GREENVILLE, NC (February 20, 2018) - Penco Products has been selected as Pitt County's Industry of the Year for 2017-2018. Each year, the Pitt County Development Commission recognizes a manufacturer or distributor that best represents our community as a model corporate citizen. The criteria include demonstrated achievements in social responsibility, economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, personnel policy, and diversity.
Penco Products a leading supplier of storage products and material handling solutions. In 1869, Penco, then called Penn Metal Corporation, began the production of fine metal products. Today, Penco is a national brand, with shelving and pallet rack products utilized by manufacturers and distributors, and lockers widely used in educational, fitness, health care, and industrial facilities.
In 2001, Penco's East Coast manufacturing facilities were moved to Hamilton, NC in Martin County. With over 375,000 square feet at this facility, the move allowed for significant expansion. In 2013, corporate headquarters were relocated from Philadelphia, PA to Greenville, NC. "Penco's move of its corporate office to Pitt County has served to forge a synergistic working relationship between employees in Greenville and employees in Penco's primary manufacturing plant in Hamilton, NC," says Tom Kulikowski, President and CEO of Penco Products. "Employees are encouraged to meet in person to build trust, communicate effectively and enlist support."
The manufacturing plant implements new advanced manufacturing techniques and design innovations while the Greenville headquarters provides administrative, personnel, and financial oversight of the Martin County plant. The close proximity of the two facilities, about an hour's drive apart, offers unique opportunities for enhanced efficiencies, productivity, and innovation.
Cross-training of operations personnel in quality control, team building, and diversity training as well as the addition of more technologically advanced equipment have allowed Penco to adapt and thrive despite changes in the industry. An employee suggestion program has helped to simplify and streamline processes, and identify cost reduction and productivity improvements. This collaborative model has allowed Penco to become a leaner, more cost-effective and more efficient operation that is better positioned to perform well during all phases of the economic cycle.
Recruiting and retaining the best employees is an important aspect of Penco's business strategy. The company offers a full benefits package to employees as well as professional and personal development training, with classes taught by Pitt and Martin Community College instructors. Penco offers a comprehensive tuition reimbursement program, and employees have also completed the Chamber's Leadership Institute and earned Lean/6 Sigma Black Belts through a company-sponsored program.
Kulikowski believes that management should lead by example. He is an active member of numerous Pitt County boards and encourages employees to get involved in the community. "The community has been extraordinarily welcoming to our company and to me personally," he says. "The opportunities to get involved and make a difference have been rewarding." In 2017, Penco began a tradition of honoring an employee each year who demonstrates a commitment to making a positive impact in the community and being a role model, called the Penco Humanitarian Award.
Penco employees show support in the local community by donating time, money, products, and services. Lockers and shelving have been donated to schools and service agencies. Penco employees volunteer in Pitt County Schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, the Pitt County Sheriff's Office Summer Youth Camp, the Pitt County Education Foundation, and the Martin-Pitt Partnership for Children, as well as others.
Penco also recognizes its obligation to environmental stewardship. There is up to 60% recycled content in their steel products. All Penco products are GREENGUARD Gold Certified, which means that they are in compliance with the stringent chemical emissions guidelines.
In 2019, Penco Products will celebrate their 150th anniversary. They have a distinguished track record of industry leadership, innovation, customer loyalty, employee engagement, and dedicated ownership.
"Penco is a great example of the type of industry we would like to attract to our community," says Brad Hufford, associate director, Pitt County Development Commission. "They have brought manufacturing jobs to our region as well as administrative and support jobs to Pitt County, and they are great corporate citizens who give back to the communities they serve."
The Pitt County Development Commission is proud to honor Penco Products for their contributions to Pitt County. The Industry of the Year award will be presented at the annual Existing Industries Reception on February 20, 2018. The reception is sponsored by the Pitt County Development Commission and Greenville Utilities Commission.