Blackhawk was presented with the 2017 Montana Manufacturer of the Year Award at the Manufacturing and International Trade Day event on May 22 in Missoula, MT. The Montana Manufacturing Association, a subsidiary of the Montana Chamber of Commerce, determines the winner annually.
“Our team is deeply honored and very excited to receive this recognition,” said Blackhawk Factory Operations Manager Lamont Kotter. “This is a testament to the great work our employees do every day in our factory and in the community.”
The criteria in choosing a winner for the award included factors such as employee engagement, development opportunities for employees and operational excellence. Blackhawk excelled in all categories, showing more than 300 continuous improvement ideas generated from employees, clear career-path progression for workers, a strong record of safety, as well as the addition of 140 jobs at the facility over the past six years.
The employment rolls of the gun industry nationwide reflect similar staffing growth, with more than 9,000 employees added to firearm and firearm-related firms just last year according to the latest study by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
“This award represents the best of the best of 2017 manufacturers in the state of Montana,” said Kevin Poulin, chair of the Montana Manufacturer’s Association. “This is a great accomplishment for Blackhawk. They continually impact their employees, community and the state of Montana in so many positive ways, while driving world-class innovation and advancements. Blackhawk is a great example for all manufacturing companies here in the state of Montana. Congratulations to Blackhawk in winning this highly coveted achievement.”
“We believe that as manufacturers and business leaders we have two purposes,” said Kotter. “First, to improve the business year over year. We work to drive out costs, improve the quality of our product, improve the safety and efficiency of our operation and bring the very best products to market. Second, to contribute to the improvement of our community. The entire team is committed to these two missions which guide the rest of what we do. We are excited to be recognized for our efforts and the progress we have made.”
The company helped develop and implement a 10-day curriculum on manufacturing last year. The program, which is being taught in one of the local schools, gives students an opportunity to learn first-hand about the profession.