The companies employing this year’s Georgia “Faces of Manufacturing” may not sound exotic, but many hail from far beyond the U.S.

The Georgia Tech Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which provides technical assistance to many of the state’s more than 10,000 factories, each year since 2015 has profiled some of the people who keep the state’s production facilities humming.

More than 20 picks for for 2017 have been whittled down to a top-10 list, and voting on YouTube videos and Facebook postings of the finalists through Aug. 23 will determine this year’s final three winners to be unveiled in October.  

Some work for international subsidiaries based in Georgia, such as Japanese firms Koyo Bearings, Advics Manufacturing Georgia LLC, and YKK AP Americas or Korea’s Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia. Others came to the U.S. from abroad or work at companies with substantial export operations or global offices. 

Susanne Lauda of AGCO Corp. was born in Germany, where she started her career with an apprenticeship as a technical draftsman. She parlayed that into a shop-floor job, later becoming a production engineer. She came to the U.S. to work on the space shuttle, eventually gaining American citizenship. She now works at AGCO implementing a smart manufacturing platform across its widespread global plants. 

“Today I lead a team across three continents, helping implement new manufacturing processes and tools,” she said in her profile, where she also noted her work promoting the role of women in manufacturing. 

In his video, Brian Ezell of Zep Inc. says he has been with the chemical company for 27 years, earning his stripes on the production floor before moving into a supervisory role. The Atlanta-based company sells cleaning, automotive and other chemical products around the world. 

“I enjoy working with people: teaching people coaching people training people,” Mr. Ezell said. 

Other top-10 nominees include Marten Hutchison of Shaw Industries, a global flooring company and Jeremy Little of Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville, Ga. 

See the list and vote on Facebook here

The top-20 included exporters like KaMin, which sells kaolin around the world, as well as local firms like Monday Night Brewing

See that list of 2017 “Faces” here

Learn more about the Faces of Manufacturing initiative and read the stories here

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...