BY BRUCE MILLS
One of Sumter’s leading manufacturers was recently recognized with its company’s most prestigious award.
BD, a medical device manufacturer of blood tubes and needles for the health care industry, won the 2021 Bronze H.P. Becton Quality Award among the corporation’s 83 facilities, and Plant Manager Ken Lee spoke recently on the honor.
According to the firm, the award is the highest recognition of a team, individual or organization of BD associates that successfully demonstrates the intent and spirit of the “BD Way” on quality policy standards.
Quality performance metrics measured with the award include basically every aspect of the business model from device performance, functionality and efficiency to on-time delivery of shipments to customers, Lee said.
“The award reflects positive incremental changes in today’s high-tech, global economy,” he said.
BD currently has about 1,000 associates at its Airport Road facility with a focus on technical fields – to include mechanical, electrical and robotics.
About 120 associates at the plant work in the quality area under Associate Director of Quality Jason Appel.
The facility is currently in the middle of a three-phase expansion that should be complete in two years, Lee added. Phase 2 includes new warehouse space that will increase facility size to 680,000-700,000 square feet. One warehouse near an entrance way will be completed this summer and is about five stories and 62 feet tall.
The most recent award was the first time the corporation gave gold, silver and bronze awards for quality. First- and second-place honors went to medical devices involved in COVID-19 therapy, Lee said.
BD has issued the H.P. Becton Quality Award since 1984, and the Sumter facility won the honor twice previously in 1984 and ’85.
“It’s been a very long time since we were recognized with this prestigious award,” Lee said. “It’s very difficult to win it because BD is full of exceptional, quality-focused professionals who continue to improve year after year.”
Credit: The Sumter Item
The hiring fair will be divided into a two-day event. A statewide virtual hiring event will be held on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Attendees can register by visiting the Ping by Tallo event website. An onsite hiring fair will be hosted at the Sumter Civic Center on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No registration is required for the onsite hiring fair.
More than 50 employers including Sunoco, Caterpillar, Prisma Health, Tidelands Health, and Continental Tire are registered to participate in the hiring fair, which will be the first of four regional, annual Veteran-hiring fairs hosted by the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
As of January 2022, the Veteran unemployment rate was 3.5%, up from 3.3% the previous month. South Carolina’s unemployment rate is at 3.5% as of January 2022, according to the South Carolina Department of Labor and the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.
SCDVA Secretary Will Grimsley has set a strategic objective to reduce the current Veteran unemployment rate to 3.2% by the end of the third quarter of this year, with an overall goal to reach 1.5% in the future. Secretary Grimsley has been actively discussing Veteran workforce enhancement with employers throughout the state and legislators who are working to get bills through the State House that would improve the quality of life for Veterans seeking career opportunities in South Carolina.
“We know there are Veterans in our state who are passionate about service and are seeking a new start with a new career following their progression from active-duty military. Connecting Veterans directly to employers through hiring initiatives like this one is a great start to bridging that gap. There are employers seeking diverse, qualified Veteran candidates in our state as well as Veterans with the proven ability, and personal commitment to become a valued member of the Palmetto State workforce. Hiring fairs like this not only provide a resource to Veterans, it’s also a way to thank them for their service and ensure a path to success.”
SCDVA’s Veteran Employment Coordinator, Alford Taylor, has been working directly with event partners to achieve Secretary Grimsley’s strategic objective goal.
“These events are paramount for our employers, educational, training institutions, and workforce development across the Palmetto State. More importantly, these events will benefit South Carolina’s transitioning military members, military spouses, Veterans, Veteran spouses, and their family members. By helping one Veteran at a time obtain suitable and sustainable employment, this will allow them and their family members to continue to thrive.”
SCDVA chose the City of Sumter as the location for its first South Carolina Military Community Hiring Fair because of Sumter’s diverse employment industries that are dedicated to hiring Veterans. SCDVA is committed to hosting regional hiring fairs annually in all four regions of the state (Upstate, Midlands, Pee Dee, Lowcountry), and will choose a different city in each region to host the events throughout the year.
For more information about SCDVA Employment efforts, visit our website at scdva.sc.gov.