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Georgia Manufacturers Celebrated at the 20th Anniversary Governor’s Awards Luncheon

Six area companies recognized

The 20th Anniversary Governor’s Awards Luncheon honoring the Manufacturer of the Year nominees and winners from across Georgia was held Thursday, April 17, 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 14-18.

"Manufacturing represents a powerful piece of the Georgia mosaic, supplying our state with jobs and the world with goods," said Governor Nathan Deal during his keynote speech at the luncheon. "This is why I have made a point of supporting the manufacturers of our state."

Following his speech, Governor Deal presented Georgia's 2014 Manufacturer of the Year awards. The winners were Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation in Savannah and Brunswick in the large manufacturer category (more than 500 employees); Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas in Monroe in the medium manufacturer category (150-500 employees); and Tucker's ddFoodSolutions in the small manufacturer category (fewer than 150 employees).

The companies honored were nominated by business and civic leaders and chosen for their excellence and contributions to the state's economy and their respective local communities. Six local manufacturers were recognized: Big John Trailers (Folkston); BWAY Corporation (Homerville); D. L. Lee and Sons, Inc. (Alma); Lee Container Corporation (Homerville); Milliken & Company – Alma Plant; and Progress Rail Services (Patterson).

“The companies nominated from our region,” said OTC Vice President Andy Brannen, “were selected because they demonstrated corporate responsibility, workforce excellence, and positive economic impact. All of them deserve recognition and thanks for their contributions to our communities.”

Community leaders who made the trip to Atlanta in support of manufacturing were
Matt Carter, executive director of the Pierce County Industrial Development Authority; Tommy Lowmon, Blackshear Better Hometown manager & economic development director; Steven Paul, director of business development at ATC Broadband; and Matt Thompson, 2014 chair of the Ware County Chamber of Commerce and president of Ed Sapp Floral Company.

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

Artwork by elementary, middle, and high school students from across Georgia, including the Okefenokee Technical College (OTC) service delivery area, was displayed at the convention center. The artwork display is a tribute to Georgia manufacturers and is the product of a statewide art contest that requires participants to research manufacturing in their community. Contest coordinators hope that as part of the contest process area children will learn that a career in manufacturing can be so much more than assembly line work.

In his proclamation declaring April 14-18 as Manufacturing Appreciation Week, Gov. Deal noted the tremendous contribution manufacturing makes to the state's economic well-being. More than 9,000 manufacturing facilities are located in Georgia, according to the proclamation, and they provide 351,910 jobs and generate more than $18.5 billion in wages in the state each year.

Sponsors of this year’s MAW were AT&T, BB&T, Georgia Association of Manufacturers, Georgia Power, Georgia Tech: Enterprise Innovation Institute; HA&W CPAs & Business Advisors, and Pattillo Industrial Real Estate.

MAW Local Representation

A number of local community and business leaders joined Okefenokee Technical College President Dr. Glenn Deibert at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta recently for the 20th Anniversary Governor’s Award Luncheon honoring the 2014 Georgia Manufacturers of the Year. Attendees were Tommy Lowmon (L to R), Jason Rubenbauer, Andy Brannen, Tommy Peagler, Steven Paul, Deibert, Matt Carter, Matt Thompson, James Mock, and Altamaha Technical College Acting President, Lonnie Roberts. Not pictured: Cindy Tanner.

MAW Blackshear Representation

Blackshear was well represented at the 2014 Governor’s Awards Luncheon. OTC Campus Police Chief James Mock (left) and OTC Vice President Andy Brannen (right), both Pierce County residents, are shown here with three other Pierce County representatives (L to R): Steven Paul, director of business development at ATC Broadband; Tommy Lowmon, Blackshear Better Hometown manager & economic development director; and Matt Carter, executive director of the Pierce County Industrial Development Authority.

The five men are standing in front of one of the many displays of art at the Georgia International Convention Center during the 2014 Georgia Manufacturers celebration. Each year students from across the state are invited to create artwork for the Manufacturers Appreciation Week (MAW) design contest. All entries are displayed in the atrium of the convention center during the Governor’s Luncheon. Among the artwork shown were original designs by students in the Pierce County School System who participated in the MAW Artwork Design Contest. The colorful pieces depict regional and state manufacturers and the students’ understanding of the importance of manufacturing in Georgia.


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