciation to manufacturers in this area for their contributions to the community. MAW 3

Andy Brannen, VP for Economic Development, congratulated those manufacturers who were nominated for state recognition. Businesses must meet the following criteria for nomination: 1) minimum of three years in operation in Georgia, 2) demonstrate corporate responsibility, 3) demonstrate economic growth, and 4) demonstrate a commitment to workforce excellence.

Brannen explained that each year OTC nominates at least one manufacturer from six counties as candidates for the Georgia Manufacturer of the Year award. In order to be considered for the award, nominated manufacturers must complete and submit an application to the state office. MAW 4

The area businesses considered for the Georgia Manufacturer of the Year award for 2007 in the small (150 or fewer employees) and medium (151-749) categories were: Clayton Homes, Simmons Manufacturing, and Voith Fabrics.

Nominees were presented with a certificate of award. Afterwards, all manufacturers present were given a Certificate of Appreciation for their contributions to community growth and prosperity and for their successes in the past year.MAW 5

Charlie Gibson gave the closing remarks. He expressed appreciation to company managers and owners for working with him to place OTC graduates in jobs. He also shared other ways that OTC could partner with businesses to fill job opening with skilled, qualified workers.  

Regina Morgan, executive director of OADA, and Andy Brannen, along with the OTC Economic Development staff, coordinated the event. The local luncheon was sponsored by the Bacon County Development Authority, the Brantley County Development Authority, the Clinch County Development Authority, OADA, and Okefenokee Technical College. MAW 6

Photo 1:
Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle presented Blackshear Elementary School student, Victoria Conaway, with a Certificate of Award and a $100 scholarship check for placing third statewide in the Manufacturing Appreciation Week placemat design competition at the Cobb Galleria Centre on April 17, 2008. Victoria’s mother, Jody Conaway; her grandmother and brother accompanied her to the luncheon in Atlanta. Conaway is in Mrs. Lisa Gillis’s third grade class where she won 1st place locally for her artwork. Conaway’s placemat design was submitted to state MAW officials by Okefenokee Technical College.

Photo 2:
Simmons Manufacturing officials joined Okefenokee Tech officials and staff in Atlanta on April 17 for the 2007 Georgia Manufacturer of the Year Awards Luncheon. The event was held at the Cobb Galleria Centre, where Lt. Casey Cagle presented three manufacturers with a Georgia Manufacturer of the Year award. From left, standing, OTC staff: Pamela Farr, Austin Johnson, Margaret Fairley, Judy Hesters, President Gail Thaxton, Danita Cannon, Charlie Gibson, Andy Brannen, Pete Mills, (seated, Simmons Manufacturing officials:) Jan Allen and Jeff Richter.

The annual awards ceremony is the highlight of Georgia Manufacturing Appreciation Week (MAW). In proclaiming April 14-18 Manufacturing Appreciation Week, Gov. Sonny Perdue noted the tremendous contribution manufacturing makes to the state’s economic well-being. Providing 447,877 jobs at nearly 10,000 facilities across Georgia, manufacturing contributes more than $100 billion to the state’s economy each year.

The Department of Technical and Adult Education and the Department of Economic Development, co-hosts of the event, would like to express their appreciation to the following sponsors who contributed to this year’s MAW: BB&T, Georgia Power, HA&W, Fullscope, Pattillo Construction, Georgia Tech/Enterprise Innovation Institute, and AT&T.

Photo 3:
Simmons Manufacturing was recognized as an outstanding business at the local manufacturing luncheon and presented with a Manufacturer of the Year award. Simmons was nominated by OTC for state recognition. From left: Andy Brannen, VP for Economic Development; OADA Executive Director Regina Morgan; Jeff Richter (Simmons); Milinda Brigman (Simmons), Jan Allen (Simmons); and OTC President Gail Thaxton.

Photo 4:
Clayton Homes was presented a Manufacturer of the Year award for its effectiveness and documentation of corporate responsibility, economic impact, and workforce excellence. The local company was nominated by OTC for state recognition.  From left: Andy Brannen, Regina Morgan, Art Patterson of Clayton Homes, Gary Taylor of Clayton Homes, and OTC President Gail Thaxton.

Photo 5:
Voith Fabrics was recognized with a Manufacturer of the Year award for excellence in areas that benefit employees, the community, and continued growth. Voith was nominated by OTC for state recognition. From left: Andy Brannen (OTC), Regina Morgan (OADA), Voigh officials - Ross Gilbert, Rusty Jackson, Dana Youmans, Darrell Roberson, and OTC President Gail Thaxton.

Photo 6:
Selected Ware County manufacturers were presented with certificates of appreciation for their contributions to community growth and prosperity and for their successes during the past year. Those receiving awards included (from left, front) Jane Cline of General Box, Regina Morgan, Beverly Jordan and Steve Bayer with Carolina Skiff, OTC President Gail Thaxton, Andy Brannen (Back L to R), Bradley Fritch of General Box, Ross Gilbert of Voigh Fabrics, Jeff Richter of Simmons, Glendale Sullivan of Live Oak Homes, Gary Taylor of Clayton Homes, and Randy Sharpe of Wells Cargo.


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