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Our 'Face' of Manufacturing

Koyo's Jones wins honor

Torrington, Timken and now Koyo have been facets of manufacturing in Screven County for 40 years.

And now a veteran employee of Koyo is the “face” of local and statewide manufacturing.

The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership officially named Bobby Jones a “2017 Faces of Manufacturing Award” recipient Wednesday morning at the Sylvania bearing plant in front of fellow Koyo employees.

Jones, the manufacturing manager at Koyo Bearings in Sylvania, is one of four Georgians who are being recognized for their respective contributions and commitment to the manufacturing industry, which is a key driver of the state economy.

On Tuesday, Marten Hutchison of Shaw became the first of the four honorees for the 2017 Face of Manufacturing.

According to the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Hutchison led a team at Shaw to build one of the largest plastic bottle recycling facilities in North America. Hutchison also inspires the next generation of manufacturing workforce by being a high school robotics team coach, where he helps students conceptualize, prototype, design, build, and program robots to compete in the FIRST Robotics competitions.

The next two to be honored as a Face of Manufacturing will done so in ceremonies on Oct. 10 and Oct. 17, respectively.

Jones, who has been employed at Koyo Bearings for 28 years, accepted his award at the plant, which provides bearing solutions for the industrial and automotive sectors. Koyo Bearings is a subsidiary of JTEKT Corp.

“I’ve had a lifelong passion for innovation and being a part of a team that’s committed to driving improvements in the products we design and create,” Jones said. “To be able to do that at Koyo and to pass that on to the next generation of the manufacturing workforce is truly an honor.”

According to those who know Jones, he is not a person who wants to be in the limelight. The humble man would rather speak highly of Koyo, its people and the Screven County.

“It is a good recognition for the community, for Koyo and everyone here who works so hard to make us so successful,”

Jones said. “I do actually enjoy manufacturing, what I do and the people here. Koyo has excellent teamwork. It is truly a place that cares about each other.

“They take pride in what they do,” he said.

Jones said the Koyo employees and others in the community are working together for more growth.

“It is exciting to see manufacturing growing in Georgia and especially in this area. That really helps families,” Jones said.

GaMEP, a federally funded economic development program of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, works with manufacturers across the state to help them remain viable and economically competitive.

Collectively, more than 10,000 manufacturing companies operate in Georgia.

Those companies, which span all sizes, employ more than 365,000 and produce a total manufacturing output of $53 billion per year. GaMEP’s Faces campaign showcases the sector’s importance to Georgia’s economy. Jones and the other three award recipients were chosen through a public voting contest consisting of 10 finalists, selected from an initial pool of nominations. Following more than 4,500 votes cast, Jones emerged as one of the top four.

“Bobby is just one example of many in Georgia’s manufacturing sector. He and others like him and are the reason why it is such a strong and thriving part of our state economy,” said GaMEP Director Karen J. Fite. “Bobby’s commitment to his field and industry reflects the quality of the people we have in Georgia manufacturing. Through this award given today, our Faces campaign aims to honor and celebrate that strength, vibrancy, and talent.”

Jones is part of the Georgia Southern University’s engineering advisory program, a member of Ogeechee Technical College’s board of directors, a member of Coastal Workforce Development Board, and a member of a regional industrial group working to resolve manufacturing needs. His work also has helped establish advanced partnerships of local industry, development authorities, and Ogeechee Technical College. That initiative led to the creation of an industrial maintenance lab so employees could gain skills to advance in their careers.

“Today’s manufacturing environment is fast, competitive, and wrought with constant challenges. Building a history of success requires innovation, dedication, and discipline,” said Andy Durrence, plant manager of Koyo’s Sylvania facility. “Bobby is the embodiment of all that is needed to succeed. His reach and influence span far past the walls of Koyo into academia, workforce development, industrial development, and his community.”

Jones is married to Katherine Jones. The couple has two daughters and four grandchildren. He said his family has been very supportive of him throughout the years.

Durrence said while Koyo is located in Sylvania, the products produced are worldwide and even on other planets, noting Koyo has helped create equipment used in space exploration to Mars.

Dorie Bacon, executive director of the Screven County Development Authority, said during Wednesday’s ceremony that this is like an “economic development ‘Christmas.’” Bacon awarded Jones an honor from the development authority for his newest recognition.

Ben Cheeks of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute said the “community really came out for Bobby” to help Jones make the top four. Cheeks presented Jones the honor Wednesday.

Screven County Commission chairman Will Boyd said Screven County has been strong in manufacturing and Koyo helped start that tradition upon its arrival 40 years ago.

The Faces of Manufacturing in Georgia campaign is an initiative of the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership that honors the people who work in or are affected by manufacturing in Georgia. For more information, please visit gamep.org/faces-ofmanufacturing/.

The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership is an economic development program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The GaMEP is a member of the National MEP network supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. With offices in nine regions across the state, the GaMEP has been serving Georgia manufacturers since 1960. It offers a solution-based approach to manufacturers through coaching and education designed to increase top line growth and reduce bottom line cost.

Koyo Bearings North America is a global leader in design innovation and manufacturing technology for Ball, Needle, & Roller Bearings — Koyo has been providing bearing solutions to the industrial and automotive markets since 1921 and has been operating in the North American market since 1958. A subsidiary of JTEKT Corp., Koyo is a major supplier to both original equipment and aftermarket customers in a wide variety of industries including, aerospace, agri-con, automotive, electric motor, power sports, and steel and wind. To learn more, please visit jtekt-na.com.