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Area Manufacturers Honored at Local MAW Luncheon

 

Area development authorities and Okefenokee Technical College hosted a luncheon at the Railway Express Depot in downtown Waycross May 7, 2009, to honor and recognize local manufacturers for their contributions to the community and the 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 express their appreciation.

OTC President Gail Thaxton welcomed everyone to the 2009 Annual Local Manufacturing Appreciation Week (MAW) Luncheon, and Charlie Gibson, OTC Director of Career Services, gave the invocation.

Following lunch, catered by K. D.’s Café, Andy Brannen, OTC vice president for economic development, recognized and congratulated the six manufacturers who were nominated for state recognition. Representatives of each nominated manufacturing company were given a plaque. The 2009 nominees were D. L. Lee & Sons, Industrial Forge, Milliken & Company, Richmond Baking of Georgia, Simmons Manufacturing Company, and Voith Paper Fabrics Waycross.

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 each of the six counties in its service delivery area as a candidate 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.

Following the presentation of plaques, all manufacturers present at the luncheon were given a Certificate of Appreciation for their contributions to community growth and prosperity.

Representatives from the following manufacturing companies were recognized with certificates of appreciation:

Bacon  - D. L. Lee & Sons, Industrial Forge, Milliken & Company, and Richmond Baking of Georgia

Brantley - Varn Wood Products

Charlton - AJM Packaging

Clinch - B-Way

Ware - Carolina Skiff, General Box, Simmons Manufacturing Company, Bailey Monument, Clayton Homes, ImTec, Voith Paper Fabrics Waycross, and Rich Products.

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 Okefenokee Technical College, the Okefenokee Area Development Authority (OADA, representing Pierce and Ware Counties), and the development authorities of Bacon, Brantley, Charlton, and Clinch Counties.

MAW Luncheon 2009.

Nominees for State Recognition

Six local manufacturers were nominated for state recognition. The 2009 nominees were D. L. Lee & Sons (Bacon), Industrial Forge (Bacon), Milliken & Company (Bacon), Richmond Baking of Georgia (Bacon), Simmons Manufacturing Company (Ware), and Voith Paper Fabrics Waycross (Ware).

D. L. Lee & Sons (Bacon)
D. L. Lee & Sons, operating in Alma for 75 years, was awarded a Manufacturer of the Year award for its economic impact on the community. Accepting the award on behalf of David Lee, president of D. L. Lee & Sons, was Kevin Moore, HR manager of the company.

L to R
Cherry Rewis, Administrative Assistant for Alma/Bacon County Development Authority & Chamber of Commerce
Gail Thaxton, OTC President
Kevin Moore, HR Manager of D. L. Lee & Sons

Industrial Forge (Bacon)
Industrial Forge was recognized as an outstanding business at the local manufacturing luncheon and presented with a Manufacturer of the Year award. Industrial Forge was nominated by OTC for state recognition due to, among other endeavors, its community and civic involvement and its investment in education through partnerships and contributions. Accepting the award on behalf of E. A. Murray, Jr., president of Industrial Forge, was Kim Rose, office manager of the company.

L to R
Kim Rose, Office Manager of Industrial Forge
Gail Thaxton, OTC President
Cherry Rewis, Administrative Assistant for Alma/Bacon County Development Authority & Chamber of Commerce

Milliken & Company (Bacon)
Milliken & Company of Alma was awarded a Manufacturer of the Year award and recognized as an exemplary company for its educational partnerships, financial support of various civic and charity organizations, and its workforce excellence programs, including employee recognition and rewards programs. Accepting the award on behalf of Wayne Bridges, Milliken plant manager, was Jamie Calloway, HR manager of the company.

L to R
Jamie Calloway, HR Manager of Milliken
Gail Thaxton, OTC President
Cherry Rewis, Administrative Assistant for Alma/Bacon County Development Authority & Chamber of Commerce

Richmond Baking of Georgia (Bacon)
Richmond Baking of Georgia was recognized with a Manufacturer of the Year award for corporate responsibility and workforce excellence. As a producer of cookies, crackers, breaders, and batters, Richmond Baking supplies the baking needs of several Fortune 500 companies. The company, operating in Alma for 29 years, employs several employee recognition and rewards programs and gives to the community primarily through the Quigg Foundation. Accepting the award on behalf of Jerry Lady, operations manager of Richmond Baking, was Lauren Jowers, along with sales manager Rick Theidel.

L to R
Lauren Jowers, Customer Service/HR Manager of Richmond Baking
Gail Thaxton, OTC President
Cherry Rewis, Administrative Assistant for Alma/Bacon County Development Authority & Chamber of Commerce
Rick Theidel, Sales Manager of Richmond Baking

Simmons (Ware)
Simmons Manufacturing Company was recognized with a Manufacturer of the Year award for excellence in areas that benefit employees and the community. Although Simmons began operation with 40 associates, it is now the second largest manufacturer in Ware County, employing 202 workers. Simmons contributes to the community, as well, through sponsorships, in-kind donations, and investments in workforce development training. Jan Allen, Melinda Brigman, and Jeff Richter were on hand to accept the award for Simmons.

L to R
Robin Blackard, Executive Director of Waycross/Ware County Chamber of Commerce
Jan Allen, HR Manager with Simmons Manufacturing Company
Dr. Gail Thaxton, OTC President
Melinda Brigman, Simmons Manufacturing Company
Jeff Richter, Operations Manager with Simmons Manufacturing Company
Regina Morgan, Executive Director of OADA

Voith Paper Fabrics Waycross (Ware)
Voith Paper Fabrics Waycross was presented a Manufacturer of the Year award for corporate responsibility, economic impact, and workforce excellence. Voith of Waycross is part of an international company, Voith Paper, with approximately 37,000 employees worldwide. The company has been making paper machine clothing and specialty fabrics in Waycross for 53 years. Company officials use local suppliers when possible and support post-secondary education through contributions to Okefenokee Technical College and Waycross College and through workforce programs that encourage and support employee education. Operations Manager Gilbert Ross accepted the award on behalf of Voith Paper Fabrics Waycross.

L to R
Regina Morgan, Executive Director of OADA
Darrell Roberson, Production Manager of Voith
Gilbert Ross, Operations Manager of Voith
Dr. Gail Thaxton, OTC President
Robin Blackard, Executive Director of Waycross/Ware County Chamber of Commerce
Dana Youmans, HR Manager of Voith

Appreciation Awards

Selected area manufacturers were presented with certificates of appreciation for contributions to the community through economic impact, corporate responsibility, and workforce excellence.

Bacon County
OTC President Gail Thaxton (left) and Administrative Assistant for Alma/Bacon County Development Authority & Chamber of Commerce Cherry Rewis (second from left) presented appreciation awards to the following  Bacon County  business officials:  (L to R) Kevin Moore of D. L. Lee & Sons, Kim Rose of Industrial Forge, Jamie Calloway of Milliken, and Lauren Jowers of Richmond Baking.  

Brantley County
OTC President Gail Thaxton (left) and Executive Director of the Brantley County Development Authority Jeanie Boland presented an appreciation award to Jason Rubenbauer (right) of Varn Wood Products.

Charlton County
OTC President Gail Thaxton and Executive Director of the Charlton County Chamber of Commerce Rhonda Del Boccio (second from left) presented Sammy Spradley and Carolina Ibanez (right) of AJM Packaging an award of appreciation for contributions to community and economic growth.

Clinch County
OTC President Gail Thaxton presented an award of appreciation to B-Way Regional HR Manager Mike Robertson for community support and contributions to economic growth.

Ware County
OTC President Gail Thaxton, OADA Executive Director Regina Morgan, and Waycross/Ware County Chamber Executive Director  Robin Blackard presented appreciation awards to the following Ware County  business officials: Beverly Jordan, Steve Bargeron, Bradley Fritch, Jeff Richter, Keith Hawthorne, Gary Taylor, Jim Brewer, Gilbert Ross, and David Booker.

Front - L to R:
Regina Morgan, Executive Director of OADA
Beverly Jordan, HR Manager of Carolina Skiff
Steve Bargeron, Safety/Environmental Director of Carolina Skiff
Bradley Fritch, Corporate Controller with General Box
Jeff Richter, Operations Manager of Simmons Manufacturing
Dr. Gail Thaxton, OTC President
Robin Blackard, Executive Director of Waycross/Ware County Chamber of Commerce

Back – L to R:
Keith Hawthorne, President of Bailey Monument
Gary Taylor with Clayton Homes
Jim Brewer, Project Manager of ImTec
Gilbert Ross, Operations Manager of Voith Fabrics
David Booker, General Manager of Rich Products


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