Sharp Packaging President Says Lehigh Valley Provides Great Workforce, Location

By Colin McEvoy on November 5, 2020

LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham (left) interviews Kevin Orfan, the new President of Sharp Packaging U.S.

Sharp Packaging needs a wide range of skill sets from its employees: from business development, operations workers, and project managers, to clinical analysts, biotech and pharmaceutical engineers, and scientists for formulation development, among others.

Lehigh Valley offers the superior workforce Sharp needs. That’s why the global market-leading pharmaceutical packaging company has been consistently expanding its facilities in the region, which includes sites in the Allentown and Bethlehem areas.

Sharp Packaging U.S. President Kevin Orfan

“Fortunately, we’ve been pretty lucky at being able to find the talent we need here, both skilled workers and people who do critical work for us everyday in our operations areas as well,” said Kevin Orfan, President of Sharp Packaging U.S.

Orfan was the interview subject in the latest entry in a weekly series the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) is conducting with new corporate leaders with some of Lehigh Valley’s leading companies and largest employers.

New videos are released each Thursday at 3 p.m. through Nov. 19 on LVEDC’s Facebook page.

“In the last 18 months here in the Lehigh Valley we’ve had an incredible amount of change in the leadership of our largest employers and biggest companies,” said LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham, who conducted the interview.

“Under the current situation, we can’t meet and mix and mingle as we’d like to, so we’ve developed this series for you to get to know some of our new executives and leaders who are shaping not only our economy but the community and culture of the Lehigh Valley,” Cunningham said.

The Lehigh Valley Health Network is the presenting sponsor for the series, with Capital Blue Cross as the premier sponsor. Gold sponsors include BB&T, now Truist, Fitzpatrick, Lentz & Bubba, and PenTeleData. Crayola and Good Shepherd Rehabilitation are event sponsors for the series; Follett LLC is the interview sponsor, Countess Communications is the production sponsor, and ArtsQuest is the venue sponsor.

The full video interview with Orfan can be viewed below. Current and previous archived videos can be found here and on LVEDC’s YouTube channel.

Sharp has two primary businesses in the pharmaceutical and biotech field, Orfan said. It provides pharmaceutical packaging for commercial supply, such as tablets and capsules, and also provides innovative clinical supply chain services to pharmaceutical companies.

Sharp has three main facilities in Lehigh Valley, including its recently-acquired 160,000 square-foot pharmaceutical packaging facility in Lower Macungie Township.

The company has invested more than $100 million on its Lehigh Valley facilities in recent years, Orfan said. This includes a $21 million expansion of packaging capabilities at its Upper Macungie campus last year, and a $23 million renovation of its storage and distribution services at its Bethlehem Township facility in 2018.

“In our industry, because of the nature of what we do, the importance of quality and the importance of keeping the sites contemporary, the facilities equipment have to be state-of-the-art,” Orfan said.

Sharp has about 1,200 full-time employees in Lehigh Valley, as well as between 400 and 450 temporary workers at any given time. The region’s central Northeast location and access to markets places the company within a day’s drive of 40% of customers in the United States, as well as close proximity to companies in the “pharma belt” in suburban Philadelphia and Northern New Jersey.

“Geographically, we are very conveniently located to many of our customers,” Orfan said.

Other upcoming interviews in the video series will include Vince Sorgi, President & CEO of PPL Corp., and Matt Sorrentino, Chief Executive Officer of Health Network Laboratories.

ArtsQuest provided access to indoor space large enough for safe distancing for the interviews. There is no audience for the interviews, which will adhere to public health and social distancing standards.

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