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Frick Co., Stoners honored at Franklin Co. industry dinner

September 09, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Each year, 500 people show up for the Franklin County Area Development Corp. Industry Appreciation Dinner to learn the winners of the prestigious business awards and to see what kind of gag Mike Ross will pull.

Thursday night, the diners at the Lighthouse Restaurant were greeted with a Mike Ross bobblehead lapel pin at each place setting. For the after dinner entertainment, Ross came out in drag, wearing a red satin dress and black fishnet stockings as perhaps the homeliest assistant Chambersburg magician R.G. Smith has ever worked with.

"I'm from Las Vegas and all my tricks are magic," Ross told the audience. At past dinners Ross has brought in a dead-on Bill Clinton impersonator and an ersatz Italian general to spice up the evening.

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The 2005 Large Business of the Year Award went to Frick Co. of Waynesboro, Pa. The company, which employs more than 500 people, was founded by George Frick in 1853 and has been in constant operation since.

The Waynesboro plant has annual sales of more than $150 million, producing cooling and refrigeration equipment for the petrochemical, pharmaceutical and food industries, according to the video presentation. The company's parent corporation, York International, recently announced an investment of several million dollars in the plant for expansion of its fabrication shop, new machinery and equipment and a research and development laboratory.

The Small Business Award of the Year went to Stoner's Hijos Hill Inc., a family-owned dairy farming corporation in the Mercersburg, Pa., area. Last year the farm, which milks 550 cows and comprises 1,700 acres, produced 12.5 million pounds of milk.

The Stoner family purchased the original 240-acre farm in 1942 and began with a herd of 20 cows. Last year, the farm had sales of approximately $2.2 million, according to the presentation.

The Zane A. Miller Award for lifetime contributions to business and the community went to Paul E. Dunlap of Waynesboro. The retired Homes by Keystone executive is president of the Waynesboro Industrial Development Corp., which is involved in the development of the Wharf Road Industrial Park.

Saying it was his way of honoring Ross, who is rarely on time for any meeting, U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., showed up more than an hour late to accept the Chairman's Award.

"For the last four years he's been taking shots at me and I haven't been here to defend myself," said the now bearded congressman, who was honored for his three-year effort to keep Letterkenny Army Depot from being closed or downsized by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission.

The resurgent depot recently reclaimed its position as the county's largest employer.

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