PROVIDENCE – Daniel Dwight recalled when he became CEO and president of Pawtucket-based manufacturer Cooley Group in 2011, it was a “high-speed train going full speed toward a financial cliff,” but how the manufacturer turned around and began to prosper.
Dwight, who was presented with the Strategic Leadership award Thursday from Providence Business News during the publication’s 2022 Manufacturing Awards ceremony, said in his speech he learned what it takes to drive change during his time at General Electric Co. in the face of, he said, “stiff organizational resistance.” He said Cooley Group operates under the three pillars of growth: economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and social responsibility.
“The strength of our local communities is imperative to creating long-term stakeholder value,” Dwight said.
Walco Electric Co. CEO and President Ellis Waldman, the 2022 Manufacturing Champion, said Thursday during his respective speech it is “essential” that manufacturing companies be brought back to the U.S. He also said it is “imperative” for state lawmakers create a more advantageous work environment “that entices manufacturers to put down roots and encourage manufacturers already having local operations to expand.
“For me, being named Manufacturing Champion does not end with this award; it serves as an inspiration,” Waldman said.
Dwight and Waldman were among 13 honorees recognized Thursday for their efforts in the manufacturing sector both in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. About 220 people attended the awards dinner held at the Omni Providence Hotel. It was also the first in-person Manufacturing Awards ceremony held since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A special section highlighting all of the honorees will be part of PBN’s Nov. 11-24 print edition publishing Friday.
The other companies and organizations honored Thursday were:
- Snow Findings Co., for Overall Excellence at a Small Manufacturer
- Poyant Signs Inc., for Overall Excellence at a Midsize Manufacturer
- AstroNova Inc., for Overall Excellence at a Large Manufacturer
- Taco Inc., for Overall Excellence at an Enterprise Manufacturer
- Optrel Inc., for Excellence in Product Innovation & Design
- Amgen Rhode Island, for Excellence in Workforce Development & Productivity
- Katrinkles Inc., for Excellence in Green Manufacturing
- Reade Advanced Materials, for Family-owned Business
- TPI Composites Inc., for Excellence in Safety & Performance Records
- Trico Specialty Films, for Emerging Manufacturer
- Community College of Rhode Island and Polaris MEP, for Collaboration in Manufacturing
Polaris MEP was the presenting sponsor for the 2022 PBN Manufacturing Awards program. Amgen Rhode Island, Citrin Cooperman & Co. LLP, Cox Business, Gallo|Thomas Insurance and New England Institute of Technology were the partner sponsors.
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