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2010 Manufacturers Awards given

The First Coast Manufacturers Association (FCMA) announced the winners of its 2010 “Excellence In Manufacturing” awards at a special luncheon at the University of North Florida, with Swisher International capturing three categories.

Swisher International won:

• Manufacturer of the Year (Large), Founders Service Award, and Economic Impact Award: Swisher, the world’s largest cigar manufacturer, with sales remaining strong during this period of economic downturn, was recognized as the Large Manufacturer of the Year for its continued contributions in 2010; the recipient of the Founders Service Award for its long-term support of FCMA, its mission and its members; and the 2010 Economic Impact Award for its continued large scale capital investment in plant and equipment to maintain its international competitive position.

In addition, the following manufacturers won the following awards:

• Manufacturer of the Year (Mid-Size)—Goodrich Engineered Polymer Products (EPP): Goodrich was recognized as being a leading supplier of composite structures and acoustic materials for defense and aerospace markets for over 50 years. Its emphasis on education extends to tuition reimbursement and scholarships for employees and their children.  Goodrich has reduced air emissions by 47% and hazardous waste generation by 22% in the past four years. Its contribution to the local economy includes spending more than $2 million with Jacksonville businesses.

• Manufacturer of the Year (Small)—Pal-King Pallets, Inc.: Pal-King was recognized for its environmental stewardship (featuring its motto towards recycling of pallets as “Reuse,” “Repair,” “Recycle,” and “Renew”). A strength of the company is its relationship among its employees. Emphasis on teambuilding and training ensure that the company maintains its competitive advantage. It is one of our leaders in improving the environment through product development, continuing education of its workforce, and its strong commitment to improving its neighborhoods.

• Associate of the Year – Aerotek: Aerotek is currently the world’s largest privately held staffing company, providing customized staffing solutions for a wide variety of industries from single direct placement recruits to high volume contract and seasonal engagements. Its employees receive training specific to the needs of its clients, including an emphasis on maintaining a safe work environment. It is active in a number of community events ranging from Special Olympics to the Second Harvest Food Drive.

• Education Award – WhiteWave Foods: An anchor in the Beaver Street area for decades, WhiteWave made the transition to become a leading manufacturer of soymilk. In 2010, it launched a major Six Sigma awareness training for all employees. Two MBA candidates and other employees have been aided through its tuition reimbursement program. WhiteWave is well along to having four years without a lost time accident, and last year was another year with no employee turnover.

• Environmental Protection Award – Vistakon, division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.: Vistakon as the world leader in vision care. It manufactures ACUVUE Brand Contact Lenses—the world’s most widely prescribed contact lens—locally. It promotes community environmental initiatives through its ‘Adopt a Park’ program and its nearly seven-ton contribution of recycled paper to the school system. In the past five years it has reduced C02 emissions by over 10%; electricity by 12%; and, water consumption by 25%, while increasing production over 5% annually. And hazardous wastes have been reduced by 99.6% in three years.

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

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