15 businesses in three counties recognized for milestone years of achievement

PHOTO: Samantha Zarek

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - 15 businesses representing more than 3,000 employees were recognized at the Milestone Industry Achievement Awards in Johnson City. The companies at the event are recognized for milestone years in business. They're celebrating anywhere from one year to nearly 90 years of being in business. In total, the businesses add up to nearly 550 years of experience.

"It's a great opportunity just to really celebrate some successful companies, jobs they've been able to create, but more importantly have regional collaboration to say thank you, and doing it in a way that we're not focused just on one city or on one county, it's us all coming together," says CEO of Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership, Mitch Miller.

The Milestone Industry Achievement Awards recognizes businesses that have passed the test of time from Washington, Carter, and Unicoi counties.

"You got to be a good planner, a good business owner, you got to take care of your people, and we've got some great companies that have been able to do that. It takes really being committed," Miller says.

A.O. Smith is a water technology company. They're receiving an award for 45 years at their Johnson City location.

"We really believe in our products and our company. We've got a great work force here, and they put the customers number one," says director of operations, Carol Peters.

JRH Brewing is just starting out, celebrating a one year milestone of being in business.

"Definitely takes a lot of hard work, and it's definitely a labor of love, you have to have passion," says co-owner of JRH Brewing, John Henritze.

Both businesses have some advice for anyone looking to start a business in Johnson City.

"You just have to have a passion, like I said before, something that you can't have an idea to make money, you have to really love what you do," Henritze says.

"Just come here and visit, it's a great place to live, the people are really friendly, there's tons to do, the work force is great. I can't think of a better place to be," Peters says.

Leaders with the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership say events like this, that showcase successful companies attract new businesses to the area.