MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Wednesday the Business Council of Alabama gave out awards for manufactures of the year, honoring the best small, medium, and large manufacturers.
ADTRAN in Huntsville took home the prize for Large Manufacturer of the Year, marking the second time the company has won the award. The company went from an initial seven employees to almost 2,200 today. The company supplies network equipment to the regional bell businesses and thousands of independent phone companies.
Birmingham Fastener and Supply won the Medium Sized Manufacturer of the Year. They are the south's largest and most diversified fastener supplier.
Ecovery LLC took home the Small Manufacturer of the Year, which helps recycle electronic waste.
"The big 'M' word is in here today, 'manufacturing.' And manufacturing means jobs." said Bill Canary.
Companies like Birmingham Fastener and Supply said they were honored to win the award and want to win again. However looking to the future, they want to see more people enter the field of manufacturing.
"What we need to do is work on the skills gap. Right now there are a lot of job opportunities but we are having trouble filling them in the jobs in the state," said Kevin Johnson, of Birmingham Fastener and Supply.
Canary said the key to closing that skills gap is education.
"Every child needs a 13-year education to compete in today's global environment. That means 12 years in school, that means graduating high school, competency in reading and writing and one more year of something," Canary said.