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Updated: April 1, 2024

WBJ names the 2024 Manufacturing Excellence Award winners

A construction worker uses an electric saw to cut stone outside Photo | Courtesy of Saint-Gobain Abrasives A construction worker uses a Saint-Gobain Abrasives product to cut stone.

Next year, Saint-Gobain Abrasives will celebrate 140 years of operating in Worcester.

The company originally named Norton Co. and later acquired by international manufacturer Saint-Gobain began life as a small startup, creating grinding wheels. Despite the many changes in the industry and clients’ needs over the decades, Saint-Gobain Abrasives’ products have stayed surprisingly similar to that original mission, helping customers sand, cut, smooth, and grind, although in a much more sophisticated way.

The entire Central Massachusetts manufacturing industry, too, has stayed surprisingly similar to its original role in the region. The American Industrial Revolution supercharged the Central Massachusetts business community 150 years ago, and manufacturing has been a cornerstone of the region’s economy ever since, albeit in a much more sophisticated way. With $6.3 billion in annual economic output, manufacturing remains the largest industry in Central Massachusetts, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

This is why Worcester Business Journal chooses to honor the industry with our annual Manufacturing Excellence Awards, which are in their ninth year. Although the industry is comprised of variety of players and subsectors, manufacturers as a whole tend to be very focused on the task at hand and shy away from the limelight, where even behemoths like Saint-Gobain can fly under the radar. Yet, so many companies are excelling every single day at making great products, contributing to the community, improving the environment, building up their workforces, and helping each other. WBJ likes to take a moment each year to highlight the best of the best.

In the awards profiles, you’ll read about the amazing things from manufacturers in Central Massachusetts: Waters Corp. in Milford reducing its environmental footprint, AIS in Leominster overcoming the industry’s long-time staffing challenges by creating a positive culture, Camelot Tools in Holden innovating products as a relatively new company, Impermea Materials in Framingham creating alternatives to plastics, and Mrs. Moriconi’s Ice Cream in Worcester helping farmers develop their retail products. As always, WBJ sets one award aside for an individual championing causes benefitting the manufacturing industry. This year, Sonya Wilson-Thomas from Waters takes the honor, for her continual push for best practices, as well as advocating for women in the historically male-dominated industry.

In addition to the awards profiles on these pages, WBJ will honor the 9th annual Manufacturing Excellence Award winners at our Manufacturing Summit in the afternoon of April 23 in the Hogan Campus Center at Worester’s College of the Holy Cross. If you’d like to learn more about the industry and some of its amazing companies, I invite you to check it out.

2024 Manufacturing Excellence Awards

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