June 29, 2011
GEM Celebrates 100 Years.
Political and business dignitaries, including Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, joined with employees and company officials of GEM to celebrate its 100th anniversary Tuesday at the Global Partitions plant in Stephens County.
Company President Peter Rolla said a century after the company first started, it remains very much alive and thriving.
“Since our beginnings in 1911 in Gardner, Massachusetts, we have been through our ups and downs like any business,” said Rolla. “We have manufactured products from fanhouses to toolboxes, crib springs, casket springs, torpedo fins, toilet partitions, and now even ice skating rinks. People tell me manufacturing in the United States is dying. I tell them they have not been to Toccoa, Georgia.”
Rolla said the company appreciates the support of Toccoa and Stephens County.
He said none of this though would be possible without the company’s employees.
“While my family can provide capital and leadership, it is the people of Toccoa and the GEM family who have allowed GEM, through their hard work, to reach this 100-year mark,” said Rolla. “It is they who make a quality product every day. It is they who understand what it means to keep our customers satisfied with on-time deliveries. It is they who understand that they must be productive to compete in a world economy.”
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Cagle commended the company for its foresight.
“I think about a company that has been there for 100 years and how you have had to re-invent yourself and anticipate what the market is going to look like before it actually develops and this is a company that has been able to do that,” said Cagle.
GEM employs 250 people currently at three plants in Stephens County. Those plants are GEM Industries, GEM Plastics, and Global Partitions.
Recently, the company announced 35 jobs that would be added to the Global plant.
Rolla said however, more jobs are coming.
“I am pleased to tell you today that we also will expand our plastic extrusion business and we will be putting on an addition to the Meadowbrook building, adding the new extrusion line, which will result in approximately 15 new jobs,” he said.
Toccoa Mayor Janice English said the expansion is good news, adding that GEM means a lot to the area.
“We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the faith and trust you have put in us here and our employees here have shown you that this is the place for you to be,” said English.
50th District State Senator Jim Butterworth, 28th District State Representative Michael Harden, Stephens County Development Authority Chairman Cam Parker, and representatives for Senator Johnny Isakson and Representative Paul Broun also spoke at the event. In addition, Stephens County Development Authority Executive Director Tim Martin presented a proclamation for GEM on behalf of the Stephens County Commission.
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