The Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing Hosts Annual Manufacturers Appreciation Dinner
More than one hundred business, government and community leaders from all across Southwest Virginia gathered at the General Francis Marion Hotel on Thursday, October 9, to celebrate manufacturing and its contributions to the economy in the region. At its annual Manufacturer’s Appreciation Dinner, the Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing (SVAM) reviewed its successful year of promotion of manufacturing as a career and renewed its commitment to continued growth in this all-important sector of Southwest Virginia’s economy.
Senator Mark Warner and Senator Tim Kaine sent remarks to the attendees at the Manufacturer’s Appreciation Dinner showing their support for Manufacturing and SVAM. Keynote speaker for the evening was Bill Donohue, Interim Executive Director of Genedge Alliance. The topic of the Keynote address was “Accelerating Exports,” during which Donohue spoke of opportunities available for growth and advancement for manufacturing companies through exporting.
SVAM highlighted its accomplishments from the past year, mentioning several programs designed to improve the image of manufacturing as well as programs to provide training and networking events to manufacturers. Two major programs were Hiring Our Heroes – an event to bring manufacturers and veterans together to fill job openings, and the Manufacturers Expo – a peer-to-peer networking event for manufacturers and their vendors. SVAM also announced its plans to move forward in establishing the Southwest Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence.
To end the evening four manufacturers received awards to recognize their growth and contributions to the community. Bristol Compressors was awarded the Environmental Stewardship Award, Scholle Packaging received the Innovations in Manufacturing Award as well as the Innovative Environmental Product Award, and Utility Trailer Manufacturing of Glade Spring was awarded Manufacturer of the Year. SVAM also gave the Trail Blazer of the Year award to Aleta Spicer for going above and beyond to support the SVAM mission.
Sponsors for the event included Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Southwest Virginia Workforce Investment Board, Genedge Alliance, New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Investment Area, and the General Francis Marion Hotel.