NBC News Story Focuses on Manufacturing in Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem
By Colin McEvoy on April 17, 2017
The growth and success of the Lehigh Valley’s manufacturing industry is generating attention from outside the region.
NBC10 of Philadelphia visited Bethlehem last week for a report about the regional manufacturing sector, which is currently the top economic sector in the Lehigh Valley, generating $5.56 billion – or 15 percent – of the region’s $37 billion overall gross domestic product.
“Once a booming steel town, Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley continue their decades-long transformation,” NBC10’s Randy Gyllenhaal said in the report. “And today, a meeting of the minds to talk about the future of American manufacturing.”
The report included interviews with Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) President and CEO Don Cunningham, as well as interviews with officials from Bethlehem manufacturers OraSure Technologies and Soltech Solutions.
“We’ve seen a resurgence here in the Lehigh Valley,” LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham said in an interview.
The NBC10 report, which first aired April 12, highlighted “Manufacturing Momentum in Bethlehem,” an event co-hosted by LVEDC and the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce, which included a panel discussion with manufacturing leaders from the Lehigh Valley.
Doug Michels, President and CEO of OraSure Technologies, was among the panelists, and was also interviewed by NBC10. Located on former Bethlehem Steel land, OraSure Technologies manufactures oral fluid diagnostic and collection devices to detect or diagnose critical medical conditions, including HIV, Ebola, and the Zika virus.
“It really takes a very diverse and broadly-skilled workforce to do what we do,” Michels said in the report, noting the evolution of manufacturing to a stronger focus on medical and technology requires high-skilled workforce, which the Lehigh Valley provides.
Manufacturing in Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley has evolved from being focused on a single large employer to a strong and diversified collection of many smaller manufacturing facilities. There are about 680 manufacturers in the region employing about 32,000 workers.
Soltech Solutions, a manufacturer of state-of-the-art LED grow lights, is a new startup that moved into the Bethlehem business incubator Pi: Partnership for Innovation this year, choosing the Lehigh Valley after a comprehensive search across multiple states for an attractive startup climate.
“Manufacturing may be changing, but in this old steel town, it’s definitely still producing,” Gyllenhaal said in the report.
Other panelists on the “Manufacturing Momentum in Bethlehem” event included Rex Boland, VP and GM, Allentown Operations, for B Braun Medical; and Todd Schurra, General Manager of Curtiss-Wright. Click here for our full story about that event.
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