The Lancaster County Department of Economic Development recognized three businesses with Industry of the Year awards at Monday night’s county council meeting. Jamie Gilbert, Economic Development Director, presented top awards to the companies in three categories based on their number of employees: small (1-99 workers), medium (100-299 workers) and large (more than 300 workers).
“When I was hired as your Economic Development Director last July, I made the promise that existing industry would be our No. 1 priority, because those are the companies that are here making the investments in our community and creating the jobs,” Gilbert said. “They come first before any new industry.”
FabFours, designer and manufacturer of steel bumpers, increased its workforce by nearly 80 percent in three years, from 27 employees to 84.
“FabFours has put $1.8 million into their business,” Gilbert said. “But it’s how they treat their employees that makes them special.”
The company, located on Industrial Park Drive, has a no-layoff policy and goes to great lengths to keep its employees through economic downturns, he noted.
FabFours has donate specialized parts to the Lancaster Police Department for its shooting range and bumpers to Lancaster County Fire Rescue.
Gilbert presented the awards to Mike Higgs, president and founder, and his team: Jennifer Horne, operation specialist, and Mike Cauthen, production manager.
Higgs accepted the award with a promise that the six-year-old company will continue to grow.
“From day one, we intended to go national,” Higgs said. “We are Lancaster. We sell everywhere, but we make them here.”
Higgs and FabFours have been featured on the national TV show “Jay Leno’s Garage.”
Indian Land-based PCI Group took top honors as industry of the Year in the medium-sized category. The family-owned business prints and delivers financial, health care and insurance documents.
Since 2014 PCI has invested $4.73 million in its facility, more than doubled sales, and increased it workforce from 89 employees to 230.
Gilbert presented the award to Skip Pawul, executive vice president, and Debbie Stikleather, human resources director.
Pawul said the company moved from Long Island, N.Y., to Lancaster County in 1970 “and it was the best decision we ever made.”
“We jokingly say we are in the promised land now,” he said. “County council always has our back.”
PCI Group, despite being located in the uppermost portion of the county, hires more county residents than many other Panhandle businesses, Gilbert said.
County council Chair Steve Harper praised that effort.
“Their employment of county residents is twice that of many other businesses in the area, and they are one of the most active businesses anywhere in the county when it comes to civic causes and organizations,” he said.
Pawul said the county provides a great workforce and he looks forward to hiring more residents.
Nutramax laboratories took home the large Industry of the Year award.
The family-owned business researches, develops and manufactures health products for people and their pets. The company’s brands include Dasuquin and Cosequin, joint-health supplements for dogs, cats and horses, and Cosamin, a joint health supplement for humans.
“They moved their corporate headquarters from Maryland to Lancaster in 2010,” Gilbert said. “And they have been literally on fire since.”
Since 2014, Nutramax has invested more than $12 million, increased sales by a third, and hired 100 employees, taking their total workforce to 320.
Gilbert praised the company’s community involvement, which includes work with the Chamber of Commerce, Lancaster County schools, police department, fire rescue and numerous civic causes.
Harper commended the company’s commitment to the community.
“It’s difficult to put into words just how much Nutramax Laboratories means to Lancaster County. The company made a commitment to locate here shortly after Springs Industries closed the last of its textile operations and our unemployment rate was the highest in the state,” he said.
“They brought good-paying manufacturing jobs to a community that was in desperate need of them and have continued to invest in Lancaster County, but not just with new facilities and jobs.”
He went on to say, “We are a far better county today than we were in 2010 when they arrived and much of the positive change we’ve experienced can be attributed to their presence, involvement and leadership.”
Gilbert presented the award to Nutramax founder Dr. Bob Henderson and company executives including Dr. Todd Henderson, president and CEO; Dr. Troy Henderson, executive vice president; and Kristen Blanchard, vice president for external corporate affairs.
“I would like to thank Lancaster County for believing in us. The benefits from the state and county made all of this possible, and we want to see that you get it back,” Bob Henderson said. “We do not want to be a burden to the taxpayers, and we are doing everything we can to pay that back. We want you to see that this was a good investment.”
Our area’s superior connectivity by road, rail, air, and water transportation keeps companies connected to the Southeast, the nation, and the world. We’re well served by trucking companies and rail, and just a short trip from Charlotte Douglas International Airport and four ocean ports.