CES Industries was founded in Childersburg, AL in January 2006 by Michael "Todd" Smith (UGA-'93). Todd was hired by Rock-Tenn (Norcross, GA) as a Designer/Sample maker and promoted into Sales Representative for the Partition Division, Mill Division and finally the Paperboard Products Division (Dallas, TX). In 1998 he was able to relocate his family back to the Southeast when hired by Georgia-Pacific (Lebanon, TN) as Product Development Manager. In 2006, CES was founded with the idea if you could:
"Earn trust and bring value to our Customers - Value and Reward our Employees - Continously Improve and Innovate at twice the rate of our Competitors"
CES's first success was developing the ability to Direct Print on Laminated Chipboard for the Furniture Industry. Subsequently, CES purchased converting equipment to manufacture the raw material, cut-to-size the material in house and the business grew quickly. In 2009, the combination of Chinese Furniture Imports, Paper Increases, and reduction of MDF prices resulted in the loss of one of the companies largest customers.
Jack "Jay" Harris, Jr. (AU-'94), had previously worked in the Knitting Industry until the business moved off-shore in 2007. In 2007 Jay started HCM Machine Shop. HCM was selected in 2008 to make tooling and assist in building the first "high capacity spin machine" for CES Industries. Jay continued to have an interest in manufacturing, had a vacant plant in Jackson Gap, AL and expressed interest in a partnership in 2008. In September 2009, after the loss of a large customer, "Jay" and "Todd" became partners.
CES Industries was relocated to Jackson's Gap, AL (suburb of Alexander City - Lake Martin Area) in late 2009. "Jay" and Barry "Skeeter" Holdridge (AU-'93) (Now Plant Manager) continued to service what was left of the furniture business, and "perfect" the spine manufacturing equipment when not running furniture orders.
2010 was not a good year for CES. In 2011, CES began direct printing on MDF for the Furniture Industry. The business continues to grow today with the help of Pete Larson of Kingston Associates, Inc. Also, in 2011 CES was selected to become a supplier for the largest three-ring binder manufacturers in North America with the "custom" spine manufacturing equipment designed by Jay and Barry.
In January 2013 Robert "Bob" Dahlke (USM-'75) of Meridian, MS was talked into joining CES Industries as General Manager. Robert brought 33 years of paper, purchasing, scheduling, and manufacturing experience to CES Industries. We welcome Bob's experience and leadership ability to CES.