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BCA, ATN Announce Manufacturers of the Year for 2015

MONTGOMERY – The Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Technology Network today announced the winners of the 2015 Manufacturer of the Year Awards during a luncheon ceremony at the Alabama Activity Center.

Since its beginning in 2000, the BCA and ATN awards ceremony has attracted Alabama dignitaries and manufacturing leaders to honor companies that are committed to improve Alabama’s economy.

The 2015 MOTY Awards keynote speaker is Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers.

The awards program recognizes Alabama’s manufacturing enterprises that exhibit excellence in leadership, performance, profitability, and workforce relations.

Winning manufacturers are selected by an independent panel of judges who look for demonstrations of superior performance in customer focus, employee commitment, operating excellence, continuous improvement, profitable growth, and investment in training and retraining.

“Now in its 16th year, the Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Technology Network are honored to salute Alabama’s best manufacturers for their valuable participation in not only the state’s economy but also the economies of their employees and the suppliers who do business with them,” said William J. Canary, President and CEO of the BCA. “Since 2000 the Manufacturer of the Year Awards has been a premier event for the BCA, the Alabama Technology Network, the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, and the National Association of Manufacturers. The BCA is proud to be the exclusive affiliate in Alabama to the NAM and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”

The 2015 Manufacturers of the Year are:

Large Manufacturer of the Year (400 or more employees)

North American Lighting, Muscle Shoals

North American Lighting is the Business Council of Alabama’s Manufacturer of the Year in the large manufacturer category.

North American Lighting, the largest manufacturing-based employer in Northwest Alabama with more than 1,300 employees, makes automotive lighting products for several vehicle brands. It has helped transform the Shoals.

Today, a former soybean field is the site of the Shoals Research Park where North American Lighting began in a 200,000 square feet plant producing rear lights for General Motors, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota.

North American Lighting started out with 100 employees. In 2011, it doubled the size of its facility to 400,000 square feet and increased the number of employees. In 2013, it did it again, adding another 200,000 square feet, bring the plant’s size to 600,000 square feet.

Incidentally, North American Lighting has three suppliers that are located in the Shoals that provide 200-plus jobs.

North American Lighting employees are active members of the community. Several members of the leadership team serve as advisers to the Muscle Shoals Career Academy and Workforce Development Council, as well as providing support to the Shoals Chamber of Commerce’s “Turn it Up” initiative that is aimed at supporting existing industry shipments, employee retention, and financial progress. The benchmarks were reached while successfully launching new vehicle model products.

Medium Manufacturer of the Year – 100 to 399 employees

Raytheon Redstone Missile Integration Facility, Huntsville.

RRMIF as it is called employs 316 employees in its production and factory operation on Redstone Arsenal. A division of the Raytheon Co., Raytheon Redstone Missile Integration Facility is on a 200-acre site housing a 50,000 square feet facility where missile final assembly began in 2012.

A unique Raytheon program allows employee participation in defining goals and objectives. Training courses and opportunities offer chances for employees who have access to coaches and mentors to help enhance their skills and achieve developmental needs.

Since the plant involves munitions, all employees are required to maintain training certification by completing specific courses involving detailed instruction in appropriate areas.

The Raytheon Redstone Missile Manufacturing team also supports and participates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math events. Last year, RRMIF teamed with the University of Alabama at Huntsville to bring in more than 100 fifth-grade students to participate in STEM experiments and activities.

Employees have served as judges at regional science fairs and as coaches for local robotics teams. And RRMIF Plant Manager Angel Crespo is a new board member for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce. Employees also participate in the American Heart Association’s annual Heart Walk.

Weapon Integration Center Director Randy Stevenson supports the Economic Development Leadership Team of Limestone County and serves on the Business Council of Alabama’s Manufacturing Advocacy Council.

Small Manufacturer of the Year – 1 to 99 employees

Watring Technologies Inc., Huntsville

This Alabama-grown small business is a leader in the design, development, and manufacture of custom products in scientific research and products and services for aerospace, medical, public safety, and industrial markets. Watring’s 42 employees produce space-based defense systems, magnetic-resonance imaging patient tables, medical-radiation oncology equipment, vehicle immobilization devices, and solar-powered water pumps that help sustain third-world countries.

Only 18 years old, Watring Technologies was founded by Dale and Lisa Watring who are committed to customer service and quality products that include Original Equipment Manufacturing. Watring Technologies focused on the design and manufacture of semiconductor crystal growth equipment and within six months delivered the first product to a customer.

Watring engineering and fabrication capabilities include expertise in systems engineering, system integration, technology development, and hardware design. The company’s founding vision is still the guiding force – enable technologies and products that allow customers and clients to remain leaders in their respective markets.

Serving civilian, military, automotive, medical, casting, and mechanical and electrical industries has allowed Watring to realize outstanding growth based on management principles, focused marketing and strategic planning. Employees are encouraged to suggest improvements and suggestions are reviewed weekly during the operations meeting.

Watring has a significant civic involvement in Huntsville includes the University of Alabama In Huntsville Mechanical & Aerospace Advisory Committee, the accreditation board for engineering and technology for the UAH Department of Engineering, U.S. First Robotics, the Moonbuggy Race, guest speeches at public schools to encourage interest in the manufacturing sector, and at Alabama A&M University’s business department.

The Business Council of Alabama is Alabama’s foremost voice for business. The BCA is a non-partisan statewide business association representing the interests and concerns of nearly 1 million working Alabamians through its member companies and its partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama.  BCA is Alabama’s exclusive affiliate to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

The Alabama Technology Network of the Alabama Community College System links two-year colleges, the University of Alabama System, Auburn University and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama to solve the needs of industry. Each ATN regional center tailors its services to meet local needs, providing innovative and cost-effective solutions to enable Alabama’s existing industry to be globally competitive. The network is Alabama’s affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which provides hands-on assistance and training to smaller manufacturers.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 14, 2015

Contact: Nancy Wall Hewston or Dana Beyerle (334) 834-6000

About Nancy Hewston

Nancy Hewston
Vice President of Communications, Strategic Information and Federal Affairs
334-240-8725 | Fax: 334-241-5984
Email Nancy Wall Hewston

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