One homegrown Nebraska company and the Cornhusker branch of one of the nation’s largest industrial firms were cited Friday as manufacturing innovators of the year by the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce.
Snyder-based Smeal Fire Apparatus Co. was honored as the mid-sized recipient of the 2013 Innovation in Manufacturing Award. The Norfolk plant of Charlotte-based Nucor Steel, the country’s largest steelmaker, received the citation for large companies.
The companies were honored at the Thursday meeting of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Manufacturers Council held at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha.
“It’s an honor to recognize Smeal and Nucor with this award,” said Barry Kennedy, president of the Nebraska Chamber. “Both companies are vital players in Nebraska’s manufacturing sector, which has been a leader in paving the path to our state’s economic and jobs recovery.”
Both companies are big parts of their area economies. Family-owned Smeal, which started out building fire trucks in 1963, offers a full line of equipment, including aerial ladders, aerial platforms and pumpers, thought 26 dealers in the United States and Canada.
Norfolk’s NUCOR Steel, a division of NUCOR Corp. based in Charlotte, N.C., has been in operation for more than 40 years. Thanks in part to its Norfolk facility, NUCOR Corp. is the largest producer of steel in the United States. It also is North America’s largest recycler.
The Innovation in Manufacturing Award is sponsored by the Nebraska Chamber and McGladrey, a leading provider of assurance, tax and consulting services to the manufacturing and wholesale distribution industries. The award is presented annually to Nebraska manufacturers who successfully implement new ways of conducting business through the use of products, processes, technologies and strategies.
The Nebraska Chamber said the state is home to almost 3,000 manufacturers employing about 125,000 people. Every 100 factory jobs, the chamber said, supports another 300 affiliated jobs.