Several Midlands businesses earn honors with Palmetto Vision Awards

The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce recognized top businesses and individuals in South Carolina during the first Palmetto Vision Awards ceremony.

Several of the evening’s honorees have ties to the Midlands and received awards for diversity and training the next generation of workers.

The Manufacturer of the Year in the small/medium category is MTU America Inc., headquartered in Aiken. According to company statistics, MTU American has generated 300 jobs in Aiken in just four years and also provides learning opportunities for students who want to enter the manufacturing field. MTU America relocated its production facility from Detroit to Aiken in 2010.

Local students also are being trained through the Manufacturer Partner of the Year, the South Carolina Technical College System. The system encompasses 16 technical colleges around the state including Midlands Technical College.

The Palmetto Vision Awards also recognized people who are having an impact on the South Carolina community through business and philanthropy.

JoAnn Turnquist, president and CEO of the Central Carolina Community Foundation, won the Excellence in Community Diversity Award. The foundation connects hundreds of donors in the Midlands with charities and nonprofits they can support and improve the region’s quality of life.

Turnquist previously served as chief of staff for the Moore School of Business where her primary role was stewardship. She also worked as literacy tutor and is a graduate of the Riley Institute Diversity Leaders Initiative.

Receiving the Human Resources Professional of the Year award is Ralph Young, vice president of human resources at FN Manufacturing in Columbia, a small arms manufacturer. The chamber said he’s “helped develop FN’s company culture of continuous improvement through employee involvement and personal accountability.”

Young often gives presentations on topics like “Changing Company Culture,” “Improving Employee Performance,” “Getting the Most from Employee Surveys” and “Reducing the Cost of Health Care.” He also is involved in the Midlands Education and Business Alliance, the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Manufacturing Division and NDIA’s STEM Workforce Division.

Categories: Business, Hometown