Augusta’s lead industrial recruiting agency on Tuesday presented its “Manufacturer of the Year” award to a company that, technically, doesn’t make anything.
But without it, economic development officials said, many manufacturers in the area would be in a serious bind.
Augusta-based RBW Logistics took top industry honors at the Development Authority of Richmond County’s second annual “Celebration of Industries” luncheon at the Augusta Country Club. The selection of the family-owned trucking and warehousing firm was unexpected to many in attendance – including the recipients.
“Wow – what a surprise,” RBW President Charles Anderson said. “We’re really surprised and really honored.”
Development Authority Chairman Henry Ingram noted RBW provides much more than traditional transportation and warehousing services, including packaging and light assembly work, supply-chain management and operational support.
RBW, he said, “is helping to make manufacturing more lean, more effective and more creative. Without this company, many of our manufacturers would be searching for the solutions that this company provides.”
Formerly known as Richmond Bonded Warehouse, RBW’s roots date back to 1954 in downtown Augusta, when it was founded as a sugar and chocolate broker for Augusta’s Murray Biscuit Co., which is now part of Kellogg Inc. Today, RBW operates 2 million square feet of space at 10 facilities throughout the metro area and services about 80 percent of the county’s industrial base.
Amderson’s son, Frank, who joined the business in 1996 and is its vice president, said the company couldn’t have grown to its present size without its 100-employee team and long list of manufacturing clients, such as Textron Specialized Vehicles, Kimberly-Clark and Kellogg.
“We appreciate the challenges you throw at us,” he said. “We enjoy solving problems.”
Development Authority Executive Director Walter Sprouse said the award’s name likely will be changed next year to “Industry of the Year” to broaden the category to service-based companies and light industry.
Last year’s winner was Elanco, the animal health division of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co., which manufactures products that increase milk production in dairy cows.
As with last year’s award, the recipient was selected by a committee of the Southern Economic Development Council, an Atlanta-based group representing economic developers in 17 states.
This year’s featured speaker was former professional football player Dave Rowe, who was on the Oakland Raiders’ Super Bowl XI team and the first of Joe Paterno’s Penn State players to get drafted to the NFL. After retiring from football, Rowe worked as a sports broadcaster and, later, as a public relations manager for a North Carolina member-owned electric cooperative.
Of all his coaches, Rowe said the ones he admired most were his two high school coaches, who taught him the meaning of the school’s CHAMPS acronym: courage, heart, attitude, mind, pride and sacrifice.
Those attributes are as important to success in the business world as they are on the football field, he said.
“This room is certainly filled with champs in every essence of the word,” Rowe said. “You’re here because your companies feel that you are the heart of their company….you represent your company and you should be proud of it.”
Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3352 or firstname.lastname@example.org.