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ATC presents award to Mars

ALBANY, Ga. -- Albany Technical College presented Mars Chocolate North America's Albany Plant with its Manufacturer of the Year award Wednesday.

Earlier this year, Albany Tech nominated Mars Albany for the state Manufacturer of the Year in the medium-sized company category. Mars Albany was recognized by the state of Georgia during Manufacturers Appreciation Week at a luncheon in Atlanta with Gov. Nathan Deal during that week.

Although Mars Albany was not the state winner this year, Albany Tech still recognized it as the college's local winner.

"Albany Technical College is pleased to provide this honor to Mars, Albany Plant, and looks forward to our continued partnership in years to come. With this honor, we hope to demonstrate the level of support we should all share in this community for this vital partner," said Albany Tech President Anthony Parker.

As an educational partner in Southwest Georgia, Mars provides opportunities for Albany Tech graduates to land careers as industrial maintenance technicians at the plant.

"It is indeed an honor and a privilege for Mars Chocolate North America Albany Plant to be selected as a nominee for 2012 Manufacturer of the Year," said Kelvin Graham, supply chain director at Mars Albany. "As a long-time community member and winner of the award in 2007, our Mars associates are once again very proud to be recognized for this esteemed award in the state of Georgia."

In 2006, an initiative known as Lean Manufacturing was implemented between Albany Tech and Mars. The initiative involved the continuous evolution of operating principles and manufacturing processes to save time and money and to advance product quality.

In addition, a Manufacturing Excellence Training Program in coordination with Albany Tech evolved in 2007. Courses ranged from decision-making and root cause analysis, to mechanical troubleshooting and computer skills.

"Albany Technical College was pleased to nominate Mars Chocolate North America for the statewide Manufacturer of the Year award and to recognize them as our Manufacturer of the Year here in our service delivery area," said Matt Trice, vice president of economic development at Albany Tech. "We appreciate and value the partnership that we have with Mars and look forward to a continued relationship as we assist the company in meeting their work force needs."