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Tannery wins award from Toyota

May 22, 1999|By JULIE E. GREENE

Employees from Garden State Tanning's Williamsport plant celebrated with family members at an annual picnic Saturday and were presented with the Superior Supplier Award from Toyota for the first time.

Garden State Tanning Inc. was one of seven companies worldwide, and one of only two in the United States, given the award by Toyota, said Joseph Cooley, vice president of sales and marketing for Garden State Tanning in King of Prussia, Pa. Toyota has more than 400 suppliers.

Garden State Tanning turns cow hides into leather for car seats.

"Obviously winning the award is quite an accomplishment for Garden State. It's something we've strived to attain," said Ernest C. Inmon Jr., president and chief executive officer.

Toyota Motor Corporation President Hiroski Okuda presented the award, made of cut glass, to Cooley in Japan in February.

During Saturday's picnic at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center south of Hagerstown, Cooley said the award really belongs to each employee at Garden State's Williamsport plant.

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The award was re-presented, this time to Scott P. Nesmith, the Williamsport plant manager, by James Wiseman, a vice president with Toyota's North American division.

Garden State's Williamsport plant, with about 1,000 workers, is one of the 10 largest employers in Washington County.

About 1,600 people attended Saturday's picnic, which featured a petting zoo, a magician and lots of chicken and hamburgers.

U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-Md., told Garden State employees how proud he was of them.

"You win a lot of awards. I don't know if you really appreciate what you've done," Bartlett said. Their work is labor intensive, the kind of jobs the nation has a hard time keeping, he said.

"Thank you very much for the role model that you are to American workers," Bartlett said.

Toyota again made donations to community groups.

The firm gave $5,000 to Williamsport Elementary School that will be used to buy computers and software, and to train teachers how to use them, said Principal Raymond Barrett.

Toyota again made a donation to the Williamsport Memorial Library. The car company gave the library a second group of books about Japan, written in English.

In the past Toyota has given the library $10,000 that was used to buy computers, book shelving and books, said Gregory Martin, president of the library's board.

Mayor John Slayman announced the Town Council had declared Saturday Toyota Day in Williamsport.

A proclamation from Gov. Parris N. Glendening was presented to Garden State, recognizing the company for its Superior Supplier Award.

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