Charlotte Chamber Recognizes Ron and Katherine Harper
Charlotte, N.C.—Before an audience of nearly 650, the Charlotte Chamber honored Ron and Katherine Harper, founders of global anilox supplier Harper Corporation of America, as the Charlotte Chamber’s 2007 Manufacturing Champions at an awards gala at the Westin Charlotte on September 11. The Harpers’ award is a piece of art created by North Carolina glassblowing artist Kenny Pieper.
Nominated by the Charlotte Chamber’s Manufacturers Council for their ingenuity in manufacturing and their commitment to professional education, the Harpers join the ranks of distinguished manufacturing champions recognized by the Chamber in the past, including Ruth Shaw of Duke Energy and Dan Dimico of Nucor Corporation.
Ron and Katherine Harper’s dedication to trade education is a longstanding one. In 1990, the couple recognized the need for more high school vocational programs, and with the donation of their time, attention and funding, they paved the way to establish a flexographic printing program at South Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte. Since then, they have been instrumental in setting up educational programs at other area schools. Today, 21 high schools and 32 colleges in the U.S., Canada and Argentina have vocational programs based on the ones the Harpers helped initiate.
Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) in Charlotte and Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., are also beneficiaries of the Harpers’ commitment to education. CPCC’s southwest campus is called the Harper Campus. On Appalachian State University’s campus, the building that houses the school’s graphics education program and administrative offices is Katherine Harper Hall.
The Harpers also helped found and continue to offer critical support and guidance to the Phoenix Challenge Foundation. Based in the Charlotte area, the foundation is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting flexography education. It sponsors the annual International Phoenix Challenge Flexo Skills Competition at the Harper National Flexographic Center at CPCC’s Harper Campus. Each year, teams of high school flexo students and their teachers from throughout the U.S. and Canada compete in this two-day skill-based competition, which is recognized throughout the industry as an important beacon for the industry’s future. Winners are eligible for scholarships funded by the Phoenix Challenge Foundation to encourage students to pursue further education and a career in flexography.