Andrew Kalnow, president of National Machinery LLC, spoke about the business' rebirth in 2002 during the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services annual meeting Thursday night at Mohawk Country Club.
Ten years ago, National Machinery reopened in Tiffin after "some very difficult events here in town and nationally," Kalnow said.
"Truth be known, there's a lot of great manufacturing companies in town, National is only one of them," he said. "We're very proud to be back in a little bit of our former glory."
Kalnow played a brief video presentation at the meeting. The video began with highlights of National's successes in the early years of the company that opened in 1874.
The video, which consisted of older footage of the company, abruptly faded out and then showed footage of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
"All of us in America remember how traumatic and severe those days in September were," Kalnow said of the attacks that ultimately helped put National Machinery out of business for two months. "Unfortunately for National Machinery, I would say, Tiffin potentially, too, the reverberations of 9/11 were still to be felt."
The video then displayed several headlines and newspaper articles detailing the company's demise and the aftermath.
Employees and customers lived in uncertainty, Kalnow said.
The video concluded with more recent footage of the company, and displayed National Machinery's newfound success not only in Tiffin but also overseas, including in Europe and Asia.
"There's not a lot of PR in this town, but we don't really need it," Kalnow said. "It's good to share this. We are, among the other firms in town, the backbone of this town."
At its peak, National employed more than 1,000 people. Today, it has slightly more than 400 employees, and has the biggest payroll in Tiffin, he said.
The Chamber of Commerce also awarded its President's Award for the first time since 2007.
"The President's Award is a special recognition for those who have made significant contribution to our community," said Chamber President and CEO John Detwiler. "It takes a special person, or group of people, to be nominated. Frankly, it's easier to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame than it is receive the chamber's President Award."
The award went to Chris Hafley, Matt Coleman, Jill Gosche, Dave Horn, Mike Longanbach, David Miller, Scott McDole, Mike Steyer, Dick Wyka, Karen Bowers and Rich Focht for retrieving one of the largest remaining artifacts from the Twin Towers.
The 17-and-a-half foot steel column became the centerpiece for Tiffin Police and Fire All Patriots Memorial at the corner of North Washington and Water streets, Detwiler said.
Kathy Venema, associate vice president for Institutional Advancement & Alumni Relations at Heidelberg University, was awarded the Women's Career Excellence Award.
Brent Howard, law director of Tiffin City Council, received the Outstanding Citizenship Award.
In other business, Detwiler spoke about the Chamber's recent successes including its visitor's guide, new website, billboards and being "the driving force behind the comprehensive rewrite of the city of Tiffin's sign ordinance."