Public Invited To Tour Plant
GW Plastics opened the doors of its corporate headquarters in Bethel last Friday to celebrate Manufacturing Day 2013.
This annual nationwide event was designed to expand public knowledge about manufacturing and its value to the U.S. 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.
One of the company’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 toolmakers because of general economic uncertainty,” said Tim Holmes, vice president of engineering at GW Plastics. “Many talented individuals are unwilling take the financial risk associated with relocating for a new job.
“So we’re making our own molders and toolmakers instead.
“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 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 three 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 the 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.”
Several former GW Plastics employees returned to the plant as well. Miriam Kill, who was an employee of GW Plastics from 1974- 75, commented positively on the new technology and upgrades that had occurred since she worked there.
“It was just so impressive to see how everything has progresse,” she said. “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 about the firm’s tuition assistance program, which allows many employees to attend college while GW Plastics pays the tuition.
“Working for us can turn into a very satisfying career,” she said.
GW’s website is www.gwplastics.com.
(trom The Herald of Randolph)