MONTGOMERY — Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. of Gadsden has been named a finalist for the 2012 Manufacturer of the Year award by the Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Technology Network, the BCA said Monday. The plant was nominated by The Chamber of Gadsden and Etowah County.
Goodyear is one of 14 Alabama companies to be named finalists for the annual award. It was named a finalist in the large manufacturer division of at least 400 employees.
Awards also will be presented to small- and medium-size manufacturers. Heritage Wire Harness LLC of Fort Payne was named a finalist in the medium division of 100 to 399 employees.
Winners will be named Wednesday at a luncheon in Montgomery. Guest speaker will be Attorney General Luther Strange.
Goodyear plant Manager Jim Davis said just to be named a finalist is an achievement.
“I am so proud of our team, what we’ve been able to accomplish,” he said. “We’d sure like to win this award. Every day we work hard to serve our customers and improve our operations. Our team earned this recognition.”
Goodyear is in its 83rd year of operation in Gadsden. The plant employs 1,750 people and makes new and aftermarket tires.
“To me it’s very meaningful to be nominated,” Davis said. “It demonstrates progress in many areas — technology, new product development and associate team membership and engagement.”
The BCA said the awards recognize Alabama manufacturing enterprises that exhibit excellence in leadership, performance, profitability and workforce relations. Winners are selected by an independent panel, the BCA said.
“These existing manufacturing companies epitomize what it takes to grow the private sector, create jobs, and move Alabama’s economy forward,” said BCA President and chief executive officer William J. Canary.
Other finalists in the large manufacturer division are Austal USA, Mobile; Rheem Water Heating, Montgomery; Sikorsky Aircraft, Troy; and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama Inc., Huntsville.
Joining Heritage Wire among the medium division finalists are 3M Company, Guin; Daikin America Inc., Decatur; Gambro Rental Products, Opelika; Lear Corp., Montgomery; and Prystup Packaging Products, Livingston.
Finalists in the small manufacturer division are Cascades Sonoco, Birmingham; Earthborn Studios, Leeds; and Electrifil Corp., Elkmont.
By Dana Beyerle
Times Montgomery Bureau