Seven firms honored with Progress awards

The Wapakoneta Area Chamber of Commerce (WACC) honored seven local businesses Wednesday as it held it’s eighth annual Progress Award Breakfast.

“In today’s economic climate it is important to do this,” Chamber President Dan Lee said. “It is important show that Wapakoneta is still moving forward. We still have a lot of investment in Wapakoneta.”

Brian Dicken, Northwest Regional representative from Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor’s office, was the guest speaker at the event.

“The governor’s office is very interested in helping business in the state,” Dicken said. “The very first thing Kasich signed was his Common Sense Initiative (CSI) to look at reducing government regulations to help business.

Dicken said Kasich’s CSI program is aimed at looking at all regulations in the state and making it more efficient by freeing businesses from unnecessary red tape.

The Armstrong Air & Space Museum saw an increase of nearly 5,000 in attendance and an increase in admissions of $22,570. In addition, museum store sales increased by $26,352. Several visitors have reported they visited the museum after seeing the new $70,000 sign that was installed along Interstate 75.

Ametek-Westchester Plastics was honored after making several capital investments throughout 2011, the biggest one being a $2 million investment for a new state-of-the-art high capacity compounding line dedicated to the production of plastic compounds in the solar industry. The line has been running continuously since starting up in August. Other improvements put Ametek’s total investment in 2011 at more than $3 million.

Com Net Inc. was awarded a $30 million federal stimulus grant and has added more than 700 miles of fiber to it’s network. The project will expand existing broadband services to rural and underserved communities in 28 western Ohio counties.

FABrehab Services expanded from one to four offices in 2011, and as a result increased its new hires by 150 percent and reported a 60 percent increase in net income.

Greve Sales & Service saw increases across the board in 2011, including 40 percent in vehicle sales, 25 percent in service revenue and 50 percent in vehicle inventory.

The Wapa Theater invested $85,000 for new digital projection equipment to allow it to remain open. They also made construction improvements to the restrooms, handicapped seating areas, ceiling plaster and the concession stand.

Park Street Music & Mercantile has brought in numerous visitors to the downtown area. Music Instructor Brad Lambert already has more than 25 students since the business opened July 8.

“It’s important to show the community that we are moving forward and we need to bring that to light,” Lee said. “We are showing that we do not need to wait on the state government or the federal government. We are moving forward.”