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Fort Walton Machining receives award from governor
FORT WALTON BEACH -- Carrying on a family dream led to creating dozens of jobs at a local manufacturing company.
Now they've received a major award from the governor's office.
Laura Hussey "We're in the metal finishing division at Fort Walton Machining. Right now, they're working on floorboards for CH-47 Chinook helicopters. It was this division of the company that was responsible for much of the job growth that was recognized by the Governor."
Economic leaders say manufacturing is key to Florida's economic future.
Fort Walton Machining makes everything from aircraft parts including 278 for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to drilling heads for oil rigs.
Jerald Bunyan "Tim used to say give the customer the apple. that means give them the best part you possibly can, and the best quality and the on-time delivery."
When longtime employee Jerald Bunyan talks about Tim, he's referring to Tim McDonald, who bought the company in 1997.
McDonald was killed in 2010, when his vintage T-6 airplane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico.
His widow Jan had to decide whether to push forward with his plan to diversify the company.
Jan McDonald "Going back and thinking about him and what he would have done was all it took. I just knew what he would want"
In less than four years, McDonald and CEO Greg Britton have increased the workforce from 185 to 220.
Core employees like Bunyan try to share their values with newcomers.
Jerald "To really care about what you do, and who you do it for, and to be proud of the product that you produce"
Thursday, Fort Walton Machining received the governor's "Business Ambassador Award" for creating jobs and opportunities.
Jan McDonald says it was bittersweet and heartwarming.
Jan "I just wanted to carry on his legacy, and that's what we've done. He made an impact on a lot of people."
Laura Hussey "Jan McDonald isn't carrying on the legacy alone. Her son, daughter and two sons-in-law all work here at Fort Walton Machining. "