Local manufacturers took center stage on Tuesday at the county Community Center during a “Manufacturers Thank You Breakfast” hosted by the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP).
The event, attended by state and local officials and representatives from some of the county’s 18 manufacturing companies, was organized by the CEP to “honor and thank the employers for their dedication to Champaign County.”
“Almost everybody that is represented in this room on the manufacturing side has either had growth this past year – whether it be employees, expansion or new investment in equipment – or is getting ready to,” said CEP Economic Development Director Marcia Bailey.
The list of manufacturing companies in the county includes Bundy Baking Solutions, WEIDMANN, KTH, Ultra-met, The Hall Company, Rosewood Machine and Tool Company (RMT), Advanced Technology Products (ATP), Sarica Manufacturing, ORBIS Corporation, Desmond-Stephan Manufacturing, Hughey & Phillips, Parker Trutec, Rittal, Johnson Welded Products (JWP), Robert Rothschild Farm, Colepak, International Fiber Corporation and Honeywell Aerospace.
Bailey remarked that even with an ever-growing list of manufacturers in the county, no one is in stiff competition with the other and, in some cases, local companies are helping one another.
“The uniqueness is still there in that none of you make the same product and some of you are each other’s customer, so we want to continue that,” she said. “We want to continue the diversity that we have and bring more people here.”
Three local manufacturers were highlighted during the event for reaching anniversary milestones in 2015.
Urbana Mayor Bill Bean and Champaign County Commissioners Steve Hess, Bob Corbett and Dave Faulkner jointly presented Ultra-met (50 years in business), JWP (45 years in business) and KTH (30 years in business) with “Keeping Champaign County Strong” proclamations in recognition of their “long-standing dedication and service to the community.”
“We thought it was unique that three companies are celebrating anniversaries all in the same year,” Bailey said.
Representatives from the three companies were also presented with pumpkins from the CEP painted by local artist Vicki Deere-Bunnell. Each pumpkin was decorated with the company’s logo and fall scenes.
Also in attendance was Sandra Brasington, the western Ohio regional liaison for Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s office, who presented each manufacturer with a proclamation signed by Kasich and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.
“On behalf of the governor’s office, we want to thank you for your investment in Ohio as businesses in manufacturing,” Brasington said. “You guys are the ones making it happen, so we really want to thank each of you.”
Brasington also thanked the county’s manufacturers for “changing lives” for the thousands of workers they employ.
“You are making a difference,” she said. “You guys are doing a great job here in Champaign County, and we want to recognize that.”
Bailey presented data showing job creation is on the rise. In 2013, Champaign County manufacturers employed 2,928 people, and by 2014, the number rose to 3,487. As of September of this year, Bailey said, the number of employees working in the county’s manufacturing sector stands at 3,832.
“We’ve had over 900 jobs created in a three-year time period just here in Champaign County in manufacturing,” she said.
(Pictured above: Champaign County Commissioner Steve Hess presents Lilli Ann Johnson, president of Johnson Welded Products (JWP), with a “Keeping Champaign County Strong” proclamation during Tuesday’s “Manufacturers Thank You Breakfast” hosted by the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP) at the county Community Center in Urbana. From left are Urbana Mayor Bill Bean, Hess, Johnson and Rachel Lewis, CEP administrative assistant. )