GW Plastics opens its doors in Bethel to celebrate Manufacturing Day 2013.

October 17, 2013

GW Plastics opened the doors of their global headquarters in Bethel to celebrate Manufacturing Day 2013. This annual nation-wide event on October 4 was designed to expand public knowledge about manufacturing and its value to the US economy while addressing the national problem of skilled labor shortage. For GW Plastics, Manufacturing Day 2013 was more than just an opportunity to tell locals about their production and assembly operations.

Bob Halaquist, GW Plastics Corporate Director of Quality Assurance, explains the central resin drying system to a group of Manufacturing Day 2013 visitors.

One of GW’s focuses recently has been on creating more jobs in Vermont and encouraging young people to live and work locally. “It is almost impossible to recruit seasoned tool makers because of general economic uncertainty. Many talented individuals are unwilling take the financial risk associated with relocating for a new job. So we’re making our own molders and tool makers instead,” said Tim Holmes, Vice President of Engineering at GW Plastics. “Our goal is to attract students at a young enough age that they will want to stay in Vermont and make a career here. We’re trying to do anything we can to give jobs to local residents and boost Vermont’s economy.”

GW Plastics also used Manufacturing Day 2013 as an opportunity to integrate the company more deeply into the local community so that teachers and parents could become more knowledgeable about them. “So many people have said to me, ‘I drive by your building every day and have no idea what goes on in there’”, said Human Resources Coordinator Amy Larkin. “We really want to raise community awareness and assimilate GW Plastics into our town.”

Holmes welcomed the group of about 35 students and community members and gave a brief overview of what happens inside the headquarters, from the initial quoting process to manufacturing and distribution. Visitors were then divided into 3 groups, supplied with cleanroom gowns, head and beard covers, and given in-depth tours of the operational facilities where they were able to see first-hand how world-class manufacturing is accomplished. “Watching how the robots work was so fascinating,” said Whitcomb High School students Jillian Hutchins and Ruth Flint. “The manufacturing plant was much bigger than we expected it to be. We had no idea that all of this was happening right next door to our school.”

A group of Whitcomb High School students learn why clean room assembly is important in making world-class medical devices.

The Manufacturing Day event was the perfect time for some former GW Plastics employees to return to the plant as well. Miriam Kill, who was an employee of GW Plastics from 1974- 75, commented very positively on the new technology and upgrades that had occurred since she worked there. “It was just so impressive to see how everything has progressed. Robotics and automation are now doing what we used to do, so it allows employees to grow the business in other ways.”

After the plant tour, Human Resources Director Cathy Tempesta spoke to the group about the many benefits of working at GW Plastics. One of the most widely-used is tuition assistance, which allows many employees to attend college while GW Plastics pays the tuition. “Young people don’t realize that working for us can turn into a very satisfying career, and we want to do whatever we can to encourage students to be as successful in that career as they can be. Success starts with education, so we really push for our employees to become as educated as possible.”

Source: GW Plastics, Inc, Since its foundation in 1955, GW Plastics has earned a reputation as a top contract manufacturer serving the world’s most successful companies in the healthcare, automotive safety, and consumer/industrial markets. Specializing in complex injection molded thermoplastic and silicone solutions, GW Plastics excels at close tolerance mold building, precision injection molding, and contract assembly. Core competencies include product development, in-house precision tooling, scientific molding, and automated assembly. With leading-edge technologies, a Six Sigma quality commitment, and a relentless pursuit of innovation, GW Plastics continues to attract and delight industry-leading customers who seek consistency of ownership, financial stability, a professional leadership team, and a workforce with the experience to deliver on-time and within budget. Headquartered in Bethel, Vermont, the company’s standardized ISO 9001, ISO 13485, ISO 14001, ISO/TS 16949 and FDA-registered manufacturing facilities are located in Bethel and Royalton, Vermont; San Antonio, Texas; Tucson, Arizona; Querétaro, Mexico; and Dongguan, China.

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