General Shale was the oldest company recognized by NETREP at the ceremony. The newest was FWG Special Springs, which began its operations in 2013.
Scott Ledford, human resources director for General Shale, said the “caliber of the people in the area” is one reason his company has kept its headquarters in Johnson City for so long. He said another has been its “willingness to adapt to change and new technologies” in today’s business climate.
“That’s one of the reasons we are one of the largest manufacturers of brick and masonry materials in North America,” Ledford said.
General Shale has 1,350 employees throughout the United States and Canada. Of that number, 150 work at one of its facilities in Johnson City, Piney Flats or Kingsport. Ledford said General Shale’s parent company is based in Vienna, Austria, and is one of the largest corporations of its kind in the world.
Mitch Miller, the economic partnership’s CEO, said the Milestone Achievement awards are an important way to recognize economic contributions companies like General Shale make to the community. He said General Shale and the other companies honored at the ceremony represent a combined 355 years of operation in Carter, Unicoi and Washington counties.
“We don’t always take the time to thank the folks who create the jobs and help our economic development in the region,” Miller said.
Other companies recognized by NETREP on Wednesday included Bolton Concrete Products Inc, founded in 1953; MiniFibers Inc., which has operated since 1968; HEXPOL Compounding, in business since 1973; International Paper, which began in 1953: Ritecreen, which was founded in 1993: and Borla Performance Industries Inc., which has operated since 2008.