Movers and Makers winners celebrate their awards. Photo: Partnership Gwinnett

Perhaps a bit oddly for a county home to some 600 international companies, Gwinnett’s annual celebration of manufacturing and logistics was all about the U.S. this year. 

The Partnership Gwinnett Movers and Makers Awards March 29 were a relatively patriotic affair, a bit of a departure from events in previous years showcasing the county’s global links or the international reach of some of its major corporates. 

Last year’s winners included Germany’s Kraiburg TPE and Japan’s OFS, among other international subsidiaries, and AGCO Corp. CEO Martin Richenhagen spoke about his company’s global manufacturing base. 

No one mentioned President Donald Trump’s plan to “make America great again,” but the theme of manufacturing revival was woven this year throughout acceptance speeches from manufacturer of the year award winners in the small, medium and large categories. 

Displayit’s founders were fed up with printing going to China, so they brought the trade show display company’s work back to Suwanee, Ga., where they now employ 75 people. 

Okabashi, the footwear manufacturer which has sold 30+ million pairs around the world since the 1980s, said foreign buyers love to see their American-made label. “We hope to be an ambassador for ‘responsibly made in the USA’ both here and abroad,” CEO Sara Irvani said. 

Lund International, which makes accessories that help drivers personalize their vehicles, “believes in American manufacturing” so much that it moved a factory from Asia to Lawrenceville, where the company now employs 600 people, according to one executive. 

Other award winners included: 

  • Small Supply Chain Pioneer of the Year Award Winner (1-49 employees): Firefly Buys, an e-commerce fulfillment company 
  • Large Supply Chain Pioneer of the Year Award Winner (50+ employees): Rehrig Pacific Company, which makes beverage packaging 
  • The Corporate Citizen Award went to Alternative Apparel, which makes basics like T-shirts and hoodies — “clothes for the modern creative” — in out of recycled and organic materials.
  • Spectrum Staffing was named Most Valuable Provider to the manufacturing and supply chain industries.

Chris Gaffney, president of Coca-Cola’s National Product Supply Group, spoke about how the company is innovating along its supply chain to meet new consumer preferences toward smaller container sizes and fresher, farm-to-table offerings, as well as industry trends like digitization.  

Learn more about Movers and Makers 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...