Honoring workers

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 8, 2022

Employees at the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce’s Manufacturing Day event enjoy the provided lunch. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

Chamber event pays tribute to manufacturing employees, companies

SOUTH POINT — Manufacturing companies and those who work there were celebrated at the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.

The annual Manufacturing Day luncheon took place, with a tent set up and workers from the nearby Point Industrial Park and other companies treated for the day to a meal, a chance to win prizes and a guest speaker on economic development.

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Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation president Bill Dingus said this is the eighth year for the event, which he said serves what he refers to as “The Point area,” rotating between South Point, Ironton and Hanging Rock each year.

A virtual event took place in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

“It’s been a great thing, and it’s something that helps us to express how we feel about manufacturing,” he said and noted that the are “close to 900 jobs attached” to The Point.

“Some are logistics and distribution, but manufacturing is a very solid number,” Dingus said. “Lawrence County, as whole, they’re growing in manufacturing jobs. We’re doing very well, and it’s so very important to us.”

The event was part of a national Manufacturing Day celebration, held each fall. Dingus said the event was a joint effort between the Chamber and employers.

“Heiners/Bimbo — they furnished all buns, and Keurig Dr. Pepper furnished all the drinks,” he said. “So it is just a wonderful time.”

The keynote speaker for the luncheon was Mike Jacoby, president OHIOSE Economic Development, whose work shares the goals of LEDC.

Jacoby’s 25 years of experience in the field includes successes, such as luring Haliburton to Zanesville, which brought 1,000 jobs to the city, as well as bringing Fanatics to Frazeysburg, which resulted in 200 permanent jobs and 2,000 peak season workers.

As far as the economic outlook for Lawrence County, Dingus said it is “doing extremely well,” and outlined two areas he said need focus.

“We’ve got to, as a society, encourage more young people to consider manufacturing,” he said. “And we do need to work on housing. I want our population to grow. In the last census, we were down. We’ve got to get back up. And we need more high quality housing.”

Dingus summarized the mission of The Point, LEDC and the Chamber.

“We want to create more manufacturing jobs in the county and Ironton,” he said.

He spoke of the products being manufactured by employers in Lawrence County.

“It’s just unreal what is going on in this county — people don’t recognize it,” he said. “Vertiv is just growing like crazy. They’re doing wonderful. You have, here in South Point, Intermountain Electronics – they’re building switchgears for Facebook and Microsoft. Engines Inc. – they build the big frames and mainframes for 50 and 100-ton forklifts for companies. So in every one of our companies, you’ve got huge work being done and today is so very important.”