Seven Hall County businesses were honored Wednesday when the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce presented the 2020 Industry of the Year Awards at the 12th Annual Industry Appreciation Luncheon.
The awards program, which was held at Lanier Technical College in Gainesville, honors area industry leaders based on economic impact, workforce excellence, and corporate responsibility.
The Industry of the Year Awards were split into three categories based on the size of the employer. Tim Evans, VP of Economic Development with the Chamber of Commerce, presented the following three awards:
- Ranger Manufacturing won the small employer category award. This section was for businesses with one to 50 employees. Evans said the machining and fabrication shop has 19 employees, and they have placed a priority on developing their workforce through programs like apprenticeships. On top of this, they have never had a lost-time accident, according to Evans.
- Wilheit Packaging was presented the Industry of the Year Award from the medium employer category. This section included businesses with 51 to 200 employees. According to Evans, Wilheit Packaging has committed time, leadership and financial support to many non-profit organizations in the area.
- Hydro took home the award from the large employer category. This category was reserved for businesses with 201 or more employees. Hydro, which operates in the aluminum industry, actively engages in the community and invests in its employees, according to Evans.
Nikki Chandler, VP of Existing Industry with the Chamber of Commerce also presented the following four special category awards:
- Murray Plastic for Workforce Development Recognition. According to Chandler, one of Murray Plastic’s first hires came from a transition center, and they have also implemented a GED testing program.
- ALBAform received the Safety Performance Recognition award. Chandler said ALBAform has achieved more than 12 months of work hours without any injuries or illness.
- Conditioned Air Systems was presented with the Corporate Responsibility Recognition award. Many Conditioned Air Systems employees are involved in organizations in the community, including the Rotary Club, Toys for Tots, WomenSource and Gainesville Jaycees, according to Chandler.
- Glo-Crest Dairy / Mountain Fresh Creamery received the Environmental Responsibility Recognition award. According to Chandler, Glo-Crest Dairy and Mountain Fresh Creamery produce all-natural dairy products with no added hormones or rBST. On top of this, they have several recycling processes and have energy-efficient operations.
This year’s event was reduced in size to take precautions against COVID-19. Only 50 people were able to attend in person, however, others were able to watch remotely via Zoom. According to Evans, this was beneficial for some of the international businesses in the chamber, as their employees in different time-zones were able to watch the event online.
Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia, Greg Dozier, was the keynote speaker for the event.
Aside from the presentation of the seven awards, Kit Dunlap, President and CEO of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce took some time to talk about the growth of businesses in Gainesville-Hall County.
According to Dunlap, the 2020 fiscal year summary included 13 new and expanded businesses in the area, which added 785 jobs and $267 million in capital investment.
Gold Sponsors of the event included Hydro, Jackson EMC, King’s Hawaiian, Rochester & Associates and Wilheit Packaging. The Silver Sponsors were AT&T, Carroll Daniel Construction, CHASE for Business, Corporate Storage, Georgia Power, Liberty, Pattillo Industrial Real Estate, RUSHTON and Workforce Strategies Group.