The Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Technology Network announced today the winners of the 2012 Manufacturer of the Year Awards at a luncheon ceremony at the RSA Activity Center. The BCA and ATN began the annual awards ceremony in 2000, and the event has consistently drawn Alabama dignitaries and manufacturing leaders to honor companies that have a commitment to improving Alabama’s economy. Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) also joined today’s luncheon via video from Washington, D.C.
The awards program recognizes Alabama manufacturing enterprises that exhibit excellence in leadership, performance, profitability and work force relations. Winning manufacturers are selected by an independent panel of judges who look for demonstrations of superior performance in the areas of customer focus, employee commitment, operational excellence, continuous improvement, profitable growth and investment in training and retraining.
"Today we take a moment to recognize the top manufacturers in Alabama and the critical role they and countless other manufacturing companies play in keeping Alabama’s economy vibrant,” said BCA President and CEO William J. Canary. “Every company in this room is to be commended for what they do to make the quality of life better for hundreds of thousands of our citizens. It is an honor for the BCA to partner with ATN to recognize these winners today.”
The 2012 Manufacturers of the Year are:
Large Manufacturer of the Year (400 or more employees)
Austal USA, Mobile
Austal is the world’s largest builder of high-speed aluminum ships and is a leading supplier of ships to the U.S. Navy. Employing more than 2,800 men and women at its 125-acre waterfront facility in Mobile, Austal brings a new dimension in high-speed marine transport, utilizing the company’s leading edge lightweight aluminum design fabrication technology and capabilities. Whether Austal vessels are required to transport large members of passengers and cars, perform surveillance and defense activities, or provide a platform for recreation and entertainment – Austal recognizes and is committed to customization.
Medium Manufacturer of the Year (100-399 employees)
Daikin America Inc., Decatur
Daikin America is renowned for innovation, quality products and customer commitment. The Daikin plant located in Decatur is the company’s only U.S. manufacturing site. The 350 men and women employed at Daikin’s Decatur plant manufacture chemical products used virtually everywhere in industry, homes and even space. With concern for the environment, Daikin America strives to develop products that do more with less – less waste, less energy, less material – yet produce increased performance and longevity.
Small Manufacturer of the Year (1-99 employees)
Cascades Sonoco, Birmingham
A joint venture between Cascades and Sonoco Products, Cascades Sonoco is North America’s leading supplier of paper mill roll packaging products. The company specializes in paper-based packaging products used in a wide array of products, including food take-home boxes, bakery items, electronics, automotive parts, pet foods and fertilizers. The parent companies were early pioneers in waste recycling and environmental sustainability – long before such practices became fashionable or profitable. Cascades Sonoco employs 65 team members in Birmingham.
“This event holds a special place in our hearts, for more than 1,300 of our members are manufacturing companies,” said BCA First Vice Chair Carl Jamison, a shareholder at JamisonMoneyFarmer in Tuscaloosa. “When you couple that with the fact that we are Alabama’s exclusive affiliate to the National Association of Manufacturers, you see why BCA, along with our partners, is honored to have the opportunity to recognize Alabama’s best manufacturers for the key role they play in the economic health of Alabama.”
In addition to the small, medium and large manufacturing awards presented at the luncheon, several other awards were handed out:
Governor Bob Riley Building a Better Alabama Award
U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Mobile
The award, in its third year, is named for former Governor Bob Riley, the inaugural recipient, and is designed to recognize individuals who work tirelessly to promote manufacturing and economic development in Alabama. Last year’s winner, Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, presented this year’s award to U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Mobile, via video from Washington, D.C. Bonner has served in Congress since taking office in 2003 and has worked aggressively alongside local and state leaders to recruit several significant economic projects to Alabama. Bonner serves on the House Appropriations Committee and is the chairman of the House Ethics Committee.
2012 Partnership Award
Rheem Manufacturing, Montgomery
This award recognizes excellence in manufacturing, exemplary leadership in service to community, job creation and being an outstanding example of a corporate steward throughout Alabama. With three facilities in Montgomery, Rheem is one of the region’s largest manufacturers. It has a steadfast commitment to excellence, employee safety and community service, donating more than $100,000 a year to local charities and organizations.
The BCA Centennial Award
Alabama Steel Supply, Birmingham
The BCA Centennial Award acknowledges those BCA member companies that have been in business for 100 years. The BCA honors those that have achieved this great milestone of creating and sustaining jobs for generations of Alabama families. Established in 1912, Alabama Steel Supply is now in the third generation of family ownership. The company currently focuses on the manufacturing of metal roofing and siding for industrial, commercial, agricultural and residential uses in addition to offering pre-engineered steel buildings.
Best of the BEST Award
Davidson High School, Mobile
The BEST Robotics Inc., is designed to excite and inspire our students about engineering, science and technology careers through participation in a sports-like competition. This non-profit, volunteer-based program is headquartered at Auburn University, and Davidson High School was the highest achieving school in the state during the 2011 BEST competitions.
2012 Sustainability in Manufacturing Award
ZF Industries, Tuscaloosa
An additional award presented annually by ATN, in partnership with the Alabama E3 Initiative, is the Sustainability in Manufacturing Award. Since it began in late 2009, the Alabama E3 Initiative has successfully assisted more than 40 manufacturers in the state to adapt and thrive in a new business era focused on sustainability through eliminating wastes and reducing energy intensity. The program has resulted in over $3 million in identified energy saving opportunities and just under $1 million in actual impacts. ZF Industries produces and services driveline and chassis technologies around the world. It ranks high on the list of leading automotive suppliers and aims to build and expand its presence in established markets.