10/16/13 — Alliance taps Industry of the Year at annual local awards ceremony

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Alliance taps Industry of the Year at annual local awards ceremony

By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 16, 2013 1:46 PM

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SPX Transformer Solutions is Wayne County’s Industry of the Year. The award was presented during the Wayne County Industry Celebration at Walnut Creek Country Club. Front row, from left, are SPX officials Alan Heath, operations manager, Larry Miller, vice president and general manager, and Tonya France, human resources manager; standing are Joanna Helms, president of the Wayne County Development Alliance, SPX officials Nate Williams, purchasing manager, Rodolph King, planning and inventory manager, Gil Olafson, technical manager, and Mike Haney, the Development Alliance vice president.

SPX Transformer Solutions of Dudley Tuesday night was honored as Wayne County's Industry of the Year.

Founded in 1966, and formerly known as Heavy-Duty Electric, the company has about 300 employees, with additional ones expected in the near future.

SPX manufactures heavy-duty transformers for power transmission and generation companies as well as for industry and consumer products.

The award was presented during the Wayne County Industry Celebration at Walnut Creek Country Club.

The annual event honoring the county's industries is sponsored by the Wayne County Development Alliance.

"We are here tonight to say thank you and to honor our existing industries who mean so much to the economy and vitality of Wayne County," Alliance Chairman Neal Benton said.

Wayne County counts on its existing industry for economic stability and growth, Alliance Vice President Mike Haney said.

The county has about 60 manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and machine shops that employ nearly 9,000 people, Haney said.

"They all play a very significant role," he said. "They invest money and pay taxes. They employ our citizens. They contribute to local charities, festivals and they provide our community with leaders and leadership."

SPX is "truly remarkable," he said.

"They are involved in all areas of our community including civic clubs, local charities and our public schools and colleges," Haney said. "Company safety and education top their company policies."

Examples of their contributions include support of non-profit organizations like the United Way, Wayne Opportunity Center and Red Cross, he said.

SPX also participates in school career fairs and provides tours for students as well, Haney said.

The company has also partnered with Wayne Community College in several areas including an introduction to manufacturing class that prepares students for a career in manufacturing, he said.

It offers employees free on-site health assessments each year and provides professional growth opportunities for them through additional training and through an education assistance program, he said.

"It is a wonderful benefit and honor for us to have this award," said Larry Miller, SPX vice president and general manager. "We have a tremendous team here -- a highly motivated and very results-oriented group. "We have been growing steadily since 2009. With next year's volume, we are looking at about a 100-person increase since 09."

Production volume has been "pretty good," but the company has been in the throes of competition, Miller said.

"Two foreign sources have come onshore, so we are challenged that way," he said. "But we have a tremendous team, and we have been doing really well with meeting the demands of the competition."

Volume has increased by about 10 percent over the past four years, and the company has invested in the Dudley operation, Miller said.