VALDOSTA -- Surrounded by luxury boats and his leadership team, Regal Marine Industries plant manager received the 2005 South Georgia Business Manufacturer of the Year award Wednesday.

Regal saved hundreds of jobs when it moved into the former Bayliner plant in 2001 after Bayliner closed its doors.

Today, Regal employees about 200 people in its Valdosta plant and hopes to add 50 more by the end of the year.

The company produces about 15, 24- to 30-foot boats a week in the Valdosta plant.

Regal is based out of Orlando, Fla., with only two plants across the United States and no dealer in Valdosta. But consumers from Kuwait to Australia, Moscow and Japan see the end product of what is produced in the Valdosta plant.

Greg Justice, plant manager and director of manufacturing for the Valdosta plant, said the company was happy to receive the award.

"I feel this is a great compliment to the work force here and Regal to receive the South Georgia Business Magazine award," Justice said. "We have a wonderful team of long-term boat builders that works here, and it's great that they finally get some recognition from the community."

Regal builds boats with a strong emphasis on edifying its workers and manufacturing to higher standards.

It is a family-run business based on Biblical standards.

The business began in 1969, when Paul and Carol Kuck wanted to start their own company.

Sons Tim, vice president of manufacturing, and Duane, chief executive officer, are involved in the day-to-day aspects of the business.

Manufacturer of the Year was one of five awards presented.

Award winners were selected from across the region by magazine management.

Regal was the only business from Valdosta to receive an award.

The September-October edition of the magazine will be out on news stands today.



To contact Brianne Sweetland, call (229) 244-3400, ext. 245.



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