Local business, industry recognized

Published 2:46 pm Saturday, April 14, 2018

From Staff Reports

AMERICUS — The annual Business and Industry Appreciation Reception was held earlier this week at Wolf Creek Winery, outside Americus. Hosted by the Americus-Sumter Payroll Development Authority (PDA), the event is held each year during Georgia Manufacturers Week.
The following awards were given at the event.
The Sustainable Sumter Business Award went to TSG (Tape Specialists of Georgia). PDA vice chair Mike Donnelly said of the business, “When you think of this company, it is one that is ever changing and growing, which is why sustainable is the perfect word to describe the company.  Whether they are expanding product lines, expanding in their facilities, primarily by renovating industrial property and improving the J. Frank Myers Park, or adding companies to their work, this team is always moving. They

From left: Rodney Jacobs and Craig Wysong of Eaton and Barbara Grogan, executive director of the PDA.

practice LEED certification to ensure things run smoothly, and they have a work environment that is sought after by many in Sumter County. This company specializes in die cutting, gasket fabrication, metal stamping, CNC plastic fabrication, and rigid plastics. And most recently, they brought in another company to expand their services in the insulation industry. Tonight, I gladly present the Sustainable Sumter Award to Mr. Reagan Barksdale and his team at TSG! With Reagan’s leadership, TSG is cutting edge and ever evolving to meet the need of industry. Reagan provides quality employment opportunities in Sumter County, and sets the standards that will allow Sumter County to be sustainable for many generations to come … ”
Bill Harris, PDA treasurer, in making the Partner in Progress Award, said of Sumter County Schools, “It is my pleasure this evening to present the Partner in Progress Award.  This is always a tough award, because all our work is about partnerships. Partnerships with industry, Sumter County Schools, GSW, South Georgia Tech, our cities and county, the list goes on and on. That has always been a key to Sumter County — we partner and work together. Whatever it may be, we aren’t afraid to call each other up, talk, chat over a meal or cup of coffee, and find a way to work together. These actions describe what started a couple of years ago with this partner. They had to make a very large, long-lasting decision for Sumter County, and they called the Authority and said let’s chat. We ordered lunch and got right down to business — talking,

From left are Chan Short, Shannon Faircloth, Reagan Barksdale of TSG, and Mike Donnelly, PDA vice chair.

planning and working together for the betterment of all. No, I won’t stand here and say it was always easy, but we stayed at it. That tenacity and relentless pursuit of what is right for our community is what makes them one of the best partners an authority could have. This year, the Partner in Progress Award is presented to Sumter County Schools.
“I want to share with you about our work over the last couple of years.  Those lunch meetings I referenced, that was to work through the land identification for the new Sumter County High School and Home of the Panthers. We all thought with open minds and moving towards what is best for our community and students. The agreement for the land was signed, and South Georgia Tech welcomed a new neighbor across the parkway. Right afterwards, we began talking about a College and Career Academy, and Sumter County Schools immediately said yes, let’s work together.  They are at the table in every meeting, planning and working through details, with many members of their staff and parent groups working together. Under the leadership of Superintendent Dr. Torrence Choates and the Sumter County Board of Education, industry and k-12 education are walking hand in hand.  We will have a state of the art high school facility breaking ground soon, and we are working together, with direct input from industry, to ensure that pipeline of workers we talked about earlier.  As you can see, Sumter County Schools is a significant partner for progress in Sumter County, and we appreciate their continued support and hard work educating our future … ”
Teresa O’Bryant, PDA secretary, made the presentation of the Industry Innovator Award Leatherbrook Holsteins. “When you think of innovation, you might think first of robotics and computers and scientific engineering in a manufacturing facility to ensure precision in every product. And while yes, these things are true, did you know there is very high-level science and precision in making beverages too? But this is not your typical beverage you think of, maybe coffee, or a little wine or liquor, no, this is one to make you strong, grow, and is very healthy for you — though we all like the others, too!  We recently visited with this company on an industry tour, and the level of innovation and focus is not only impressive, but also shows the love this family has for their work. One cannot think of this company and not have an appreciation for the hours, time and attention this family gives to not only making it a success, but also making sure its occupants are taken care of too. Tonight, I am speaking of Leatherbrook Holsteins. Adam and Jane Graft, along with Lee, Reese, Emmie and James, own and operate Leatherbrook Holsteins. If you haven’t had an opportunity to visit, I encourage you to do so. They are innovative every step of the way with the 24/7 operation of over 5,000 head of dairy cattle. Adam and team take care in ensuring the cattle is comfortable in terms of care, temperature, treatment and every aspect of their life. They take care of the cattle, which in turn produces some of the highest quality milk you will find. Knowing every detail of the operation in a precise manner allows for the best use of innovative practices for both the cattle and milk production. This team is dedicated to only the best, which makes them deserving of the 2018 Industry Innovator Award. I’d be remised though if I didn’t also speak of their dedication to Sumter County.  Their dairy has been in Sumter County for over 100 years with previous owners, and when Adam and Jane moved to Americus, they purchased the dairy and went to work. Along the way, they have become involved in Sumter County, partnering in youth opportunities when possible, educating about the dairy industry, and always opening their farm to anyone who wants to learn about the dairy industry. They are great stewards of the land, practicing environmentally friendly operations, and an asset to Sumter County … ”
The Excellence in Export Award was given to Eaton Lighting, Paul Hall, PDA chair.
“There are many companies in Sumter County who export goods on a daily basis — regionally, across the state, domestically and internationally. Sumter County’s imprint is worldwide, which speaks to the breadth and quality of products produced. As we move on to our final award tonight, which is Excellence in Exports, the recipient is one who could have been highlighted for any of the awards. They are partners in many efforts, from the college and career academy committees to the development authority strategic planning committees. They are constantly innovating their practices to meet market demand, while ensuring stainability within their market, and they export as well. A world-wide company with markets ranging from aerospace to vehicles, oil, gas, healthcare, data centers and more, their services are unlimited. Locally, they have been in Sumter County for many years, with different names, but always with a hardworking, community focused workforce and leadership that represents Sumter County on a much larger scale. They have provided many local, regional, US and international customers with the most innovative designs and technologies in the lighting industry, and continue to evolve to meet customer demand. Tonight, I am proud to present the Excellence in Exports Award to Eaton, Inc.  Mr. Dwight Jones is the local manager, but has a great team of folks who work with us all, and tonight is represented by Mr. Craig Wysong … ”