SAGA Award Winners

Oct 07

By Meg Moss


At the recent Sanford Area Growth Alliance (SAGA) Annual Meeting, two industry awards, and one individual award were presented.

Pfizer received the Large Industry Award, which recognizes a business that supports the community while contributing to the success to Sanford-Lee County. Cargo Control USA earned the Small Industry Award, which recognizes a small business that was started in Lee County, has fewer than 100 employees but has created jobs and grown in their industry, and a company that supports the community. And George Perkins of Frontier Spinning Mills received the Pioneer Award, which is given to honor an innovative, high achieving business person who has served this community as a catalyst for economic development and entrepreneurial activity.

Pfizer, the Large Industry Award winner, is in the top 60 on the Fortune 500 list of the world’s most successful corporations. They have nearly 100,000 employees and operate in 60 countries. Their CEO announced in January that the company would invest roughly $5 billion in capital projects in the US over the next five years. And they have a campus right here in Lee County.

In August of 2017, the company announced a major expansion project. Then, a few months later, announced a brand new project for their Sanford campus. And although they have been known by many names at their facility here over 35 years, Pfizer’s local management and associates have consistently been involved in every facet of community life in Lee County and the central North Carolina region.

Each year, Pfizer’s Community Relations department, brings together a team to review and assist local non-profits. The lives of so many of our neighbors have been touched by Pfizer grants. In the past three years, the company has provided grants totaling $255,000 to local non-profits. The Sanford campus new site director, Tony Mulcahy, graciously accepted the award presented by SAGA.

In recent years, in response to business growth, Cargo Control USA, the small industry award winner, relocated to a new facility in Lee County, doubling the size of their former footprint and providing a more pleasing environment for their employees. The new building allows for easier shipping and receiving as well as more efficient production.

The management and employees at Cargo Control are active as participants in civic, charitable, non-profit and church activities in every part of our town. They’ve served in leadership roles at the Chamber, Boys and Girls Club, youth sports and the community college.  Cargo Control sets an example, not only by the way they run their business, but by how they give back.

And those who know the Pioneer Award winner George Perkins, know that he works personally, individually, quietly, intently. After college, and after four years learning the business with JP Stevens in New York, Perkins was lured back to North Carolina to work with Clyde Rhyne at Federal Spinning as the sales manager. The team at Federal Spinning was known across the US as a great company…fierce competitors, super sales people and excellent suppliers that produced quality product. But, the textile business was changing dramatically. Older companies merged, some couldn’t keep up with rapidly changing technology. Like most entrepreneurs, in the chaos bought about by rapid change, Perkins saw opportunity. In 1980, he founded Imperial Yarns…and built that company into a major player in spun yarns.


Then, in 1988, he founded Pioneer Yarns. The growth of Pioneer completely changed the physical and industrial landscape of Sanford. Highway 421 north of town, known as Boone Trail Road, became Pioneer’s home. Large, well-landscaped industrial buildings were constructed to house first Pioneer, then Frontier Spinning.


Because of his business acumen, George was asked to serve on the Boards of Directors for many of the South’s major corporations. Perkins also served as a trustee of Meredith College and Central Carolina Community College. Quietly, he’s helped many young people get an education including many here and in his hometown of Roxboro. He gives his time and treasure to many community endeavors, not the least of which is an annual social outing for the Love Class at First Baptist Church. He is a humble servant of the community.


Congratulations to the three award winners, each of whom make Sanford-Lee County a better place to live and work.


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