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3 local companies awarded for being top of their game
American Yazaki Corp. Plant Manager Terry Merck thanks Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Tim Evans, right, and everyone attending the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce fifth annual Industry Appreciation Luncheon Thursday at the Chattahoochee Country Club. American Yazaki was awarded as the chamber’s Industry of the Year in the small size business category.

Winning Industries

Milliken and Co., New Holland Plant
Where: 1750 Jesse Jewell Parkway, Gainesville
Business: Textile company manufacturing yarn for items like ball caps, duct tape, uniforms and napery
Company’s age: 112 years
Employees: 234

Processing Equipment Solutions
Where: 2395 Murphy Blvd., Gainesville
Business: Machine and fabrication facility specializing in meat/food processing equipment
Company’s age: 12 years in Hall County
Employees: 55

American Yazaki Inc.
2735 Tumbling Creek Road, Gainesville
Business: Manufactures plastic fuel tanks for Yamaha 4-Wheelers, Viking UTV and Honda small engines, all meeting EPA evaporative regulations
Company’s age: 3 years in Hall County
Employees: 27

Three local companies were recognized Thursday for their economic impact, corporate responsibility and workforce development at the annual Industry Appreciation awards.

Hosted by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Lanier Technical College, the event at the Chattahoochee Country Club in Gainesville recognized American Yazaki Inc. in the small category of 1-50 employees; Processing Equipment Solutions for the medium category of 51-200 employees; and Milliken and Co., New Holland Plant, for the large category of more than 200 employees.

American Yazaki Inc. moved to Hall County three years ago. The company manufactures plastic fuel tanks for Yamaha products.

“We focus on training the people that come in to work with us,” said Plant Manager Terry Merck. “We look for people with motivation and drive. They don’t necessarily have to have that skill set already before they come to our company, but if they’re motivated to actually learn and try new things and are willing to change, then they work out fine.”

Merck said the company actually has open positions now. It has 27 employees and is looking to hire an additional six.

Processing Equipment Solutions has been in Hall County since 2001 and has 55 employees. The company specializes in meat- and food-processing equipment.

“We’ve done a lot to make sure we’re environmentally friendly,” said Philip Hurwitz, director of sales. “We try to do things the right way — what’s good for the community.

“We’re constantly looking for those employees that are driven, skilled, technical, and we’ve found that there’s a ton of them in this area,” Hurwitz added.

And Milliken and Co.’s New Holland Plant, with 234 employees, spins raw cotton, polyester and Nomex into yarn. The yarn is then used to manufacture items such as ball caps, uniforms and other linens.

In fact, Plant Manager Jared Morgan said the tablecloths and napkins at the luncheon were manufactured in Gainesville.

The company’s five-story building has been in Hall County since 1899.

“We do see the resurrection in manufacturing coming back,” Morgan said. “Business is very strong.”

Also recognized was ElringKlinger USA Inc. for environmental stewardship. Kipper Tool Co. received a safety recognition, an employer recognition went to Aerocom Systems Inc., and IMS Gear Georgia Inc. received a corporate citizenship recognition.

“Hall County is positive proof that manufacturing and industry is alive and well in the United States,” said Lanier Technical College President Ray Perren at the beginning of the event. 

According to Perren, there are 232 businesses representing 101 “unique industries” in the area.

He said Hall’s unemployment rate for August 2013 was 6.6 percent, much lower than the state at 8.7 percent, and the national rate at 7.2 percent.

“Here in Hall County we have what the rest of the world wants,” Perren continued. “We’ve got a beautiful place to live. Our streets are safe. Our children are in a safe environment and have wonderful educational opportunities. We have access to world-class health care. 

“And most of all, what we have what the rest of the world wants: We have jobs.”

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