Leading Contract Manufacturer Inducted into VT Business Hall of Fame, Graduates Manufacturing Technology Leadership Program & Hires New Talent
Bethel, VT – Global healthcare and automotive contract manufacturer GW Plastics, Inc. is proud to announce that it is rapidly growing in its home state of Vermont due to its dedication to workforce development, and has been inducted into the Vermont Business Hall of Fame.
The Vermont Business Hall of Fame recognizes previous recipients of the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Business of the Year Award who continue to demonstrate exceptional growth. Founded in 1990, the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Business of the Year Award was created by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Business Magazine to honor Vermont's best companies. Named for the former Governor, this annual award honors a Vermont business that shows an outstanding history of sustained growth while displaying an acute awareness of what makes Vermont unique. GW Plastics was honored with the Outstanding Business of the Year Award in 2012.
This year, GW Plastics was one of five previous Outstanding Business Award winners to be inducted into the Vermont Business Hall of Fame located at the University of Vermont Grossman School of Business in Burlington. At the ceremony honoring each company, GW Plastics' name was engraved on the Vermont Business Hall of Fame plaque in Kalkin Hall on the UVM campus.
For over 60 years, GW Plastics has been a staple in Vermont's technical landscape, manufacturing lifesaving, safety-critical products for the healthcare and automotive industries right here in the Green Mountains. While expanding internationally over the decades, GW Plastics has also remained dedicated to growing in Vermont, with multiple expansions of its Bethel headquarters and Royalton Manufacturing and Technology Center, and the creation of an innovative, local workforce development programs to address the national technical labor shortage.
In addition to being inducted into the Business Hall of Fame, this year marked an exciting milestone in GW's workforce development efforts: the graduation of their second Manufacturing Technology Leadership Program class. The MTLP was founded in 2012 to address the skilled labor shortage, and together in partnership with Vermont Technical College, GW Plastics offers its employees a four-year hands-on educational program focusing on the skills necessary to be successful in advanced manufacturing.
While working full time at GW Plastics, MTLP participants enroll in two manufacturing, engineering, or technology classes per year at Vermont Tech, culminating in a final project that is selected based on improvements needed in their areas of responsibility at GW. Graduates of the MTLP earn college credits that can be applied toward an Associate Degree in Engineering Technology. In addition to receiving college courses funded by GW Plastics, every graduate is awarded a bonus after each class and a 10% pay increase upon program graduation.
After completing the MTLP, participants can utilize GW Plastics' tuition reimbursement program to finish their degree at no cost. Through the MTLP program, GW Plastics has now funded nine engineering degrees over the past eight years.
"The partnership with Vermont Tech helps our company become more competitive. Investing in our associates increases their skills, brings new ideas, and increases their productivity," said Brenan Riehl, GW Plastics President and CEO. "A vital part of the program for GW Plastics is the confidence and leadership skills each of our associates gains in the process."
GW Plastics has partnered with Vermont Technical College on many workforce development initiatives, including a GW-funded scholarship and paid summer internship program for engineering students, allowing them the possibility to graduate debt-free. In addition to funding education and providing real work experience, the company also helped to fund the GW Plastics Advanced Manufacturing Lab on campus for continued hands-on manufacturing experience in the classroom.
Both the company and college are starting to see the fruits of their labors. This year, GW Plastics hired three engineering students directly upon graduation from Vermont Tech in the areas of quality, mold-making, and operations. One of the new hires, Greg Johnson, was a GW scholarship winner and summer intern, and has now joined his father, 27-year engineering veteran Bill Johnson, as a full-time engineer at GW Plastics. President/CEO Brenan Riehl was asked this year to be the Vermont Technical College keynote commencement speaker, and welcomed the newest GW team members at their graduation. GW now employs over 20 Vermont Tech graduates. One of the finest technology colleges in the country, Vermont Tech consistently places their graduates with leading employers such as GW Plastics year-over-year. During his commencement speech, Riehl enthused the Vermont Tech graduating class as the "ninety niners", reflecting the fact that last year, Vermont Tech placed 99 percent of their graduates.
"The technical labor shortage is starting to hit companies around the country, and recruiting for these types of technical positions is challenging in a rural area such as Vermont," said Cathy Tempesta, GW Plastics VP of Human Resources. "To stay ahead of the curve, we needed to create a pipeline of technical talent, and we are thrilled to now be hiring these talented engineers from a college we highly respect."
"We are thrilled with our partnership with GW Plastics," commented Patricia Moulton, President of Vermont Tech. "GW recognizes the importance of investing in their most important asset: their people. The company is supporting their incumbent workforce with advanced educational opportunities, as well as investing in their future workforce through scholarships and internships. This is a recipe for success for the company, the college, and the Vermont workforce. It is a trend more employers need to embrace. Kudos to the GW Plastics team."
This continued growth and Vermont Hall of Fame induction come on the heels of another major expansion of its Royalton Manufacturing and Technology Center. GW Plastics has broken ground on a 30,000 ft² expansion to accommodate the growth of its thermoplastic injection molding and medical device contract assembly business. The company will add another Class 8 cleanroom capable of housing an additional 30 injection molding machines, and expects to add over 30 new jobs and invest over $10,000,000 in construction, new technology, and equipment.
About GW Plastics:
Founded in 1955, GW Plastics has earned a reputation as an industry leader in precision tooling, injection molding, and contract manufacturing serving the world’s most successful companies in the healthcare, automotive safety-critical, 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 manufacturing. With leading-edge technologies, a Six Sigma quality commitment, and a relentless pursuit of innovation, GW Plastics continues to attract and partner with market leaders who seek consistency of ownership, financial stability, professional leadership, business integrity, a high-tech standardized global manufacturing platform, and a highly-trained and experienced workforce. Headquartered in Bethel, Vermont, the company’s standardized ISO 9001, ISO 13485, ISO/TS 16949, and FDA-registered, 21 CFR Part 820 compliant manufacturing facilities are located in Bethel and Royalton, Vermont; Grantham, NH, San Antonio, Texas; Tucson, Arizona; Querétaro, Mexico; Dongguan, China; and Sligo, Ireland. GW is a Plastics News’ Processor of the Year and Sustained Excellence award winner.
Global market-leading OEMs trust GW Plastics to deliver their most challenging projects. For more information, please visit their website at www.GWPlastics.com.