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GHCC Health Smart Expo offers health info, honors health companies

By Staff
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GAINESVILLE - The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce (GHCC) offered free health screenings to the public and honored area companies that focus on fitness during Wednesday's 6th Annual Health Smart Expo at the Georgia Mountains Center.

Participants had a chance to hear from Fox 5 Meteorologist Jeff Hill, who has suffered complications from a heart disorder, at an early morning breakfast. Then, they were able to take advantage of free health screenings and sharing of health information later in the day; that information was provided by more than 60 health-related businesses from the Gainesville-Hall County area.

As part of the VISION 2030 HealthSmart Community Challenge, the Chamber announced the 2012 Most Fit Company Awards at the HealthSmart Breakfast. Judging criteria for the contest included wellness, nutrition and fitness opportunities provided for employees.

The award is presented in three categories: Large companies (251+ employees), medium (51-250) and small (50 or less):

SMALL CATEGORY WINNER

Aqua-Terra Recycling & Treatment
Tammy Neal, CEO; Richard (Dickey) Watson, General Manager

Aqua-Terra Recycling and Treatment was established in 1997 to provide treatment and disposal services for petroleum contaminated water and soil. Aqua-Terra offers customers a treatment facility that has a perfect-permit compliance record with no Notice of Violations. Aqua-Terra expanded into a full service environmental consulting and engineering firm and provides demolition, waste management, industrial cleaning, UST/AST removals, vacuum truck services, drum removal and emergency response services with a team of professional engineers, chemists, geologists, industrial hygienists, environmental consultants and safety professionals, all of which are 40-hour OSHA trained. Aqua-Terra is committed to working with clients to achieve cost effective results and provide quality environmental and waste management services. The company in Flowery Branch has only five full time employees: Tammy Neal, CEO, attends the gym four days per week and Dickey Watson, General Manager, is a tri-athlete and marathoner. They offer yearly physicals, and depending on the project, employees and management staff are screened and given a physical after certain projects.

MEDIUM CATEGORY WINNER

Ace Hardware
Buddy Honea, Regional Facility Manager; Lee Setzer, Operations Manager; Jane Cowart, HR Supervisor; Lea Tavani, HR Manager

Established in 1924, Ace Hardware is the largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative in the industry. Ace Hardware's Gainesville Retail Support Center is located on Palmour Drive, and the 500,000+ square foot distribution center employs 160 team members, and services 325 Ace stores in the Southeast. The local logistics department maintains its own fleet, delivers 95 routes per week, and logs 2.25 million miles per year. On average, the Gainesville Retail Support Center, founded in 1989, houses $40 million in inventory. Ace Hardware is committed to team members and their families well-being offering tools and resources to help lead happy and healthy lifestyles through their well-being partner, Healthways. Over the past year, employees were encouraged and rewarded for engaging in healthier lifestyles. Events included the Biggest Loser contest consisting of 40 individuals who lost a combined total of 371.5 pounds, participation for the 5th year in the Chamber 5K walk/run with 40+ individuals in attendance, had an onsite health fair with free flu shots for team members and spouses, and continues its peanut butter & jelly program for all team members seven days per week not only as a healthy food alternative, but also as a safety initiative. The goal is no team member should be hungry while at work, and bottled water and Gatorade is provided throughout the year. Healthier eating habits are encouraged by substituting yogurt, granola bars and fruit for meetings in place of donuts and cookies. The Gainesville location is proud to have the highest level of participation in the corporate wellness program of all Ace locations with 80+% of active team members and their families currently enrolled.

LARGE CATEGORY WINNER

Baldor Electric Company
Mike Holman, Plant Manager; Mitch Rylee, Safety Coordinator; Tom Linneweber, Human Resource Manager

Baldor's Gainesville plant designs and manufactures AC and DC industrial variable and fixed speed electric motors. Customer application are worldwide in mining, petroleum, transportation, naval, nuclear and specialty designs. Custom industrial electric motors have been the Gainesville plant specialty since opening in 1977. The plant employs 425 teammates and achieved a safety milestone in September 2012 of 5.2 million hours worked without any lost time injury. Baldor wellness program offers employees a mixture of incentives including cash, token, premium discounts for program participation. The company's initiative starts with a free health screening for employees and their spouses. Points are earned as employees complete challenges, such as online health webinars, online courses, and questionnaires on topics such as "Focusing on Your Heart, Tackling Stress, and Breaking Free from Tobacco". All employees have access to a health coach to assist in leading to a healthier lifestyle. The program also includes points for preventive care with dental care, routine physical and vision screening. Baldor's Life Program provides education, encouragement and tools to employees and their spouses that improve the quality of life at work and home and manages the cost of healthcare for employees and the company. Baldor is a Certified Drug-Free Workplace through the Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation.

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