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Excerpt from Rick Schostek's Speech AAMA
February 17, 2006
Mobile, Alabama

"With the start up of our operation in Alabama, new opportunities have been opened for us to expand diversity in our supplier network and welcome new business partners. Though the automotive supplier network we have in Alabama is still young, I belive HMA has been very proactive in forging new partnerships, including partnerships to enhance the diversity of our supply chain through woman-owned and minority-owned businesses. We usually do not like to single out any particular business partner, but I wanted to share a success story with you, to show how a small business found success in Alabama's growing auto industry. About five years ago, Honda had a 'project office' in a small building in Pell City. When I say project office, that is exactly what I mean. It was little more than a big open room with some phones, a few desks and many busy people. We didn't have a big sign out front or our phone number plastered about - on purpose. Which brings me to Carla Bates, of Bates Enterprises in Childersburg. She found that office one day, and when she did, she came prepared. At the time, she operated a small industrial glove business with big plans. Carla had done her homework on Honda and came to our purchasing manager one day with her plan to become a glove supplier to Honda in Lincoln. Carla's plan included how she could save Honda almost 30 percent annually. Right away, that got the attention of Henry Turner, who is now manager of MRO purchasing at HMA. Henry wanted to attend today's meeting, but this week he is in California and couldn't make it. But getting back to Carla... through her customer research she would send nothing to a landfill. So, her presentation was 'totally green.' By that I mean, she instructed Honda how her competitively priced industrial gloves could also help us meet our 'Zero Landfill' initiative. As I said, she had done her Honda homework. Today, the relationship Carla Bates started with Honda has expanded into a healthy business... both for Bates Enterprises and for Honda. And I understand, we're not the only Alabama auto manufacturer in her stable? ... That's just one example of a small, aggressive Alabama business owner who spotted a 'unique' opportunity and worked to make it a reality."






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