Arizona manufacturers celebrated at annual Manufacturer of the Year awards luncheon

The Arizona Manufacturers Council on Tuesday recognized outstanding achievements in manufacturing at the annual Manufacturer of the Year Awards luncheon at Grand Canyon University Arena.

This year’s winners are:

  • Excellence in Innovation – NXP Semiconductors
  • Excellence in Sustainability – PepsiCo, Inc.
  • Small Manufacturer of the Year – Pilgrim Aerospace Fasteners
  • Medium Manufacturer of the Year – MD Helicopters
  • Large Manufacturer of the Year – Northrop Grumman

“The winners of the 2023 Manufacturer of the Year Awards speak to the strength and diversity of our sector,” AMC Executive Director Grace Appelbe said. “From semiconductors to beverage production, to aerospace and defense and more, manufacturing in Arizona is not only churning out innovative products, but it’s creating desirable, good-paying jobs.”

Town of Queen Creek Mayor Julia Wheatley was named the Manufacturing Champion of the Year for her advocacy for legislation that will help communities attract manufacturers and meet their public infrastructure needs, and for her work to bring a multi-billion-dollar investment by South Korean energy giant LG to Queen Creek, where the company will construct a lithium battery manufacturing plant. Production is set to begin in 2025.

“Without strong local leaders like Mayor Wheatley, Arizona risks losing out on these major job-creating investments,” Appelbe said. “Mayor Wheatley understands what it takes to land these mega projects and why local government is an essential partner in the state’s economic development strategy.”

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego was a featured guest and made remarks about her city’s manufacturing growth, touting the interest Phoenix has received from manufacturers from around the globe including in Asia and closer to home in Sonora, Mexico.

She also spoke of the importance of partnerships between manufacturers and educational institutions at the high school level like WestMEC, which offers students career and technical education, as well as at the collegiate level, pointing to the examples of Maricopa Community Colleges and Grand Canyon University, which are both investing heavily in training students for jobs in the manufacturing sector.

The event also featured a conversation between Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Danny Seiden and APS CEO Jeff Guldner, where the two discussed how the company was able to deliver reliable power during a summer of record temperatures, and the company’s work to reduce its carbon footprint, among other topics.

Guldner attributed APS’ success throughout the hot summer months to a combination of good planning and good operations. “We’re really good at adapting,” he said.

Guldner said APS has targeted 2050 to be carbon free and 2030 to be 65% carbon free. The Palo Verde Generating Station will be essential to reaching those goals, thanks to its 24/7 delivery of carbon-free nuclear power. He said Palo Verde is the nation’s largest producer of clean energy.

The event is part of the AMC’s Manufacturing Month activities, which also includes the Made in Arizona bus tour, featuring behind-the-scenes tours of some of the state’s finest manufacturers, and the Hottest Thing Made in Arizona contest, which invites the public to vote on their favorite product manufactured in Arizona. The winners of the contest will be announced during the tour.

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