Amadas celebrates anniversary
Published 9:13 pm Friday, November 29, 2013
A Suffolk manufacturer with worldwide customers celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
Amadas Industries was founded as Hobbs Engineering and became Hobbs-Adams Engineering four years later, when it moved into its current Holland Road location.
The company manufactures peanut harvesting and irrigation equipment and, according to sales and industrial engineer Jimmy Adams III, is considered the world market leader.
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“Business has been good,” he said. “2012 was our best year ever.”
His father, grandfather and great-uncle were the ones who started the business. That great-uncle, Oliver Hobbs, his paternal grandmother’s brother, had worked for another company before starting his own.
“He was really an inventor,” Adams said, adding his great-uncle had several patents to his name even before starting the company. “He wanted to take his own ideas and start his own business.”
The company’s growth, expansion and innovation came rapidly. It exported its first equipment in the same year it was founded. In 1967, it introduced the two-row peanut combine, and in 1980 the Reel Rain Irrigation line was introduced.
In 1984, the company earned the U.S. Commerce Department’s E-Star Award for excellence in exporting.
In 1988, the company celebrated its 25th anniversary, and Hobbs decided to retire. Many of the employees pooled their money to buy him out, Adams said, and the new group of owners voted on changing to the current name.
Most folks think it’s a rearrangement of the Adams name, Adams said, but it actually is an acronym that means “American Manufactured, Advanced Design, Absolute Service.”
Rapid product improvements followed, with a four-row peanut combine introduced in 1989, a six-row combine only two years later and an 8-row, self-propelled combine five years after that.
“With the increase in capacity, you take the job three men were doing and make it a one-man job,” Adams said.
In 2005, changes in the cost of exporting to South America prompted the company to build a production facility in Argentina.
“It made it almost impossible or unfeasible for them to continue importing,” Adams said.
The company also has locations in Georgia and Texas for parts and service, but the Suffolk location is its main manufacturing facility. It exports to Africa and Asia and has been one of the main driving forces behind industrializing peanut agriculture on those continents.
Adams did not share sales numbers but did say 2012 was a record-breaking year for the company. He said he believes the business will be around for many more years.
“It’s a great accomplishment, I think, for the people that started the business,” he said. “We are helping farmers produce a protein to feed humans, so we don’t see it going anywhere.”
Adams said the company will have a larger than normal year-end event for its employees to celebrate the anniversary. It also held dinners with employees, industry friends and customers in Georgia and Argentina.