GDEcD Announces Georgia Automotive Awards
Friday, January 6, 2017
Posted by: Kelly McLendon
ATLANTA – December 1, 2016 – The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) today announced the winners of the inaugural Georgia Automotive Awards. The program is designed to recognize leaders throughout the state, and to honor them for the contributions they have made to build a robust automotive ecosystem.
The first-ever Georgia Automotive Awards were presented to companies and individuals in five unique categories: Innovation Award, Supplier of the Year, Community Impact Award, Company of the Year and Leader of the Year.
“Automotive has quickly become one of the most important industries within the state of Georgia. The state’s infrastructure and offerings have attracted multi-million dollar investments from headquarters, OEMs and suppliers, which have led to significant job creation. These investments attract more businesses, which inevitably leads to a strong hub-and-spoke supplier network. A growing and vibrant economic automotive industry in Georgia continues to contribute to, and support our national ranking as the top state for business,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “We are grateful to all those in the automotive industry that have chosen Georgia as their home. We created these awards to honor them and their contribution to the state.”
Nominees in each of the five categories were voted on by members of the Georgia Automotive Awards committee. The committee was assembled by the GDEcD, and included a diverse cross-section of experts with a deep understanding of the automotive industry.
The following are the winners of the inaugural Georgia Automotive Awards:
Automotive Innovation Award
Conferred to the company that clearly demonstrates a commitment to excellence and innovation in their approach to solving a problem within the automotive industry.
Novelis, the global leader in aluminum rolled products and the world’s largest recycler of aluminum, was voted the winner of the Georgia Automotive Innovation Award. Novelis supplies its technologically sophisticated aluminum to global automotive manufacturers such as Jaguar Land Rover and Ford to help them meet evolving fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards by reducing the weight of the vehicle without compromising safety and strength. Located in Kennesaw, Ga., Novelis’ Global Research & Technology Center has a fully functioning automotive pre-treatment pilot line, which is used to develop new and improve existing products for the auto industry. Novelis employs hundreds of engineers, metallurgists, chemists, computer scientists and other experts, many of whom work alongside its customers from program development to launch.
Automotive Supplier of the Year
A supplier to an automotive OEM, at any tier, that demonstrates strong growth and projections, which positively impact the overall economic health of the state of Georgia.
Winner: Toyo Tire
Tire manufacturer Toyo Tire took home the Georgia Automotive Supplier of the Year honor for its substantial and sustained growth, and its associated contributions to the state’s economic development efforts. Since breaking ground in White, Georgia in 2004, Toyo has more than doubled the size of its facility and grown the staff from an initial 81 employees to 1,180 workers today. The fourth expansion, scheduled for completion in 2017, brings the total manufacturing space to three million square feet. Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor said the expansion will boost Toyo’s local investment to more than $1 billion. The White plant features Toyo’s proprietary Advanced Tire Operation Modules (ATOM) process, which produces tires on a hands-free basis. Once the fourth and final expansion is completed, the plant will have about 40 ATOM machines, increasing the annual output to about nine million tires.
Community Impact Award
An automotive company that strongly demonstrates a high level of corporate citizenship in and around the local community and/or within the state of Georgia.
Winner: Hitachi Automotive Systems
Based in Monroe, Georgia, Hitachi Automotive Systems employs 1,000 people and manufactures valve timing systems, propeller shafts and power steering systems for multiple automotive manufacturers. The company actively participates in two key community impact programs: F.I.S.H. (Faith in Serving Humanity) and Communities in Schools.
As part of the F.I.S.H. program, Hitachi Automotive provides food for organizations to combat child hunger in Walton County. The company recently completed a successful food drive as part of that community engagement. Additionally, it has provided assistance to those in need well beyond food collection, including rental and utility assistance, providing clothing and furniture, assistance with transportation, prescription payments, emergency shelter, educational assistance and more.
Hitachi Automotive also is active with the Communities in Schools program, which works to ensure that at-risk children remain in school through provision of five basic things: a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult, a safe place to grow and learn, a healthy start and a healthy future, development of marketable skills to use upon graduation, and a chance to give back to peers and community.
Georgia Automotive Company of the Year
A Georgia-based automotive company that exemplifies all relevant factors as outlined in the other awards, and demonstrates overall industry leadership within the state.
Winner: Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia
Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) has become one of the biggest automotive players in the state since it opened its first North American automobile manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia in 2010. The popular Optima and Sorento models are manufactured here. Earlier this year, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia celebrated its milestone two-millionth car manufactured in the plant.
Kia’s West Point facility employs 3,000 people, creating more than 15,000 jobs within a 50-mile radius. KMMG made a $3.5 million contribution to establish THINC, the new college and career academy at West Georgia Technical College’s LaGrange campus and donated $2.1 million toward STEM education at local elementary schools. Kia most recently contributed $100,000 to the J. Randy Jackson Scholarship Fund at THINC College and Career Academy.
KMMG has demonstrated a high level of corporate citizenship in the West Point and surrounding communities. They have partnered with the community to found and expand the aforementioned THINC, a college and career academy in Troup County. THINC provides state–of-the-art technical training and graduates students who are ready and eager to meet the challenges of post-secondary study and working in a globally competitive environment. KMMG also supports other educational programs such as robotics programs for the region and funding scholarships for THINC students to attend West Georgia Technical College. They support the SAE Foundation, particularly the A World in Motion® (AWIM) program where students are provided exposure to hands-on training in STEM activities along with soft skills experience like team work and problem solving. KMMG has contributed to the SAE Foundation to continue to impact STEM education for students in the local area. The company also has donated vehicles to schools and public safety departments for educational and training purposes.
Georgia Automotive Leader of the Year
A leader in the automotive industry who has devoted their time and effort to leadership of a company with operations in the state of Georgia, and who demonstrated pride in the company’s Georgia-based operations.
Winner: J. Randy Jackson, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia
Jackson was the face of Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG), where he ultimately served as the company’s chief administrative officer. A Macon, Georgia native, Jackson helped establish KMMG’s presence in Georgia, and led the company’s substantial growth by cultivating a workforce, managing its expansion and serving as a liaison to both foreign investors and the state government. This award is posthumously conferred on Jackson, as he was the embodiment of all the traits described, giving selflessly and tirelessly as a champion for STEM education, workforce development and the automotive industry within the state of Georgia.