United States Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), after making two appearances at Elkin businesses on Wednesday, called what he witnessed “exciting.”
The first stop was a detailed tour of Pittsburgh Glass Works, and second, Skull Camp Brewing and Wines.
The senator said, “I see life back in Elkin.”
Burr added it is absolutely critical people are taking ownership of their community. He said the best way support that “life” and continued growth is to reform the federal tax code to compete in a more effective way.
PGW staff along with Human Resources Director Bryan Shaw, Engineer Brian Christian and Dan Dutresne, plant manager and group guide, welcomed the senator and his field representative, Mike Fenley.
Elkin Mayor Lestine Hutchens and Surry County Economic Department Partnership, Inc. Vice President LeeAnn Stokes also were in attendance and greeted Burr warmly.
Dutresne toured the group through each area of the “state of the art” facility and spoke in specific detail regarding company products and technology.
He explained Elkin was indeed a global marketplace exporting all around the world. He also noted PGW rivals any glass maker company in the world.
He illustrated a windshield cut of glass distinctive to Elkin known as PGW24 found on several top selling vehicles.
Hutchens said, “It is exciting,” and gave a thumbs up for the Elkin cut. She noted that her own birthday is on March 24.
The senator gave the automation and technology nods of approval thorough the tour. Burr recognized the abilities, skills and knowledge of workers found at PGW and in North Carolina.
He noted the state as being at the top of higher education graduates. He said in 20 years, he had never seen more companies making it their world headquarters.
Burr and Stokes also discussed the influence and continued demand for those with trade skills and the positive influence of Surry Community College students and graduates on PGW.
Dutresne said, “We are thrilled with the local folks.”
At Skull Camp, Burr met with owners and partners, Jeff and Marie Yockel, and engineer/winemaker, Ken Gulaian.
They discussed Burr’s leadership role in legislature regarding viticulture and enology and in the microbrewery area. They talked about the fast growth of North Carolina wines and its future potential. In addition, he discussed the expected rapid growth of microbreweries in the state.
Burr said it is important to get the word out that North Carolina wineries make good wine.
Meanwhile, a few colleges are testing the growth of hops in North Carolina, said Fenley.
Burr said both companies seized unique locations to be in their respective businesses.
The senator had stops in Forsyth, Wilkes, Surry and Wake counties over the week.
Tanya Chilton may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @TanyaTDC.