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Refresco named Business of the Year


Muskogee Phoenix
October 4, 2017
Mike Elswick | Phoenix Staff Writer

Refresco was named Port of Muskogee Business of the Year on Tuesday evening during the 20th annual Business and Industry Awards Banquet.

Marie Synar, director of industrial development for the Port of Muskogee, cited Refresco’s capital investment and job creation among reasons for the honor.

“This company recently completed a $12 million investment to expand production capacity and grow its customer base within the region,” Synar said.

Refresco is the fourth largest manufacturer in the area, she said.

“Investments made in the plant’s infrastructure and equipment created more than 45 new jobs,” Synar said. “Refresco continues to significantly contribute to the Muskogee area’s overall economic growth.”

The banquet was held at the Indian Capital Technology Center and hosted by the Port Authority, Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce and ICTC.

Other award winners recognized for a variety of honors, included Meridian Brick, Advantage TerraFab, H.E. Anderson Company, Georgia-Pacific, OG&E, V&S Schuler Tubular Products, Advantage Controls and Gemma Ferren.

Tony Pivec, superintendent at ICTC, said the banquet annually has recognized more than 100 businesses and individuals who have contributed to Muskogee’s economic growth and quality of life.

“All the companies represented in our audience tonight deserve to be recognized because each and every one of you have helped Muskogee grow and helped make our little slice of heaven just a little better each year,” Pivec said. “The companies we celebrate tonight have had an incredible year.”

Each fall, the Muskogee City-County Port Authority, Indian Capital Technology Center and the Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism partner to honor local businesses for their outstanding achievements over the past year.

A new award presented this year was in honor of the late Willa Jean Pennington. She served as secretary for more than 20 years until she retired, Synar said.

“She played a big part in the Port’s development, and was very proud of the Port’s role in growing industry in Muskogee,” Synar said.

The inaugural Willa Jean Pennington Award for Administrative Excellence went to Gemma Ferren and was presented by Pennington’s children, Jeannie Hill and Jim Finley.

“Gemma served as the administrative assistant to the vice president of operations at Georgia-Pacific for nearly 40 years before retiring in August,” Synar said. “Her co-workers describe her as humble, driven, honest and loving.”

Reach Mike Elswick at (918) 684-2954; @melswickMPhx or melswick@muskogeephoenix.com.

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The Muskogee Business Development office is located at 216 West Okmulgee in downtown Muskogee, Oklahoma.