Thomasville cheesemaker receives Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s 2017 Faces of Manufacturing Award

Jeremy Little is one of four Georgians to be awarded in October.

 

Award presentation Jeremy Little

Jeremy Little (second from left), co-owner of Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville, receives a 2017 Faces of Manufacturing Award from the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership. With him (from left) are: Andrea Collins, executive director of Thomasville-Thomas County Chamber of Commerce; Jeremy Little and his wife, Jessica Little; Shelley Zorn, economic developer for the Thomasville Payroll Development Authority, and Hank Hobbs, the GaMEP’s South Georgia region manager. (Photo by Katie Takacs)

 

THOMASVILLE, Ga. — The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) has named Jeremy Little a 2017 Faces of Manufacturing Award recipient.

 

Little, the co-owner of Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville, is one of four Georgians who are being recognized for their respective contributions and commitment to the manufacturing industry, which is a key driver of the state economy.

 

An internationally recognized and award-winning cheesemaker, Little, who co-owns Sweet Grass Dairy with his wife, Jessica, accepted his award Oct. 17 in a special ceremony at Sweet Grass Dairy’s Thomasville facilities.

 

“This award is an incredible honor. In the last 18 months we’ve started looking at how we could change our cheese making methods by focusing more on the science to better understand our raw materials and adjust our manufacturing process in an effort to bring the end consumer a more enjoyable experience,” Little said. “This award is a testament to our efforts. I couldn’t be more thrilled to receive an award of this caliber from such a distinguished program.”

 

GaMEP is a federally funded economic development program of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. It works with manufacturers across the state to help them remain viable and economically competitive.

 

Collectively, more than 10,000 manufacturing companies operate in Georgia. Those companies, which span all sizes, employ more than 365,000 and produce a total manufacturing output of $53 billion per year.

 

The Faces campaign showcases the sector’s importance to Georgia’s economy and Little and the other award recipients were selected through a public voting contest out of 10 finalists. Following more than 4,500 votes cast, Little emerged as one of the top four.

 

“Jeremy’s story represents two very important sectors of the Georgia economy — manufacturing food processing and agriculture,” said GaMEP Director Karen J. Fite. “Sweet Grass Dairy is a successful because of Jeremy’s commitment to producing high-quality, Georgia-grown food products. He is just one example of many dedicated Georgians in manufacturing and through today’s award, our Faces campaign aims to honor and celebrate that strength, vibrancy, and talent.”

 

Jessica Little’s parents founded Sweet Grass Dairy in 2000 and she and her husband acquired it in 2005. The company has since expanded and its six varieties of cheese are sold in more than 38 U.S. states.

 

The company’s cheeses have won more than 20 ribbons from the American Cheese Society and several international awards.

 

About the Faces of Manufacturing in Georgia:

The Faces of Manufacturing in Georgia campaign is an initiative of the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership that honors the people who work in or are

affected by manufacturing in Georgia. For more information, please visit gamep.org/faces-of-manufacturing/.

 

About the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP):

The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) is an economic development program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The GaMEP is a member of the National MEP network supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. With offices in nine regions across the state, the GaMEP has been serving Georgia manufacturers since 1960. It offers a solution-based approach to manufacturers through coaching and education designed to increase top line growth and reduce bottom line cost. For more information, visit gamep.org.

 

About Sweet Grass Dairy:

Founded in 2000 and based in Thomasville, Ga., Sweet Grass Dairy is a 140-acre, family-owned-and-operated farm. Our award-winning cheeses are made from the milk of Jersey Cows and delivered to customers across the United States with exceptional quality. To learn more, please visit sweetgrassdairy.com.

Textron Specialized Vehicles executive receives Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s 2017 Faces of Manufacturing Award

Jason Alford is one of four Georgians to receive the 2017 award.

 

Jason Alford faces photo

Jason Alford (third from left), vice president of the integrated supply chain at Textron Specialized Vehicles in Augusta, receives a 2017 Faces of Manufacturing Award from the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership. With him (from left) are: Elliot Price, the GaMEP’s Augusta region manager, Angela Pringle, superintendent of the Richmond County School System, Alford, and Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis Jr. (Photo by Caley Landau)

AUGUSTA, Ga. — The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) has named Jason Alford a 2017 Faces of Manufacturing Award recipient.

 

Alford, vice president, Integrated Supply Chain for Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc. in Augusta, is one of four Georgians who are being recognized for their respective contributions and commitment to the manufacturing industry, which is a key driver of the state economy.

 

Alford, who has been with Textron for 14 years, accepted his award Oct. 10 in a special ceremony at the company’s Augusta facility.

 

“I am honored and humbled to accept this award,” Alford said. “I do not accept this honor alone. It truly belongs to the hundreds of talented, dedicated TSV employees who come to work each day to help us build vehicles and equipment to serve our customers around the world.”

 

GaMEP is a federally funded economic development program of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. It works with manufacturers across the state to help them remain viable and economically competitive.

 

Collectively, more than 10,000 manufacturing companies operate in Georgia. Those companies, which span all sizes, employ more than 365,000 and produce a total manufacturing output of $53 billion per year.

 

The Faces campaign showcases the sector’s importance to Georgia’s economy and Alford and the other three award recipients were chosen through a public voting contest consisting of 10 finalists, selected from an initial pool of nominations. Following more than 4,500 votes cast, Alford emerged as one of the top four.

 

“Jason’s keen intellect, analytical mindset and tireless work ethic are matched only by his devotion to our company and to his employees,” said Kevin Holleran, president and CEO of Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc. “His receipt of this award is no surprise to those of us who work with Jason every day, and experience firsthand his commitment to success.”

 

Textron Specialized Vehicles, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, designs and manufactures a wide variety of vehicles and equipment under several well-known brands. The company’s products include E-Z-GO golf cars, Arctic Cat snowmobiles, Cushman commercial utility vehicles, Textron Off Road side-by-sides and ATVs, Jacobsen professional turf-care equipment, and Dixie Chopper zero-turn mowers. In addition, the company manufactures ground support equipment for the aviation industry under its Textron GSE umbrella. The company employs about 1,400 people in Georgia and more than 4,200 worldwide.

 

Alford began at Textron as director, financial planning and analysis, but discovered he had a natural talent for manufacturing integration. His high-level knowledge of the company from a finance and planning perspective, coupled with a deep understanding of business processes in manufacturing, gave him unique insight into the company.

 

Alford is committed to sharing his passion for manufacturing with youth. He spearheaded Textron Specialized Vehicles’ partnership with the Richmond County School System to create the Reaching Potential Through Manufacturing (RPM) program. The program, now in its second year, provides high school students at risk of dropping out with an alternative path to graduation, even as they earn valuable manufacturing work experience building components for TSV products.

 

Alford, who is wheelchair-bound after surviving a motorcycle accident several years ago, drew on his own lessons learned from persevering during his recovery as inspiration in creating the RPM program.

 

“There are so many opportunities and possibilities in manufacturing, from machining and engineering to finance and fabrication,” said GaMEP Director Karen J. Fite. “Jason’s commitment and success at Textron, as well his dedication to inspiring the industry’s next generation workforce, reflect the caliber of the people we have in Georgia manufacturing. Through the award given today, our Faces campaign aims to honor and celebrate that strength, vibrancy, and talent.”

 

About the Faces of Manufacturing in Georgia:

The Faces of Manufacturing in Georgia campaign is an initiative of the Georgia

Manufacturing Extension Partnership that honors the people who work in or are affected by manufacturing in Georgia. For more information, please visit gamep.org/faces-ofmanufacturing/.

 

About the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP):

The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) is an economic development program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The GaMEP is a member of the National MEP network supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. With offices in nine regions across the state, the GaMEP has been serving Georgia manufacturers since 1960. It offers a solution-based approach to manufacturers through coaching and education designed to increase top line growth and reduce bottom line cost. For more information, visit gamep.org.

 

About Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc.

Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc. is a leading global manufacturer of golf cars, utility and personal transportation vehicles, snowmobiles, side-by-sides, all-terrain vehicles, professional turf-care equipment, and ground support equipment. Textron Specialized Vehicles markets products under the E-Z-GO®, Cushman®, Arctic Cat®, Textron Off Road™, Jacobsen®, Dixie Chopper®, Ransomes®, TUG™, Douglas™, Premier™ and Safeaero™ brands. Its vehicles are found in environments ranging from golf courses to factories, airports to planned communities, and theme parks to hunting preserves. To learn more, visit textron.com.

 

About Textron Inc.:

Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, Textron Off Road, Arctic Cat, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training. For more information, visit textron.com.

Sylvania manufacturing manager receives Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s 2017 Faces of Manufacturing Award

Bobby Jones is one of four Georgians to receive the 2017 award.

 

Bobby Jones and Jon Burns

Bobby Jones (left), manufacturing manager at Koyo Bearings in Sylvania, Ga., is a 2017 Faces of Manufacturing Award recipient. At right is Georgia House Majority Leader Rep. Jon G. Burns. (Photo: Katie Takacs)

SYLVANIA, Ga. — The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) has named Bobby Jones a 2017 Faces of Manufacturing Award recipient.

 

Jones, the manufacturing manager at Koyo Bearings in Sylvania, is one of four Georgians who are being recognized for their respective contributions and commitment to the manufacturing industry, which is a key driver of the state economy.

 

Jones, who has been employed at Koyo Bearings for 28 years, accepted his award Oct. 4 in a special ceremony held at the plant, which provides bearing solutions for the industrial and automotive sectors. Koyo Bearings is a subsidiary of JTEKT Corp.

 

“I’ve had a lifelong passion for innovation and being a part of a team that’s committed to driving improvements in the products we design and create,” Jones said. “To be able to do that at Koyo and to pass that on to the next generation of the manufacturing workforce is truly an honor.”

 

Koyo Bearings team

The Koyo Bearings team in Sylvania, Georgia. (Photo: Katie Takacs)

GaMEP, a federally funded economic development program of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, works with manufacturers across the state to help them remain viable and economically competitive.

 

Collectively, more than 10,000 manufacturing companies operate in Georgia. Those companies, which span all sizes, employ more than 365,000 and produce a total manufacturing output of $53 billion per year.

 

GaMEP’s Faces campaign showcases the sector’s importance to Georgia’s economy. Jones and the other three award recipients were chosen through a public voting contest consisting of 10 finalists, selected from an initial pool of nominations. Following more than 4,500 votes cast, Jones emerged as one of the top four.

 

“Bobby is just one example of many in Georgia’s manufacturing sector. He and others like him and are the reason why it is such a strong and thriving part of our state economy,” said GaMEP Director Karen J. Fite. “Bobby’s commitment to his field and industry reflects the quality of the people we have in Georgia manufacturing. Through this award given today, our Faces campaign aims to honor and celebrate that strength, vibrancy, and talent.”

 

Jones is part of the Georgia Southern University’s engineering advisory program, a member of Ogeechee Technical College’s board of directors, a member of Coastal Workforce Development Board, and a member of a regional industrial group working to resolve manufacturing needs. His work also has helped establish advanced partnerships of local industry, development authorities, and Ogeechee Technical College. That initiative led to the creation of an industrial maintenance lab so employees could gain skills to advance in their careers.

 

“Today’s manufacturing environment is fast, competitive, and wrought with constant challenges.  Building a history of success requires innovation, dedication, and discipline,” said Andy Durrence, plant manager of Koyo’s Sylvania facility. “Bobby is the embodiment of all that is needed to succeed. His reach and influence span far past the walls of Koyo into academia, workforce development, industrial development, and his community.”

 

About the Faces of Manufacturing in Georgia:

The Faces of Manufacturing in Georgia campaign is an initiative of the Georgia

Manufacturing Extension Partnership that honors the people who work in or are affected by manufacturing in Georgia. For more information, please visit gamep.org/faces-of-manufacturing/.

 

About the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP):

The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) is an economic development program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The GaMEP is a member of the National MEP network supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. With offices in nine regions across the state, the GaMEP has been serving Georgia manufacturers since 1960. It offers a solution-based approach to manufacturers through coaching and education designed to increase top line growth and reduce bottom line cost. For more information, visit gamep.org.

 

About Koyo Bearings North America:

A global leader in design innovation and manufacturing technology for Ball, Needle, & Roller Bearings — Koyo has been providing bearing solutions to the industrial and automotive markets since 1921 and has been operating in the North American market since 1958. A subsidiary of JTEKT Corp., Koyo is a major supplier to both original equipment and aftermarket customers in a wide variety of industries including, aerospace, agri-con, automotive, electric motor, power sports, and steel and wind. To learn more, please visit jtekt-na.com.

 

Dalton innovator receives Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s 2017 Faces of Manufacturing Award

Marten Hutchison is one of four Georgians to receive the 2017 award.

 

Hutchison award photo

Marten Hutchison (third from left), lead innovation manager at Shaw Industries Group, receives a 2017 Faces of Manufacturing Award from the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership. With him (from left) are: John Zegers, the GaMEP’s Northwest Georgia region manager, Dalton Mayor Dennis Mock, and Travis Loudermilk, senior field representative for U.S. Rep. Tom Graves Jr.’s office. (Photo by Katie Takacs)

DALTON, Ga.  — The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) has named Marten Hutchison a 2017 Faces of Manufacturing Award recipient.

 

Hutchison, lead innovation manager at Shaw Industries Group Inc., headquartered in Dalton, Georgia, is one of four Georgians who are being recognized for their respective contributions and commitment to the manufacturing industry, which is a key driver of the state economy.

 

Hutchison has been with Shaw, the world’s largest flooring manufacturer, since 1993. He accepted his award Oct. 3 during a special ceremony at Shaw’s MakerSpace.

 

Since joining Shaw, he has held numerous positions, including one where he led a team to build one of the largest plastic bottle recycling facilities in North America. A graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in mechanical engineering, Hutchison has focused on equipment and technology to improve processes and incorporate automation into Shaw’s plants.

 

“It’s a great honor to be recognized as a Face of Manufacturing in Georgia,” Hutchison said. “I’m proud of how Shaw’s approach to manufacturing has become increasingly innovative.”

 

GaMEP is a federally funded economic development program of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. It works with manufacturers across the state to help them remain viable and economically competitive.

 

Collectively, more than 10,000 manufacturing companies operate in Georgia. Those companies, which span all sizes, employ more than 365,000 people and produce a total manufacturing output of $53 billion per year.

 

The Faces campaign showcases the sector’s importance to Georgia’s economy. Hutchison and the other three award recipients were selected from an initial pool of nominations and chosen through a public voting contest consisting of 10 finalists. Following more than 4,500 votes cast, Hutchison emerged as one of the top four.

 

Hutchison and FIRST Robotics team.

Marten Hutchison (standing, center left), the lead innovation manager at Shaw Industries Group, stands with students in the FIRST Robotics team at Northwest Georgia College & Career Academy, where he serves as coach. Hutchison is a 2017 Faces of Manufacturing Award recipient. (Photo by Katie Takacs)

In addition to his Shaw duties, Hutchison is a FIRST Robotics team coach at Northwest Georgia College & Career Academy, where he helps students conceptualize, prototype, design, build, and program robots for competition. The team recently was awarded one of four Rookie Inspiration awards at the world competition.

 

“We are very proud of Marten and grateful to him for his dedication to educating students in the STEM disciplines and exciting them about manufacturing, as they are the future of our industry,” said David Morgan, Shaw’s executive vice president of operations.

 

“Marten is just one example of the caliber of people who comprise Georgia’s manufacturing sector,” said GaMEP Director Karen J. Fite. “He is the reason why it is such a strong and thriving part of our state economy. Through the awards given today, our Faces campaign aims to honor and celebrate that strength, vibrancy, and talent.”

 

About the Faces of Manufacturing in Georgia:

The Faces of Manufacturing in Georgia campaign is an initiative of the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership that honors the people who work in or are affected by manufacturing in Georgia. For more information, please visit gamep.org/faces-of-manufacturing/.

 

About the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP):

The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) is an economic development program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The GaMEP is a member of the National MEP network supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. With offices in nine regions across the state, the GaMEP has been serving Georgia manufacturers since 1960. It offers a solution-based approach to manufacturers through coaching and education designed to increase top line growth and reduce bottom line cost. For more information, visit gamep.org.

About Shaw Industries:

Headquartered in Dalton, Georgia, Shaw is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. The company employs more than 20,000 associates with offices; research and development, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution locations; product showrooms; and/or salespeople throughout the U.S., as well as Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, India, Mexico, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit shawinc.com.

Passion for engineering drives success in manufacturing

Sarah Daly

Sarah Daly, plant manager of FiberVisions in Covington, Georgia.

Sarah Daly considers herself fortunate to have found her calling early. Having a natural affinity for math and science, she has always loved being able to study things, take them apart and fix them. It’s no surprise then, that she became an engineer.

 

The spark came early. In a high school physics class, Daly, the youngest of three, so impressed her high school physics teacher on a project requiring that students build a catapult, that she encouraged her to pursue engineering. “After class, my teacher stopped me and told me that I desperately needed to be an engineer,” Daly said.

 

Daly listened to that advice and followed her father and sister-in-law’s examples to pursue a degree in engineering. Today, Daly is plant manager of FiberVisions’ plant in Covington, Georgia. The company is the world’s largest producer of polypropylene staple fiber for nonwoven consumer and industrial products.

 

Daly also is the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s (GaMEP) February Face of Manufacturing.

 

She and the other 365,000 Georgians who work in the manufacturing industry are critical to the success of the Georgia economy. Her story is one example of how those who have made a career in manufacturing help their communities remain economically competitive.

 

For Daly, her first few years in manufacturing centered around process engineering and managing capital projects — large-scale endeavors for process and product improvement. She partnered with many different groups across the company, including operations, engineering, maintenance, and safety.

 

“I had great mentors and they wanted me to get project management experience,” Daly said. “On the first project I led, my team came in so far ahead of schedule and under budget, the company started giving me larger projects to manage.” That project management experience would serve her later in her career, when she moved to Atlanta and joined FiberVisions.

 

As FiberVisions’ plant manager, a role to which she was promoted 1½ years after joining the company, Daly leads a team of 70 people, including 12 direct reports and four operating crews. “I went from never managing anyone before to managing more than 70 people and many of them had been working at the plant longer than I’d been alive,” she said.

 

The promotion made her a little nervous; it would be a role unlike any other she held. And even though her bosses felt she was ready to lead the plant, it would be the first time she would have to manage people.

 

Daly reached out to one of her mentors for advice. “‘This position is out of your comfort zone, but don’t stick with something just because you are comfortable with it,’” Daly recounted her mentor saying. “‘By staying on the same path, you may never learn where you can make the most difference.’”

 

Daly continues to build a cohesive group across the FiberVisions plant and grow her team. “I have extremely talented and capable people working at our plant and it’s important for me to get them the resources they need, be an advocate for them to advance their careers, and just be their biggest supporter.”

 

Péralte C. Paul