SANTA ROSA -- Recognizing the importance of the manufacturing industry in the region, North Bay Business Journal is initiating an awards ceremony to highlight some of the outstanding manufacturers.

Nominations are now open for North Bay companies that excel in about a dozen categories, including innovation (technical and non-technical), customer service, employee culture, environment, leadership and growth.

The winning companies will be featured in a special publication inserted in the Business Journal and will be recognized at an awards celebration in July.

“The timing of these awards could not be better,” said Dick Herman, founder of the manufacturing trade organization 101MFG.com.

“Manufacturing, especially advanced manufacturing, is hugely important to economic recovery and continued strength. That’s being recognized by our leaders in Washington as well as on state and regional levels.”

In the North Bay 11 percent of the workforce is employed by manufacturing companies, he said. About 22 percent of the region’s revenues come from those companies.

“It may sound like a car commercial, but it’s time to take a fresh new look at the sector,” Mr. Herman said.

For more information on the contest and its categories, go to NorthBayBusinessJournal.com/31602/.