2018 Industry of the Year Awards

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Industry of the Year Awards were presented at the 10th Annual Industry Appreciation Luncheon on November 13, 2018 at the Chattahoochee Country Club 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 Greater Hall Chamber continues to focus on the importance of existing industries in Gainesville-Hall County, and business remains strong. As reported by the Gainesville-Hall County Economic Development Council, 2018 year-to-date announcements include 17 new and expanded businesses in Gainesville-Hall County with 400 new jobs and $200 million in capital investment. Since 2013, 150 new and expanded businesses have announced 5,400 jobs and $1 billion in capital investment.

FAE USA, Inc. (Small Employer Category / 1-50 Employees)
Gainesville Coca-Cola Bottling Co. (Medium Employer Category / 51-200 Employees)
Kubota Manufacturing of America (Large Employer Category / 201+ Employees)
SYFAN Logistics (Corporate Responsibility Recognition)
ALBAform, Inc. (Safety Commitment Recognition)
Wilheit Packaging (Environmental Stewardship Recognition)
Boost Transport LLC (Workforce Excellence Recognition)
ABB (Workforce Development Recognition)

2018 Industry of the Year (Small Employer Category)
Giorgio Carera, CEO
Lee Smith, Production Manager
5321 Rafe Banks Drive
Flowery Branch, GA 30542

FAE USA is a leading distributor of forestry and construction land clearing attachments. The Italian-based company has been located in Oakwood South Industrial Park for over a decade and employs 20 people. The company has introduced new construction products and increased sales from previous year by 40%. FAE built new offices, renovated the machines preparation area, invested in new equipment and added four new jobs.  Once a month, employees are updated on safety policies. FAE is a Certified Drug Free Workplace and employees have the opportunity to participate in free health screenings and physicals. Employees enjoy holiday bonuses as well as company sponsored holiday parties.  Apprentices and college interns are regularly onsite at FAE, and the company provides employee training programs and advancement opportunities.

2018 Industry of the Year (Medium Employer Category)
Gainesville Coca-Cola Bottling Company
Alton Rutledge, Sales Center Manager
2105 Browns Bridge Road
Gainesville, GA 30501

Gainesville Coca-Cola Bottling Company has 97 employees and is a beverage provider for grocers, convenience stores, restaurants, schools, recreation leagues and more. Gainesville Coca-Cola is a sales center of Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, the fourth largest Coca-Cola bottler in the US.  They distribute over 750 beverage with over 200 low calorie or zero calorie choices. In 2018, Gainesville Coca-Cola grew its business by 2.5% and delivered 60,000 more cases through September then through the same period in 2017. They have plans to expand their building in the next three years. Part of the culture at Gainesville Coca-Cola includes volunteering, establishing civic partnerships, and making donations in accordance with their community giving strategies. Gainesville Coca-Cola Bottling provides employees with free health screenings, company sponsored family events, gym memberships, and participation in area 5K events such as the Chamber Chase.  Tuition reimbursement, employee training plans, and advancement opportunities are added benefits provided by Gainesville Coca-Cola Bottling Company.

2018 Industry of the Year (Large Employer Category)
Kubota Manufacturing of America
Hirohiko Arai, President
Phil Sutton, Vice President
2715 Ramsey Road
Gainesville, GA 30501

Established in 1988, Kubota Manufacturing of America Corporation is headquartered in Gainesville and employs over 1,500 local area residents.  Kubota’s overall production volume has increased by 11% including new and existing models.  Kubota employs up to 30 high school students each year in Work Based Learning and 15 College Internships.  Kubota also provides plant tours for educators.  The company has partnered with the University of North Georgia to offer a 12 month management development course for new managers.   Kubota is a corporate sponsor of the Georgia Special Olympics, Northeast Georgia Medical Center Foundation and the Chamber’s HALLMark capital campaign.  In addition, they support the Georgia Mountain Food Bank with food drives and Eagle Ranch with an annual charity golf tournament.  Kubota recently made a $1 million dollar donation to Lanier Technical College and was recognized with a state level leadership award for their recycling programs.  Additionally, they have a unique Eight Steps to a Kubota Safe Employee Program.  Kubota is ISO 14001 Certified and continuously works to reduce the environmental impacts and their carbon footprint.  Employees are offered an annual health fair, as well as free annual physicals that includes family members.  Kubota hosts monthly employee events, holiday parties and an annual family fun day.  All promotional jobs are posted internally and they challenge team members to improve themselves through Tuition Reimbursement programs.

 2018 Corporate Responsibility Recognition
Syfan Logistics
Jim Syfan, CEO
Steve Syfan, Executive Vice President
2037 Old Candler Road
Gainesville, GA 30507

Syfan Logistics is a full-scale, asset-based logistics and 3PL Logistics Management Company headquartered in Gainesville.  The company serves the most demanding shipping needs for temperature-controlled, dry or flat loads with service throughout the US, Mexico and Canada.  The company also provides trucking delivery for special expedited and time-critical loads.  Syfan is currently finalizing an 18,000 square foot expansion and is looking forward to meeting their goal of 500 employees by 2020. The company is committed to employee safety with an onsite employee gymnasium, recycling programs, and designation as a Certified Drug Free Workplace.  Syfan is a leader in volunteer disaster relief.  In September 2018, the company placed a semi-trailer at Gainesville First United Methodist Church to begin taking donations for Hurricane Florence relief efforts in the Carolinas.  The company showed the same compassion during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

2018 Safety Commitment Recognition
ALBAform, Inc.
Jan Vintrlik, President
Monika Vintrlikova, Vice President
Alex Villalobos, Production Manager
5405 Rafe Banks Drive, Unit A-C
Flowery Branch, GA 30542

ALBAform, Inc. employs 98 people and manufactures precision metal components, primarily wire frames for seating for the automotive industry.  In the last 12 months, ALBAform has grown its customer base by 17%, added eight robotic machines, and created new jobs.  Employees enjoy a pay-for-performance structure that encourages them to gain additional machine knowledge and proficiency. Employees have access to company paid benefits, Paid Time Off, Tuition Assistance, attendance recognition program, and a work environment that understands and values work and home life balance. ALBAform maintains safety records better than industry average by collaborating with their employees to improve safety and ease of performing the job and continuing to be a Certified Drug Free Workplace.

2018 Environmental Stewardship Recognition
Wilheit Packaging
Philip A. Wilheit Sr., President
Jerry Coker, Vice President
1527 May Drive
Gainesville, GA 30507

Since 1953, Wilheit Packaging has provided quality packaging products, valued customer service, and just-in-time delivery to its customers, both locally and nationally.  This company stocks a comprehensive selection of shipping, packaging and maintenance products as well as offering logistic services to its customers. Wilheit Packaging employs 95 people in Hall County and across the southeast and continues to expand.  The company has been leading the sustainable packaging charge throughout its history – most specifically in the last decade.  In the last few years, Wilheit Packaging designed a system of green cages, as well as a logistics system, where sorting takes place on site by the customer.  Goods are then transferred to a staged set of trailers and then transported to the Hall County recycling system.  Most recently, Wilheit has participated in a partnership with Southern Waste & Recycling, Kubota Manufacturing of America, and the Hall County Recycling Center.  This partnership led to 1,500 tons of fiber and 160 tons of plastic being diverted from the landfill in nine months.  Wilheit Packaging also supplies recycling services for Fieldale Farms, Mar Jac Industries and a host of other partners.  Through these valuable partnerships, Wilheit has become aleader in waste diversion and sustainable longevity.

2018 Workforce Excellence Recognition
Boost Transport LLC
Todd Gailey, President
Dusty Benefield, Vice President
2110 Chicopee Street, Suite A
Gainesville, GA 30504

Established in 2009, Boost Transport employs 13 people and serves as a warehousing and third party logistics company for domestic and international customers. Boost Transport has grown from a 5,000 square foot facility to 100,000 square feet in the past two years.  In 2018, the company added an onsite gym that is available to employees 24 hours a day. In addition to being a Certified Drug-Free Workplace, Boost Transport offers bonuses to employees for safety goals and accuracy.  The company started a partnership with Rehabilitation Industries of Northeast Georgia to package shipments. Additionally, Boost Transport has continued their relationships with Northeast Georgia Humane Society, CASA and Relay for Life.

 2018 Workforce Development Recognition
Mike Holman, Plant Manager
4349 Avery Drive
Flowery Branch, GA 30542

ABB is a pioneering technology leader that works closely with utility, industry, transportation and infrastructure customers in roughly 100 countries. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, the local ABB manufacturing facility in Flowery Branch has been part of the community for 40 years. The facility produces over 60 highly custom engineered electric motors per day, which puts the need for a uniquely skilled workforce at a premium. Led by the fact that Mike Holman, Plant Manager, himself started his career at ABB as part of a high school learning program, ABB has been employing Work Based Learning High School students since 2015 as well as college interns in the fields of design and manufacturing engineering. ABB has provided tours to students from Johnson and Flowery Branch High Schools this fall, and is actively engaged with the STEM program at Flowery Branch High School. One management technique proving valuable are the roughly 1,500 “Praise & Growth” conversations recorded annually that are taking place between supervisors and employees.