HARRIMAN—The annual Roane County Industry Appreciation Breakfast was held at the end of May at Roane State Community College. The Roane County Industrial Board announced this year’s Industry of the Year and Roane Beautification Awards.
The event was sponsored by the Harriman Utility Board and Rockwood Electric Utility.
Thom Mason, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was the guest speaker, speaking about how the lab wants to be used as a resource to businesses and industry in the state—and especially to Roane County. More than 95 percent of the lab is in Roane County. According to Mason, more than $450 million in products and services were spent by the lab last year, with around 40 percent of that being spent in the state, and much of that from local business and industry.
Mason spoke about specific examples of how ORNL was working with local businesses to help them grow and develop. He encouraged industries in attendance to reach out to them for their help with any challenges they may have.
“ORNL is a research and technology facility,” Mason said. “If we can help business and industry expand and ultimately grow jobs, then we have done our job.”
Proton Power was named 2014 Roane County Industry of the Year, and Volkswagen received the 2014 Roane Beautification Award.
Proton Power is a nine-year-old company that began making hydrogen through a patented cellulose-to-hydrogen (CHyP) system in 2012. Now, Proton Power is one of the fastest growing industries in Roane County, expanding on their existing sites while also acquiring new ones, totaling five now. And all are located in Roane County—both in the Roane Regional Business and Technology Park, and more recently, at a newly purchased location in the Roane County Industrial Park.
“I have been amazed at just what is being accomplished right here (in Roane County) that is having an enormous impact on the world around us,” said Wade Creswell, president and chief executive officer of The Roane Alliance. “There is no greater example I know of than this year’s industry of the year—Proton Power.”
“We are proud to have Proton Power in our community and are excited for their future,” Creswell said, as he and Industrial Board Chair Tommy Thompson presented the award to Sean Hensley, the company’s human resource manager.
Also honored at the breakfast was Volkswagen Group of America with this year’s Beautification Award. The Beautification Award recognizes the efforts of a business that has exhibited a strong sense of community pride and a standard of excellence through the presentation of their facilities on a consistent basis.
“This award is more about community pride and living up to a high standard than it is about the appearance of a structure and the grounds that surround it,” said Creswell. “The winner of this year’s award brought with them a standard for excellence in everything they do.”
Creswell and Thompson presented the award to John Kutz, senior manager of VW’s South East Distribution Center, adding that “the impact that their facility has on people passing by leaves a very positive impression for our community at large…this is in recognition of their commitment to excellence.”
Thompson also announced special recognition this year for David Webb for his tireless dedication and commitment as the outgoing board chair after serving seven years and as a board member since 1996.
The Roane County Industrial Board is a partner in the Roane Alliance, Roane County’s economic development organization. Other partners include the Roane County Chamber and the Visitor’s Bureau.