Savage earns regional, national accolades

Date: Wednesday, September 08, 2010

By Judy Truesdell
Staff Writer

Savage Precision Fabrication, Inc. has added two more honors to its already impressive list of awards and achievements. It has been named Region VI and National Small Business Subcontractor of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Savage manufactures precision machine parts and sheet metal details for markets including aviation, the military and medicine.

City, state and national dignitaries attended a celebration, including an open house, presentations and lunch, Sept. 2 at Savage’s 60,000-square-foot location on Martinez Street in Wylie.

The company, owned by W.T. and JoAnn Gardner, began in the Gardners’ garage in Mesquite (on Savage Drive) in 1975 and moved to Wylie in  1995. Last year, Savage moved from its location on Ballard Avenue, now home to First Baptist Wylie’s event center, to the all-new facility on Martinez.

Among those gathered to honor the Gardners, their family and their employees was Wylie Mayor Eric Hogue, who said Wylie has a 123-year history and he is glad that Savage is part of that history. Calling their move to the previous Ballard Street address a “key component” in the revitalization of downtown, Hogue congratulated the Gardners and welcomed the visitors who had come to celebrate the honor with them.

U.S. Congressman Ralph Hall also spoke, saying it was good to come to Wylie on “a day of pride” to celebrate the honor the Gardners had earned themselves. “It’s a day to enjoy,” he said, “and I’m proud to represent people who are successful, a family who bet their future on this part of the country and made it work.”

Hall also noted that Savage is a certified minority- and veteran-owned business. Mr. Gardner, a Choctaw Indian, is also an Army veteran. Hall presented the Gardners with an American flag that had flown over the nation’s Capitol.

U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson also congratulated Savage on the accomplishment and read from the entry he had put in the Congressional Record about the company’s honor. He said Savage has grown through the company’s emphasis on honesty, loyalty and hard work and noted that their motto has always been, “If it doesn’t work, you don’t have to pay me.”

“This recognition is hard earned and well deserved, and I salute you,” Johnson said.

Texas State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg said that all three men who had spoken before her were “three statesman, not politicians.” She said she was particularly excited that Savage is located in “my district, in Wylie, Texas,” and noted that 80 percent of the jobs created in the nation have been in Texas. “We are the number one economic state in the union,” she said.

Laubenberg presented the Gardners with a Texas flag that had flown over the state’s Capitol in Austin.

The next person at the podium was Robert Taylor of the U.S. Small Business Administration, who explained the significance of the honors being presented and how they came about.

He said that, each year, companies such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Bell Helicopter nominate their best suppliers in Region VI, which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. A panel of independent judges evaluates the nominations to decide on a “best-of-the-best” contractor. These regional winners are sent to Washington, D.C., Taylor said, where a different set of judges reviews the 10 honorees from around the country, choosing the national winner.

This year, Savage was the top regional and national subcontractor.

Raytheon’s Janet Duffey said Savage reflects the “core values” of her company and she views the two companies as partners. “Your performance sets you apart,” she said, adding that Savage is on the “who’s who” list for the aerospace and defense industry.

Savage Vice President Carol Gardner, the Gardners’ daughter, said when she was a girl and her father decided to quit his job at Texas Instruments and go to work for himself she didn’t worry. Her father had always had two jobs, she said, and was committed to taking care of his family. She also said she had no idea of the “blood, sweat and tears” that would be ahead for her parents, but it has paid off.

“The employees work as a team every day,” she said. “I’m proud to be part of that team.”

She thanked Raytheon for nominating the company and for doing such a good job of preparing the entry. “To receive the honor not only for Region VI but also the national honor is above and beyond any imagination that myself and my parents would have thought of 35 years ago,” she said.

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