Silver Crescent Award Winners Recognized for Manufacturing Excellence in South Carolina

May 7, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – May 5, 2008 – Some of the state’s top manufacturing operations, Floralife, Inc. of Walterboro, BorgWarner TorqueTransfer Systems of Seneca, and Milliken and Company of Spartanburg were recognized with the prestigious Silver Crescent Awards for Manufacturing Excellence as part of the Salute to Manufacturing awards luncheon at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

Presented by the Silver Crescent Foundation and the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the prestigious Salute to Manufacturing was attended by more than 400 business leaders and elected officials. The Salute to Manufacturing has been held for 12 years in Greenville, and this is the first time the event was held in Columbia. Senator Lindsey Graham provided the keynote address, and Congressman Gresham Barrett presented BorgWarner its award.

“These companies represent the best of the best in South Carolina,” said Gary Foster, president of Automation Engineering Corporation and chairman of the Silver Crescent Foundation. “All of these companies play vital roles in the communities where they do business, providing valuable jobs, contributing to the tax base and giving back to their communities by supporting charities and mentoring young people. They are positive reminders of why manufacturing is still the cornerstone of South Carolina’s economy and we salute their ongoing success!”

Judged by an independent panel, the three winning companies’ nominations demonstrated their manufacturing excellence and commitment to workforce enhancement, and described their community involvement, including efforts to support local educational opportunities and resources. A more detailed overview on each of the winners is attached.

In addition to the Silver Crescent Awards, winners of the 2008 Student Design Challenge were recognized and presented awards by Congressman Joe Wilson and Superintendent of Education Jim Rex. Anisa Snipes, a fifth grader from Fairforest Elementary School in Spartanburg, was the elementary school recipient. Viral Desai, a seventh grader from Fairforest Middle also in Spartanburg, took top honors for the middle school category. And Jennifer Fortner, a sophomore at Byrnes High School in Duncan, won for the best design by a high school student.

At the conclusion of the Salute, Dr. Charles Gould, president of Florence-Darlington Technical College announced that the 2009 event will be held in Florence at the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing Technology.

Student Design Challenge winners:
Elementary School – Calendar Design – sponsored by SC Research Authority
1st place – Anisa Snipes, fifth grader, Fairforest Elementary School, Spartanburg
2nd place – Skyler Tallman, fourth grader, AR Lewis Elementary School, Pickens
3rd place – Amanda Rickert, fourth grader, Charles Townes Center, Greenville

Middle School – Tote Bag Design – sponsored by CPM Federal Credit Union
1st place – Viral Desai, seventh grader, Fairforest Middle School, Spartanburg
2nd place – Davina Felder, eighth grader, William J. Clark Middle School, Orangeburg
3rd place – Eric Woody, eighth grader, Hickory Tavern Middle School, Gray Court

High School – T-shirt Design – sponsored by Automation Engineering Corporation
1st place – Jennifer Fortner, tenth grader, James F. Byrnes High School, Duncan
2nd place – Ariel Black, ninth grader, West-Oak High School, Westminster
3rd place – Martin Guzman, tenth grader, Beaufort-Jasper Academy, Ridgeland

2008 Silver Crescent Award Winners
Small Manufacturer Silver Crescent Award winner – Floralife, Inc., headquartered in Walterboro, produces chemical products to support the floral industry in post-harvest care, including treatments to protect freshness, wettable florists’ foam, agricultural and greenhouse products, and flower food. The company introduced its first fresh flower food in 1938.

Through its commitment to a positive work environment and the overall quality of life of its 45 employees, Floralife has improved its worker turnover rate from 30 percent four years ago to no turnover in 2007. And this occurred during a period of growth for the company, especially for increased exports, which have grown more than 450 percent over the last two years. Examples of Floralife’s commitment to its workforce development include an education reimbursement program, an employee assistance program, recognition of outstanding team members, a three-year cross training plan and strategies for meeting individual education goals.

Floralife supports a variety of education and literacy programs and special projects in Colleton County, including job shadowing for students at Thunderbolt Career and Technology Center and the local middle schools. Employees serve as mentors and tutors for local students, and facility tours support student career exploration.

Floralife demonstrates its community support through participating in the local Relay for Life to support cancer research, helping the local historical society and supporting unique projects such as the printing and binding of a book illustrated by local children. In addition, Floralife’s environmental programs have reduced the company’s landfill contribution by more than 90 percent over the last three years and have virtually eliminated airborne emissions.

Medium Manufacturer Silver Crescent Award winner – BorgWarner TorqTransfer Systems, Inc., located in Seneca, produces four-wheel drive systems for several major automotive OEMs.

The company’s continued growth is evidenced by a $13 million expansion announced in September 2007 and a $3 million investment to support a next generation product assembly, resulting in over 80 jobs.

To support its need for a qualified workforce for future growth, BorgWarner has played an active role in the Pendleton Regional Education Center, Tri-County Technical College and a variety of other educational programs.

BorgWarner’s commitment to its associates is reflected in its exemplary safety record and its focus on employee wellness. An on-site health clinic, fitness center and an annual health fair support employees as they strive for a healthy lifestyle.

Community involvement by BorgWarner and its employees includes direct support of local schools, Boy Scout Troop 23, the Cromer Soldier Support Fund for families of deployed troops, March of Dimes, Relay for Life, the Salvation Army, the Outdoor Dream Foundation for children with special needs, Collins Children’s Home and many more organizations with local, national and international impact.

Large Manufacturer Silver Crescent Award winner – Milliken and Company, headquartered in Spartanburg, SC, produces a variety of chemical and textile products, including plastic additives, carpet, performance fabrics and custom-engineered specialty textiles. The company is one of the world’s largest privately held textile and chemical manufacturers.

Worldwide, Milliken has supported a variety of education initiatives, including partnering with local schools, purchasing supplies and allowing associates to serve as tutors for students in grades K – 12. Locally, the Milliken-Wofford Summer Leadership Institute provides a unique leadership training opportunity for high school seniors, and the partnership continues with the company’s college intern program.

With approximately 10,000 employees world-wide, Milliken and Company has made commitment to the workforce a cornerstone of its operations, as evidenced by its fourth appearance on Fortune’s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For in America” announced in February 2008.

Milliken’s corporate culture of “doing the right things the right way” is exemplified by its focus on ethics, safety, well
ness, education and diversity. Milliken is included in Ethisphere Magazine’s ranking of “The World’s Most Ethical Companies” and was named one of Occupational Hazards Magazine’s “17 Safest Companies in America.”

Milliken and Company has long promoted environmental stewardship and extensive recycling. The Spartanburg facility includes more than 600 acres of trees, ponds, fountains and walking trails, as well as one of the largest corporate educational arboretums in the country. Associates provide an exceptional amount of community support, including participating in local educational initiatives and fundraising for March of Dimes, the United Way and several other local charities.