By Ross Norton
Bobby Hitt was presented Human Technologies Inc. Lifetime Achievement Award today at the annual SCMEP Salute to Manufacturing Awards luncheon that caps off the S.C. Manufacturing Conference and Expo.
The award winners were announced during a special luncheon following the two-day conference and a keynote address by Gov. Henry McMaster. The governor helped present the awards along with Rick Jenkins, group publisher of SC Biz News.
Hitt served as secretary of the S.C. Department of Commerce from the time he was appointed by former governor Nikki Haley until his retirement earlier this year. A former journalist, his work in economic development began when he went to work for Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, where he played a role in recruiting BMW Manufacturing to Spartanburg County and subsequently became one of the first BMW employees. He served as manager of public affairs for the plant until his appointment to the Commerce Department. Much of the department’s focus during his tenure was on recruiting manufacturers to the Palmetto State and growing those companies already here.
Jenkins announced that, starting with next year’s Salute to Manufacturing luncheon, the award for lifetime achievement will be named for Chuck Spangler, the late executive director of the S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Spangler and SCMEP annually played a significant role in the overall conference and the awards ceremony.
“It’s appropriate to name the lifetime achievement award in Chuck’s memory because he dedicated so much of his life to the service of manufacturing — to raising the industry to higher standards and bringing the rest of the state up with it,” Jenkins said. “It didn’t feel the same hosting this year’s conference without him, but the impression he and his colleagues at SCMEP made for this industry will not soon be forgotten.”
SCMEP plays a key role in the conference, offering training courses to help make manufacturers better.
“Every year from the stage I said manufacturers in this state have no better friend than Chuck and SCMEP, and I meant it,” Jenkins said.
Other awards presented during the conference’s capstone luncheon included:
- Emerging Manufacturer of the Year Awards went to Samsung Electronics Home Appliances America LLC and Advanced Metalworks LLC. Alimex Precision in Aluminum was a finalist in the category.
- Humimic Medical was named Innovator of the Year. Finalists for the honor were Stanley Black & Decker and Nucor Steel.
- The Outreach Award was taken home by South Atlantic Canners while Komatsu America Corp. and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions LLC were recognized as finalists.
- Smart Move New Plant Awards were given to Leisure Pools and Spas, Mark Anthony Brewing and Niagara Bottling. The honor recognizes those companies that chose South Carolina over other locations to invest in new facilities.
- Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp., Santa Cruz Nutritionals and Techtronic Industries received the Smart Move SC Expansion Award. The award recognizes companies already in South Carolina that chose to spend their growth resources in the state by expanding locally.
- Pleasurecraft Engine Group won the Transformation and Operational Excellence Award. Intertape Polymer Group and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions LLC were finalists in the category.