Shaw’s Hooper elected chairman of Georgia manufacturing group


Posted May 19, 2020


ATLANTA – The members of the Georgia Association of Manufacturers (GAM) and The Manufacturers Education Foundation (MEF) each elected new officers and board members at the 120th Annual Meeting of GAM and the 77th Annual Meeting of MEF, held via virtual videoconference for the first time in the association’s 120-year history on May 1.


Rick Hooper, chief counsel of Shaw Industries Group, Inc., was elected chairman of GAM and MEF. Mike Ecker, executive vice president of Tara Materials, Inc., was elected vice chairman of GAM and MEF. Pate Huguley, president and CEO of West Point Industries, was elected treasurer of GAM and MEF.


Hooper is chief counsel for Shaw Industries Group, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. that supplies carpet, resilient, hardwood, laminate, tile and stone flooring products and synthetic turf to residential and commercial markets worldwide. From the corporate headquarters in Dalton, Ga., he leads teams that manage the legal and corporate compliance functions across the enterprise.


Hooper has been with the company for 27 years and began serving in his present role soon after the company was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 2001. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and a law degree from the Walter F. George School of Law, Mercer University. Prior to being elected vice chairman of GAM last year, Hooper had served in other roles including chair of the association’s Legislative and Public Policy Committee from 2012-2018.  


Ecker is EVP of Tara Materials, Inc., where he directs the manufacturing operations in Lawrenceville, Ga., and Tijuana, Mexico. He is responsible for the Art Materials and Print Canvas business units that promote the 150-year-old brand Fredrix Canvas. He has been with the company for 21 years and became its executive vice president in 2012.


Ecker earned a bachelor’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is very involved in his local community in various roles, serving on the board of the Orange Duffel Bag Initiative founded by Sam Bracken and on the advisory board for Georgia Tech’s EXCEL Program.


Huguley is the president and CEO of West Point Industries in West Point, Ga., where he has been employed for more than 25 years. West Point Industries is a 150-year-old Georgia manufacturer that originally produced textile machinery for weaving mills and has transformed its business to now support heavy industrial equipment manufacturers.


Huguley has led the company in service, manufacturing and sales and has been president since 2002. He also served on the boards of Springwood School, Lanier Health Services and is an active member of the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s CEO Roundtable in Columbus. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi, where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration and he holds a Master of Business Administration from Troy University.


Six industry executives were elected by the association’s membership to serve three-year terms (expiring in 2023) on GAM’s Board of Directors, and further elected to serve identical terms on the MEF Board of Directors:


  • Dee Barnes, president and CEO, Evans Tool & Die, Inc. and Evans Metal Stamping, Inc., Conyers;

  • Kathleen Edge, executive vice president, Operations, Southwire Company, Carrollton;

  • Josh Hall, vice president of Manufacturing, Engineered Floors, LLC, Dalton;

  • Jay Neely, vice president, Law and Public Affairs, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, Savannah;

  • Brian Sage, executive vice president of manufacturing, Great Dane, Savannah; and

  • Brian Solheim, plant manager, Irving Tissue, Macon.


One industry executive was elected by the association’s membership to serve a two-year term (expiring in 2022) on GAM’s Board of Directors, and further elected to serve an identical term on the MEF Board of Directors:


  • Bruce Hagenau, president, Metcam, Alpharetta.


GAM and MEF each elected long-time association President Roy Bowen as chief executive officer, effective July 1, and further elected former state representative and current Administrator of Georgia’s Subsequent Injury Trust Fund Mike Coan as GAM and MEF President effective July 1. GAM and MEF also each re-elected Cindy Thomas as corporate secretary for GAM and MEF and GAM re-elected Clay Jones as vice president and general counsel. 


Founded in 1900, GAM is the statewide trade association that represents manufacturers in legislative, regulatory and public affairs matters. GAM also provides a broad array of services and counsel to the industry in the areas of human resources, energy, taxation, safety and health, education and training, workforce development and environmental quality.


The association’s principal focus is on advocacy for its members before the Georgia General Assembly, the Public Service Commission, Executive Branch departments and agencies such as the Environmental Protection Division, the State Board of Workers’ Compensation and the Department of Revenue and constitutionally based departments such as Labor and Insurance. 


Established in 1943, The Manufacturers Education Foundation provides scholarships and other support for Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern, Dalton State, Kennesaw State and select technical colleges designed to prepare students to become part of the next generation of Georgia’s advanced manufacturing workforce.


Source: GAM

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