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Kia Motors takes home automotive awards

WEST POINT- Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) in West Point was recognized last week by The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) for two major awards: The Georgia Automotive Company of the Year and Georgia Automotive Leader of the Year.

The year 2016 marks the first year the Georgia Automotive awards were handed out.

“We’re delighted that Kia was selected as a winner and that the automotive industry is having a lot of success in Georgia,” said Corrine Hodges, spokeswoman at Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia in West Point.

“We are so pleased to be honored in these inaugural awards from a great partner of our plant, the Georgia Department of Economic Development,” said Stuart C. Countess, KMMG’s chief administrative officer. “Being named Automotive Company of the Year is a wonderful confirmation of our team members’ commitment to the Kia Way, a philosophy built on trust, continuous improvement and working together as one system, one team.

The Georgia Department of Economic Development is the state’s sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, aligning workforce education and training with in-demand jobs, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a destination for arts and location for film, music and digital entertainment projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development.

The Georgia Automotive Awards are designed to recognize leaders throughout the state and to honor them for the contributions they have made to build a robust automotive ecosystem.

“Our automotive sector contributes over $2.8 billion to the state of Georgia’s economy, so these awards are designed to shine a spotlight on that and recognize individual companies for their contributions,” said Mike Grundmann, the Georgia Development of Economic Development Director for Automotive, Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing.

“We put together a team of people who are very familiar with the industry including representatives from Georgia Tech’s Manufacturing Extension Program, Georgia Automotive Association, the Technical College System of Georgia and others. We nominated companies with their knowledge of what’s going on in the industry and came up with the winners.”

KMMG was selected as the Georgia Automotive Company of the Year award due to its becoming one of the biggest automotive companies in the state of Georgia since 2010, when KMMG opened in West Point.

“Kia has shown extraordinary growth since their start-up and has made amazing contributions to the community,” said Grundmann. “When Kia and Georgia first came to an agreement, they promised to create 1,800 full-time jobs over the course of 16 years but they have doubled that number over the quarter of that time. They have created 3,000 jobs in just four years.”

The award for Georgia Automotive Leader of the Year went to KMMG’s former company chief administrative officer Randy Jackson, who passed away recently. Jackson was responsible for helping elevate KMMG’s presence and stature in Georgia and expanding the growth of the workforce within the company.

“It is tremendously fitting that in addition to this honor, J. Randy Jackson has been named the state’s Automotive Leader of the Year. Randy had a major role in the development of the Kia Way and he strived to live it every day through his leadership at KMMG. His commitment to our community as a leading advocate for STEM education and workforce development personified Kia’s overall vision to support Georgia’s growth,” said Countess.

“Randy Jackson touched a lot of people in the automotive industry and in the state of Georgia’s Economic Development team. He was a part of our team. This is the one person who probably contributed more to growing the automotive sector in Georgia more than anyone else in the history of the state,” said Grundmann.

As the KMMG in West Point continues to stand out, the automotive industry in the state of Georgia, as a whole, is becoming a driving force.

“The future is very bright for Georgia,” said Grundmann. “Automotive suppliers choose Georgia for many reasons but usually the highest on the list is because the strategic location is right in the center of all the assembly plants located throughout the Southeast.”

 

Reach James Simpson II  706-884-7311, ext. 2155, or by email at james.simpson@lagrangenews.com