ELIZABETHTOWN — If a 50th anniversary is considered golden, one Elizabethtown company is sitting on a mine.
Specialty Product Technologies, formerly called Danaher and Veeder Root before that, celebrated on Thursday its 50th anniversary, and around 200 employees, community dignitaries, and friends gathered outside the plant for a special celebration.
Kevin Sutherby, president of SPT, welcomed guests and reminded — or, for some, informed — them that 50 years ago, gas was 72 cents per gallon, a new car was $2,600, and Lyndon Johnson was the American president. And while most of the country was listening to the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones, Veeder Root set up shop in Elizabethtown.
Since that time, and through several name changes, the company has flourished in the environment in which it was planted.
“Veeder Root, Danahur, Specialty Product Technologies — no matter its name, it has always meant one thing — success,” said Elizabethtown Mayor Sylvia Campbell.
“People who see my picture (a photo of Campbell displayed at the event) say I looked 15, and I was,” laughed Campbell. “I had my first job here, and loved every minute of it. There’s no finer place, and no finer people to work with than the people of this company.”
Campbell noted the company’s lure to Bladen County of many executives and engineers who became involved in community affairs and impacted the county positively. In addition to the incidental benefits, the company employs around 300 people at a time, and has so provided jobs for thousands of people over its 50-year history in Bladen County.
At a recent Elizabethtown Town Council meeting when the board approved a resolution to honor SPT, Campbell said, “They have had a big impact on Elizabethtown. When they came, they brought big jobs with them.”
On behalf of the county commissioners, chairman Russel Priest presented Sutherby with a framed resolution noting SPT’s impact on the tax base, its leadership in providing employment to women and minorities and benefits to all employees, and its overall impact on employment in Bladen County.
Other community leaders present for the recognition included Bladen Community College President William Findt, Elizabethtown Councilman Ricky Leinwand and Councilman Dicky Glenn, County Manager Greg Martin and County Councilmen Russell Priest and Charles Ray Peterson. Bob Joyce, Fortive group president, was present to commemorate the occasion, and attendees viewed a video of the company president commending the company for its “extraordinary” history as a national leader as a “benchmark” in the company.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.