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Hardwood Products wins formal acclaim from Gov. LePage for excellence and community commitment

Augusta, Maine — Hardwood Products Company in Guilford is one of six Maine companies recently honored for their high level of commitment to their communities and employees, and to manufacturing or service excellence, with the 21st Annual Governor’s Awards for Business Excellence.

Administered by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, the prestigious awards were presented by Governor Paul LePage on May 17 at the State House in the Hall of Flags.

"This year's award-winning businesses are representative of the commitment to excellence, top quality workmanship, commitment to community, and service that Maine is known for,” the governor said. “I am pleased to honor them all as distinguished members of our community.”

Hardwood Products is the leading global manufacturer of wooden food stick products. Its affiliate company, Puritan Medical Products, is the global leader in the design and manufacturing of swabs for medical, clinical, critical environments and forensic applications. This year, Puritan completed a major expansion to begin manufacturing media-filled transport systems for the collection and preservation of bacteria, viruses, and trace materials.

Terry Young, General Manager of Hardwood Products Company, said being among the award winners is “a truly proud moment for our company, our family owners, our community and our employees — who, with a shared commitment to manufacturing and innovation excellence, have kept Hardwood Products and Puritan Medical Products strong and growing.”

The company was nominated for the award by Kimberly Moore, business and workforce development specialist at the Eastern Maine Development Corporation in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. “Through excellent management,” she wrote, “the company has grown through every economic decline, helping our region remain strong.”

She noted that “Hardwood Products has provided a market for a local commodity (white birch) and reliable employment to citizens of Guilford and many surrounding towns. … Hardwood has a long record of retaining quality employees by providing them with a quality work environment, fair pay as well as benefits.”

Working on “the cutting edge of science,” Moore’s nomination letter continues, “Puritan Medical Products LLC has developed significant advances in high-performance DNA-free swabs, and 21st century flock swabs including patent-pending PurFlock® Ultra and HydraFlock® swabs.”

“Their achievements have helped spread the word across the nation and around the globe about Maine’s great work force, quality products and spirit of innovation,” she wrote. “Hardwood has been a great ambassador as well, promoting Maine products, quality, ingenuity and work ethics at tradeshows throughout the United States and around the globe. Puritan was recognized as Maine’s Exporter of the Year by the Maine International Trade Center.”

“I have always been impressed with the level of community service at Hardwood. Not only are they committed to this community through job creation and investment,” Moore continued, “they maintain strong support for the Pine Tree Hospice, Guilford Kiwanis Christmas Program, YMCA, Friends of Community Fitness, the Penquis Leadership Institute and the Piscataquis River Festival, to name a few.”

The company also gives $1,000 scholarships each year to employees’ children who are graduating from high school and heading to higher education.

Each of the Governor’s Awards for Business Excellence recipients “characterizes what it is that makes a business not only great to work for, but a true asset to their communities," said George Gervais, the state’s acting Commissioner of Economic and Community Development.

When the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development began accepting nominations for the awards late last November, Gervais’s predecessor, then-Commissioner Thaxter Trafton, said that "winning the Governor's Award for Business Excellence demonstrates to your customers, the community, the state of Maine and beyond, that your business has earned a reputation for top quality workmanship and service, stellar employee relations, and an overall commitment to excellence." The department works with a selection committee comprised of former award winners and business people.

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