Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Panasonic, Florida Rock show Spirit of Industry


Florida Rock Industries in Tyrone and Matsushita Communication Industrial Corporation of U.S.A., Panasonic, won the coveted 2001 Spirit of Industry Awards last week.

The Existing Industry Committee of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce announced the awards during its annual Spirit of Industry banquet.

There are two categories: companies with fewer than 50 employees and those with more than 50. The companies must submit applications and a panel of judges determines a winner based on the industry's economic impact, its citizenship and work force excellence.

In the under-50 division, Florida Rock was chosen for the third time.

The company has been in the crushed stone business in Fayette County for 53 years and employs 25 people.

It participates in United Way drives, gives tours of the rock quarry to school children, donates to local sports programs as well as placing ads in local civic events.

With annual revenues of nearly $7 million, the firm has a capital investment of $4.6 million.

The company offers 100 percent reimbursement for formal educational courses related to the industry and employee scholarships for children of employees.

Florida Rock has received a number of awards and recognition for having 778,817 hours without a lost time accident, a feat covering the last 14 years.

Winner in the over-50 category, Panasonic has been in Fayette County for 14 years and has 922 employees. It began with 11 employees in 1987. It has a current investment of $60 million, adding a 50,000-sq. ft. expansion this year for a new warehouse and distribution center. It enjoyed a business growth last year of 15 percent.

The firm conducts a health fair for employees, a scholarship program for children of employees, on-site training for continuing education and training for current employees, and under the "environmental" category, has reduced its landfill deposits by 75 percent.

Panasonic participates in the county's Partnership in Education program, sponsored a golf tournament for the Boy Scouts of America, supports the Peachtree Wind Ensemble, the Joseph Sams School, the Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater, the local March of Dimes and participates in the Angel Tree program, among others.

It manufactures a user-friendly key telephone system that delivers sophisticated, compatible telecommunications technology, as well as automotive products such as AM/FM cassette units, DVD systems with surround sound, high-grade amplifiers and compact disc equipment.

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