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Project GIFT® Hosts Giving Back Summit & Annual Volunteer Banquet

Giving Back Summit

Kristian Whittington, manager of employee communication and engagement and Giving Back coordinator, brought the Giving Back coordinators together for the first time since 2015. Of the 23 coordinators, 15 were able to attend. “The main goal of this Giving Back Summit was to get our coordinators together and provide them with the tools they need to continue building Project GIFT® outside of west Georgia,” said Whittington. “These coordinators are the heart of Giving Back through Project GIFT, so the opportunity to share their successes, challenges and ideas will hopefully inspire them to build upon the achievements they made in 2017.”

The Giving Back Summit kicked off on April 27 with a welcome dinner where Kathleen Edge, executive vice president of Human Resources (HR), honored the coordinators for their efforts at the Bell House in Heflin, Ala. During the second day, the team learned about Southwire’s Giving Back focus and shared feedback in a roundtable discussion. The coordinators also participated in a Giving Back event of their own where they packed more than 335 bags of food for Feeding Cleburne, a charity dedicated to providing food for Cleburne County residents who go without.

According to Vivian Montes, HR administrator for Southwire’s Sumner facility in Houston, Texas, the summit was especially beneficial for newcomers to the company’s Giving Back efforts. “My favorite part of the Summit was our visit to Cleburne County,” said Montes. “I got the opportunity to visit the Feeding Cleburne Food Distribution Center and assist with putting bags of food together for those in great need. I have to say, it gave me chills of excitement and happiness knowing that I was part of such a great cause. I enjoyed working with everyone that attended the summit, and I hope to return to Sumner and provide a better understanding of how it all comes together.”

For the finale, the coordinators toured the Heflin Plant, participated in a Disaster Relief demonstration and attended the Project GIFT Volunteer Appreciation Banquet.

Project GIFT Volunteer Banquet

More than 100 Blackshirt volunteers from west Georgia and 15 Giving Back coordinators from Greater Southwire Area locations highlighted successes in 2017 at the Project GIFT Volunteer Appreciation Banquet on March 30 at the Burson Center in Carrollton, Georgia. 

Whittington along with Nadia Aghaie, corporate communication specialist, and Rich Stinson, president and CEO of Southwire, were a few of the speakers to review the year. Natalie Henley, HR manager and Giving Back coordinator for Starkville, Miss.; Sandy Sharpe, HR manager and Giving Back coordinator for Douglas, Ga.; and Andrew Kukwa, warehouse specialist and Project GIFT volunteer at California CSC in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., shared their favorite stories from 2017.

The highlights of the afternoon, however, were honoring one of Project GIFT’s volunteers for their commitment and the unveiling of the Kim Meeks Award, which recognizes a Greater Southwire Area location that has had the most impact in their community throughout the year.

Ricky Hays, maintenance specialist at the Villa Rica Plant, was presented with a plaque and special hat for his dedication to the nonprofit. With 37 volunteer opportunities and nearly 1,750 hours of service, Bremen was announced as the Kim Meeks Award winner for the second year in a row. Jodie Overmyer, quality assurance technician at Southwire’s Bremen Plant, accepted the award on behalf of the facility. “It was a surprise to win for two years back-to-back,” said Overmyer. “It meant a lot to us to know that our volunteers are staying consistent and even improving. After a great couple of days at the summit, I am excited to return to Bremen and continue making an impact in our community.”