By Brad Rhen
HERSHEY - Two greater Berks regional companies were among 50 businesses from across the state that received awards Thursday at the third annual Governor's ImPAct Awards.
Radius Toothbrush, Kutztown, won an Export ImPAct award. Solar Innovations Inc. of Pine Grove won a Jobs That Pay award. Two other Berks companies, Custom Processing Services Inc. of Exeter and Suburban Testing Labs of Bern Township, were finalists but did not win.
The awards, which were presented during a ceremony at the Hershey Lodge, recognize companies from throughout Pennsylvania that have had a substantial impact on the state and have contributed to job creation and retention.
Companies are nominated in five categories: community impact, entrepreneurial impact, export impact, jobs that pay and small business impact. A winner was selected from 10 different regions in each category.
Solar Innovations Inc.
Solar Innovations Inc., which manufactures glass enclosures and skylights, represented the northeast region and beat out four other companies, including companies from Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.
"It feels great," said president Greg Header. "I think it's a testament to where we've come and the team we've built, and we're excited about the future."
Header said he believes the award is proof that the company's move to Pine Grove and everything it has done has made a difference in the community.
"We value what we've done in the community, and we want to work harder and improve what we can do both for the company, the team members and the community," he said. "It means that a lot of people's hard work has paid off."
Radius, which manufactures toothbrushes, represented the southeast region and beat out four other companies, including companies from Philadelphia and King of Prussia.
Kevin Foley, founder of Radius, said he was delighted to win the award.
"I think it's just wonderful to receive public recognition for what you do," he said.
Foley credited his daughter, CEO Saskia Foley, who helped lead an expansion from 10 employees when she joined the company seven years ago, to about 26 now.
"She has made an incredible difference to our company, particularly developing the export business and also driving our sales generally," he said.
Suburban Testing Labs
Suburban Testing Labs, an environmental testing laboratory that specializes in the analysis of drinking water, ground water, wastewater, soil and solid materials such as biosolids and sludge, was nominated for a Small Business Impact award.
John Weisman, an account representative for Suburban Testing Labs, said even though the company did not win, it was an honor just to be recognized as a finalist.
"We work very hard, and just to be part of day like this, where we're honoring other companies from across the state that are helping the state move along economically was truly an honor," he said.
Custom Processing Services
Custom Processing Services, a contract manufacturer of pharmaceuticals, was nominated for an Entrepreneur Impact award. Michael Shemanski, son of founder Greg Shemanski, also said it was an honor just to be a finalist.
"It's always a great opportunity for recognition for what we've been doing for years," he said. "We started with two guys working at the plant doing everything, to now having more than 100 employees. I think that really shows that we're continually trying to provide more jobs for Reading and surrounding areas."
The awards were presented by Team Pennsylvania Foundation in collaboration with the state Department of Community and Economic Development.