SC Manufacturers Alliance Announce Recipients of the Professionals of the Year Awards

Columbia, SC – The South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (SCMA) has awarded four individuals in the manufacturing industry with the SCMA Professionals of the Year Awards.

The SCMA Professionals of the Year Awards recognize individuals who work at South Carolina manufacturing facilities and are employed in the finance, human resources, legal and policy, and operations fields. Individuals were nominated and selected based on criteria showing the nominee has excelled in their careers and contributed significantly to the broader community. The 2022 SCMA Professionals of the Year are:

• Finance Professional of the Year: Roger Buckley, Tax Director, Sonoco Products Company
• Operations Professional of the Year: Ron Freed, Production Support Manager, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. South Carolina Manufacturing
• Human Resources Professional of the Year: Wanda Herron, Human Resources Manager, A.O. Smith
• Legal and Policy Professional of the Year: Robert Wick, General Counsel and Secretary, Schaeffler Group USA Inc.
“We are thrilled to honor four exceptional manufacturing professionals in South Carolina,” said Sara Hazzard, President & CEO of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance. “Manufacturing drives economic growth and prosperity, strengthens communities, and creates a better future for all South Carolinians. The individuals awarded this prestigious recognition have a passion for excellence and service and are leaders amongst their peers. We are proud to recognize the 2022 SCMA Professionals of the Year for their achievements, contributions, and dedication to making a meaningful difference.”

About the Recipients:

Roger Buckley: Roger Buckley is the Director of Tax at Sonoco in Hartsville, South Carolina. He is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, is a graduate from South Illinois University with a master’s in accounting and tax, and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). He serves as chair of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance Tax & Economic Development Committee, chair of the United Way of Hartsville, and chair of the Darlington County Economic Development Partnership. Buckley has a passion for economic development and was recognized in 2014 as an Ambassador for Economic Development by Governor Nikki Haley.

Ron Freed: Ron Freed is the Production Support Manager at American Honda Motor Co. Inc, South Carolina Manufacturing in Timmonsville, South Carolina. He began his career with the Honda in 1998 as a production welder and has worked in many areas of manufacturing including operational support roles. Freed served as the Assembly Manager for the launch of the production for the Honda Pioneer side-by-side vehicle, which is a popular model among powersports enthusiasts across the world. Approximately 375,000 side-by-side vehicles have been produced at the Timmonsville facility since production of the Pioneer began. Freed has served as a member and chair of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance Plant Operations Committee, and is a passionate advocate of the manufacturing industry and the opportunities it extends to South Carolina’s workforce.

Wanda Herron: Wanda Herron is the Human Resources Manager for A.O. Smith in McBee, South Carolina. She is a graduate of West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, a graduate of Marshall University with a master’s degree in Technical Education, and is a Certified Professional in Human Resources. In her role at A.O. Smith, Herron is responsible for recruitment, retention, talent development, employee relations, EHS, and a myriad of other human resources management areas. Under her leadership, the Human Resources department at A.O. Smith has developed 4 different apprenticeship programs and is attributed for improving employee relations throughout the facility. Over the years Herron has been an active participate in a number of organizations that include the Midlands Workforce Development Board, the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), American Society of Personnel Administrators (ASPA), and the Midlands Human Resource Association.

Robert Wick: Robert Wick is the General Counsel & Secretary of the Schaeffler Group USA, Inc. in Fort Mill, South Carolina. He is a graduate of The Citadel with a bachelor’s degree in History and a graduate of the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University with a Juris Doctor degree. In his role at Schaeffler, Wick serves as the key lawyer for automotive and industrial customers for Schaeffler Group globally, with substantial experience drafting and negotiating complex commercial transactions. He is also the main legal contact for HR-related issues, including health & safety, real estate & insurance, and government relations & advocacy for Schaeffler. Wick is a board member of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, serves on the board of the SC Automotive Council, and recently joined the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance’s Corporate Counsel Committee as one of its founding members. He is a strategic and collaborative business partner who enables risk mitigation in a business-friendly manner.

South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance

The South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance is the only statewide organization dedicated exclusively to the interests of manufacturers. Its mission is to strengthen and advance South Carolina manufacturing by advocating for our members, fostering a world-class workforce, and bringing together manufacturers to connect, share, and solve industry challenges. The SCMA membership is comprised of more than 200 manufacturing companies that represent more than 100,000 associates in South Carolina.

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