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Letterkenny Depot celebrates two more Shingo prizes

November 30, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - As the only Army depot to win Shingo medallions three straight years, Letterkenny Army Depot credited its workers in the Power Generation Equipment and Humvee Recapitalization programs for this year's achievement during a ceremony Thursday morning.

"It took 2,000 workers to get this prize to this depot," Depot Commander Col. Steven A. Shapiro said to hundreds of workers in the Humvee Recapitalization program. "You should be proud of yourselves and give yourselves a pat on the back."

Letterkenny received two 2007 Shingo medallions for excellence in lean manufacturing: The Shingo Public Sector Silver medallion for the Humvee Recapitalization program and the Shingo Public Sector Bronze medallion for the Power Generation Equipment (Generator) program.

"The awards reflect a high level of consistency in the depot," Gov. Edward Rendell said in a letter read by retired Lt. Gen. Ronald Adams, chairman of the Pennsylvania Base Development Commission. "Pennsylvania is privileged to have such a world-class facility."

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"As I look at those streamers up there today - it's like the Super Bowl," said Gen. Benjamin S. Griffin, commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. "Some equate it to a Nobel Prize."

When the medallions were presented, two workers came up to accept them. Kevin Griffin, a supervisor for the Humvee line, accepted the silver medallion for the Humvee Recapitalization program with U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., and George Forster, a mechanic in the generator program, accepted the bronze medallion for the Power Generation Equipment program with Shapiro.

"I feel privileged going up there," said Griffin, who has worked at Letterkenny for three years. "I was one of the original supervisors who started up the Humvee line from scratch."

As the awards were presented, all 250 workers in the Humvee program were asked to come forward as well.

"They don't have to do that - they don't have to give it to us," said Humvee worker Charles Waltrick, who has been working at Letterkenny for three years. "I'm proud to be a part of that."

Letterkenny is not the only public sector manufacturer to receive medallions this year, but it is the only to win in three consecutive years. Seventeen Shingo medallions were awarded in the public sector this year, according to the Shingo Prize Web site. Prizes were awarded at four levels - platinum, gold, silver and bronze - for lean manufacturers in the public sector.

The Shingo Prize for excellence in manufacturing was established in 1988 to promote manufacturing and business in the private sector. However, the prize was expanded in 2005 to include a public sector category.

Letterkenny won silver level awards in 2005 and 2006. The 2005 award was the first Shingo ever awarded in the public sector and was for Letterkenny's Patriot ground support equipment. The 2006 award was also for the Humvee program.

Shuster, a strong advocate of the Depot, said when he visits soldiers overseas, they know all about Letterkenny.

"When I mention that their Humvee came out of Letterkenny, they know that name," Shuster said

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