11/05/04 — Top industry and industrialist named

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Top industry and industrialist named

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on November 5, 2004 2:01 PM

Pate Dawson Co. was named Thursday as Wayne County's Industry of the Year.

And Tony Worrell Jr., president of Wayco Ham, was named Industrialist of the Year.

The awards were presented at the Economic Development Commission's annual celebration, held at the Goldsboro Country Club.

The awards have been given since 1989, and both honors are given to recognize contributions to the county's job market and for civic involvement. The five past winners make the selection.

Pate Dawson Co., which began in 1885, has been a member of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, a contributor to the Wayne Community Foundation, a participant in the United Way, the American Red Cross, the Boys & Girls Club, WAGES and the Salvation Army.

It provides an award-winning Web site that posts current employment opportunities, and this year it has created over 100 new jobs due to company growth.

It has established several programs to advance the education and training for employees, said Joanna Thompson, EDC president.

The company offers free flu vaccinations, a wellness physical, annual eye exams and two annual dental exams. In 1993, it considered relocating its entire local operation to another N.C. community, but decided to remain in Goldsboro. In 1994, then-Gov. Jim Hunt came to dedicate its new plant, which was the first business in the county's industrial park, she said.

Accepting the award for Pate Dawson were Mike Pate Jr., chairman, and Mac Sullivan Jr., president.

"It is a great pleasure to live in Wayne County, we are thrilled to be adding jobs here," said Sullivan.

Top industrialist

Worrell has worked for and now runs the family business for 36 years. Wayco Ham employs 35 people and recently expanded to increase production, said Ms. Thompson.

He has been active in the Chamber of Commerce and has served in numerous leadership roles including with the Military Affairs Committee and the Seymour Support Council.

Wayco Ham was the winner of the Small Business of the Year award. Worrell helps employees find housing and funding when necessary and works very closely with his office staff, plant manager and sales staff, she said.

He serves on the United Way Campaign Committee and is a WATCH contributor. In 2003, he completed the Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii.

"Everybody I have ever worked with deserves this award, thank you very much," said Worrell.

According to Ms. Thompson, around 210 people attended the reception and awards banquet. Earlier in the day, around 45 people toured Boling Furniture, Cooper Bussmann, and Reuel & Lemuel plants.

She said that last year in Wayne County over 400 jobs were created by existing industry, and so far this year, the EDC is aware of over 200 jobs created.

"It never ceases to amaze me at how dedicated they (industry leaders) are to not only ensuring a good bottom line for their company, but also their commitment to keep their operations here in Wayne County," she said. "They do have choices and the competition for retention of industry is just as fierce as the recruitment competition."