FloridaMakes Appoints James Hodge, CEREX Advanced Fabrics, and Charles A. Howison, Barrette Outdoor Living, to Statewide Board of Directors

FloridaMakes, a state-wide, industry-led network operated by Florida's Regional Manufacturers Associations aimed at improving the productivity and technological performance of Florida’s manufacturing companies and strengthening the state’s manufacturing economy, has appointed James Hodge, plant manager of CEREX Advanced Fabrics, Cantonment, and Charles (Chip) Howison, vice president of operations, Barrett Outdoor Living, Brooksville, to its board of directors. 

The FloridaMakes network is an industry-led initiative operated by Florida’s Regional Manufacturers Associations in partnership with industry, research, educational, and economic development organizations, both public and private, at the state and national levels. Through Florida’s Regional Manufacturers Associations and participating partners, the network provides services that are customized to meet the needs and opportunities of individual companies.

 “As board members, James and Chip will provide valuable insight to help strategically guide the FloridaMakes network, enabling us to anticipate and address the many opportunities and challenges faced by Florida manufacturers in a global marketplace, and support the growth and development of high wage manufacturing careers for Florida,” said Kevin Carr, FloridaMakes CEO.

Hodge serves as the board vice-chairman for the Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council. He has served in his role as plant manager at CEREX Advanced Fabrics, the worldwide leader in nylon 6,6 spunbond nonwoven manufacturing in Cantonment, Florida, since 2017. Recently he has successfully completed two department reorganizations designed to streamline operations and increase focus and has overseen significant investment in infrastructure while helping CEREX experience consecutive years of double-digit sales growth. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

Howison currently serves as the board chairman for the Hernando County Manufacturers’ Association.  He has served in his role of vice president of operations with Barrette Outdoor Living in Brooksville, Florida, a manufacturer and distributor of fence, railing and associated products, since 2014. Over the past several years the company has received numerous awards in manufacturing, quality, and charity, recently being honored as one of the top powder coaters in North America for the fifth consecutive year.  Howison also works with Tampa Bay Works, a demand-driven workforce initiative aimed at solving the manufacturing talent shortage in the Tampa Bay region.

Other FloridaMakes board members include:

Ray Aguerrevere, vice president, Custom Metal Designs, Inc., Oakland, FL;

Abe Alangadan, business unit manager, Johnson & Johnson Vision, Inc., Jacksonville, FL;

Bayne Beecher, glass operations production control leader, PGT Custom Windows + Doors, North Venice, FL;

Larry Bull, president and CEO, Createch Machine & Design, Lakeland, FL;

Kevin Carr, CEO, FloridaMakes, Orlando, FL;

Andra Cornelius, senior vice president, Business & Workforce Development, CareerSource Florida, Tallahassee, FL; 

Nicole Gislason, director, Office of Career and Professional Education, University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL; 

John F. Krug, economic development manager, Niagara Bottling, Inc., Orlando, FL;

Mark Madore, business solutions architect, Madore Consulting, LLC, Deland, FL;

Betsy McGee, president, ADI Metal, Fort Lauderdale, FL;

Jerry Parrish, chief economist and director of research, Florida Chamber Foundation, Tallahassee, FL;

Bob Provitola, division vice president, Manufacturing & Repair Global Collaborations, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas, Inc., Orlando, FL;

Roy Sweatman, president, Southern Manufacturing Technologies, Inc., Tampa FL.

To date, Florida manufacturers who received services through the FloridaMakes network have reported a combined total of over one billion dollars in measurable economic impacts and created or retained 6,953 manufacturing jobs since the program started delivering services in 2016.

For more information on the FloridaMakes network, visit www.floridamakes.com or contact (407) 450-7206 and info@floridamakes.com.

About FloridaMakes

The FloridaMakes network is a state-wide, industry-led initiative operated by an alliance of Florida's Regional Manufacturers Associations with the sole mission of strengthening and advancing Florida’s economy by improving the competitiveness, productivity and technological performance of its manufacturing sector, with an emphasis on small- and medium-sized firms. It accomplishes this by providing services focused on three principle value streams: technology adoption, talent development, and business growth. The FloridaMakes network is the official representative of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership National Network, which is operated by National Institute of Standards Technology, for the State of Florida.  More information on the FloridaMakes network is available at www.floridamakes.com.

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