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Charlotte Chamber Recognizes Manufacturing Champion

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Published: 10.10.2007

Charlotte, N.C., October 10, 2007 - Before a packed banquet audience of nearly 650, the Charlotte Chamber honored Ron and Katherine Harper, founders of global anilox supplier Harper Corporation of America, as the Charlotte Chamber's 2007 Manufacturing Champions at an elegant awards gala at the Westin Charlotte on September 11.

Nominated by the Charlotte Chamber's Manufacturers Council for their ingenuity in manufacturing and their commitment to professional education, the Harpers join the ranks of distinguished manufacturing champions recognized by the Chamber in the past, including Ruth Shaw of Duke Energy and Dan Dimico of Nucor Corporation.

The gala, sponsored by Wachovia, brought together the region's most distinguished entrepreneurs and innovative businesspeople. The Harpers' award, a one-of-a-kind vase, is a piece of art created by North Carolina glassblowing artist Kenny Pieper.

Ron and Katherine Harper's dedication to trade education is a longstanding one. In 1990, the couple recognized the need for more high school vocational programs, and with the donation of their time, attention and funding, they paved the way to establish a flexographic printing program at South Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte. Since then, they have been instrumental in setting up educational programs at other area schools. Today 21 high schools and 32 colleges in the U.S., Canada and Argentina have vocational programs based on the ones the Harpers helped initiate.

Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) in Charlotte and Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., are also beneficiaries of the Harpers' commitment to education. CPCC's southwest campus is called the Harper Campus. On Appalachian State University's campus, the building that houses the school's graphics education program and administrative offices is Katherine Harper Hall.

The Harpers also helped found and continue to offer critical support and guidance to the Phoenix Challenge Foundation. Based in the Charlotte area, the foundation is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting flexography education. It sponsors the annual International Phoenix Challenge Flexo Skills Competition at the Harper National Flexographic Center at CPCC's Harper Campus. Each year, teams of high school flexo students and their teachers from throughout the U.S. and Canada compete in this two-day skill-based competition, which is recognized throughout the industry as an important beacon for the industry's future. Winners are eligible for scholarships funded by the Phoenix Challenge Foundation to encourage students to pursue further education and a career in flexography.

Through the Phoenix Challenge Foundation, the Harpers also established the Katherine Harper Teachers' Education Fund to help address the need for broader and more intensive flexo education for instructors.

For further information, please contact Jazmin Kluttz at 704-588-3371 or jkluttz@harperimage.com.

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