Albany area business and community leaders gathered at the Hilton Garden Inn Wednesday morning as the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission (ADEDC) presented its annual Industry Awards at a special Rise n Shine breakfast hosted by the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.
Held each year, the breakfast allows the ADEDC to recognize four local companies for the significant impact they have within their respective industries and in the community.
“From creating jobs and making long-term investments, to enhancing the quality of life through volunteer service, our industries are the foundation of our local economy and our community,” said ADEDC President and CEO Justin Strickland. We are proud to work with and on behalf of Albany and Dougherty County’s existing industries and to recognize their excellence.”
The 2016 Industry Award winners are Pfizer, Mars Chocolate North America, Procter & Gamble, and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
The morning’s first award presented is the Global Commerce Award, which takes into account a company’s primary market area, its global exports over the past three years, and its percentage of export sales as a percentage of its total sales.
The 2016 recipient of the award was Pfizer, which Strickland said has had recent success in entering new markets, improving efficiencies, and increasing the demand for homeopathic treatment options, such as it’s ThermaCare heat wraps.
The wraps, which are produced solely in Albany, have accounted for a 30 percent growth in the company’s exports. In 2015 the Albany plant produced more than 66 million heat wraps, 54.2 percent of which were exported, primarily into European markets.
ThermaCare wraps have proven so popular overseas that the company will soon launch in German, Taiwanese and South African markets.
“It’s really an honor to be recognized by the community,” said Tawana Reels, site leader of Pfizer’s Albany plant. “Thank you, on behalf of Pfizer, for this award.”
The Excellence in Innovation Award, which recognizes an existing industry for its work force excellence, its use of breakthrough technology, its clean energy programs, and its innovative practices and procedures, was the second award presented.
The 2016 recipient of the award is Procter & Gamble (P&G) which is currently in the process of building a $250 million state-of-the-art biomass boiler at its Albany site.
The biomass plant will help the company achieve its goal of operating on 30 percent renewable energy by 2030. Currently operating at seven percent, the company is expected to reach 14 percent next summer when the boiler becomes operational.
The steam created by the biomass boiler will increase the Albany plant’s renewable energy usage to nearly 70 percent.
In addition to the boiler, P&G also has enacted water conservation initiatives while also introducing next-generation manufacturing lines, several of which are in operation in Albany, which produce significantly more paper products than traditional manufacturing lines.
“Let me start by saying it is an absolute honor for P&G to receive this award,” said Werhner Washington, plant manager of P&G’s Albany site. “Some of you know that P&G is a very large and global company and this is the largest sustainability project in our company. To have that here in Albany and Dougherty County is really exciting. I’d like to say that the project is a win, win, win.”
The third award presented at the breakfast was the Economic Impact Award which recognizes an existing industry for its number of years in operation in the community, its economic impact, any expansions within the last three years, jobs created or retained, capital investment, and increases in sales.
The 2016 Economic Impact Award went to Mars Chocolate North America, which has seen significant success in the past several months thanks to the release of the company’s Goodnessknows snack bars, which are made of granola, nuts, dried fruit and chocolate.
Made exclusively in Albany, the new line is the first new product release the company has had in almost 30 years, and the decision to produce Goodnessknows in Albany, led to a $10 million investment and the creation of 20 new jobs locally.
Strickland said the snack food has already become popular, as it is the top seller in its category at Target stores nationwide and is a favorite of several state leaders.
“I’m absolutely honored to accept this award for Mars and for the, now, over 200 associates who are at our plant,” said Mack Phillips, site manager at the Albany plant. “We haven’t had a successful brand launch since Skittles, so getting it in Albany goes back really to the 200 associates we have at the plant and the confidence that our business has in those associates.”
The final award presented at the breakfast was the Only One Albany Award for Corporate Community Citizenship, which recognizes a local industry for its community involvement programs, its company-invested volunteerism, its civic involvement, and its educational partnerships.
The 2016 Only One Albany Award was presented to Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) Albany, which has a long and storied history of being an important community partner.
Through programs like Mentors in Action and the Buddy Fishing Tournament, to the significant Marine presence at the annual Snickers Marathon, the Independence Day Festival hosted by the base each year, and the many other community events, MCLB Albany continues to embody the Three C’s of the United States Marine Corps—community, country and Corps.
“Thank you so much for this award,” said MCLB Albany commanding officer James C. Carroll III. “Not only are we at the base concerned and looking out and finding support for the defense of our nation, we also find it very important to support the communities that we’re in. There’s no better place, that I’ve found, than here in Albany to do that. Whether it is in schools, business, volunteer efforts across the entire community is very important. We look forward to giving our continued to support wherever you need us in the community.”
To learn more about the awards or the EDC, visit the organization’s website www.choosealbany.com. To learn more about the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, visit www.albanyga.com
Article courtesy of The Albany Herald
By Brad McEwen