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Lehigh Valley Companies Celebrate Manufacturing Day

By Colin McEvoy on October 7, 2019

Manufacturing Engineer Bill Jones (left) and Process Engineer Aaron Loyack (right) of Victaulic speak to a tour of more than 30 students from the Career Institute of Technology at the company’s Forks Township facility on Manufacturing Day. (photo courtesy of Victaulic)

Manufacturing is alive and well in the Lehigh Valley, and the region was making sure the world knew about it during Manufacturing Day on Oct. 4.

Held annually on the first Friday in October, Manufacturing Day seeks to draw attention to American manufacturing, highlight exciting career opportunities in the sector, and shift perceptions about the modern U.S. manufacturing industry.

The Lehigh Valley has plenty to brag about when it comes to its manufacturing sector. There are more than 700 manufacturers in the region, and the sector accounts for $7.4 billion – or 18% – of the overall regional economy, which is more economic output than even in the days of Bethlehem Steel.

Several Lehigh Valley companies opened their doors and hosted tours and events to introduce students, teachers, and parents to manufacturing career opportunities here in the region, including Victaulic, B Braun Medical Inc., ATAS International, and Protocam.

“The future of Victaulic relies on getting young people involved early on,” said Tim Martin, Victaulic Director of Lehigh Valley Operations. “By showcasing our manufacturing professionals who specialize in programming, robotics and automation integration, the next generation is able to see the future of manufacturing in action now, and learn about the skills they need to succeed.”

ATAS International provided a tour of the company’s Upper Macungie Township facility during Manufacturing Day.

More than 30 students from the Career Institute of Technology’s machine tool technology program visited Victaulic’s Forks Township facility on Oct. 4 to learn more about manufacturing careers. Manufacturing employees specializing in robotics and machining helped showcase a “day in the life” and what future opportunities abound for students entering the industry.

John Fenstermacher of ATAS International provided a tour of the company’s Upper Macungie Township facility, which allowed attendees to experience first-hand the processes in which metal components for building envelopes are manufactured.

Visitors also learned about design opportunities when incorporating metal into residential and commercial building and renovation projects, and attended a panel discussion with company officials about new products, latest additions, and personal experiences in regional manufacturing.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) spent the day highlighting the regional manufacturing sector across all its social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the Instagram account of the Made Possible in Lehigh Valley campaign.

Each post included the hashtags #MFGDay19, #MadeInPA, and #LVmadepossible. Below are a sampling of some of the posts from Twitter and Instagram:

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Over the past 12 months, several nationally-known manufacturing companies have announced new projects or major expansions here in Lehigh Valley. Martin Guitar, which has been part of Lehigh Valley’s business community for more than 180 years, is continuing that tradition with plans for what will be the biggest capital investment in the company’s history. Last month, Keurig Dr Pepper announced it will establish $220 million state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Lehigh Valley, creating nearly 400 new full-time jobs in the region. Tyber Medical, which relocated to Lehigh Valley from New Jersey four years ago, is continuing to grow and thrive, having announced plans to expand its manufacturing of orthopedic and spinal implants. IQ Fibers, a manufacturer of high-quality cellulose fiber products has chosen the Lehigh Valley for its first manufacturing operation in Pennsylvania, creating dozens of full-time jobs in the region. These are just a few examples of the 700 manufacturers that have found success here. Clearly, manufacturing is alive and well in Lehigh Valley, where anything is possible. #MFGDay19 #MadeInPA #LVmadepossible

A post shared by Made Possible in Lehigh Valley (@lvmadepossible) on

View this post on Instagram

Working for a company with foundries in Poland, China, and Mexico, as well as two in the United States, 26-year-old Hilary Schmidt gets to experience many sights and cultures as the global R&D process technology engineer for @victaulic. Schmidt grew up in Philadelphia, but her journey as a well-respected engineer in a male-dominated field was made possible in part by her time in Lehigh Valley, where’s she’s excited to call it home for the present and the future. "One of the things that I like most about the Lehigh Valley is the outreach that I've been a part of. Victaulic made me aware of a campaign called the PA Dream Team, which is all about talking to students ranging from fifth grade to high school in order to increase their awareness of manufacturing and STEM careers. "Through that group, I share with students a little bit about what I do and why it's possible for anyone, specifically females, to explore STEM and manufacturing fields. It's very empowering to be talking to these students, and I wish I had had something like that when I was their age." #MFGDay19 #MadeInPA #LVmadepossible

A post shared by Made Possible in Lehigh Valley (@lvmadepossible) on

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