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Front Page - Friday, May 17, 2019

Briefs: LYNC honored by Women Presidents

Chattanooga-based LYNC Logistics, LLC, has been listed among the 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies.

The Women Presidents’ Organization, along with Capital One, has announced the 12th annual rankings. The companies featured on this year’s list include a wide variety of industries, such as technology and finance.

Aggregate revenues are $5.9 billion, demonstrating the significant impact of women-led companies on the global economy.

LYNC placed third on the list. The company provides truckload, less-than-truckload, refrigerated and specialized transportation services.

It is run by Cynthia P. Lee, CEO and founder.

Enspire Energy, LLC, a full-service natural gas marketing company, run by Mary Hensley and Julie Hashagen, is No. 1 in this year’s ranking.

Durham School workers join union

Workers at Durham School Services in Chattanooga have voted unanimously to ratify their first contract with Teamsters Local 327.

“The workers at Durham in Chattanooga demonstrated tremendous courage throughout this process,” says Joe Bennett, President of Teamsters Local 327. “From the organizing campaign to ratification, this process took over two years, but they stood united. I couldn’t be prouder of the amazing things that these men and women have done.”

The new collective bargaining agreement is good for three years, and it covers over 250 drivers and monitors who provide student transportation services for Hamilton County Schools. It includes significant wage increases, more paid holidays, guaranteed safety standards, and a number of other benefits.

“We fought so hard for this and went through so much to get this agreement, and it just feels amazing now that all of our hard work has paid off,” says Katie Williams, a driver at the Chattanooga yard, where she works alongside her sister Kayla and her mother Lisa. She served on both the organizing and negotiating committees.

“It’s incredible, the things that you can accomplish when you refuse to give up.”

Miller reports net sales increase

Miller Industries, Inc., headquartered in Ooltewah, has announced financial results for the quarter ending March 31.

Net sales were $197.2 million, an increase of 23.9%, compared to $159.2 million for the first quarter of 2018. Net income in the first quarter of 2019 was $8.7 million, or $0.76 per diluted share, an increase of 29.8%, compared to net income of $6.7 million, or $0.59 per diluted share, in the prior year.

Gross profit for the first quarter of 2019 was $22.6 million, or 11.5% of net sales, compared to $18.4 million, or 11.6% of net sales, for the first quarter of 2018. Selling, general and administrative expenses were $10.2 million, or 5.2% of net sales, compared to $9.6 million, or 6.0% of net sales, in the prior year period.

The company also announced that its board of directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.18 per share, payable June 17 to shareholders of record at the close of business June 10.

Jeffrey I. Badgley, co-chief executive officer says, “We started off strong in 2019, with year-over-year revenue growth of 23.9%, reflecting broad based growth in our domestic and international markets. During the first quarter, we continued to benefit from increased production capacity which has allowed us to meet the strong demand that we have been experiencing since the third quarter of 2017.’’

City, SLWA offer sewer repair plan

Chattanooga has partnered with Service Line Warranties of America to offer homeowners exterior sewer service line repair plans.

The coverage is optional and affordable. SLWA’s parent company, HomeServe USA, has been a member of the Chattanooga community since 2010 operating its national customer service call center here.

“Many homeowners are unaware that they are responsible for repairs to the sewer line on their property connecting their home to the city systems,” says Maura Sullivan, chief operating officer for Chattanooga. “This means that homeowners can be stuck with the funding and hassle of a repair.

“As Chattanooga homes age along with the infrastructure serving them, we want to make sure residents are aware of the potential problems and costs they can be hit with and provide a solution. SLWA offers an affordable option for homeowners.”

Founded in 2003 and endorsed by the National League of Cities, SLWA has partnered with over 500 leading cities and municipalities in the U.S. to provide repair service plans that offer peace of mind and convenience.

Unum offers help for parents

Unum, an employee benefits company based in Chattanooga, has released recent research and an informational guide to help working parents discuss the leave process with their employers.

In March 2019, Unum conducted research among 500 new mothers and fathers who had or adopted a child in the previous five years. Some of the key findings include:

• 49% of new moms and 36% of new dads did not meet with their manager or HR department to discuss their leave benefits; 40% of those who did spent 30 minutes or less

• Some of the top struggles of new parents included leaving their child (61%), not wanting to return to work but needing the income (52%), logistics of child care (42%) and a reduced focus or concentration at work (37%)

• Paid leave is the most desired workplace benefit, but only 30% of these new parents’ employers offer it

• 47% of new mothers said breastfeeding at work was one of their biggest challenges and only 17% of parents said their employer offers lactation rooms

• 60% of moms, 40% of dads struggled with depression or anxiety after becoming parents.

Unum has developed Bringing Up Baby: A Guide to Workplace Parental Leave Resources, which contains basic tips, timing and conversation starters to engage with managers and HR representatives.

McKee Foods buys Prairie City Bakery

McKee Foods, based in Collegedale and best known for its Little Debbie brand of snack cakes, has acquired Prairie City Bakery of Vernon, Illinois.

Prairie City Bakery was co-founded by Bill Skeens more than 25 years ago. Starting with one product, Muffin Tops, the bakery now offers more than 125 varieties of individually-wrapped and bulk food service products and sells to convenience, food service and in-store bakery channels.

McKee Foods will continue using the Prairie City Bakery brand name and Prairie City Bakery’s existing distribution channels. Additionally, McKee Foods will retain all Prairie City Bakery employees and existing Vernon Hills offices.

“We sought to acquire Prairie City Bakery because they built a great brand with quality, innovative products that satisfy specific retail customer needs,” says Mike McKee, president and CEO.

Chattanooga Food Bank gets grant

The Chattanooga Area Food Bank will receive a $10,000 child hunger grant from Feeding America and its partner.

The Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation has donated $315,000 to fund local hunger-relief initiatives through 18 regional food bank partners and its national hunger-relief partner, Feeding America.

The Foundation is donating $165,000 for child hunger programs, and $150,000 for innovative, military-focused hunger-relief initiatives.

 “The Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation proudly partners with Food Lion Feeds to fund programs across our footprint supporting our hunger-relief mission,” says Adam Bass, president of the Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation. “This year, as every year, we were so humbled to see and support the amazing work these community partners are doing to serve those in need in our towns and cities.”

Covenant wins Robinson award

Covenant Transport, Inc., of Chattanooga has received a national honor.

C.H. Robinson held its second annual Carrier of the Year Awards program, recognizing its most outstanding North American truckload contract carriers for 2018. This unique awards program recognizes truckload carriers that go above and beyond by displaying the highest level of service, embracing technology and establishing quality relationships with C.H. Robinson. The program expanded this year to include 12 contract carriers in 10 categories.

Covenant won in the 1,000-plus category.

 “We are fortunate to have the largest carrier network in North America, and appreciate the work every one of our 76,000 contract carriers does for our customers. The contract carriers recognized for the 2018 awards are the very best examples of the reliable, high-quality carriers that make up our network,” says Mac Pinkerton, president of North American surface transportation, C.H. Robinson.