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November 13, 2012
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KAM names three companies Manufacturers of the Year, honors employee

LOUISIVLLE, Ky. (Nov. 13, 2012) — Three companies and one employee were honored at a luncheon Friday by the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM).

Universal Woods Inc., Denyo Manufacturing Corp. and Catlettsburg Refining LLC each won 2012 Kentucky Manufacturer of the Year awards and Larry Combs of Brown-Forman Corp. was named the 2012 Kentucky Manufacturing Employee of the Year award, according to Greg Higdon, president and CEO of the association.

Catlettsburg Refining LLC won in the large business category; Denyo Manufacturing Corp. won in the mid-size business vategory, and Universal Woods Inc. won in the small business category. Each was selected based on the following criteria:

- Innovative and entrepreneurial leadership with regard to products, production method, or services;

- Recognized leadership in making a key contribution to the quality of life in the Commonwealth and the community; and

- Active involvement in organizations that advance industry and manufacturing.

Employee of the Year nominees were judged based on four criteria, innovation, teamwork, community service and leadership.

The independent 2012 awards selection committee consisted of: Committee Chair Rich Cleary; member Frost Brown Todd LLC, Louisville; Dr. Larry Ferguson, Dean of Community, Workforce and Economic Development at Ashland Community & Technical College; Steve Kerrick, partner at Mountjoy Chilton Medley, LLP, Louisville; Mitch Skaggs, director, Worldwide Operations, Ashland, Inc., Lexington; Charlie Martin, Director of the Field Services Group of USEC, Inc., Paducah; Becky Naugle, Director of Kentucky Small Business Development Center, Lexington; and Gary Stewart, retired from Crowe Horwath, Louisville.

“On behalf of the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, I congratulate all of the winners of the 2012 Manufacturer and Employee of the Year Awards,” Higdon said, president and CEO of KAM. “These awards pay tribute to those from our manufacturing community who provide leadership, demonstrate high standards, and promote manufacturing here in the commonwealth. These winners embody all of those traits.”

About the winners

Larry Combs, Brown-Forman Corporation – 2012 Employee of the Year

Take a look at the accomplishments of Larry Combs and you’ll see why Brown-Forman Corp. is consistently a top innovator in the wine and spirits industry year after year, KAM said. As the senior vice president, director of technical services for Brown-Forman Corporation, Combs brings to his position a unique blend of innovative spirit, decisive leadership abilities, compassion for others and proven team development skills. Through his commitment to continued innovation and creative solutions, Combs has led the way in improving the profitability, marketability, and efficiency of several areas of the Brown-Forman production services group.

Combs excels in developing high-performance, cross-cultural teams as he successfully manages production operations services around the world.  Brown-Forman’s high standing as an environmental leader in their industry is directly related to the leadership and knowledge Combs provides. His understanding that environmental sustainability depends on teamwork and collaboration amongst departments is an integral part of this success.

Additionally, Combs has worked to re-establish Brown-Forman’s co-op program, helping it become a conduit for talented students to get experience and preparation needed for the workforce. He has worked with UofL to sponsor another community program, INSPIRE, designed to expose high school students with an interest in engineering to the opportunities that exist in the field.

Combs takes on every new challenge with the same spirit of innovation and teamwork, bringing leadership and expertise to every project he leads.

Universal Woods, Inc. – Small Business Manufacturer of the Year

Universal Woods prides itself on being a leading manufacturer of custom-coated materials serving the furniture, electronics, personalized products and Mezzanine flooring panels industries. Established in 1970, Universal Woods has grown to several locations and currently exports to over 40 countries.

To achieve such a high level of innovation and excellence, their employees actively participate in process improvement teams, cross training and voluntary onsite learning. No product or problem is too difficult or far-fetched for this company, KAM said. With unique products using unique technology, Universal Woods’ goal is to create the best possible product, all while adding success to their valued partners and employees.

High ethical standards and a commitment to a diverse workplace can be seen throughout the Universal Woods teams. Employees are encouraged to pursue college degrees through a company-funded education assistance program and Universal Woods has set a team goal to graduate 10 employees by 2020. The environment is a primary concern in all that Universal Woods does, evident by their voluntary choice to recycle all cardboard, steel strapping, office paper products, oils from maintenance and many other items.

Universal Wood’s continued customer-focused innovation, commitment to their employees, and their dedication to environmental causes makes them the perfect choice for the 2012 Manufacturer of the Year Award in the small business category, KAM said.

Denyo Manufacturing Corporation – Mid-Size Manufacturer of the Year

Denyo Manufacturing Corporation is a world leader in the manufacturing of engine-driven generators, welders and air compressors designed to be used as prime power units, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week in such applications as cell towers, drilling rigs, construction sites, outdoor concerts, and military field operations. In recent years, Denyo has shown extraordinary commitment to their employees, even during tough economic times. During 2008 and 2009, Denyo decided to have one-week shutdown periods each month in which employees were trained in lean manufacturing techniques, also adopting a four-day workweek. Environmental responsibility and cost savings are the driving factors behind Denyo’s commitment to recycling. In conjunction with the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center, Denyo has improved its recycling of scrap metal, cardboard, paper, plastics and wo od; reduced water and natural gas consumption; improved wastewater treatment; and achieved better management of process chemicals.  Recently, Denyo has even invested in a $7,000,000 expansion with the latest technologically advanced e-coating and powder-painting systems further illustrating its commitment to growth in Danville and Kentucky. Denyo is a valued member of their community, even going to the extraordinary measure of providing and later donating a large portable generator to the city of Danville after an ice storm and ensuing power outage threatened the city’s ability to provide safe drinking water. Denyo and its employees actively participate in local education-related projects, from the Chamber of Commerce’s Business-Education Exchange to hosting local high school classes for tours, job shadowing, and co-op opportunities.  For their dedication to their employees and local economy, their willingness to invest in their community and for continued envir onmental responsibility, we congratulate Denyo Manufacturing Corporation on their selection as the 2012 Manufacturer of the Year Award winner for a mid-sized company.

Catlettsburg Refining, LLC – Large Business Manufacturer of the Year

Catlettsburg Refining stands out as a leader in manufacturing. A large Kentucky-based entity with 800 employees and more than 700 contract workers, Catlettsburg Refining enhances the sustainability and long-term prosperity of the region. Catlettsburg refinery is part of Marathon Petroleum Company’s six-refinery system and has a capacity of over 200,000 barrels a day.

Diversity is an important value at Catlettsburg Refining.Their diversity team hosts an annual career fair for local eighth-grade students. This year, almost 3000 students attended with over 200 employees involved in presentations. The career fair is designed to help local students gain an interest in math and science curriculum prior to attending high school.

Catlettsburg Refining depends on many highly scientific, mathematical, and safety-related positions and many students who attend the career fair are surprised at the number of highly skilled positions available. To develop a positive influence in their community, Catlettsburg Refining has worked to build alliances through a Community Advisory Panel that includes neighbors, educators, public health workers, law enforcement and other local leaders.

As one of the largest employers in the Tri-state area, Catlettsburg Refining and its employees are committed to building and sustaining the strength of their community. Employees serve on the boards of 50 area organizations including Leadership Tri-State, several area chambers of commerce, Paramount Arts Center, Summer Motion family film festival, and Winter Wonderland of Light Festival. Catlettsburg Refining’s continued leadership and innovation, commitment to their community, and corporate advocacy makes them the perfect selection for the 2012 Manufacturer of the Year Award in the large company category.

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