2020 Industry of the Year Awards

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 Industry of the Year Awards were presented at the 12th Annual Industry Appreciation Luncheon on November 18th at the Lanier Technical College in Gainesville. Sponsored by Lanier Technical College, the awards program honors area existing industry leaders based on economic impact, workforce excellence and corporate responsibility.  The Keynote Speaker for the event was Greg Dozier, Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia.

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and the Gainesville-Hall County Economic Development Council continue to focus on the importance of existing industry in Gainesville-Hall County, and business remains strong. Gainesville-Hall County is home to more than 320 manufacturing and processing concerns, and 50 international company locations representing 15 foreign countries.  The 2020 fiscal year summary included 13 new and expanded businesses in Gainesville-Hall County adding 785 jobs and $267 million in capital investment. Since 2015, 112 new and expanded businesses have announced 5,600 jobs and $1.4 billion in capital investment.

Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce 2020 INDUSTRY OF THE YEAR AWARDS:

  • Ranger Manufacturing (Small Employer Category / 1-50 Employees)
  • Wilheit Packaging (Medium Employer Category / 51-200 Employees)
  • Hydro (Large Employer Category / 201+ Employees)
  • Murray Plastics (Workforce Development Recognition)
  • ALBAform (Safety Performance Recognition)
  • Conditioned Air Systems (Corporate Responsibility Recognition)
  • Glo-Crest Diary/Mountain Fresh Creamery (Environmental Responsibility Recognition)

2020 Industry of the Year Award (Small Employer Category)
Ranger Manufacturing
Mike McGraw, Partner & Business Development
1180 Airport Parkway, Suite #102, Gainesville, GA 30501
Website:  www.rangermfg.com
Online Store:  www.rangerlock.com

Ranger Manufacturing is an innovative machining and fabrication shop that combines engineering with manufacturing capabilities in laser cutting, CNC machining, welding, metal forming, and assembly.  The company also manufactures its own patented products it sells through an online store and Grainger, offering some of the best bolt-cutter-proof locks in the business.  Despite the company’s small size of 19 employees, Ranger Manufacturing has placed a high priority on developing its workforce.  The company is participating in two apprenticeships and will soon start a Work Based Learning partnership for local high school students.  The lock side of the business, Ranger Lock, moved to Gainesville-Hall County in 2013, gained new ownership in 2015, and later merged assets with a small job shop in 2016, creating Ranger Manufacturing.  This expanded the business beyond making its own products to a full service manufacturing operation servicing many local industries.  Since Ranger Manufacturing’s inception, they have not had one lost-time accident.

2020 Industry of the Year Award (Medium Employer Category)
Wilheit Packaging
Philip Wilheit, Jr., Managing Partner & Sales Manager
1527 May Drive, Gainesville, GA 30507
Website:  www.wilheit.com

Since 1953, Wilheit Packaging has strived to provide great service to its customers and supply quality packaging materials at a fair price.  As good as they are at business, it is their spirit and passion for giving back to the community that has made this business a household name in Hall County for generations.  Their commitment of time, leadership and financial support has been consistent and foundational to many non-profit organizations including United Way of Hall County, Good News at Noon, Eagle Ranch, Georgia Mountains Food Bank, YMCA, Junior Achievement, Northeast Georgia Health System, Brenau University and the Boys and Girls Clubs, just to name a few.  Wilheit Packaging employs more than 100 full-time associates that earn competitive wages, a 401K plan and a full benefits package including 100% of employees’ health care and year-end bonuses.  The company has a tradition of developing talent and promoting from within including mechanics, drivers and fork lift drivers.  Wilheit Packaging is constantly innovating new services to meet customer needs, including an award winning and robust corrugated recycling program.

2020 Industry of the Year Award (Large Employer Category)
Danny Colaris, Plant Manager
2905 Old Oakwood Road, Gainesville, GA 30504
Website:  www.hydro.com

Hydro’s Gainesville location has been extruding aluminum profiles for more than 30 years for applications from architecture to transportation.   The company’s 430 employees in Gainesville are part of global business operating in 40 countries with 36,000 employees.  The Gainesville manufacturing facility provides extrusion, machining, fabrication and finishing services by two vertical paint lines allowing for both liquid and powder applications..  Over the years, the Gainesville operation has gone by the names Indalex, Sapa and more recently as Hydro Extrusion (pronounced “heedrow”). Hydro, Founded in Norway in 1905, has established a philosophy of business “the Hydro Way,” which encourages participating in creating a viable society of sustainability and community engagement.   Sustainability is at the core of Hydro’s business in the reuse and recycling of aluminum, and sustainability is why the company encourages its employees to invest in the community.  Hydro’s Gainesville location has a very active community engagement program that in 2020 has supported Good News at Noon, Georgia Mountains Foodbank, Lake Lanier Shore Sweep, Red Cross, Breast Cancer Awareness, Children’s Hospital of Atlanta and the 7th Grade Career Path Fair. Hydro invests heavily in its employees to develop new skills and maintain their outstanding safety record.  The Gainesville location has also taken steps toward establishing an apprenticeship program through Lanier Technical College.  In addition to providing signing and retention bonuses, Hydro offers quarterly gain-share bonuses.

2020 Workforce Development Recognition Award
Murray Plastics
Bill Hall, Founder & President
1922 Old Candler Rd, Gainesville, GA 30507
Website:  www.murrayplastics.com

Gainesville-based Murray Plastics believes in providing second chances. One of their first hires came from a transition center, and their second chance program has continued with the company. They are also advocates for work-based learning and providing valued employment to high school students. In 2018 they implemented a GED testing program that led to one of their employees being accepted into an Apprenticeship program.  The company has 32 employees, with two team members attending Lanier Technical College as an Industrial Maintenance Apprentice with plans to move forward with additional programs. They are dedicated to make sure their employees grow both personally and in their careers.

2020 Safety Recognition Award
Jan Vintrlik, President
5405 Rafe Banks Drive Unit A-C Oakwood, Flowery Branch, GA 30542
Website:  www.albaform.com

ALBAform, located in Oakwood, has 117 employees and manufactures metal components, mainly the wire frames found in seating for the automotive industry. The company provides new hires with hands-on training designed to accelerate learning. They have maintained safety records better than industry average by working together with their employees and have achieved more than 12 months of work hours without any injuries or illness. They are a Certified Drug Free Workplace and have taken the hALL in pledge to follow safety measures and stop the spread of COVID-19. They have been able to acquire new local customers outside the automotive industry.

2020 Corporate Recognition Award
Conditioned Air Systems
Doug Magnus, CEO
2410 Hilton Way, Gainesville, GA 30501
Website:  www.conditionedairsystems.com

Conditioned Air Systems, a family‐owned and operated Gainesville-based business, provides high quality HVAC equipment and installation. Unlike most HVAC companies, Conditioned Air Systems fabricates their own ductwork and HVAC in-house.  The company believes not only in investing in their employees, but investing in their community as well. Many of their 75 employees and family members are involved in community‐oriented programs and organizations focused on improving the quality of life in Hall County, including Gainesville Jaycees, Junior League of Gainesville-Hall County, Rotary Club, Toys for Tots, WomenSource, Westminster Church and United Way. The company has gone above and beyond this year to make sure their employees and customers stay safe during this pandemic. Recently, they pledged to be hALL in.

2020 Environment Recognition Award
Glo-Crest Dairy / Mountain Fresh Creamery
Scott Glover, Owner
6615 Cleveland Hwy, Clermont, GA 30527
Website:  www.mountainfreshcreamery.com

Glo-Crest Dairy and Mountain Fresh Creamery is family‐owned and operated farming business in North Hall County that produces all-natural, dairy products with no added hormones or rBST.  The farm has 14 employees and has several resourceful practices in place to preserve the environment. They put their water through a cold plater cooler that cools their product temperature, which reduces power and saves energy. They also have several recycling processes in place. These practices help protect the land so that many generations can continue to farm in the North Hall community.

Industry Appreciation 2020 was presented by Lanier Technical College.  Gold Sponsors included Hydro, Jackson EMC, King’s Hawaiian, Rochester & Associates and Wilheit Packaging.  Silver Sponsors were AT&T, Carroll Daniel Construction, CHASE for Business, Corporate Storage, Georgia Power, Liberty, Pattillo Industrial Real Estate, RUSHTON and Workforce Strategies Group.