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Lehigh Valley Student Videos Show ‘What’s So Cool About Manufacturing’

By Colin McEvoy on March 6, 2017

Jack Pfunder, President and CEO of MRC, speaking at the ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem, with the trophies for the winning student videos behind him.

Jack Pfunder, President and CEO of MRC, speaking at the ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem, with the trophies for the winning student videos behind him.

For the fourth straight year, more than 100,000 votes were cast to select the winners from a series of student videos all seeking to answer the same question: What’s so cool about manufacturing?

A record 31 middle school teams from the Lehigh Valley and other surrounding Pennsylvania counties participated in this year’s “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” student video contest, which seeks to break false stigmas about the industry and encourage enrollment in STEM programs at the region’s technical schools.

The contest is organized by the Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC). Among the Lehigh Valley companies profiled in the student videos were Crayola, B. Braun Medical, Lutron, Martin Guitar, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Mack Trucks, Victaulic, Nestle Waters, Follett Corporation, Piramal Critical Care, Smooth-On, Orbel, and more.

“Kids in seventh and eighth grade, when they start thinking about what kind of career they want to get into, generally manufacturing isn’t really on their radar, because they see images of it that are outdated,” said Jack Pfunder, President and CEO of MRC. “We have found in order to break that cycle, students need to visit these places and see firsthand what a manufacturing job looks like.”

More than 800 people came out to the ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem on Feb. 28 to hear the winners announced.

More than 800 people came out to the ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem on Feb. 28 to hear the winners announced.

More than 800 people came out to the ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem on Feb. 28, where the winning videos were announced. Among them were the Northampton Area School District, which won the Viewers Choice Award for the third time in the contest’s four-year history for its profile on Dynalene, Inc.

The contest was co-sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC).

During a video-recorded message that was played at the ArtsQuest Center ceremony, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf commended the students for their participation in “this worthwhile program,” and stressed the importance the youth of today plays in the future workforce of the state’s manufacturing industry.

“The manufacturing industry has long formed the foundation of Pennsylvania’s economy,” Wolf said. “With our strategic location within a day’s drive of six of the ten major U.S. markets, as well as 60 percent of the U.S. and Canadian population, it’s no wonder manufacturers move to this state to grow their business.”

Manufacturing is now the top economic sector in the Lehigh Valley, making up $5.56 billion – or 15 percent – of the region’s overall $36.97 billion gross domestic product (GDP). There are about 680 manufacturers in Lehigh and Northampton counties, employing about 33,000 workers.

An economic analysis by the Atlanta-based Garner Economics identified high performance manufacturing as a target sector for the Lehigh Valley based on these factors

All 31 of the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” videos can be found here, and the winning-videos can be found below:

Viewers Choice Award: Northampton Area Middle School for its profile of Dynalene, Inc.

Outstanding Program Award – Overall Excellence: Wilson Area School District for its profile of Orbel Corporation

Outstanding Videography Award: East Stroudsburg J.T. Lambert Intermediate School for its profile of Imperial Machine & Tool Company

Outstanding Editing Award: (Tie) Nazareth Area School District for its profile of Victaulic and Northampton Area School District for its profile of Dynalene, Inc.

Outstanding Creativity Award: Bethlehem Nitschmann Middle School for its profile of Piramal Critical Care, Inc.

Outstanding Cool Award: Parkland Orefield Middle School for its profile of Wacker Chemical Corporation

Outstanding Educational Value Award: (Tie) Northern Lehigh School District for its profile of ProtoCAM and Saucon Valley School District for its profile of C.F. Martin & Company, Inc.

Outstanding Team Spirit Award: Allentown Trexler Middle School for its profile of Atlas Machining & Welding, Inc.

Outstanding Marketing Plan Award: Pleasant Valley School District for its profile of United Envelope

Outstanding Brand Placement Award: Bethlehem Northeast Middle School for its profile of Follett Corporation

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