GAINESVILLE - Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce (GHSS) officials said it's been a good year so far on the new and expanded business front in the region. They lauded existing industry Tuesday afternoon.
According to the chamber, 49 new and expanded businesses have announced 2500 new jobs and $450 million in capital investment for the area the chamber serves since the beginning of the year.
The chamber set up its 2015 Industry of the Year Awards with that statement as it honored three companies based on economic impact, workforce excellence and corporate responsibility.
Before the plaques were handed out, Jackie Rohosky, Technical College System of Georgia assistant commissioner of economic development programs and head of Quick Start addressed the crowd. She called the Gainesville-Hall area the hub of manufacturing in the state.
"I can say that because I handle manufacturing projects throughout the entire state of Georgia, and right from the beginning of my career, I've been in this area, working with company, after company, after company," Rohosky said.
In addition to calling the area a manufacturing hub, Rohosky said it has the most consistent economic development team she's ever witnessed.
"The leadership in this area is consistently strong year after year, company after company."
Following Rohosky's speech, chamber officials handed out the honors at the luncheon sponsored by Lanier Technical College.
The winner in the small industry category was just under the maximum employee mark of 50. Poly Enterprises has 49 employees. Greg Ours, President and Owner, talked about the process of buying and moving the company to Gainesville from Los Angeles.
"I built an apartment in our warehouse (in Los Angeles). I would get on a plane on Monday, and I would fly home on Fridays, and I did that for five years. I never could have done it without the support of my lovely wife," Ours said.
Poly Enterprises is a molded vinyl manufacturer that produces physical educational flooring, mats, counter mats and bar mats.
In the medium industry category, Mugele of America, a domestic and international third-party logistics provider, picked up the honor. It started with its first location in Hall County in 1997.
"We started with just two employees back then, but since then have grown to a little over 130 employees," Mugele Vice President and CFO Benjamin Sippl said.
In the large industry category, 201 or more employees, Marel Stork Poultry Processing was the GHCC 2015 Industry of the Year. The company has several brands, including Marel, Marel Stork Poultry Processing and Townsend Further Processing. It provides equipment, systems and services to the fish, meat and poultry industries.
In dedicating the honor to Marel company employees, Vice President of Regional Manufacturing Michael Otterbach said 2015 has been a good year.
Marel released a new product line for the poultry industry, transferred its Des Moines, Iowa, manufacturing plant into its Gainesville facility and ventured into fish products.
"Just recently last month, we released a new product line. It's Salmon Skinners, which is for us very exciting because it brings Gainesville into the fish industry," Otterbach said.
GHCC officials also honored five other industries for excellence in five respective categories .
Wrigley Manufacturing received the Corporate Responsibility Award, and a Safety Recognition Award went to Sapa Extrusions NA.
ZF-TRW Automotive, Performance Foodservice and IMS Gear Georgia were honored with Environmental Steward, Workforce Excellence and Workforce Development awards respectively.