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Celebrating local manufacturing industries
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Representatives of Beaver Manufacturing and General Mills met with directors from DeKalb Technical College and the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce Tuesday at the Newton County Historic Courthouse as Covington Mayor Kim Carter and Newton County Commission Chairman Kathy Morgan signed a joint proclamation to honor local manufacturers for their contributions to local economic growth and community partnerships.

"Georgia’s manufacturing operations including transportation equipment, aerospace, computers and electronics, food, paper, metal fabrication, textiles and plastics create state wealth by adding value to raw materials through application of people skills and investment in tools, technology and talent," Carter said.

"Manufacturing is vital to Georgia’s economy," Morgan continued, "and has been the primary source of economic growth in the United States."

In honor of the 15th annual celebration of Manufacturing Appreciation Week (April 13-17), proclamations such as the one signed by Carter and Morgan are being signed across Georgia.

Manufacturing Appreciation Week was developed by the Technical College System of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Economic Development to promote awareness of manufacturing and its importance to our state. Local manufacturers who have been in operation for a minimum of three years in Georgia and who demonstrate evidence and effectiveness in areas of corporate responsibility, economic impact and workforce excellence, compete in the small, medium and large categories.

DeKalb Technical College and the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce submitted

a nomination on behalf of Beaver Manufacturing Company Inc. in the small category and

General Mills in the medium category.

Courtney Bidney, General Mill’s Covington plant’s quality and regulatory operations manager, represented the company at the proclamation signing.

"I’m proud to report that we produce about 24 percent of the company’s cereal right here in Covington," Bidney said.

Beaver Manufacturing Chief Operating Officer Bill Loeble spoke on behalf of his company.

"In these hard economic times, and most of our business being in the automotive sector, obviously we’re affected," Loeble said, "but our employees have pulled together and we’ve taken some different directions and increased business in other areas waiting on it to come back. And, we’re strong, healthy and sound and we’re proud to be nominated again."

An important component of the week’s festivities is the educational focus and making school children aware of industry and manufacturing as a viable career option. Students from Newton County elementary, middle and high schools will compete in a statewide placemat, poster and t-shirt design contest, respectively. Award winners will receive scholarships in the amount of $500 for first place, $300 for second place, $100 for third place in each of the three design categories.

"The technical colleges recognize the critical importance year-round, not just for this manufacturing appreciation week," said Robin Hoffman, DTC president. "Partnership that we have with the manufacturers in the community ensure economic prosperity and we appreciate that partnership and are committed to continue working with you to provide the training necessary for a qualified, competent workforce."

Manufacturer of the Year and art design winners will be announced at a luncheon April 16 at the Cobb Galleria Centre.