Press Release

Three Georgia Companies Named Manufacturer of the Year

King’s Hawaiian, Great Dane, and Grenzebach take home this year’s honors


Atlanta, GA - At a luncheon held Thursday, Gov. Nathan Deal named three of Georgia’s leading companies as the 2017 Manufacturers of the Year. King’s Hawaiian Bakery East, in Flowery Branch, Ga., won in the category of 500 or more employees; Great Dane Trailers in Statesboro won in the category of 150-500 employees; and, Newnan, Ga.’s Grenzebach Corporation won in the category of 150 or fewer employees.

"Today we are here to acknowledge and honor those manufacturers who have won this award" said Gov. Deal. “But I want to say to every manufacturer here that you are an important part of the fabric of manufacturing in Georgia that keeps us all working in the right direction.."

"I want to thank our manufacturers for being part of what has made Georgia the best state in the nation in which to do business for the fourth consecutive year." Deal added.

"It really is an honor to be here," said Mark Taira, CEO of King's Hawaiian. "Georgia has something very, very special. It's got 'aloha.' And that's being a gracious host, sharing, kindness, and collaboration."

"We have deep roots in Georgia. We were founded in Savannah in 1900. In 1940, we developed the first refrigerated trailer in the industry" said Brian Sage, VP of Manufacturing at Great Dane. "We chose this location because of the community support, the partnership with the Ogeechee Technical College, and its strategic location."

"It's a great honor to accept this prestigious award today," said Martin Pleyer, Chief Operating Officer at Grenzebach. “We at Grenzebach are humbled to be recognized today."

This is the 23rd year celebrating Manufacturing Appreciation Week in Georgia. This year’s sponsors included The Georgia Association of Manufacturers, The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Power, and HA+W | Aprio. Other exhibitors at the luncheon included APICS – The Association for Operations Management, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia’s Center of Innovation for Manufacturing, the Georgia Department of Labor, the Georgia Employers Association, the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance, Georgia Trend, Next Generation Manufacturing, and the Technology Association of Georgia Manufacturing Society.

The event also included the presentation of scholarship awards to the winning entries in the annual MAW Student Design Contest, which promotes awareness of careers in manufacturing and the importance of that sector to the state and national economies.

In his proclamation declaring April 24-28 as Manufacturing Appreciation Week, Gov. Deal noted the tremendous contribution manufacturing makes to the state's economic well-being. Approximately 10,059 manufacturing facilities are located in Georgia, according to the proclamation, and they provide roughly 386,600 jobs, generating nearly $20.3 billion in wages for Georgia's citizens and contributing more than $100 billion to the state's economy each year.

The three winning companies were nominated by business and civic leaders and chosen for their excellence and contributions to the state’s economy and their respective local communities.

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