TOP PHOTO: Camel Manufacturing President and COO Mark Riffle addresses employees during Thursday’s appreciation event.

By Charlotte Underwood

CARYVILLE, TN (WLAF) – Camel Manufacturing is WLAF’s business of the week. The 102 year old company hosted a veteran and employee appreciation day on Thursday at 11 am. The event featured a flag folding ceremony, a 21 gun salute and a performance of Taps by the Campbell County Honor Guard. It’s something Camel tries to do each year to honor veterans and employees.

The company began more than a century ago in Knoxville and has been in Campbell County for the past two decades. It was located in LaFollette for about five years and has been at its current location off the 141 exit for the last 15 years in the Collins Industrial Park.

Camel Manufacturing President and COO Mark Riffle (right) accepts a plaque of appreciation from the Campbell County Honor Guard during Thursday’s event.

During the ceremony, Camel Manufacturing President and COO Mark Riffle recieved a plaque from the Honor Guard thanking him for his support and many donations. Riffle presented the Honor Guard with a donation as well.

“Our job is to serve those who serve, and we wanted to make a donation to the Honor Guard to keep them doing what they do,” Riffle said. 

The Campbell County Honor Guard held a flag folding ceremony at Camel Manufacturing on Thursday.

After the ceremony, Camel Employees and the Honor Guard were treated to a BBQ lunch with all the fixings. 

“I just wanted to show my appreciation to the work team for all that we’ve accomplished in such trying times of COVID-19; we’ve maintained our doors open 100 percent of the time,” Riffle said. 

Camel Manufacturing President and COO Mark Riffle addresses employees during Thursday’s appreciation event.

According to Riffle, the event was to honor veterans and employees, as well as to celebrate the company’s success and renewal of a large contract with the military.

The five year, $50 million contract is to produce light maintenance enclosure tents. According to Riffle, it’s a tent where they do maintenance on tanks and Humvees. 

Campbell County Honor Guard members held a 21 gun salute during Thursday’s veteran and employee appreciation event held at Camel Manufacturing.

Back in the early 2000s, Camel Manufacturing worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to help develop the tent. Now that it’s an open design, it is open to competitive bidding from other contractors. Camel just won that bid for the fifth time. 

Over the last eight years, Camel Manufacturing has been growing and went from around 50 employees then to about 125 currently. The company has worked extensively supplying tents for the United States military and recently worked with the U.S. Navy off the coast of California where they were trying to put together a command and control center and needed to connect tent-to-tent. “They weren’t even our tents and we came in with an engineering solution to get those tents connected up. We’ve gained a lot of business that way, by solving problems,” Riffle said.

Campbell County Mayor E.L. Morton spoke briefly, telling Camel employees that the manufacturing and care they put into building their products “matters all across the world.”

The meaning of the folds of the American flag were explained during a flag folding ceremony at Camel Manufacturing.

Camel Manufacturing is also proud of the role it has played in manufacturing tents used by hospitals during COVID-19.  According to Riffle, the company became an essential tent manufacturer for mobile hospitals needed during the Pandemic.

“We have truly earned our reputation of serving those who serve,” Riffle said. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 09/24/2021-6AM)