WestRock Chambers Manufacturer of year
2016 MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR —WestRock, formerly Mead Corporation, with a local manufacturing facility in the Huguley Industrial Park, has been named the 2016 Chambers County Manufacturer of the Year. The announcement was made Friday during a luncheon at Spring Road Christian Church presented by the Chambers County Development Authority.
Shown above are, from left, CCDA Executive Director Valerie Gray, WestRock HR manager Jamal Johnson, plant manager Pete Gray and controller Jon Laughlin. (Photo by David Bell) LANETT — WestRock, formerly Mead Corporation, which operates a manufacturing facility in the Huguley Industrial Park, has been named as the 2016 Chambers County Manufacturer of the Year. The announcement was made Friday by Chambers County Development Authority Executive Director Valerie Gray during a luncheon at Spring Road Christian Church in Lanett.
The local plant was constructed in 1996, and Gray recalled the circumstances under which the first site visit was conducted. "Company officials arrived in September 1995, two days after Hurricane Opal passed through our area," said Gray. "The Valley was without electricity, and we had to have downed trees removed before we could even access the property. But, fortunately, they liked the location and chose to come here." Since then, the plant has been expanded four times, and currently employees more than 200 people. WestRock is a leading global packaging company with more than 42,000 employees in 275 operating and business locations in 30 countries. The current company was formed in 2015 when Mead-Westvaco merged with RockTenn.
It has a distinct past that includes numerous examples of entrepreneurial zeal, visionary leadership, innovative product development and successful performance. The guest speaker for Friday's luncheon was Kris "Tanto" Paronto, former U.S. Army Ranger, Second Battalion, 75th Regiment, who now works as a private military security contractor. He has been involved with security operations throughout the Middle East, Somalia and north Africa.But his most notorious assignment was in Benghazi, Libya, when the U. S. Consulate in that city was attacked in 2012, resulting in the deaths of the U.S. Ambassador and three military personnel. Paronto recapped the actions taken by him and his team to help defend the compound despite orders to "stand down." He later co-authored a book about the incident entitled "13 Hours," from which a movie by the same name is based. Paronto is currently on a speaking tour throughout the country promoting the book.
Article by David Bell, Times-News Staff Writer