The Manufacturer & Manufacturing Employee of the Year Awards focus attention on the important contributions manufacturers and industry make to their employees, customers, and communities, and the impacts of exceptional manufacturing employees on their companies and communities. These awards showcase the entrepreneurial spirit, community and enterprise leadership, and good citizenship of Kentucky’s top manufacturers and employees that enhance the prosperity of communities across the Commonwealth. 

The 2023 recipients were announced at the 2023 Awards Dinner on November 2 during KAM’s 2023 Manufacturers Summit at Western Kentucky University’s Knicely Conference Center in Bowling Green.

Manufacturer of the Year Criteria:

  •   Innovation and Entrepreneurial Leadership (50%) in regards to products, production methods, or services. Describe on-site production of innovative, award-winning, “world-class” products and/or services; safety programs; unique product designs and/or processes; or recognized characteristics such as high-quality products, low defect rates, etc.  Emphasis will be placed on Kentucky-driven innovations.

  • Corporate Citizenship (30%) providing leadership in making a key contribution to the quality of life in the Commonwealth and/or local community. Include the economic impact of the initiative. Describe and list the enterprise’s “corporate citizenship” and monetary, in-kind, or volunteer support efforts provided by the company. Examples include charitable projects focused on schools, parks, medical clinics, or non-profit organizations.

  • Advocacy (20%) in promoting the advancement of manufacturing and industry in Kentucky. List leadership roles held by company employees in local chambers of commerce, industry or trade associations, and other groups that advance manufacturing and industry in Kentucky and/or the United States. Specify the advancement or accomplishment to which the company’s team members contributed. Include years of participation and volunteer positions held, such as committee and board appointments.

Employee of the Year Criteria:

  • Innovation (25%) accomplished by the nominee in the workplace. Include descriptions of the nominee’s suggestions and recommendations that have led to, for example, improved productivity, safety, or profitability.

  • Teamwork (25%) demonstrated by the nominee by, for example, his/her participation in group or team projects; consideration for the needs of teammates or of the enterprise in a selfless manner. Using specific examples, describe the nominee’s impact on the workplace by his/her teamwork.

  • Community Service (25%) as demonstrated by the nominee giving back to the greater community. Describe how, outside of work, the nominee engages in the community through his/her volunteer efforts, for example, on behalf of schools, charities, youth sports, public service, or other civic activities. List all relevant activities.

  • Leadership (25%) by the nominee as a positive role model, demonstrating high integrity, ethical behavior, exceptional work performance, and strong character. Give specific examples of the nominee’s impact and influence on fellow employees.

Previous Winners:

Manufacturer of the Year

Novelis, Large Manufacturer
voestalpine Roll Forming Corporation, Midsize Manufacturer
Skilcraft LLC, Small Manufacturer

Toyotetsu America, Inc., Large Manufacturer
Evonik Corporation, Midsize Manufacturer
Hallway Feeds, Small Manufacturer

Alltech, Large Manufacturer
Stelised Inc., Small Manufacturer

Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky, Large Manufacturer
Wacker Chemical Corporation, Midsize Manufacturer
Huff Technologies, Small Manufacturer

Dorman Products, Large Manufacturer
Novolex Duro Bag, Large Manufacturer
Pegasus Industries & Packaging, Midsize Manufacturer
Commonwealth Agri-Energy, LLC, Small Manufacturer

Domtar Paper Company, LLC, Large Manufacturer
LINAK U.S., Midsize Manufacturer
Ferm Solutions and Wilderness Trail Distillery, Small Manufacturer

GE Appliances, Large Manufacturer
Holley Performance Products, Midsize Manufacturer
Hahn Automation, Small Manufacturer 

Ford Motor Company, Large Manufacturer
CLARK Material Handling Company, Midsize Manufacturer 
Kentucky BioProcessing, Inc., Small Manufacturer 

General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant, Large Manufacturer
American Printing House for the Blind, Midsize Manufacturer 
Lectrodryer, LLC, Small Manufacturer

Catlettsburg Refining, LLC, Large Manufacturer   
Denyo Manufacturing Corporation, Midsize Manufacturer 
Universal Woods, Inc., Small Manufacturer 

Emerson Industrial Automation, Large Manufacturer
Calgon Carbon Corporation, Midsize Manufacturer 
Sekisui S-Lec America, Small Manufacturer

Brown-Forman, Large Manufacturer 
Big Ass Fans, Midsize Manufacturer 
Kentucky Trailer, Small Manufacturer

Raytheon, Large Manufacturer 
Atkins & Pierce, Midsize Manufacturer 
Simpak, Small Manufacturer

Gallatin Steel, Large Manufacturer
Whip Mix Corporation, Midsize Manufacturer 
I.B. Moore Company, Small Manufacturer 

Cox Interiors LLC, Large Manufacturer
LINAK U.S. Inc., Midsize Manufacturer 
Wagstaff Inc., Small Manufacturer 

Alltech, Large Manufacturer 
Blendex Inc., Midsize Manufacturer 
Blue Moon Artworks, Small Manufacturer
Lectodryer, Small Manufacturer

LG&E Energy, Large Manufacturer 
McCoy & McCoy Laboratories, Midsize Manufacturer
LSI Graphic Solutions Plus, Small Manufacturer

Webasto Roof Systems, Large Manufacturer 
Modine Manufacturing Company, Midsize Manufacturer 
OnLine Printing, Small Manufacturer   

American Electric Power/Kentucky Power, Large Manufacturer   
Boneal Inc., Midsize Manufacturer 
Clark Publishing Inc., Small Manufacturer

Griffin Industries, Large Manufacturer   
Shelby Industries, Small Manufacturer

Manufacturing Employee of the Year

Margo Williams, voestalpine Roll Forming Corporation

Tammy Jesse, Pegasus Industries and Packaging

Dennis Dio Parker, Toyota Motor North America

Kevin Diamond, Wacker Chemical Corportion

Brad Levi, Marathon Petroleum Corporation 

Tami Hatfield, Ford Motor Company

Danette Wilder, SealingLife, Inc.      

Larry Dean, White Drive Products      

Dale Budke, Moulding and Millwork

Larry Combs, Brown-Forman Corporation

James Myers, Whip Mix Corporation      

Ray Leathers, Roll Forming Corporation      

Wayne Allen, Shelby Industries      

Danuta Hatcher, Unilever Foods

Scotty Lippert, Clopay Corporation