The First Coast Manufacturers Association (FCMA) announced the winners of its 2015 “Excellence In Manufacturing” awards at a banquet honoring nominees and winners in St. Augustine during its third annual Manufacturing Summit.
Manufacturer of The Year – The Safariland Group
The Safariland Group manufactures safety and protection products for military and law enforcement. The company was recognized for its safety efforts for employees, a reward system for employee input and their use of Lean methodology. Using Lean practices, Safariland identified a substantial amount of warehouse space to reallocate 5,000 square feet for business from other states. Once the project was disclosed, a need for 8,000 SF more was realized. They were able to turn a $800,000 projected cost into results yielding an annual increase of $17 million in sales and 30 new jobs.
Workforce Education Award – Saft America, Inc.
Saft is a Paris-based battery manufacturing company founded in 1928. Because its operations are highly technical, and there are no “lithium ion battery systems” experienced workers in the area, its overall approach to educating the workforce has been to tap into the local area talent—with an emphasis on finding individuals with strong mechanical and electrical aptitude and problem-solving abilities—and developing these team members post hire.
Environmental Award – Fleet Readiness Center Southeast
Fleet Readiness Center Southeast has continued its environmental improvements, through reducing industrial waste water stream by more than 80% (resulting in a savings of over $720,000 since 2008); reducing 16 tons of reclaimed rhenium as well as 91 tons of engine components; 280 tons of used oil recycled; and, energy and utility consumption savings that continue at 3% per year.
Economic Impact Award – Vistakon
This year, Vistakon successfully produced and launched a new multi-focal lens for treating presbyopia – which is a totally new lens with best-in-class comfort and vision clarity ratings. These technological breakthroughs come from their manufacturing, R&D and corporate departments based on the First Coast. These new products are driving significant local capital investment, as well over 150 new positions to our workforce. For the past two years, they have been improving manufacturing capability here and are producing over 25% more lenses for worldwide distribution.
Partner of The Year Award – Aerostar SES LLC
Aerostar has served in FCMA leadership roles throughout the years by serving on its Board, chairing Community Relations and Golf Committees, and participating in the annual golf event, The Crane Awards and the Professional Progress program. They have conducted business with over 40 fellow members, and they utilize FCMA’s member list internally as a reference for bid solicitation and product selection.
Founders Service Award – Vac-Con, Inc.
Vac-Con, Inc., manufactures truck mounted vacuum, water jet and vacuum excavation equipment for commercial and municipal environmental applications worldwide. One of the largest private employers in Clay County, the company is embarking on a $10 million expansion to add 65,000 square feet and 30 jobs to its Green Cove Springs facility. Vac-Con officials serve on the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Government Relations, FCMA Leadership Academy, Special Interest Groups, and supports the association through sponsorships.
President’s Award – Mike Templeton, Templeton Manufacturing Solutions
Templeton, a former a tri-chairman of FCMA, is an industry professional who assists manufacturers as an independent consultant. He is being recognized this year for his role with FCMA to create and develop the association’s Leadership Academy, which is giving needed tools to the manufacturing workforce.
The First Coast Manufacturers Association is a non-profit trade association serving Northeast Florida. There are over 1,500 manufacturing companies on the First Coast, supplying over 30,000 jobs and generating nearly 15% of the total gross regional product. Additional media information on FCMA is available at www.fcmaweb.com.