AGM Container Controls Inc. was named the Small Business of the Year for 2009 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The award, presented Tuesday, honors the Tucson-based manufacturer for being a leader in the community, demonstrating intelligent business judgment, and showing a true commitment to its employees and customers.
“There is no secret to AGM Container Controls’ success,” Thomas J. Donohue, U.S. Chamber president and chief executive, said in a release. “They continue to provide quality products and first class service. AGM encompasses the attributes that any company needs to succeed in a tough economy – business judgment, customer service, and a commitment to their employees.”
AGM produces items used to protect missiles in transit or storage, and its Ascension division produces vertical and portable wheelchair lifts.
“We are highly diversified for a small company,” CEO Howard Stewart said in a 2007 interview with Tucson Business Edge. “It is hard to be good across a wide spectrum, but we do it much better than our competitors can or would.
“We are constantly asking ourselves how we can achieve more,” Stewart said.
In 1970, his father was given the opportunity to buy part of what was Arizona Gear Manufacturing. Howard Stewart became president of the family-owned business in 2000.
The business is 34 percent employee-owned, and AGM has serious roots in the community.
“To move would tear the social fabric of this business,” Stewart said. “There is a social contract between myself and my employee-owners and it would be selfish to move. It just wouldn’t make much sense.”