By Anna Hall
Hart County Charter System
In front of Lee Adam’s office on U.S. Highway 29 South, a large monument soaked in history swells from the ground. It could easily be a symbol for what his business’ long-standing history in Hart County and the large factory behind it resembles: Fabritex and its mission of creating high-quality sheet metal fabrication, known for decades for its production of materials used in a variety of applications for industries throughout the world.
But the monument means so much more than that. It, in fact, is the center of the world, also known as “Ah-Yek-A-Li-A-Lo-Hee,” according to Cherokee Native American history. It is this spot where numerous Native American trails merged, and tribes assembled for various councils, as well as to trade goods. As such, the Hart County Schools’ One Hart Beat campaign has a deeper meaning than some people might realize, said Adams, president of Fabritex.
“Right here, in Hart County, was, or is, the center of the world. To me, that truly symbolizes the idea of one heart beat,” said Adams, noting the spelling may be different from Hart to heart.
Either way, the underlying message remains the same, he said.
A native of Hart County and a graduate of Hart County High School, Adams is invested in seeing the center of the world, and it’s one heart — or Hart — beat be an epicenter of industry, innovation, education and community. Currently, five Hart County High School students who are enrolled in the Hart County College and Career Academy spend a portion of their day working at Fabritex, spending half days as interns for the company and using the time to both learn the art of engineering and use those new skills to craft more than metal. They are crafting a future.
Adams is on the Hart College and Career Academy board, and he has high hopes of seeing a new generation of Hart County graduates entering his industry, becoming engineers, welders and business-minded individuals here in Hart County.
That has proven true this year, when Adams and his team from Fabritex participated in Career Day at South Hart Elementary School. This semester, Adams sent a team of his employees to the school, to showcase the opportunities which may lie ahead for students in Hartwell, and what future occupations they want to explore. South Hart Principal Dr. J.T. Stewart welcomed the industry into his school’s Career Days with open arms, hoping to expose his students to the outlets which may be open to them in the years to come.
“Mr. Adams sent two of his associates, Mr. Blake Miller and Mrs. Gayle Adams, to South Hart to participate as a vendor for our Career and Agriculture Day,” Stewart said. “Mr. Miller and Mrs. Adams brought their own video, television screen, and several visual models to show our students some of the work Fabritex produces for our local and national businesses. Throughout my four years at South Hart, our students have been exposed to many coding, engineering, robotic and project creation concepts. Fabritex’s contribution at our Career Day supported that prior learning. I appreciate local businesses, like Fabritex, showing our young students the potential job opportunities in Hart County.”
Beyond the recent Career Day, Adams and his crew also hosted tours of fifth-grade students to Fabritex. The hope was to show students, outside of school walls, the real-world industry and the futures that exist in it, right her in Hartwell.
“We’ve had students from Hart County work with us both through the College and Career Academy and come on to have full-time jobs here, and some who have interned here and gone on to other places,” Adams said. “Both are equally great. And showing students early on, like through Career Days at Hart County schools, that we are here to teach them outside the classroom what may be available to them, here or elsewhere, I have to say, that is just a great thing to know we have the ability to do. It opens up doors for them may never knew where there.”
Superintendent Jay Floyd said Fabritex is a model community partner for the school system and Adams has been integral in ensuring that partnership’s success.
“Lee Adams takes a vested interest in our school system. He’s been the Chair of our school governance team at Hartwell Elementary School, member of the board of directors for the Hart College and Career Academy and understands the value of education as a business partner and parent in our community,” Floyd said. “Our relationship with Fabritex didn’t have a choice but to succeed.”