11/04/05 — Industries honored at annual celebration

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Industries honored at annual celebration

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on November 4, 2005 1:51 PM

Reuel Inc. was named Industry of the Year at the annual Wayne County Industry Celebration on Thursday night at the Goldsboro Country Club and Tom Buffkin, president of Franklin Baking Co., was named Industrialist of the Year.

A special award, the Supportive Employer of the Year, was given to the Wayne Opportunity Center.

The event was held at the Goldsboro Country Club.

Reuel designs and manufactures epoxy components for the electrical power equipment industry. The company has been heavily involved in community affairs since it opened its doors in 1987, said Joanna Thompson, the executive director of the Wayne County Economic Development Commission, which sponsored the banquet and the awards.

Larry and Sue Davis accepted the award on behalf of the company.

Thompson said it has become policy for the company to constantly invest in new equipment and industry, including a solvent recycling system that helps business and the environment. Beginning with two employees, Reuel Inc. has expanded its workforce and now runs operations in a 50,000 square-foot manufacturing facility, she said.

For the past 40 years, the Wayne Opportunity Center has been a vibrant community-based rehabilitation facility that works with individuals with physical and mental disabilities, said EDC officials. Through their work with vocational rehabilitation, employees at the center teach individuals job skills and help clients find employment.

"With the center's help, these special people become happy and productive producers," said Michelle Blackwell, the assistant director of the EDC, "not consumers."

Executive Director John Chance accepted the award on behalf of the center. Chance said none of the work the center accomplishes would be possible without the support it receives.

"Without the community, we couldn't be able to do what we do," Chance said.

Established in Wayne County in 1987, the Industry of the Year for 2005 has participated in more than 20 community organizations that benefit nearly every aspect of the county, Mrs. Thompson said. As an industry, Mrs. Thompson said Reuel has operated its international business solely from Wayne County.

Buffkin was recognized for leading Franklin to produce more than 100 million pounds of baked goods over the past five years, EDC officials said.

Aside from supporting various community agencies and programs, Mrs. Thompson said Franklin has a local workforce of 385 people and a network of more than 150 independent distributors. The work Franklin Baking has accomplished earned the company a Bronze Pinnacle Award for Excellence in 2004 from its parent company.

"It amazes me at the strength and cohesiveness of this county," Buffkin said. "We will try to do a better job of keeping Goldsboro smelling good."

Earlier in the day, community members and business leaders were given the opportunity to tour Ryerson Tull, Benton and Sons, Turkington APV USA and Southco Distributing Co.