Airtex/ASC has received Ford's Q1 award for supplying the auto company with quality water pumps.

GREEN  A blue flag with the Ford Motor Co. logo is proudly on display outside Airtex/ASC's facility off Massillon Road.

The company received Ford Q1 certification for supplying original equipment water pumps used in Ford vehicles. The quality award marks Airtex/ASC as one of Ford's preferred suppliers, as well as a leading supplier in the domestic auto industry.

Airtex/ASC water pumps are used in a majority of new Ford vehicles. Over the past year the local company worked to improve its relationship with Ford by "setting stringent goals for service shipments, supply chain controls and quality assurance," according to a statement from Airtex/ASC. The company said it achieved a perfect quality score shipping more than 1.15 million units without defects.

Ford officials presented the Q1 award — the flag and a plaque — during a special lunch for employees last Wednesday. Employees wore T-shirts with the ASC and Ford logos, along with the phrase Q1 certified.

Frank Padar, the Ford executive who presented the honors, said the Q1 award recognizes the supplier as a "valuable partner and an integrated part of our business."

ASC managers thanked employees for their work to achieve the Ford quality award. "This is a huge, huge honor for our company," David Peace, Airtex/ASC president and chief executive officer, told the workforce.

Peace took the helm at Airtex/ASC, a division of UCI International Holdings, in May. Before joining the local operation, Peace directed UCI's former Wells vehicle electronics business. UCI sold that operation in 2015.

ASC has been part of privately-held UCI International since 2006. ASC began as American Switchgear Corp., making high-voltage power equipment. It expanded in 1987 as a private-label maker and distributor of water pumps for the automotive aftermarket.

Airtex/ASC makes fuel pumps and water pumps used in new vehicles and sold under private brand labels in automotive parts stores. The facility in Green has 280 employees working in production and warehousing, as well as administrative offices. Another 20 employees are at a warehouse operation in the Hoover District in North Canton. The company also has facilities in Michigan, Illinois, Mexico, Spain and China.

Chamber honors companies

Seven area companies are recipients of the Business Excellence Awards presented annually by the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The excellence awards are presented to companies that distinguish themselves with longevity, growth, innovation, and consistent involvement in the community. The 2018 recipients are:

• DeVille Apartments & Builders, Jackson Township

• MAC Trailer Enterprises, Lexington Township

• MCTV, Massillon.

• Midwest Industrial Supply, Canton.

• Patriot Software Co., Jackson Township.

• Pero Dairy Farms, Osnaburg Township.

• Progressive Auto Group, Massillon.

The Chamber and Day Ketterer also will present the seventh annual Business Excellence Scholarship Award. The scholarship goes to a local student who writes the winning essay entitled: "The Proper Role of Government in the Regulation of U.S. Business."

The awards dinner will be May 1 at the Conference Center at the Kent State University Stark Campus, 6000 Frank Ave. NW. Tickets are $60 and tables of 10 are available. Register www.cantonchamber.org/awards by April 24.

Engineering award

A North Canton resident is the 39th recipient of the Engineering Honors Award presented by Babcock & Wilcox to recognize professional achievement, dedication and mentorship.

Ronald C. Lenzer is a technical consultant in B&W's Barberton office. He started working for the company in 1973 while attending Purdue University. He has specialized in research and development of industrial burners, and has tested several of the company's designs. He also is named as co-inventor on two patents in the field of combustion.

In addition to his work on B&W's burner products, Lenzer was recognized "for his tireless commitment to providing outstanding service and solutions for customers and for his selfless dedication to helping fellow engineers develop their skills and advance their careers," the company said in a press release.

Move planned

Steel Service Aerospace will double the size of its facility by moving from its Massillon location to one in Canton Township.

Putman Properties said Steel Service Aerospace has purchased the former home of Meter Devices at 3359 Bruening Circle SW. The move is being made after Steel Service Aerospace outgrew its building on Wetmore Avenue SE in Massillon.

The new location is 76,980 square feet and sits on slightly more than 17 acres at the end of Bruening Circle SW. The building was constructed in 1999 as home for Meter Devices, which closed in 2010 after parent company Brooks Utility moved production to Michigan.

Seattle-based Steel Service Aerospace has been part of Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. since 1997. The company moved to Massillon in 2000 from a facility in Akron.

Auto sales mixed

Car dealers throughout Northeast Ohio saw sales recover in March but couldn't match the sales reported a year ago, according to the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers' Association.

During March, dealerships sold 22,743 vehicles, a 3.37-percent drop compared with 23,535 vehicles sold in March 2017. Dealers did sell 7,408 more vehicles in March than they did in February, according the a press release from the association.

“While March was a strong month, we were still unable to eclipse the numbers from March of last year, which was an exceptional month in terms of overall unit volume,” Louis A. Vitantonio, GCADA president, said in the release. “There are some brands that are doing better than others, particularly luxury brands.”

Through the first quarter of 2018, dealers in the region — it includes Stark, Tuscarawas and Carroll counties — have sold 58,358 vehicles, a 5.48-percent drop from 61,744 units sold during the first three months of 2017.

Reach Edd at 330-580-8484 or edd.pritchard@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @epritchardREP