Flanders wins N.C. Manufacturer of Year

Published 10:37 pm Tuesday, September 11, 2012

(From left) Steve Menaker, partner with McGladrey, LLP; John Oakley, Flanders president and chief financial officer; and Lee Fite, senior vice president with Fifth Third Bank. The two companies, along with the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, named Flanders Corp. as the North Carolina Manufacturer of the Year. (Contributed Photo/Flanders Corp.)

Amidst a downward spiral in manufacturing jobs that were once the pulse of Beaufort County’s economy, one local company has thrived — so much so that it’s been named North Carolina Manufacturer of the Year.
Flanders Filters was awarded the top honor for the mid-size manufacturer category by McGladrey, LLP, the nation’s fifth-largest assurance, tax and consulting firm, and Fifth Third Bank, in conjunction with the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, according to a press release from Flanders.
The company was chosen for the award by setting current standards for growth, innovation, job creation and productivity, said Aileen Marcelino, Flanders’ corporate human-resources generalist. Several of the company’s achievements in the past several years stood out, namely the company’s internally designed automated manufacturing processes. Job creation came from the closure of two Flanders’ facilities in Mexico in 2010. That move brought manufacturing jobs back to operations in Smithfield and the opening of two new plants in Ardmore, Okla., and Hudson, N.Y.
Flanders Filters opened its doors in 1950 in Riverhead, N.Y., but moved to Washington in 1969, said Marcelino. In 62 years of the company’s existence, it has grown to include 14 locations worldwide and become one of the leading manufacturers of air filters in the United States, setting sales and earnings records in each of the last two years. According to the press release, Flanders’ products are used across many industries, in commercial and residential HVAC systems, semiconductor manufacturing, chemical, biological, radiological and material processing, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, nuclear power and nuclear-materials processing.
John Oakley, president and chief financial officer of Flanders, shares credit for the chamber’s award with the 3,200 Flanders employees.
“This award is the achievement of all the 3,200 hardworking people of Flanders,” Oakley noted. “Without each of them doing great work, Flanders would not be the great company it is today.”
Of those 3,200 workers, 600 to 650 of their number are employed at Flanders’ Washington facilities, according to Marcelino.