2017 Georgia Automotive Award Winners Named

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

The Georgia Department of Economic Development announced the winners of the second annual Georgia Automotive Awards. The awards are designed to recognize automotive leaders throughout the state, and to honor them for the contributions they have made to build a robust automotive ecosystem in Georgia.
“Congratulations to this year’s Georgia Automotive Award winners,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Georgia has become a global hub for many industries, and the continued growth from one of our most important sectors, automotive, shows no sign of slowing down. While Georgia has worked hard to cultivate the nation’s top business environment, and provide the resources and workforce this industry needs to thrive – it would be nothing without the commitment from automotive companies and their many suppliers who continue to discover the unrelenting benefits of doing business in Georgia. The winners announced, and the many other automotive companies in Georgia are a large part of why we continue to attract multi-million dollar investments from all around the world.”
Nominees in each of the five categories were voted on by members of the Georgia Automotive Awards committee which include members from the Georgia Automotive Manufacturing Association, Georgia Tech, the Georgia Economic Developers Association and many others. The committee was assembled by GDEcD, and included a diverse cross-section of experts with a deep understanding of the automotive industry.
2017 Georgia Automotive Award winners include:
Georgia Automotive Company of the Year
Winner: Lund International, Buford
Lund International is a U.S. based leading designer and manufacturer of automotive accessories for passenger cars, Jeeps, and light, medium and heavy-duty trucks. Creating and offering the industry's broadest range of solution-oriented products for consumers to use in protecting and customizing their vehicles, Lund International products are marketed under the brand names of AMP Research, AVS, Belmor, Bushwacker, LUND, Rampage Products, Roadworks Manufacturing, Roll-N-Lock, Stampede and Tonno Pro.  Through its dynamic business model, Lund International has acquired eight businesses in four years, increased jobs in Georgia and relocated jobs from overseas.
Community Impact Award
Winner: Mercedes-Benz USA, Atlanta
MBUSA has an extensive history of community involvement and employee volunteerism, and the company wasted no time finding ways to leverage this experience for the benefit of Atlanta. Two years after its move, MBUSA is involved with more than 50 organizations that support its effort to empower, educate and enable the next generation and address local needs in the community. One of MBUSA’s key priorities is Atlanta’s Westside, an area surrounding the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.  Along with its national partner Laureus Sport for Good, MBUSA is investing in after-school sports programs to improve the health, education, employment and social and emotional well-being of local youth. In a multi-year commitment, the company is contributing nearly $5 million to measurable programs that will help create a bright future for the youth of the Westside.
Innovator of the Year
Winner: Elan Technology, Midway
Elan Technology always strives to provide their customers with the highest quality products by adhering to their quality management system, which focuses on continual improvement and emphasizes defect prevention and the reduction of variation and waste in the supply chain. Elan has helped develop and evaluate glasses for the next generation of oxygen sensors in automobiles. This improvement increased engine response time when transferring needed information to the emissions control system, allowing engines to effectively react and reduce emissions.
Georgia Automotive Supplier of the Year
Winner: TD Automotive Compressor Georgia and Toyota Industries Compressor Parts America, Co., Pendergrass
TACG and TICA use the most advanced technology, and actively work with both their customers and suppliers to help them grow and improve. In 2005 TACG, a joint venture between Toyota Industries and Denso International, began production in Georgia to produce environmentally friendly automotive compressors for air conditioners primarily for Toyota vehicles. In 2013, TICA started producing component parts for TACG’s compressors right next door. These parts had previously been purchased in Japan. Over the years, TACG and TICA have grown and expanded their customer and supplier base. Ford and Toyota are currently their largest customers. Since 2005, TACG and TICA have produced 30 million compressors and in 2017 achieved a 25 percent share of the North American market.
Randy Jackson Leader of the Year Award
Winner: Greg Vitek, IMS Gear Georgia, Inc., Gainesville
Vitek has proven to be a true leader in the industry. He spearheaded Gainesville-Hall County's first Mechatronics Registered Apprenticeship Program where each four-year apprentice receives their journeyman, associate’s degree and paid position. Vitek currently serves as Chairman of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Workforce Development Task Force, and is a member of the Gainesville-Hall County Economic Development Council. Not only is he dedicated to providing students unique opportunities in the automotive industry, he is dedicated to the overall economic wellbeing of Georgia.