May 13, Durham, NC – The North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP), the official representative of the MEP National Network™ and NIST MEP in North Carolina, announced the winners of the 2024 North Carolina Manufacturing Leadership Awards at the closing event of the 2024 North Carolina Manufacturing Conference, MFGCON. The NCMEP award program recognizes manufacturers’ commitment to the North Carolina manufacturing sector, proven by outstanding performance in manufacturing excellence, sustainability, workforce, innovation, developing markets, continuous improvement and community outreach.

The winners of the 2024 Manufacturing Leadership Awards include:

Manufacturing Excellence: Teijin Automotive

Teijin Automotive’s remarkable journey to winning the 2024 Manufacturing Excellence Award showcases its steadfast commitment to innovation, efficiency, and employee empowerment. Recognizing the need for revitalization in 2020, Teijin Lenoir launched the “Our Way” initiative, a Lean Continuous Improvement Operating System emphasizing standardization, accountability, and employee engagement. Under this transformative system, Teijin prioritized cultivating a “people-centric” culture, installing operator boards for quick performance assessment, and fostering a sense of ownership and accountability across the enterprise. Through practical communication tools and initiatives like operator-led inspections, Teijin has significantly enhanced its quality scores and operational efficiency while sustaining robust environmental health and safety metrics. The organization’s profitability has soared, and esteemed organizations like the NCDOL and the Teijin Automotive Technologies Global Group have recognized its exceptional achievements. With a comprehensive training infrastructure and a focus on transparency and technological advancement, Teijin Automotive Technologies has set a new standard for excellence in the industry, making them deserving of the 2024 Manufacturing Excellence Award.

“Winning the 2024 Manufacturing Excellence Leadership Award fills us with immense pride for our team. We take a lot of pride in what we do. It’s challenging to express the depth of my pride in this group of individuals because it’s about the collective effort of our entire organization. We function as a cohesive unit; this award is a testament to our collaborative spirit and dedication. It validates the hard work and commitment our organization has put in, and we are truly grateful for this recognition.”

– Tracy Gray, Plant Manager, Teijin Automotive


Sustainability: Carolina Timberworks

Carolina Timberworks, a pioneer in the timber frame industry, stands out as a sustainability leader for its unique approach. As a designer and manufacturer of custom timber frame structures, they have crafted homes, barns, outbuildings, “party barns,” and commercial structures such as offices, churches, and outdoor market spaces. They have a rich history of 21 years and over 350 projects completed nationwide and beyond.
Co-owned by Eric and Gesche Morley, Carolina Timberworks departs from the traditional process of building the timber frame structure on-site, instead prefabricating the structure in an indoor facility in West Jefferson, NC. This ensures higher quality, more efficient energy use and minimizes on-site time. Carolina Timberworks’ commitment to sustainability is evident in its construction process. Their craftspeople typically spend less than a week on-site, erecting a pre-cut structure quickly and with less waste. This process, powered by solar energy and state of the art robotics, is a significant step towards achieving Net Zero carbon impact.

“We are thrilled and honored to receive the 2024 NCMEP Leadership Award for Sustainability. At Carolina Timberworks, sustainability is at the core of everything we do. This recognition validates our commitment to building environmentally responsible timber homes and structures. I am very proud of our team’s dedication to creating lasting, beautiful, eco-friendly buildings that stand the test of time.”

– Eric Morley, Founder and Co-Owner of Carolina Timberworks


Innovation: Cormetech

Cormetech, a pioneer in emissions control and carbon capture technology, has been honored with the 2024 Innovation Leadership Award. This accolade recognizes Cormetech’s significant contributions to global environmental sustainability efforts through its innovation in advanced solutions and three decades of expertise.

Specializing in solid monolith honeycomb products, Cormetech has developed chemical processes that effectively clean exhaust emissions from various combustion applications. These applications range from power plants and refineries to petrochemical facilities and industrial generators, including Direct Air Capture (DAC) systems. Cormetech’s products and solutions are vital in reducing harmful emissions and enhancing air quality worldwide.

Central to Cormetech’s achievements is its commitment to innovation and sustainability. The company’s ELITE™ catalyst technology optimizes the efficiency of combustion turbines. This innovation enables natural gas power plants to increase power output while decreasing natural gas consumption. Additionally, Cormetech’s CORAL™ technology, inspired by coral reefs, enhances CO2 capture in DAC and Point Source Capture (PSC) systems. Supported by a grant from the Department of Energy, CORAL™ will transform carbon capture technology, aligning with global efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Receiving the 2024 Innovation Leadership Award is a true honor for Cormetech. It validates our commitment to innovation, which is fundamental to our operations. This award is a testament to our dedicated employees, particularly our manufacturing and engineering teams, whose creativity and hard work drive our success. Many are drawn to Cormetech because of our solutions’ positive impact on the environment as we have been instrumental in reducing nitrogen oxide emissions globally. Looking ahead, our next frontier in innovation is carbon capture, and we are well-positioned to tackle this challenge. Winning this award further affirms that Cormetech is on the right path, and it motivates us to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation for the betterment of society.”

-Scott Daugthery, COO, Cormetech


Workforce: Machine Specialties Inc.

Machine Specialties Incorporated (MSI) is a forward-thinking manufacturing company specializing in precision machining and fabrication solutions. Located in Whitsett, North Carolina, MSI has established itself as a leader in the industry through its commitment to innovation, quality, and workforce development.

Machine Specialties Incorporated (MSI) has demonstrated workforce excellence through various programs to develop its workforce. They have collaborated with three community colleges to actively recruit new employees, establishing an incumbent employee training initiative as an internal young adult apprenticeship program. Additionally, MSI has partnered with three counties—Alamance, Guilford and Rockingham—to recruit youth apprentices directly from high school, offering them a two-year degree from a local community college. The company currently engages with the state, the Department of Adult Corrections (DAC) and local leaders to initiate a local Prison/Reentry workforce apprenticeship program, showcasing a commitment to inclusivity and community support. Furthermore, MSI was recently certified as the first manufacturer in the state to be a Family ForwardNC employer, demonstrating their dedication to employee well-being and work-life balance. MSI also offers internal programs for all employees focused on personal development, known as CORE, further emphasizing their commitment to nurturing their workforce at every level.

“Winning the Workforce Leadership Award is genuinely gratifying. Our programs have been a labor of love, with significant time and effort invested in their development. While we don’t necessarily need an award to validate their effectiveness, receiving this recognition is undoubtedly affirming. It’s a nod that says, “Yes, what you’re doing is different and unique.” Hopefully, our story will inspire other companies to consider similar initiatives. We were inspired by another company that had success with this approach, and it showed us that it’s not as risky as it might seem. By sharing our story and receiving this award, we hope to encourage other companies to embrace change, transform their culture and move forward in this progressive way.”

– Tammy Simmons, Vice President of Marketing and Culture, Machine Specialities Inc.


Developing Markets: Ziehl-Abegg 

Ziehl-Abegg has been honored with the prestigious 2024 Developing Markets Leadership Award for its outstanding contributions to innovation, quality, and economic growth. The company’s recent investment of 100 million in a new production plant in Winston Salem, NC, marks its most significant single investment in one location in its 113-year history. This expansion is driven by the increasing demand for quiet, dependable, high-efficiency, energy-saving fans, showcasing Ziehl-Abegg’s commitment to meeting market needs and driving economic growth.

The new facility, covering 522,000 square feet, aims to enhance efficiency, shorten delivery times, and foster stronger customer partnerships. Ziehl-Abegg attributes its success to its North American employees and plans to add 600 more by 2030. It emphasizes job creation and regional prosperity. In addition to economic factors, the company strongly emphasizes environmental protection, offering products designed to conserve energy and maximize efficiency.

“Winning the 2024 Developing Markets Leadership Award is a testament to our dedication to growth and innovation in the North American market. This recognition validates our efforts to expand our presence and better serve our customers and the community for Forsyth County. We are proud of our organization’s hard work and commitment to excellence. We see this award as motivation to continue pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in our industry.”

– Jimmy Mitchell, ZIEHL-ABEGG

Continuous Improvement: Power Curbers 

Power Curbers has been honored with the 2024 Continuous Improvement Award for its remarkable dedication to enhancing manufacturing processes and driving organizational excellence. The journey began with a comprehensive evaluation of existing processes to identify inefficiencies, followed by implementing Lean training programs instilling foundational principles and practical tools such as 6S, Kaizen, and Value Stream Mapping. This initiative aimed to cultivate a culture of continuous improvement across all levels of the organization, fostering proactive problem-solving and operational enhancement.

The company’s commitment to Lean practices has yielded significant productivity, safety, and efficiency improvements, as evidenced by targeted Kaizen events and the inventory management overhaul. Embracing a just-in-time approach for parts delivery has streamlined production processes, optimized cash flow, and minimized excess inventory accumulation. Stephen Bullock, president and CEO of Power Curbers, emphasizes the importance of leadership involvement and early victories to drive successful continuous improvement initiatives. The recognition reaffirms Power Curbers’ commitment to excellence and inspires further progress towards operational excellence in the manufacturing industry.

“We are thrilled to receive the 2024 Continuous Improvement Leadership Award. The news was a fantastic surprise, and we couldn’t be more excited. We gratefully accept this prestigious honor for all our dedicated associates and sincerely appreciate the recognition. It reaffirms our commitment to continuous improvement and inspires us to push further towards excellence in everything we do.”

– Stephen Bullock, president and CEO, Power Curbers

Community Outreach: Wieland

Wieland has been honored with the 2024 Community Outreach Award for its outstanding dedication to community engagement and support. Their commitment to uplifting their local area is evident through various initiatives, including sponsoring school programs, participating in community events and hosting employee-focused activities. The company’s core values prioritize employee success and a positive work environment, contributing to the well-being of employees and the broader community. Led by the Cultural Committee, these efforts ensure a coordinated approach to community outreach, fostering employee unity and inclusion. Despite initial skepticism, Wieland’s transformative culture has garnered employee pride and participation, significantly impacting morale and engagement. Their focus on honesty, integrity and consistent follow-through has built long-term trust within the community and among employees. By empowering its workforce and prioritizing community well-being, Wieland has become a positive influence in Pine Hall and beyond, earning recognition as a leader in community outreach.

“The recognition of the 2024 Community Outreach Leadership Award is a testament to the two years of dedicated effort we’ve invested in initiatives we wholeheartedly believe in. Seeing the genuine joy and warmth in the individuals we’ve been able to support brings immense satisfaction. Being acknowledged by a prestigious national organization like NCMEP as a leader in our community is truly a remarkable achievement for Wieland. It reaffirms the significance of our commitment to positively impacting the lives of those around us.”

– Davide Varze, vice president of North American manufacturing and president, Wieland


About the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership

The North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) is the state network in North Carolina for the National Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) which is part of the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). MEP is a unique public-private partnership that delivers comprehensive, proven solutions to manufacturers, fueling growth and advancing U.S. manufacturing. NCMEP is administered by NC State University Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and is joined by partners from the North Carolina Community College System, NCWorks Customized Training; the Economic Development Partnership of NC; The Polymers Center; the Manufacturing Solutions Center; Hangar6; the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Industrial Solutions Lab; and NC State University Wilson College of Textiles.

About the NCMEP Leadership Awards

The North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) is dedicated to recognizing manufacturing excellence and honoring outstanding manufacturers throughout North Carolina. Through the NCMEP Leadership Awards, we celebrate companies that demonstrate exceptional performance, innovation, and commitment to excellence in manufacturing. These awards showcase North Carolina manufacturers’ best practices, achievements and contributions, highlighting their significant impact on the state’s economy and manufacturing sector. As a leading organization that promotes manufacturing excellence, NCMEP proudly acknowledges and supports the success of manufacturers who drive growth, innovation and competitiveness in North Carolina and beyond.