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2015 Industry of the Year is Awarded to American Tire Distributors and United Technologies

LEDA recognizes Industries of the Year at 2015 Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet

Lincoln County –Lincoln Economic Development Association (LEDA) annually presents the Industry of the Year award at the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet. With the purpose of promoting and highlighting the contributions and exemplary corporate citizenship of Lincoln County’s existing industries, the Lincoln Economic Development Association proudly recognized American Tire Distributors and United Technologies as the 2015 co-industry of the year recipients.

Selected by the Lincoln Economic Development Association Board of Directors based upon four criteria: a positive impact in Lincoln County, involvement in the community, a leader in their field with a positive performance record and a high standard of conduct. This year, both industries stood out for their contributions to the community and economic commitment to Lincoln County.

In highlighting some of United Technologies outstanding contributions, annually UTC spends a week as a company focused on diversity awareness to learn how each employee benefits from these differences. Through the years, attention has been given to such topics as demographic diversity, generational diversity and this year the focus was on disability. UTC is a business partner and supporter of Salem Industries; a Lincoln/Gaston County organization who provides opportunities to adults with emotional, mental and physical challenges. Additionally, UTC is a participant in the Lincolnton Relay for Life and over the past two years has raised almost $19,000 towards the effort. Annually, UTC participates as an industry partner with Lincoln County School’s summer science camp and is a camp favorite. Another philanthropy UTC contributes to is Habitat for Humanity having contributed over 60 volunteer hours this year through their leadership development program.

In pursuit of a positive business performance and a direct economic impact, United Technologies added over 100 jobs in 2015 to their local operation and doubled revenue from last year by increasing products produced to over 3500 different products out of the Lincoln County facility.

As the second Industry of the Year recipient, American Tire Distributors earned this recognition through years of hard work. Originally known as the JH Heafner Company, it was founded in 1935 by Lincolnton resident Harlan Heafner. At the time, Mr. Heafner was a high school principal and opened a tire store to help support his family. Seeing the success of the tire store and recognizing the potential in wholesale distribution, Mr. Heafner pursued the tire business and grew his company by starting a delivery system. That vision earned Heafner a place in the Tire Industry Hall of Fame.

Since its humble beginnings, the company grew through acquisitions and mergers and in 1999, became known as Heafner Tire Group, Inc. Four years later, the name was changed again to reflect the company’s national footprint and focus on distribution, American Tire Distributors.

In their 80 years, American Tire has grown to over 113 distribution centers across the US and 27 across Canada. In the last three years alone, the company has completed more than 15 acquisitions and this year American Tire was named the number one privately held company in the state of North Carolina. American Tire Distributors is listed as number 81 on Forbes’ top privately held companies in America with over $5 billion in revenue.

As the first company to take occupancy in the Lincoln County Industrial Park in 1997, American Tire still produces a significant portion of their operations out of their original 200,000 square foot building off Finger Mill Road in Lincolnton. Due to the tremendous growth American Tire has experienced in recent years, ATD has locally doubled production in its Lincoln County facilities and has added additional warehousing to its local operations. In early 2015, ATD expanded their operations to over 1.2 million square feet of distribution space from two buildings in the Lincoln County Industrial Park and out of all the former Cochrane Furniture Company buildings off North Aspen Street. With this amount of real-estate in the Lincolnton area, ATD ships over 170,000 tires out of Lincoln County per week. The third largest importer through the Port of Charleston, American Tire Distributors is on track to ship 6.5 million tires and wheels from Lincolnton this year.

Kara Brown, Existing Business Manager for Lincoln Economic Development Association praised both companies, “Lincoln County is fortunate to have a community of industries who put forth a tremendous effort to impact Lincolnton and Lincoln County in a positive way. Both United Technologies and American Tire exemplify the characteristics of the Industry of the Year Award and are both truly deserving of this recognition.”