Denison Company Wins Statewide Honor - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Denison Company Wins Statewide Honor

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DENISON, TX -- After first being named a finalist, a Texoma company has now captured a state-level honor from the Texas Workforce Commission.

The criteria for Employer of the Year includes collaboration with the Workforce system and supporting a goal to help Texas remain competitive, and out of five finalists from across the state, the Workforce Commission picked Champion Cooler as the big winner.

"It's a lot of prestige, a lot of honor for our employees out here," says south plant manager Jerry Mattox.

At a building off Eisenhower Parkway, workers were busy putting together parts to make evaporative, or swamp coolers, a relative to the air conditioner used in the Southwest.

"We do everything from weld the frames to work on the complete unit," says employee Nelson Castillo.

"They cross train everybody, so everybody knows what we need to do," says employee Desiree Billmeier.

In all, 28 Workforce Centers across the state nominated businesses to be Employer of the Year. Managers are very proud that their company was the one to win.

"It's a very prestigious award and we were excited about it, we knew everything we were involved in and we were hopeful that we were going to be the recipient," says operations manager Derek Kyzar.

"A lot of work by a lot of people went into why, and when you win the award it just validates, it really does, it puts closure, and tells everybody yeah we're doing the right thing," says manufacturing VP Brian Aspell.

The company was nominated by the local Workforce board. "We saw their commitment to the community, the work they were doing with us, and their real commitment to trying to prepare young people to be ready for the workforce of the future," says Bob Rhoden of Workforce Solutions Texoma.

Champion Coolers helped create a new scholarship program with Grayson College for 10 graduating Denison High School students starting in May, and also hosts interns and plant visits, hoping to show off the possibilities for a career.

"There are great opportunities for our young people to go into manufacturing and to not feel like they have to go through just one funnel to be successful in life," says State Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman.

Champion Cooler started in Denison in 1954 and it has three buildings and about 200 employees. The company recently got a boost of about 20 employees when it absorbed another part of the company called Spec-Air from New Mexico. The winner was announced last week at the annual Workforce conference in Grapevine.