11/03/06 — Excell Home Fashions is industry of year in Wayne

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Excell Home Fashions is industry of year in Wayne

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on November 3, 2006 1:45 PM

Excell Home Fashions was named Wayne County's Industry of the Year Thursday night by the Wayne County Development Alliance.

The award is given annually to a business in recognition of its contributions to Wayne County's economy, its civic involvement and leadership, Alliance President Joanna Thompson said.

The banquet at the Walnut Creek Country Club capped the organization's Industry Celebration Week, which honors the importance of the county's industries to its job market and overall economy.

Excell Home Fashions' leadership, represented by Vice President of Operations Jerry Bankhead and Human Resources Manager Fletcher Bizzell, accepted the trophy and plaque on behalf of the company, which provides home and bathroom furnishings to major companies through its Goldsboro plant.

Bankhead said he was surprised by the honor, and noted that the recognition should go to each employee who works to continue the company's success.

Excell Home Fashions, which is a distributor to companies such as Wal-Mart and Target, was recently ranked 74th statewide in Business North Carolina magazine as one the state's most successful private companies.

Part of this success comes from the holding of regular management supervisor training meetings and breakfast meetings with all of the company's associates, said Mike Haney, the alliance's existing industry specialist.

Excell Home Fashions, which began operations in 1962 and employs about 200 people, also ensures increased productivity with its emphasis on health and wellness programs, Haney said. They include having a full-time nurse on staff, a daily exercise program, a walking trail, a cardiac risk profile and mammograms for female employees. The health-oriented programs have enabled the company to accumulate four million man-hours with no lost days since October 1998.

Excell also was recognized for its involvement in the community. Haney said Excell Home Fashions is an active participant in many charitable organizations including the United Way, The Lighthouse, the American Red Cross, Meals on Wheels and The Salvation Army.

Some of the company's employees also give their time to Relay for Life, a volunteer fire department, the Community Soup Kitchen and the Goldsboro Rotary Club, Haney said.

The industry recognition ceremony began as a one-day event in 1989 and has continued to expand over the years, Ms. Thompson said. In coming years, officials plan to include more activities, making future celebrations a full week of event, she said.

Future celebrations could include softball, bowling or fishing tournaments that would be intended not only for company executives, but employees and their families as well, Ms. Thompson said.

Last year's recipients were Larry and Sue Davis of Reuel Inc. as Industry of the Year and Tom Buffkin of Franklin Baking as Industrialist of the Year. The two awards were combined into one Industry of the Year award to recognize the company and its executives, Ms. Thompson said.

This year's Industry Celebration Week began Monday with a superball golf tournament at the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course. Tom Buffkin, Eric Lewis and David Frankum of Franklin Baking and Mike Pate of Pate Dawson Co. won first place with a score of 54.