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Chamber lauds companies as tops in area
Each winner exhibits innovation, chamber official says
AdEdge President Rich Cavagnaro, top, and Vice President Greg Gilles, left, meet with fabricator Chris Stone to discuss one of the Buford firm’s newly manufactured water treatment systems Tuesday afternoon. The company was named Industry of the Year in the small category by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.

Winning industries

AdEdge Water Technologies
Where: 5152 Belle Wood Court, Buford
Business: Develops water treatment systems that remove contaminants
Company's age: 10 years old
Employees: 38

Mansfield Energy Corp.
Where: 1025 Airport Parkway SW, Gainesville
Business: Provides fuel supply, distribution, delivery and dispensing services
Company's age: 54 years old
Employees: 330

Fieldale Farms Corp.
Where: 1540 Monroe Drive, Gainesville; 5160 Thompson Bridge Road, Murrayville
Business: Poultry and further processing company
Company's age: 40 years old
Employees: 2,400


Three area companies were honored Tuesday afternoon in the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce's annual Industry Appreciation awards.

The chamber recognized AdEdge Water Technologies of Buford as the top industry in the category of companies with up to 150 employees; Mansfield Energy Corp. of Gainesville in the category of 151-500 employees; and Fieldale Farms Corp., with Hall County operations in Gainesville and Murrayville, in the category of more than 500 employees.

Winners were selected from a group of applications based on "corporate responsibility, workforce excellence and economic impact," said Tim Evans, the chamber's vice president for economic development, to the group gathered at the Chattahoochee Country Club in Gainesville.

"This year's winners exhibit innovation, each in their own way."

AdEdge, which has been in business for 10 years and has 38 employees, develops water treatment systems that remove contaminants.

"We look at ourselves as an economic development company," said the company's president, Rich Cavagnaro, in accepting the award.

"One of our core values is we have a passion for clean water and this past year we can take a lot of pride in the fact that we installed an arsenic treatment system for a (government) in Argentina," he said. "... The fact that we are involved in programs around the world is just remarkable."

Mansfield, founded 54 years ago, provides fuel supply, distribution, delivery and dispensing services through a network of refiners, terminals, carriers and retailers.

It has 330 employees in Gainesville.

"We appreciate the validation that this kind of award gives us for our efforts," said CEO Michael Mansfield at the awards podium.

The company began through the work of his parents "who had vision and drive." Last month, Forbes magazine recognized Mansfield as the 50th-largest privately held company in the country.

"I think our greatest accomplishment ... has been to find ways to survive chaos and change and create a lot of our own chaos to evolve in a more productive way," Mansfield said.

And Fieldale, with 2,400 employees, is a poultry and further processing company that has been operating for 40 years.

John Wright, vice president of operations, said Fieldale is "honored to be recognized among our peer group for the hard work done each day to provide not only a high quality and wholesome product, but also to be good members of the community that we are proud to be a part of."

He added, "Employees are our most important asset. These same people are not only keys to Fieldale's success, they are Little League coaches, high school band parents and deacon leaders of our local churches."

The chamber handed out other awards at Tuesday's third annual luncheon, sponsored by Lanier Technical College in South Hall.

Zebra Technologies Corp. received an environmental stewardship award; Baldor Electric, safety recognition; Cargill Inc., employer recognition; and Syfan Logistics Inc., corporate citizenship.

Also, Gus Whalen, founder of Featherbone Communiversity in Gainesville, talked about the decline of the manufacturing sector in recent years.

"As a nation, we have lost the ability to create wealth through manufacturing," he said. "As we lose those jobs, we lose the middle class ... and ultimately we lose democracy.

"We are here today to hold up examples of manufacturers in this room," Whalen said. "These are really heroes and heroines in the most significant way."

He also said he is optimistic about the future. "If you can hang into the crisis long enough, it becomes a transition not a tragedy. I think that's going to be true in manufacturing."


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