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Steve Marks, president of Marks Lumber discusses history of the mill on a tour of the business. “No two boards are the same,” he said, walking through stacked orders awaiting shipping. “There’s a romance to it if you will that people really like and it’s beautiful.”

On Thursday, Simms Fishing Products in Bozeman was named the 2018 Montana Manufacturer of the Year by the Montana Manufacturing Association, a subsidiary of the Montana Chamber of Commerce.

Simms will be presented with its award March 18 at the Delta Colonial at Manufacturing and International Trade Day during the event's dinner.

Simms manufactures Gore-Tex fly fishing waders and is in its 25th year of operation. The company rated the highest in the scoring categories of community impact, innovation of their products and workplace benefits.

For the first time, the MMA is recognizing two additional companies with Honorable Mention awards: Marks Lumber in Clancy and Ascent Vision Technologies in Belgrade.

Marks Lumber has specialty forest products including timbers, rough-sawn boards, circle-sawn flooring and natural wood siding products. Ascent specializes in gyro-stabilized imaging systems and fully integrated solutions for Counter Drone Operations, ISR Missions and defense applications.

Marks Lumber rated the highest in environmental excellence and safety, while Ascent scored the highest in market share/growth of the company.

"Each year I look forward to reviewing the applicants for Montana’s Manufacturer of the Year," said Bryan Wood, owner of Woods-Powr Grip in Laurel and the chair of the MMA Board of directors, in a press release. "The past couple of years we have had such incredibly qualified applicants it has generated some great discussion among the Montana Manufacturing Association’s board members. This year’s applicants were good enough that they could undoubtedly have competed for manufacturer of the year in any state in the nation. Congratulations to Simms, Marks Lumber, Ascent Vision Technologies and all of the other great Montana companies who applied."

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