Barbara Garrison
Vice President of Operations
Exxel Outdoors Inc.

Haleyville, AL

“Manufacturing is the base for our economic security, as it protects us against international economic interference.  Manufacturing creates middle class jobs that support our economy.  Manufacturing jobs do not stop at the walls of the factory … For every manufacturing job, three more jobs are created and on it goes.”

Barbara is an American manufacturing success story, helping Exxel Outdoors take an Alabama plant that was nearly closed in 2000, and build it into the largest sleeping bag manufacturing facility in the Western Hemisphere.  From her beginning with the organization, Barbara went beyond her responsibilities and carved out a significant role for herself.  Her technical skills and management talent made her the ideal resource to turn to when Exxel purchased the factory.  Barbara has been instrumental in its turning a profit ever since.

Barbara has spearheaded efficiencies in processes and systems, but considers the plant workers the most important company assets in terms of ongoing success. She oversees the hiring, training and retention planning of employees.  From her experiences, she considers it critical to mentor women along the male-dominated manufacturing path.  She treats factory workers as a family, demonstrates concern for their well-being, and takes creative steps to continually motivate them.

She is proud that Exxel is producing quality Manufactured in Alabama products, and providing good American jobs to many.  Her employees either bring that same pride with them when they are hired, or they “catch it” from Barbara when they get there!

© 2014 Manufacturing Institute
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