Denison Industries has been named as one of three finalists for the small employer of the year award by the Texas Workforce Commission. The announcement comes just one year after Emerson Process Management, located in Sherman, was named as a finalist for large employer of the year.

“We were excited again to see that we had a local industry nominated for the second year in a row,” Workforce Solutions Texoma Executive Director Janie Bates said Friday. “It is a great honor to be nominated and an even greater honor to be a finalist.”

This is the first time Denison Industries has been nominated for the award, but Bates said many other local industries have been finalists or won one of the awards offered by the commission. Champion Coolers and Texoma Medical Center, both based in Denison, previously won awards in 2012 and 2000, respectively.

Bates said the 28 workforce boards across the state each nominate one local industry for the large and small employer awards each year. From these nominees, three finalists are chosen. The winner is expected to be announced at the end of November. In addition to Denison Industries, Arrow Ford of Abilene and Big Creek Construction of Lorena have also been recognized as finalists for the small business award.

Bates said the decision to nominate Denison Industries comes from its involvement with the recently-created manufacturing consortium, with which it serves as a charter member. The consortium, made up of local manufacturing and industrial employers, is looking for ways to increase the local workforce and support educational programs.

Other projects that Denison Industries has been a part of include tours during manufacturing day, externships for local teachers in industrial employers, and sponsorships for high school students in the new advanced manufacturing program, which is provided through Grayson College.

Kristin Holmes, human resources director for Denison Industries, said the nomination and recognition largely comes from Denison Industry’s work within the Texoma community beyond simply as an employer.

“Being a member of the community is much more than just providing jobs,” she said. “Without the greater community, we couldn’t fundamentally exist.”

Through programs like area industrial maintenance programs and the advanced manufacturing program, Holmes said Denison Industries is working to ensure a supply of workers for the region for generations to come.

“We are firmly invested not just in the past, not just in the present, but the future as well,” she said.

Denison Industries first opened its doors in 1972 under the name Hitchcock and renamed itself to its current name in 1991. The industrial foundry operates several facilities around North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field.