A few months ago, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce sent out a survey to its members to reflect on 2019 and evaluate what stood out about their companies in the new normal of social distancing, lockdowns and quarantines.
From the applications, a business-savvy volunteer panel graded entries on criteria in the realms of business operations, financial positioning, innovation, entrepreneurship, market strategy and community involvement.
After compiling the results, the chamber recognized Calagaz Printing, JJPR Agency and WaveFly Powered by JMF Solutions as finalists for its 2020 Small Business of the Year award.
The winner will be announced on Thursday, Aug. 20. Here is more information on the finalists:
Founded locally nearly 30 years ago in 1991, Calagaz Printing employs 18 at people at its office at 3001 Mill Street in Mobile. The company’s president is Joe Calagaz. It is a full-service commercial print shop that provides materials, signage and apparel to local businesses, and specializes in the national restaurant market vertical.
Earlier this year, the company’s print production dropped to zero and made headlines in the local media when pivoting to produce more than 180,000 face shields as a way to keep the current staff working, maintain some revenue and serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more at calagazprinting.com.
Located at 25895A Friendship Road, Suite C, in Daphne, the company serves midsized companies along with nonprofits and the occasional large business. JJPR is also the youngster of the group, having only hung out a shingle in 2010, but has grown from an upstart startup with only one account to a boutique public relations firm with 10 employees.
Founder and president Jennifer Jenkins is also no stranger to the limelight in recent years, having appeared in podcasts and lifestyle magazines, and contributing articles in the pages of Lagniappe. All the while, her firm has consistently been recognized by voters as a local “Best Marketing and Events Company” candidate in this newspaper’s annual Nappie Awards.
The biggest employer of the group is WaveFly, which has 42 people on the payroll. The local telecommunications company operates its own broadband network and has multiple data centers and offices throughout the country.
In a nutshell, WaveFly powered by JMF Solutions produces managed network services such as fiber, cloud, VoIP and IPTV (streaming TV) to a client list that includes residential communities, health care, banking, industrial companies.
The company is a division of JMF Solutions. In 2018 the company was recognized in the Inc. 5000 List (#2593) as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America. In 2016 the company was ranked among the CRN Fast Growth 150 List for channel technology providers.
The Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce is a private business organization with more than 1,800 members that employ 98,255 people. It is the economic developer for the city of Mobile and Mobile County.
The 2020 Small Business of the Year winner will be announced at mobilechamber.com.
AUSTAL USA-BASED USNS NEWPORT COMPLETES SEA TRIALS
Austal USA and the U.S. Navy’s Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) program recently announced the successful completion of integrated trials on the future USNS Newport (EPF 12) in the Gulf of Mexico. The ship is now ready to be delivered to the Navy.
“I can’t begin to express how proud I am of the success of our team and this ship,” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said. “The ability to overcome the challenges presented to conduct something as complicated as vessel sea trials in these unprecedented times proves the value of hard work and dedication.”
The trials involved the execution of comprehensive tests by the Austal-led industry team with the intent to demonstrate to the Navy the successful operation of the ship’s major systems and equipment.
Sea trials are the last milestone before delivery of the ship, and Newport is now slated for delivery to the Navy later this summer. It is the 12th ship in Austal USA’s growing 14-ship portfolio.
“From serving as a mother ship, to testing drones in the Atlantic, to providing humanitarian assistance and participating in global military training exercises, we are proud of the contributions these ships are making to maritime operations around the world to our future 355-ship Navy,” Perciavalle said.
Austal USA has delivered 11 EPFs and has two more under construction, including EPF 12, at the Mobile facility. The 338-foot, Spearhead-class EPF is currently providing high-speed, high-payload transport capability to fleet and combatant commanders.
The ship’s large habitability spaces provide the opportunity to conduct a wide range of missions such as disaster relief and the possibility of supporting a range of future missions including special operations support, command and control and medical support operations.
In addition to the EPF program, Austal USA has also received contracts for 19 Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the U.S. Navy. Twelve LCSs have been delivered with an additional five ships in various stages of construction.
MAWSS OFFERS REWARD FOR SEWER SYSTEM VANDALISM
The Mobile Area Water & Sewer System (MAWSS) recently announced a reward of $5,000 for information leading to the conviction of vandals who deliberately placed rocks and other debris into a manhole, which eventually caused a sanitary sewer overflow on August 10, at 7020 Bruns Drive.
Approximately 69,000 gallons of wastewater overflowed into Milkhouse Creek as a result of the actions MAWSS says were intentional. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.
Dr. Bernard H. Eichold II, health officer for Mobile County, advises area residents to take precautions when coming into contact with any standing water that may have accumulated as a result of this overflow. Those who have come into direct contact with untreated sewage are advised to wash their hands and clothing thoroughly.
Area residents should take precautions when using Milkhouse Creek for recreational purposes because of the overflow. All seafood harvested in this general area should be cooked thoroughly before eating. People should wash their hands after cleaning seafood and before preparing food.
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