The Greater Hall County Chamber of Commerce announced Friday morning the Industry of the Year awards for 2022-23 at their 14th annual appreciation luncheon.
Businesses from around Hall County gathered Friday to hear from keynote speakers and see the Industry of the Year awards presentation. The event was held at the Ramsey Conference Center at Lanier Technical College and honored industry leaders based on their economic impact, workforce excellence and corporate responsibility.
The 2022-23 Industry of the Year awards were given to the following companies:
- Whitehead Die Casting (Small Employer category / 1-50 employees)
- ALBAform (Medium Employer category / 51-200 employees)
- Mars Wrigley (Large Employer category / 201+ employees)
The 2022-23 Recognition awards were given to the following companies:
- Sherwin Williams (Workforce Development)
- ATEX (Workforce Excellence)
- SKF (Safety Performance)
- Fieldale Farms (Corporate Responsibility)
- Kubota Manufacturing of America (Environmental Responsibility)
Interim Deputy Commissioner of Georgia Quick Start Scott McMurray was the keynote speaker during the event. He touched on many important aspects of business and industry development, including workforce, logistics, job creation and employee training.
Vice President of Economic Development with the Chamber Tim Evans said the event has become a yearly tradition, bringing together many different business leaders for over a decade.
“This is our 14th Industry Appreciation Day, and it's important to us to show some gratitude to our existing industries,” Evans said. “Our manufacturers and processors in the community and our logistics firms make up over 30% of all the employment in Hall County. And this group of industries here is top-notch.”
Evans said the companies they choose to be considered for awards come from nominations submitted by the public.
“Anybody can nominate the businesses including themselves, so we get nominations that come from one business nominating another, customers nominating a supplier, from throughout the business community,” Evans said. “So we love recognizing these companies and we start that nomination process usually two or three months in advance.”
The three businesses that won Industry of the Year awards will now be nominated to be recognized at the state level.
Site Director at Mars Wrigley in Gainesville, Matt Arends, said winning the award was a special moment for both him and his employees.
“Well, the award means everything,” Arends said. “I mean, we have 950 associates that work hard every day. And this is the recognition of what we do, not only at our site every day to make good high-quality gum, but actually what we do for the community as well because we live, work and we raise our kids in the community that we work in so this is very important to us.”
According to the Chamber, Gainesville-Hall County remains a strong location to conduct business, housing world-class healthcare and more than 330 manufacturing and processing facilities. Additionally, the area hosts 60 international companies from 21 foreign countries.
The Chamber reported in 2022, 15 new and expanding firms added 1,400 jobs and $700 million in capital investments to the area. Since 2015, 149 new and expanding firms have added 8,400 jobs and $2.4 billion in capital investments.
Gainesville Mayor Sam Couvillon provided a final salute to the industries present at the event, praising their positive business practices and thanking the Chamber for presenting the awards.
“We live in a great community,” Couvillon said. “Just such wonderful people, we got people from around the globe choosing to come to Hall County, come into Gainesville. It's just so important. And it's people like Tim Evans, who I lastly want to thank for making it possible."