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3 industries win appreciation awards

Hall recognizes economic impact, corporate responsibility and workforce

POSTED: January 23, 2013 11:39 p.m.

Hall County recognized three area industries excelling in their economic impact, corporate responsibility and workforce at the fourth annual Industry Appreciation awards Wednesday at Gainesville’s Chattahoochee Country Club.

Hosted by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Lanier Technical College, industry of the year awards were presented to Zebra Technologies Corp. of Oakwood in the small category of companies with 0-50 employees, Bitzer US Inc. of Oakwood in the medium category of 51-200 employees and Kubota Manufacturing of America Corp. of Gainesville in the large category of 201 or more employees.

“Because you’re honoring industries, you see their importance in this region and in this state,” said Jackie Rohosky, assistant commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia. “This area has been insistent on attracting industry and a manufacturing base. Every time I’m here, it feels like coming home.”

Zebra Technologies, a bar-coding-label manufacturer with 38 employees, was also last year’s winner of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Environmental Stewardship Recognition Award. After locating to a Flowery Branch mailing address in the Oakwood South Industrial Park from Wisconsin, Zebra’s Plant Manager Pao Sengkhammee said Gainesville-Hall County was “the place to be.”

“There’s a good workforce here, and we wouldn’t have been able to do what we’ve done without the right people with the right skill set,” Sengkhammee said. “This award is not for me. It’s for the people that work with me. I hope to continue to work with the community to get a skilled labor force.”

Using 125 employees at its Oakwood location with a Flowery Branch mailing address, Bitzer US is an international industrial compressor and pressure vessel manufacturer. Plant Manager Mike Duffy called 2012 one of the company’s best years.

“It’s exciting to be a part of a company that grows this quickly and reinvests in its employees. It’s a great place to work, and I’m proud of the decisions that we’ve made. It’s great to be located in an area that encourages the growth of business,” Duffy said.

Kubota Manufacturing of America produces lawn and garden tractors, subcompact tractors and rough terrain vehicles with a force of 1,015 employees. Company President Henry Kubota called the industry award “a tribute to the skills and dedication of all of our team members.”

Kubota said his employees were the reason for the company’s success and thanked other industries present for their contribution in helping make his company what it is today.

“Although we may compete for resources from time to time, we are all successful when our county prospers,” Kubota said.

Other special mentions included Albert International of Gainesville for environmental stewardship recognition, Poly Enterprises for safety recognition, SKF USA Inc. for employer recognition and Kipper Tool Co. for corporate citizenship recognition.

In closing remarks, Hall County Board of Commissioners Chairman Richard Mecum said the involvement of local industries within the community is making things better for the county as a whole.

“Industries are beginning to infiltrate into the community, and the industries that are coming in are lifting our whole community with new thoughts, new ideas and innovative procedures,” Mecum said. “Hall County’s changing, and it’s changing for the good.”


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