Leon Bracey

How the World Gets to the Water

How the World Gets to the Water

EZ Loader Boat Trailers

Since 1953, EZ Loader Boat Trailers has been a leader in manufacturing boat trailers throughout the world. Serving as a one-stop shop for recreational boat trailers, EZ Loader manufactures them for nearly every boat and body of water.
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From its humble beginnings, EZ Loader Boat Trailers has become a respected marine industry leader due to its dedication to high-quality workmanship and excellent customer service.

Building the Bridge Back to Work

Building the Bridge Back to Work

Workplace Safety Insurance Board of Ontario

Dealing with workplace injuries can be a devastating and challenging experience for both worker and company. Organizations such as the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) of Ontario enable workers to receive needed compensation and provide no-fault insurance for employers in the province. As an independent organization of the Ministry of Labour in Ontario, WSIB serves as a bridge to get injured workers back to work and a healthy recovery.
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Established in 1998 after the dissolution of the Worker’s Compensation Board, the WSIB has carried out its vision of becoming the leading workplace compensation board in Canada. The organization is legislated by the Ontario government and is responsible for administering the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA). The WSIB is one of the largest organizations of its kind in North America, providing workplace injury insurance coverage for more than five
million workers and over 300 000 employers across Ontario in nearly every sector of the province’s economy.

Superior Logistics Solutions for Carriers

Superior Logistics Solutions for Carriers

Service First Logistics, Inc

Logistics firm Service First Logistics, Inc. (SFL) offers services through the United States and Canada. The company specializes in shipping produce and food products but will transport everything from bulk load shipments, pallets and flowers to packaging and building materials.
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SFL prides itself in its dedication to top-notch managing of the freight and logistics needs of its customers. President and Chief Executive Officer Royce Neubauer founded the company from his home office in 2011. However, plans for the company started long before that. “I started developing my business plan about six years before our start date,” he shares. “I wanted to make sure we could be debt-free and self-funded our first year and throughout our existence.”

Rise of the Machines

Rise of the Machines

Will Automation End the Workforce as We Know It?

The concept of automation and technology in the workplace taking jobs out of the labour force is not a new phenomenon. However, recent innovations and concepts have instilled a new fear and concern from people. Are we really facing “The End of Work?”
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In 1995, economist Jeremy Rifkin published a book called “The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era.” In the book, Rifkin predicted that unemployment throughout the world would increase as technology continued to automate processes that normally involved human labour. He said that it would have a devastating impact on the manufacturing, agricultural, and service sectors in particular. Twenty years later, many people still debate whether or not Rifkin’s predictions have come true.

A Longstanding Legacy of Promoting Healthy Living

A Longstanding Legacy of Promoting Healthy Living

Bragg Live Food Products

As a pioneer in the health movement, Bragg Live Food Products provides its customers with a diverse lineup of organic and natural food and nutrition products that enable people to live a healthy lifestyle. For over one hundred years, the company has offered superior quality products, adhering to the philosophy that, “You are what you eat, drink, breathe, think, say, and do!”
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Bragg Live Food Products legacy in the health industry has stood the test of time. The company was founded by Dr. Paul C. Bragg, known as the “Father of America’s Health Movement.” As a survivor of tuberculosis, Dr. Bragg dedicated his life to educating people about health and wellness.

An Industry Leader in Tilt-Up Construction

An Industry Leader in Tilt-Up Construction

Citadel Contractors, Inc.

Tilt-up is a construction technique that is cost effective and, quite simply, gets buildings constructed faster. Since 1997, Citadel Contractors has grown into an industry leader in tilt-up construction projects throughout the Southeastern United States.
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Based in Apex, North Carolina outside Raleigh, Citadel has a vast array of awards and certifications that demonstrate why the company is an expert in tilt-up construction. Company Vice President Jason Swagert spoke to Business in Focus about what has made the company so successful.

Atlanta’s Premier Interior Construction Company

Atlanta’s Premier Interior Construction Company

Humphries and Company

Since its start in 1981, Humphries and Company has been noted for its premium interior general contractor services throughout the Metro Atlanta Area, for its reputation for high-quality consistency, and for building relationships with its customers and subcontractors.
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Humphries boasts an extensive portfolio of interior construction projects including office space, call centers, switch and data centers, clubs, medical offices, law firms, securities firms, and base building repositioning. Due to the team’s high quality of work, Humphries and Company sees a great deal of repeat business. Rather than resting on their laurels, however, the company is always actively seeking more projects and clients.

The Heart of the Petrochemical Industry… and More

The Heart of the Petrochemical Industry… and More

City of La Porte, Texas

On the shores of Galveston Bay near Houston, Texas the City of La Porte, Texas has a lot to offer its residents, including a vibrant petrochemical industry, award-winning schools, and a business-friendly climate. This city of 35,000 people is known for its quality of life and innovative business development.
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Scott D. Livingston, Economic Development Coordinator for the City of La Porte, spoke with Business in Focus about the city and why it is not only a great place to work, but also a great place to live.

A Good Place to Grow

A Good Place to Grow

DeKalb County Economic Development Authority

Located in Northeast Alabama within a two-hour drive of major cities in the Southeastern United States, DeKalb County has become an ideal location for distribution companies, automotive suppliers, and other manufacturers.
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Since 1994, the DeKalb County Economic Development Authority (DCEDA) has been instrumental in recruiting and retaining businesses in the county. The County has always had a consistent population growth with a present population of 71,065 and a workforce of 30,903. Within a 45 minute drive time the workforce swells to 405,396.

A Growing Economy in a Rural Setting

A Growing Economy in a Rural Setting

Newaygo County Economic Development Office

With its ideal location, Newaygo County, Michigan has made economic inroads and offers a high quality of life for its residents, which the Newaygo County Economic Development Office (NCEDO) refers to as “Rural Sophistication.” The NCEDO has played an instrumental role in bringing businesses and jobs to the county over the years.
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Located just 40 miles from the city of Grand Rapids and 30 miles from the shores of Lake Michigan, Newaygo County gives people the opportunity to live in a small town or rural setting, but close enough to the natural beauty of West Michigan. Due to the favorable combination of soil, climate, and weather patterns brought on by Lake Michigan, Newaygo County has long been a center for agriculture and food processing. The area is noted for having a diverse array of crops that total over $100 million in sales per year.

Promoting Bay County to the World

Promoting Bay County to the World

Bay Future, Inc.

Since 2004, Bay Future, Inc. has been improving the lives of Bay County, Michigan residents through job creation and retention in a variety of industries. Bay Future’s top priority is to assist and support businesses in Bay County and attract new companies to the region from across the globe.
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Located along the shores of the Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron, just 90 minutes north of Detroit, Bay County has a strategic location along Interstate 75 and proximity to other major cities nearby such as Cleveland, Toronto, and Chicago. Additionally, the Saginaw River, a navigable waterway for shipping, runs through the heart of the county. The area’s accessibility is ideal for both commerce and travel.

Gluten Free Goodness with Knowledge and Service

Gluten Free Goodness with Knowledge and Service

Arnel’s Originals

The phrase ‘Necessity is the mother of invention,’ could definitely be applied to how Arnel’s Originals got its start. As a mother, founder Arnel McAtee used her research and cooking skills to prepare food her children could eat without the risk of suffering from the symptoms of gluten. From those humble beginnings, Arnel’s Originals has grown into a successful company selling whole grain organic non-GMO gluten free mixes that are not only nourishing, but delicious.
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Based in Ventura, California, Arnel McAtee spoke extensively about her company and how she was compelled to start making gluten free baking mixes. Back in 1996, McAtee had two girls, ages four and six who were emotionally volatile, dealing with eczema, and weren’t able to sleep through the night. “Something was wrong and I was determined to find out what it was,” McAtee says.

Sweet Summer Nights

Sweet Summer Nights

Business Booms as the Temperature Rises

After a long winter season, North Americans are anxious to get out and have fun during the summer. Whether consumers are traveling to theme parks, visiting beaches, or enjoying clubs on those long, hot summer nights, businesses have found myriad ways to cater to consumer demands and the latest trends.
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Many young professionals and the young at heart want to dance the night away and nightclubs are finding unique and innovative ways to market their clubs to customers. As big data has become increasingly important in a number of industries, the nightclub industry is no exception when it comes to collecting information about its customers. Catering messages and personalizing them to a niche audience has become an increasingly important trend in 2015, and many clubs are now adapting Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to understand their target markets and what their niche customers want.

“We Celebrate Human Achievement”

“We Celebrate Human Achievement”

Plastic Dress-Up Company

Since its inception, Plastic Dress-Up Company (PDU) has been a leader in the award and trophy industry. As the first company to manufacture plastic trophy components, PDU continues to revolutionize the industry by remaining innovative and adapting to meet the diverse needs of its customers.
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Headquartered in South El Monte, California near Los Angeles, PDU is an international supplier of raw materials for award and recognition products such as trophies, plaques and medals to retailers. The company has 21 distribution locations throughout the United States along with international distribution centers in Canada, Europe, Australia, South America, Africa, and other areas.

Spurring and Supporting Community Development

Spurring and Supporting Community Development

Greenwood Partnership Alliance

Greenwood Partnership Alliance (GPA) was one of the first public-private collaborations in South Carolina to encourage economic development. Now, for over 25 years, its innovative leadership has worked to advance the county’s economy.
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With an ideal location about halfway between Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC, in the Piedmont Region of the state, Greenwood County has a diverse economy serving the needs of the region. Just some of the drivers of the local economy include specialized manufacturing, life sciences, healthcare services and serving the rapidly growing retiree population. Greenwood County is also close to multiple major markets in the Southeastern United States including nearby Greenville, Columbia, Spartanburg, Asheville, and Augusta.

Zenith City Experiencing Economic Renaissance

Zenith City Experiencing Economic Renaissance

City of Duluth, Minnesota

The City of Duluth, Minnesota has evolved from its days of heavy manufacturing, lumber, steel and concrete production to support diverse sectors such as healthcare, education, technology and aviation. Mayor Don Ness spoke with Business in Focus once again about the development and progress Duluth has made since we last featured the city in June of 2014. “Our economic development projects continue to move forward,” says the Mayor.
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“The progress continues to accelerate. From large scale public investments like the Duluth International Airport and Amsoil Arena, to significant investment in new housing projects; from improved maintenance in our public parks, to maurices’ new headquarters in downtown. All of these improvements contribute to a significant change in how people see Duluth.”

At the Intersection of Community and Opportunity

At the Intersection of Community and Opportunity

The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership

The Woodlands, Texas is a master-planned community located about 35 miles north of Houston. Initially serving as a bedroom community in the 1970s, The Woodlands has evolved into a regional employment center in Greater Houston, and The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership (EDP) has played an instrumental role in this transition.
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Gil Staley serves as CEO of The Woodlands Area EDP. Mr. Staley spoke to Business in Focus about what The Woodlands EDP does to attract businesses to the area and what makes the area a great place to both work and live.

Food that Enhances the Body and Mind

Food that Enhances the Body and Mind

Sunwarrior

Sunwarrior has demonstrated a commitment to making the best plant-based foods and supplements for its customers. The company lives up to its mission to ‘Illuminate Body, Mind, and Planet’ and strives to exemplify those ideals in everything it does – from sourcing the finest ingredients from around the world to growing microgreens in its own facilities.
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The company got its start in 2007 in Overton, Nevada near Las Vegas, specializing in providing organic, plant-based vegan protein powders and supplements. These powders can be used in shakes and smoothies, are gluten-free, and do not contain any genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Additionally, they are free of solvents, radiation, artificial flavors, artificial preservatives, artificial colors, soy, yeast, wheat, and added sugars. 

A Modern Take on an Old World Favorite

A Modern Take on an Old World Favorite

Kolache Factory

With origins in Central and Eastern Europe, kolaches are pastry rolls that are filled with fruit, or meat and cheese. These snacks have also become popular in the United States over the years, and the Kolache Factory, committed to the authenticity, craftsmanship, and food innovation, offers a modern take on this Old World treat.
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Kolache Factory was founded in 1982 in Houston, Texas by co-founders John and Jerri Banks, who identified a need for a fresh, high quality breakfast that could be eaten on the run. While kolaches were popular in Central Texas at the time thanks to a large number of European immigrants in the area, they were virtually unknown in Houston. The Banks played a key role in bringing kolaches to local consumers. Today, Kolache Factory has grown to 50 locations throughout Texas as well as California, Indiana, Kansas, and Missouri – and the company has plans for even further expansion. New locations are opening in New Mexico, Colorado and Virginia by the end of this year.

A Strong Culture Drives Quality

A Strong Culture Drives Quality

Hill & Wilkinson

Since 1968, Hill & Wilkinson has evolved. Once a small family business and now a leader in its field, the firm provides a full range of contracting services across multiple sectors, with a particular focus on a service model called “Process-Driven Design and Construction” in which each client’s unique process dictates the specific way the company approaches projects.
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Headquartered near Dallas in Richardson, Texas, H&W takes on everything from maintenance work to design-build projects. The company is dedicated to executing each project to the strictest of standards and the highest quality. As the company has grown, Hill & Wilkinson continues to adhere to its underlying philosophy and its core values of respect, quality, safety, training, fun, citizenship and commitment to the communities it serves.

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