BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) and Hughes Brothers, Inc., have been named Nebraska Manufacturers of the Year. Hughes Brothers received the award for small-sized manufacturers, while BD received the award for large manufacturers.
The award recognizes Nebraska manufacturers that implement innovative ways to conduct business through the use of products, processes, technologies, and strategies. The companies were honored at the annual NE Chamber Manufacturing Summit, with top sponsor RSM US LLP, a leading provider of assurance, tax, and consulting services to the manufacturing and wholesale distribution industries. Other event sponsors include Nebraska Public Power District, Ash Grove, Behlen Mfg. Co., Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A., and Meridian Business.
“Nebraska manufacturers have been answering the call to solve America’s toughest challenges for decades. Hughes Brothers and BD are two shining examples of that ingenuity at work,” said Bryan Slone, NE Chamber president. “We’re so proud to have these companies operating and expanding in our communities.”
Small Manufacturer of the Year
Headquartered in Seward, Hughes Brothers produces electric transmission and distribution products to reliably transport electricity across the U.S. Products include wood, metal, and fiberglass framing and fixtures, engineering services, and even storm restoration kits, which have proven critical during floods, wildfires, hurricanes, and a derecho.
Hughes Brothers built Nebraska’s first 115kV transmission line from Columbus to North Platte in the early 1930s, which set it up for a national role in the Rural Electrification Act during the Great Depression. Today, the company’s commitment to quality and next-era engineering make it a leader in electrical distribution solutions, with 900,000 customized products.
“It’s a big custom job shop. That’s how we started, and that’s what we still do today,” said John Hughes, president of Hughes Brothers.
The company’s 275 employees celebrated its 100th anniversary on October 15, opening a museum to the public featuring the history of electric transmission in Seward.
Large Manufacturer of the Year
BD began operations in Nebraska after World War II in response to U.S. government initiatives to diversify manufacturing geographically throughout the nation.
The Broken Bow facility is among one of the largest producers of blood collection devices to support critical care and clinical applications around the world. Operational since 1960, the facility has expanded to 300,000 square feet and 625 associates.
“The success of our company is measured on patient outcomes. We provide technology to advance healthcare for patients, clinicians, and doctors,” said Dave Berge, Broken Bow plant manager. “One of the things we’re most proud of is being engaged in the fight against COVID-19.”
BD Broken Bow continues to grow and hire new associates to meet the demands of the growing market and has expanded over the last several years, adding a new state-of-the-art additive laboratory and increasing warehouse capacity through the lease of 30,000 square foot facility. The company currently employs 3,500 Nebraskans between facilities in Broken Bow, Columbus, and Holdrege.
Nebraska is home to more than 1,500 manufacturers employing 100,000 workers. One in 10 jobs is in manufacturing. The industry contributes more than $13.5 billion annually to Nebraska’s Gross State Product. Average annual wages in manufacturing exceeded $67,200 in 2019, the most recent year data is available.
The NE Chamber is the largest, statewide business association and Nebraska’s affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers. It has proudly served as the voice of Nebraska’s business community since 1912.