⊕ Ovation Awards 2015: Excellence in Manufacturing


Honoring innovation, environmental stewardship, quality work environments, corporate philanthropy/citizenship, and consistent or extraordinary growth.


MOELLER MARINE WHITE COUNTY | 801 N. Spring St., Sparta (931) 738-8090

Moeller Marine in Sparta.
Moeller Marine in Sparta.

The recession was unkind to many, but the marine industry was hit particularly hard. Ask anyone at Moeller Marine, the Sparta-based manufacturer that specializes in fuel systems, wastewater holding tanks and other rotationally molded products.

Moeller not only survived but came out swinging. Today, the company is not only seeing growth but has diversified outside its core marine market to better position itself for the future. Company president Gary Eich is quick to credit The Moore Company, which has owned Moeller since the mid-80’s and “stood behind them” during the downturn, he said, as well as the company’s three core principles: integrity, excellence and respect for people.

“That’s what really drives the organization,” Eich said. “We’re always going to be forthright, we don’t take shortcuts and we show respect not only to the customers, but to the people right here on the factory floor. We’ve got some excellent folks.”

Moeller Marine furnishes nearly every major boat builder with fuel systems – but it’s recently diversified into industrial products. Moeller now also manufactures fuel systems for road-side equipment like pressure washers, compressors, generators, molds cattle feeders; even builds indoor and outdoor containers that restaurants use for waste vegetable oil collection.

“We’ve taken our core expertise, our manufacturing ability, our engineering abilities, and applied those to these other markets,” Eich said. “During the economic downturn, new boat purchases virtually stopped, and there was this huge inventory in the pipeline. So while the economic recovery may have started in 2010, we really didn’t see it in the marine industry until a year or two later. Diversification will help us (weather) the next recession.”

Non-marine accounts for 12-15 percent of Moeller’s business. Eich says they’ll continue to grow those arenas.


VALUEPETSUPPLIES.COM OVERTON COUNTY | 167 Industrial Park Circle, Livingston (800) 825-8373

Value Pet Supplies is all about pets. The company is all about Livingston, too.

The Internet retailer expanded earlier this year to its third building in the Livingston Industrial Park – the company now maintains 105,000 square feet in all, including a business office and call center in the former Berkline building, and fulfillment centers at 167 and 105 Industrial Park Circle, space formally occupied by Livingston Manufacturing and Hutchinson, respectively.

Value Pet Supplies is also in the midst of adding 1,000 new products to its online catalogue.

Growth continues.

“We are rather unique, I believe, to most companies, in that we have never borrowed any long term money,” said Tom Piech, senior consultant. “That probably hindered our growth in a sense, because if you need $25,000 to put in a new line of product, you need to earn that money first. But our sales have gone up substantially.”

Besides marketing pet supplies, food and treats for dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, and more, the Value Pet Supplies team is involved in pet rescue activities, including rescue and adoption efforts through its “Save money, Save Pets” initiative.

In the past they have been recognized among the fastest growing companies in America, ranking 1,065 on the INC. 500/5000 list and as an Internet Retailer 500/1000 company.

“We’re really very excited about our future,” Piech said. “We are concentrating on driving sales through our website. We have been investing heavily in Internet technology.”

And, he said, they are committed to Overton County – and the region.

“We have found the Upper Cumberland to be extremely accommodating. It is more than we ever dreamed,” Piech said. “In Livingston, we have been embraced.”


STONEPEAK CERAMICS CUMBERLAND COUNTY | 238 Porcelain Tile Drive, Crossville (931) 459-2500

Stonepeak Ceramics is expanding.
Stonepeak Ceramics is expanding.

It’s been quite the busy scene at Stonepeak Ceramics in Crossville these days. The porcelain tile manufacturer is in the midst of a $50 million project that will expand its current facility, increase storage capability and pave the way for a new production line.

In 2014, Stonepeak, which manufactures a variety of porcelain tile flooring, produced 8 million square meters of tile. The expansion, more than 300,000 square feet in all, will allow the company to boost that number by 40 percent – to 12 million square meters per year.

“That’s a huge number,” Milko Camellini, plant manager, told the UCBJ in February. “We are very fortunate because our market’s doing very well. Even during the winter, we didn’t see the usual decrease in sales.

“We are aiming to increase the level of technology, we’re going to be able to supply more customers, and new equipment will allow us to do bigger sizes, stuff that, until now, was only possible by importing materials from Europe,” he added. “A new production line will allow us to introduce the latest generation of material into the business. We are really excited.”


E COM SEATING PUTNAM COUNTY | 110 Mill Drive, Cookeville (931) 372-2688

Cookeville’s E Com Seating may very well turn global this year.

The Cookeville company, which handcrafts made-to-order seating for office, laboratory, medical and more, is planning to start exporting its products. In fact, president Scott Ebersole recently returned from a trip to Dubai, and the company is in the process of navigating the regulatory hurdles.

“We did some research and there’s billions of dollars in investment going into the (region) – they’re building universities, hospitals, all kinds of infrastructure,” Ebersole said. “We found a niche market for our products, and we’re currently developing that. We’re really early in the process but there’s a lot of potential.”

That’s not to say E Com has lost focus on its customers stateside. Ebersole says they’re poised for moderate growth in 2015. For example, the company has built out its online catalogue, so it can react to customer’s needs quicker, among other plans.

“We’re really positioning ourselves for a solid 2016,” he said. “We’ve got new products coming on. We’re going to be expanding into the industrial market. I’m excited about the future.”



About the awards

The Upper Cumberland’s annual Ovation Awards honor the top businesses and individuals in the region. Among the 29 total awardees in 2015, 20 are first timers. Ovations were awarded in seven categories overall, including:


Ovation Award winners are nominated by Upper Cumberland Business Journal readers and selected by the UCBJ staff. The awards were first founded in 2008.

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