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North Augusta manufacturing company has Olympic presence

Local company has Olympic presence

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This summer’s Olympic Games have a special significance for business partners and stepbrothers Rian True and Lee Jones.

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Carolina CoverTech co-owner Lee Jones (right) and Tommy Saxon, the director of operations, talk at the 21,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in North Augusta.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Carolina CoverTech co-owner Lee Jones (right) and Tommy Saxon, the director of operations, talk at the 21,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in North Augusta.

The line of products that Caro­lina CoverTech, their manufacturing company in North Augusta, makes for medical device company NormaTec was used by numerous athletes competing in London.

“Our employees really got a kick out of that,” True said.

A New York Times article about U.S. women’s soccer star Abby Wambach reported that a variety of athletes across several major team sports, along with cyclists and runners, are using NormaTec’s products, which are designed to enhance circulation and speed recovery.

That means big business for Carolina CoverTech. Sales have tripled in the past three months, Jones said.

In its 21,000-square-foot facility at 114 Shortcut Road, Carolina CoverTech designs and manufactures products in vinyl, cotton duck, acrylic and polyethylene. Its product line includes all types
of covers, from golf car accessories to boats. It also manufactures compression boots and arm sleeves for NormaTec.

Carolina CoverTech has 60 employees, including some who have worked there for more than 30 years. The business strives to have a tradition of family, fun and teamwork.

“Our goal is to be the highest-paying, best place to work,” Jones said.

True and Jones purchased the company in 2001 from Skip Jones, Jones’ father and True’s stepfather. True handles the day-to-day business operations, and Jones is responsible for manufacturing operations.

The company was founded in 1858 as a furniture store. It later developed into a window treatment business and in 1925 began manufacturing canvas awnings.

In 1976, civil engineer Skip Jones bought the company, then called Bailie’s Canvas, after serving five years as a consultant. The name of the business changed around 1995 to better reflect what it does.

True started at the company in 1986 and worked his way up. When he was young, Jones spent weekends at the business with his
father picking up cigarette butts for money. He grew up around the longtime employees.

“There’s always a challenge here every day to solve, so it gives me an opportunity to do what I love to do – work with my hands and figure out problems. Ownership or not, I would have still
been working here,” Jones said.

True said he sees growth in Carolina CoverTech’s future.

“I believe in a business like this, you can’t stay the same size. You have to grow because things happen, other companies come along that can do some of the things you do. I really think we’ll probably increase in size a great deal, six or eight times over the next 10 years,” True said.

RIAN TRUE

TITLE: President of Carolina CoverTech

BORN: April 5, 1968, in Augusta

EDUCATION: Augusta State University, bachelor’s degree in business administration

FAMILY: wife, Rhonda; children Dorian, Dianna and Dalton

CIVIC/EXTRACURRICULAR: Aiken Judicial District, Guardian ad Litem; member of True North Church; Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce

HOBBIES: Being outdoors, reading and creative arts, mentoring people in business and personal finance

LEE JONES

TITLE: Vice president of Carolina CoverTech

BORN: Aug. 7, 1969, in Augusta

EDUCATION: Attended University of South Carolina Aiken and Augusta College, majored in business

FAMILY: wife, Mary; children Cranston and Carson

CIVIC/EXTRACURRICULAR: member of Sweetwater Baptist Church; Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce

HOBBIES: Dirt track racing, Little League coach for North Augusta Recreation Center, attending Clemson University football games


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