Area Businesses Honored, Local Industries with Global Reach

KK Snyder

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Last year, Thrush Aircraft in Albany sold their manufactured airplanes to 18 countries. Sasco Chemical Company on Pine Avenue exports their products to Asia, Canada, Europe, Mexico and South America. Albany’s Exopack operates not only in the Good Life City, but also has facilities in the United Kingdom.

While most area residents are well aware of the presence of local industries such as P&G, MillerCoors and MCLB’s Maintenance Center Albany, it’s likely that few consider the global reach of many of these Southwest Georgia industries. That impact, and other highlights, was recognized Wednesday morning by the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission (EDC).

The annual Industry Awards, presented by the EDC at the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Rise and Shine Breakfast for industry appreciation, were the culmination of the inaugural Albany-Dougherty Industry Celebration Week. The celebration was created to expose residents to the variety of industries located in the community, to create exposure for local industries and to hone the accomplishments of those industries, said Ted Clem, EDC president.

“As a community, (Albany and Dougherty County are) fortunate to have the quality and diversity of industries that it does,” said Clem. “It’s important that we recognize the successes of our existing industries, which account for about 80 percent of new jobs.”

The industries were honored in four categories, including economic impact; excellence in innovation; global commerce; and corporate community citizenship. The awards were restructured from past years, said Clem, with the goal of educating the public and the business community on the diverse industries located in Albany and Dougherty County.

Among the winners was Maintenance Center Albany (MCA), which received the Excellence in Innovation Award for their ongoing life-saving developments and for sustaining warfighters’ combat equipment. Most recently, MCA was responsible for the Mobile Trauma Bay, a mobile metal-encased unit in which Marine medical personnel can tend to the sick and wounded more safely than in standards tents. It is the first such unit in the U.S. Armed Forces.

MCA’s 1,900 workers, specifically the Engineering and Integration Team, with input from other military and government entities, took just 80 days from concept to delivery of the trauma bays to Afghanistan. Accepting the award, Col. Terry Reid, commander of MCA, said the project “was a team effort.”

Also honored was Equinox Chemical Co., which started in Albany in 2003 and has grown from a handful of employees to a staff of 33, with plans for a $5 million expansion that will add another 40 jobs in Albany. Recipient of the EDC’s Economic Impact Award, Equinox was also named Georgia’s Small Business Exporter of the Year and is the recipient of the 2010 Free Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Other award recipients included Proctor & Gamble, recognized with the Good Life City Award for corporate community citizenship. P&G makes charitable community contributions in areas including education, health and social services, the arts, culture, environment, crime prevention and civic affairs. In the past year, P&G made charitable contributions of over $70,000.

“One of the primary focuses of the EDC is to retain and expand existing industry,” said Clem. “To do this, it’s imperative that we – economic developers, the business community and residents – understand our industries and the roles they play in our economy.”

Here is the complete list of finalists and winners of the 2010 Industry Awards:

Economic Impact
·  Coats & Clark
·  Equinox Chemical Co. (winner)
·  Exopack

Excellence in Innovation
·  Maintenance Center Albany (winner)
·  MillerCoors
·  Pratt Industries/Target Container Co.

Global Commerce
·  Equinox Chemical Co.
·  Thrush Aircraft (winner)
·  Sasco Chemical Group

Good Life City Award (corporate community citizenship)
·  MillerCoor
·  Procter & Gamble (winner)