10/29/10 — AP Exhaust takes home Industry of Year honors

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AP Exhaust takes home Industry of Year honors

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on October 29, 2010 2:12 PM

An established industrial powerhouse and small manufacturer on the rise were honored at an awards ceremony Thursday that capped the Wayne County Industry Celebration week sponsored by the county's Develop-ment Alliance.

AP Exhaust Products was selected as the Industry of the Year, and Goldsboro Machine Works was given the Get-R-Done Award for small businesses.

The event was held at the Walnut Creek Country Club. The annual celebration started with a golf tournament Monday at Lane Tree Golf Club. Business and government leaders toured local industries on Wednesday.

The celebration is aimed at giving the community an opportunity to reflect on the importance of industry to the county and to allow business leaders to show their support of the companies that choose to call Wayne home, said Joanna Helms, president of the alliance, a public-private non-profit organization designed to boost economic development.

AP Exhaust Products, located on Dixie Trail, is one of the county's largest manufacturing employers, with 365 full-time workers, nearly 80 added this year. The company produces and supplies a complete line of automotive, light truck, SUV and heavy-duty exhaust and emissions products such as catalytic converters and mufflers. It was founded in 1927 and has maintained a manufacturing plant in Goldsboro since 1974.

The company is involved in every area of the community, from civic groups to charities to education, said Tom Buffkin, president of Franklin Baking Co., the winner of last year's Industry of the Year award.

"They are excellent corporate citizens. They always step up to the plate when they're needed," Buffkin said, noting AP's support of Communities in Schools, the Boys & Girls Club, the Boy Scouts, the Relay for Life and Wayne Opportunity Center, among others.

AP Exhaust Products provides additional training and educational opportunities for its employees and also has a "Wellness at Work," program in place that brings a nurse to the plant twice a week.

Vange Proimos, the president and CEO of AP Exhaust Products, credited his employees' work ethic with his company's success.

"We strive to do the right thing for our employees and our customers and that's what makes us successful," he said.

Goldsboro Machine Works has been in business since 1977. The company, located on U.S. 70 West, recently earned its ISO 9001:2008 certification, giving the company the ability to perform work for the aerospace industry. The production machine shop has 10 employees and added three this past year. It produces parts made from everything from stainless steel to plastic.

DeAnna McCullen of Goldsboro Machine Works said she was caught completely off guard by the award.

"I'm honored and humbled that they chose us out of all of Wayne County," she said.

Mike Haney, vice president of the alliance and its existing industry specialist, noted that the 60 industries in the country form one of the pillars of its economic foundation, employing more than 9,000 people. He said the past year has been a challenging one for most every business but that many local industries have seen demand for their products pick up and have added jobs in the past year.