The Greater Hall Chamber's 2015 Industry of the Year Awards were presented at the 7th Annual Industry Appreciation Luncheon at the Chattahoochee Country Club. Sponsored by Lanier Technical College, the awards honor area existing industry leaders based on economic impact, workforce excellence and corporate responsibility.
The Greater Hall Chamber continues to focus on the importance of existing industries in Gainesville-Hall County Georgia, and business remains strong. Since January 1, 2014, 49 new and expanded businesses have announced 2,500 new jobs and $450 million in capital investment for Gainesville Hall County.
2015 Industry of the Year Awards:
Small Industry Category (0-50 Employees)
Greg Ours, President and Owner
1168 Palmour Drive, Gainesville, GA 30501
Founded 40 years ago, Poly Enterprises is a molded vinyl manufacturer that makes physical educational flooring, mats, counter mats and is the world’s largest manufacturer of bar mats. The company employs 49 people, and each year they make an investment in equipment adding capacity while improving processes. One of the company’s keys to success is breaking into new markets and launching new products. Since 2002, Poly Enterprises has added a minimum of 25 new customers each year. The company has an aggressive safety program and was honored in 2013 with the Chamber’s Industry Safety Recognition Award. The company has had only two minor lost time accidents since 2008 and none since 2012. Poly Enterprises has initiated a partnership with East Hall High School. The apprentice and mentoring program hires students to work onsite as well as employees volunteering at the school. The entire Leadership TEAM is required to attend continuing education classes in their particular field as well as onsite training, and the company always looks to advance from within before hiring from outside.
Medium Industry Category (51-200 Employees)
Mugele of America
Benjamin Sippl, Vice President & CFO
1245 Palmour Place, Gainesville, GA 30501
Mugele of America is a domestic and international third-party logistics (3PL) provider. From local manufacturer packaging to a global provider of integrated logistics solutions, Mugele specializes in customer-oriented logistic solutions. Mugele employs 82 people at the Gainesville facility, and their range of products includes packaging, cargo consolidation, transportation, warehousing, JIT / JIS delivery, kitting, pre-assembly, repacking, parts procurement and quality inspection. Mugele has increased its local presence and has expanded operations into a second facility in Hall County adding 20% more capacity. With the expansion, Mugele expects to continue growing in the range of 10% per year in revenue while adding more jobs in Hall County. The company is a proud supporter of United Way and is a Certified Drug Free Workplace. Mugele participates in workforce development initiatives by employing high school apprentices and works with colleges to assist young people in choosing their careers while being an advocate for their industry.
Large Industry Category (201+ Employees)
Marel Stork Poultry Processing Inc.
Michael Otterbach, Vice President of Regional Manufacturing
1024 Airport Parkway, Gainesville, GA 30501
Marel is the leading global provider of advanced equipment, systems and services to the fish, meat and poultry industries. Company brands – Marel, Marel Stork Poultry Processing and Townsend Further Processing – are among the most respected in the industry and together offer the convenience of a single source to customers needs. The 71-year-old company expanded in 2015 from a poultry market-focused facility into new market segments. This expansion led to new sales in the meat, fish and further processing industries. As a result, Marel invested $2 million in new equipment, building expansion, and increased their workforce from 230 to 300 employees. Marel was awarded the Chamber’s 2014 Employer Recognition Award highlighting their seven events per year for employees and families and educational options through Marel Academy. The organization’s civic involvement is dedicated to providing resources to areas of our community that are in need by sponsoring food drives and donating time and money to organizations such as the Good News Clinics and United Way. Additionally, Marel fosters interest in the agriculture industry as a career path for junior high, high school and college students. Environmental stewardship is a top priority, and during renovations this year, Marel invested in new equipment to improve the ergonomics for workers and converted to 100% recyclable packing materials.
Corporate Responsibility Award
Jim Fitzgerald, North America Factory Director
4500 Atlanta Highway, Flowery Branch, GA 30542
Wrigley, a subsidiary of Mars Incorporated, has produced chewing gum at the site in South Hall County for nearly 45 years. The site employs 750 people and manufactures sugar free gum brands Extra, 5 gum, Orbit and Eclipse. Wrigley expects production volume to increase by nearly 50% from 2014 through 2016, and is adding around 155 jobs in 2015 and 2016. The site’s safety program has resulted in over 9M hours without a Lost Time Injury. Technical training for safety, quality and operations, along with effective coaching are the corner stone for developing associates who are essential to the company’s success. The company is committed to giving back to the local community as illustrated by its associates volunteering for trail maintenance with Project Redbud, the local food bank and partnering with Hall County to educate students about oral health, for example. Sustainability programs are also leading with Land Fill Free operations and significant reduction in energy and water use over recent years.
Safety Recognition Award
Sapa Extrusions NA – Gainesville Facility
Don Leamon, EHS Manager
2905 Old Oakwood Road, Gainesville, GA 30504
Sapa is the world’s leading supplier of value added aluminum profile solutions to the construction, transport, office and engineering sectors with 23 North American locations and presence in over 40 countries. Sapa has 360 employees in Hall County and continually seeks ways to reduce energy, electricity, and water usage. They have a Safety Committee, and with all employees' efforts around safety, the manufacturer has seen a great reduction in recordable injuries and the frequency and severity rate. With a safety record better than the national average, Sapa continues to add new business including the Hudson Yards project in Manhattan and United Nations Plaza. Capital projects are underway with facility expansions and upgraded press systems. Sapa is a past recipient of the Chamber’s Most Fit Company Award, recognizing employers with outstanding health and wellness initiatives. The company holds blood drives at least twice per year, participates in a food drive for local needy families, contributes to United Way, and sponsors local sports teams. In addition, Sapa has launched its first ever Relay for Life Team to support the American Cancer Society.
Environmental Steward Award
ZF – TRW Automotive
Tony Murawski, Plant Manager
5531 Rafe Ct, Flowery Branch, GA 30542
ZF - TRW Automotive is an automotive supplier with a primary focus on safety components. Locally, the company employs 448 people and manufactures foundation brakes. The company spent over $8 million in capital projects this year. This expansion included seven new lines, rebuilding four existing lines and an expansion on the building to free up floor space for additional equipment. ZF-TRW’s recycling program includes cardboard/paper, scrap metal, universal waste and oil absorbent materials. They completed an energy project by replacing 500 haloid lights with P5 high efficiency lights. In the last three years, the manufacturer has shown year-over-year improvement in their recordable rate. In 2015, the company joined the Hall County work-based learning program. They initiated a work based learning program with high school students and have created line lead positions to increase their employees’ advancement opportunities. A majority of their supervisors began their careers as hourly employees on the plant floor.
Workforce Excellence Award
Danny Berry, President
3501 Old Oakwood Rd, Oakwood, GA 30566
With 560 employees, PEFORMANCE Foodservice delivers over 12,000 food and food-related products to every kind of eatery throughout Georgia and nearby states. To assist associates with balancing work and lifestyle, they offer employee benefits, along with health and wellness programs. The company provides performance bonus programs, tuition reimbursement, employee educational programs, annual family events, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), health screenings, tobacco cessation programs and ongoing opportunities for self-advancement through on and off-site training facilities. Ongoing programs help each associate stay healthy and safe. PERFORMANCE Foodservice is a Supporting Sponsor of Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization. Locally, two members of the management team actively serve on the Georgia Mountain Food Bank Board of Directors. Operating Company Regional President, Danny Berry, is a founding member of the local Food Bank chapter and volunteers as a driver serving the hungry citizens of Hall County.
Workforce Development Award
IMS Gear Georgia Inc.
Juergen Moller, General Manager, Braking Systems and Management Sponsor, Apprenticeships & Tech Training
1234 Palmour Drive, Gainesville, GA 30501
IMS Gear was a recipient of the Chamber’s Industry of the Year Award in 2011 and received the Corporate Citizen Award in 2013. With 300 employees, IMS Gear manufactures automotive actuators and actuator components. In the last year, the manufacturer grew significantly in the Electrical park brake and Tailgate lift business adding approximately 90 jobs in those areas alone. The company has implemented a progressive workforce development program to meet the demands of industrial technology. The company has college interns onsite and is starting a “German-style” apprenticeship program with Lanier Technical College. The company offers tuition reimbursement, employee training plans, and onsite employee educational programs. IMS Gear hosts student/teacher groups to tour the facility by appointment and employees/managers often speak at schools.
Gainesville-Hall County, Georgia is a vibrant and growing, solid and diverse community located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Surrounded by beautiful Lake Sidney Lanier, the area offers an unparalleled quality of life and a sound economic future for business and industry. Gainesville-Hall County is home to 47 Fortune 500 firms, more than 300 manufacturing and processing concerns, and 45 international companies representing 19 foreign countries. Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle both call Hall County home.