A total of 100 area manufacturers have been recognized since the MANNY Awards were launched by Cincy Magazine 10 years ago to celebrate the importance of manufacturing to the region’s economy.

They represent a cross-section of the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky’s diverse manufacturing economy, from basic industries like steel and chemicals to technology and consumer goods. They also span all types of enterprises, from one-person startups to large, leading companies such as Ford Motor Co., AK Steel and MillerCoors Brewery.

What does it mean to be MANNY winner?

“For us it’s a great honor and we’re not alone,” says Amanda Pratt, director of corporate communications at Rumpke Waste & Recycling in Colerain Township, a two-time MANNY winner, most recently in 2014.

The MANNYs are a recognition of the company’s investment in innovation and technology, she says. For example, Rumpke, the nation’s third largest private waste and recycling firm with nearly 3,000 employees, has invested more than $50 million over the last decade in innovations and technology such as one of the nation’s only glass recycling centers in Dayton. The facility takes broken and discarded glass collected in Cincinnati, Columbus and Louisville and processes it into material used to make glass containers and building insulation.

It’s been eight years since Cold Jet LLC, inventor and leading supplier of environmentally friendly dry-ice cleaning technology, won a MANNY for new product development, but Christian Rogiers, vice president of global marketing and strategy, says the award built awareness of the company and its leading-edge technology.

This year, Cold Jet is marking its 30th anniversary. The Loveland-based company, which opened in 1986 with 25 employees, now employs 220 worldwide including a second manufacturing plant in Milford, and has revenues of about $70 million.

In January, Cold Jet acquired its largest competitor, Demark-based IceTech, to solidify its position in the production of dry-ice pellets. Cold Jet’s technology uses recycled carbon dioxide pellets to blast clean all types of machinery. The pellets convert to a gas leaving no residue. The company’s equipment is used in industries from aerospace and automotive to plastic manufacturing and metal foundries.

Clippard Instrument Laboratory Inc., won a MANNY as Best Place to work in 2009.

“It certainly increased our visibility to a broader community,” says Jennifer Caunin, vice president of human resources for the maker of pneumatic components, valves and fittings.

With 208 employees and operations in Colerain Township and Fairfield, Clippard, is a third-generation family-owned and -operated business that treats employees as family, she says.

“Everybody here is an extension of our family. It’s a unique environment, I believe.”

Clippard offers a number of employee-friendly features, such as an internal mentoring program, tuition reimbursement and regular monthly events for employees to enjoy.

“We want people to be interested and passionate about what they’re doing and support them on that path,” she says.

West Chester-based Arnold Gauge Co., a small, family-owned maker of custom measuring equipment, won its first MANNY in 2015 for an automated laser-measuring machine for Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown, Ky. Michael Bruns, Arnold president, says the award “was a phenomenal marketing opportunity” for the 98-year-old business.

“We are a small business and we can compete with large businesses. It gave us something very concrete to point to: That we can deliver a solution for a big company,” he says.

“Toyota is very prestigious company and to show we have a large successful project with a company like that gives us credibility a lot of companies don’t have.”

It has also led to additional orders for custom measuring equipment and allowed Arnold to increase employment to 15.

A three-time MANNY recipient, Melink Corp., has gone underground as it focuses on delivering clean and renewable energy. Melink has launched a new business providing a pre-engineered geothermal heat pump to make it easier for businesses to tap into the natural heating and cooling available from the earth.

Steve Melink, who launched the Union Township-based company in 1987 to provide energy-saving products for commercial kitchens, thinks geothermal heating will be the next big thing in energy efficiency.

“I think it will be just like solar PV (converting sunlight to electric energy) was 10 years ago,” he says. “The nice thing about it is all you’re doing is moving energy back and forth between the building and the ground. You’re not combusting oil or gas and there’s not waste product.”

Melink has a patent on Manifest, a pre-engineered pump station for geothermal installations, and is launching national marketing efforts.

Melink envisions retailers like Walmart and Target with large parking lots installing geothermal systems under them and solar-powered canopies over them to provide heating and cooling and possibly charging stations for electric vehicles.

Melink, which has grown employment to about 100, previously won a MANNY for its corporate headquarters, the first LEED platinum certified building in Ohio, achieving Zero Net Energy status renewable and energy efficient technology.

Energy also plays a big part in the business of four-time MANNY winner Enerfab Inc., a more than 100-year-old company that focuses on construction, fabrication and maintenance services. From simple roots supplying brewing tanks, Enerfab has grown into a $750 million enterprise employing about 5,000 across the United States and more than 300 at its headquarters in Spring Grove Village.

“By all standards today gas and energy markets are pretty much driving everything we do,” says Scott Anderson, president and COO of Enerfab’s process solutions business. Enerfab covers the gamut from power generation from coal, gas and electric, solar and wind power and a division in Tennessee does work in nuclear plants.

Another three-time MANNY winner, The Metalworking Group, a family-owned contract manufacturer in Colerain Township, has grown its employment to 165 and like a lot of manufacturers struggles to find new workers.

“Our business now is especially strong,” says Doug Watts, vice president of finance. To be attractive to new hires, he says, “We try to offer a package of wages and benefits comparable with any big employer in Cincinnati.”

“We want employees to feel good about working at The Metalworking Group,” he says.