Terrell Industries employees and those on the "Get on the Bus" United Way tour pose for a picture at Terrell Industries Tuesday. | Joy Haynes
Terrell Industries employees and those on the "Get on the Bus" United Way tour pose for a picture at Terrell Industries Tuesday. | Joy Haynes

Archived Story

Terrell Industries is Hartselle’s own special needs workshop

Published 1:30pm Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Terrell Industries is a non-profit organization in Hartselle that has employed special needs adults for 26 years.

They specialize in packaging, labeling, quality checking and small assembly jobs for industries such as General Electric, EFP Corporation, Aramark and CGR Products Inc. Hartselle industries such as ILPEA Industries Inc. and Russell Forrest Products Inc. also utilize their services.

Joe Holmes led the United Way “Get on the Bus” tour with Hartselle Utilities Tuesday to Terrell Industries and other non-profit agencies in the area that United Way supports. This tour allowed local companies to learn more about the impact these non-profit agencies and programs are having on Morgan County.

Since Terrell Industries is a non-profit, they do not have an owner. Instead, an active board of directors runs the company.

Juanita Owens has been the plant manager since November of 2012. She said Terrell Industries is always asking for donations.

“God has really blessed our company,” Owens said. “We have made it through 26 years with generous donations and our annual Depot Days fundraiser. We have had tough times and we have had good times, but these last couple of months have been tough. I’ve been looking at little out-of-the-box ways to cut costs, even changing our Internet provider and small things like that.”

Terrell Industries has a fundraiser at Depot Days every year. They sell raffle tickets for a small storage trailer or a grill. This usually helps fund their employee’s Christmas gifts and more.

Owens said their mission has always been to employ anyone with physical or mental handicaps.

“We currently employ 37 special needs adults,” Owens said. “We also have six staff members. This company is not about the work they do. It’s about the employees. Special needs people need something to do and something to look forward to once they are out of school. Anyone would get bored of just sitting at home most of the time. It’s not about a check to them. They come in every day with a smile and they leave with a smile. They enjoy the company and the responsibility.”

Recently GE has cut back the number of jobs they send to Terrell Industries due to consolidation in their manufacturing process, but Owens said she knows GE is searching for additions jobs to give them.

“GE supplies most of our jobs, so their continued involvement is important,” Owens said. “They had to drastically cut the number of jobs they gave us, but they have people desperately looking for more to give us.”

Terrell’s employees have flexible schedules that work around welfare restrictions and personal capabilities. They are open Monday-Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., but most special needs workers are gone by 2 p.m.

Owens said she had been told that the company started with several Hartselle men who had handicapped children.

“I’ve always heard that Mr. Terrell had a child with special needs,” Owens said. “He got together with Truman Bridges, Leon Key and Buck Strickland to build this building here in the Hartselle industrial park. All of those men had special needs children too, and they saw the need for a place of employment for them. A place like this is a great asset to Hartselle.”

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