Warren County residents Jeff Golden and Todd Herzog have received state recognition for their longtime volunteer service and continuous dedication to their community.
Jeff Golden is the recipient of the 2015 Jim Spradley Volunteer of the Year Award in Economic Development from the Tennessee Economic Development Council.
Todd Herzog is the recipient of the 2015 School Volunteer of the Year Award by the Tennessee School Boards Association.
Golden was nominated for the Jim Spradley award by McMinnville-Warren County Industrial Development Board director Don Alexander.
“As I was reading through all the qualifications in the award application, Jeff kept coming to mind,” Alexander said. “Jeff has lived his love for the Warren County community that we all call home.”
Golden’s commitment to improve the lives of citizens in Warren County is demonstrated by his vast involvement throughout the community. His volunteer responsibilities include Industrial Development Board member, McMinnville Electric Power Board chairman, River Park Hospital board chairman, Warren County grand jury foreman, Hospital Association of Tennessee board member, Blood Assurance chairman, and previous Westwood Church of Christ elder.
A native to Warren County, Golden’s passion for serving others stems from the deep-rooted connection he has to the community.
“The community has been extremely good to me and my family, and I feel like I need to continue to do what I can to help it grow and to help other people,” Golden said.
Golden’s years of experience with the McMinnville Electric Board has led the county in implementing new ideas, brightening Warren County’s future. Golden’s visionary leadership was instrumental in saving McMinnville 50 percent on electrical cost through the implementation of 100 percent LED lighting throughout the city, making McMinnville one of the state’s forerunners in deploying a city-wide, low-energy lighting solution.
Golden was also a key player in the development of Mountain View Industrial Park, which now is home to three new automotive industries.
Herzog was nominated for his award by Warren County Director of Schools Bobby Cox for his personal devotion to increasing the availability of educational opportunities for Warren County residents.
Chairman of the Business Roundtable Action Committee in Warren County for 25 years, Herzog and a group of existing industry leaders began discussing how to address a prevalent need in the county -- closing the gap between local industries’ demand of a skilled workforce and the skills of the available labor pool.
To address this need, the Business Roundtable, under the leadership of Herzog, set out to raise the education level in Warren County. Herzog organized, fundraised and promoted the Citizens for Progress Scholarship allowing high school graduates, in need of financial assistance, to pursue post-secondary education.
Over the past two years, the scholarship has extended its reach to non-traditional students to assist those who may be unemployed or underemployed. This extension has allowed the opportunity for multiple Warren County residents to join Motlow-McMinnville’s state-of-the-art Mechatronics program, a discovery-based method of learning in electronics, pneumatics, hydraulics, robotics and computer logic systems which offers graduates a direct connection into high-tech manufacturing jobs.
The success of the Citizens for Progress Scholarship, along with Herzog’s progressive leadership and focus on preparing the county’s workforce for the rise of high-tech manufacturing jobs in the area, served as catalysts in bringing the Siemen’s-founded Mechatronics program to Warren County.
Herzog made financial donations and fundraised to finance the establishment of the Mechatronics program in Motlow-McMinnville, which has now spread to Warren County High School, Motlow-Smyrna, a satellite operating station at Bridgestone-Firestone, and MTSU.
The need for a skilled workforce in advanced manufacturing and advanced robotics has citizens like Herzog pursuing ways to train additional Warren County residents which spurred the creation of the Advanced Robotics Training Committee. The ART committee, led by Herzog and Alexander, are in pursuit of funding in order to establish an advanced robotics training facility in Warren County.
Applications have been made to the National Science Foundation and the Appalachian Regional Commission. The committee is currently exploring the opportunities provided through the Economic Development Administration’s grant programs.
“We are centrally located among one of the highest populations of robotic users,” Herzog said. “This is a natural fit for us.”
Securing an ART facility would be a significant achievement for the community and a step forward in providing the skilled workforce currently in demand from local industries operating with robotics.
“Everything is aimed at raising the education level in Warren County,” Herzog said. “When you do that statistically the quality of life improves, volunteerism greatly increases, crime goes down, and wealth goes up. It’s a total win-win situation.”