NEPIRC Launches Dream Team Ambassador Program

Members News

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) recently launched an innovative new program to connect high school students with rising young professionals working for manufacturers and industrial companies throughout NEPIRC’s 11-county coverage area.

The Dream Team Manufacturing Ambassador Program’s 31 ambassadors represent 25 companies. The programintroduces high school students, faculty, administrators and parents to younger manufacturing professionals to gain a unique understanding of the vibrant manufacturing sector and the variety of jobs available in our region.

“We are excited to have this talented group of young professionals be the inaugural ambassadors for our program. We created the Manufacturing Dream Team to provide high school students with a better understanding of the advancements of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector and to share with them the purposeful, rewarding and high-tech careers that our manufacturers offer,” said Eric Joseph Esoda, President & CEO, NEPIRC. “Manufacturing in our region has evolved over the last decade and these individuals are the perfect people to represent and communicate that evolution.”

As ambassadors, these manufacturing professionals will share their educational and professional experiences during career fairs and other school events. NEPIRC’s school outreach efforts are made possible by the Pennsylvania Manufacturing PA Training-to-Career Grant approved by the Department of Community & Economic Development in 2022.

During today’s orientation session, Dream Team Project Coordinator Jenelle Osborne introduced the participants and discussed the goals and objectives for the program, how to develop their one-minute elevator pitch and what to expect during the in-school career fair experience.

“We have an amazing group of ambassadors. I have no doubt they will do very well representing their companies, NEPIRC and the multitude of career opportunities available with the manufacturers in the region. Their stories will resonate with students and hopefully inspire them to look to a future career in the manufacturing industry,” said Osborne.

Several of the ambassadors are Wyoming Valley natives who have chosen to stay in the Valley and work in manufacturing. Each had a different path to their current careers and looks forward to sharing their story with area students.

Kate Logan, a native of Kingston, works for Noble Biomaterials in Scranton as the quality systems manager. A graduate of Kutztown University with a degree in psychology, Logan is a prime example of someone whose career path took an unexpected, but welcome turn following graduation.

“In high school I wanted to be a guidance counselor like my mother or school psychologist, but as I got closer to graduation, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go down that path. I happened to get a job with a local manufacturing company working in production and quality and I have not left manufacturing since. I’m very proud to work in a previously male-dominated industry,” said Logan, who explained how her psychology degree offers many professional opportunities. “The degree comes in handy, working with people and the variety of personalities you come across in the workplace.”

Zach Mulhern of Exeter explored several career opportunities while attending LCCC, Temple University and Misericordia University, where his plans for a career in nursing changed. His experiences in the school’s business program gave him a strong background to begin working for his father’s company, Ashley Machine and Tool located in West Wyoming.

Mulhern is thriving in his current role as materials manager, where no two days are the same. “I ended up transitioning quickly into a different career path from nursing, and I couldn’t be happier. The biggest thing for high school students is to get out of the societal norms and this notion that everyone needs to have advanced degrees. I ultimately did what made me happy. I like to be on my feet, learn and do something different every day,” he said. “This job intrigues me physically and mentally. There is great money to be made in manufacturing. I realized after six years of college, that if I’m not happy, what am I working for?”

Bear Creek native Julia Miller is a process engineer for Mitsubishi Chemical Group in Scranton. Miller had a strong interest in mechanics at a young age, but encouragement from her father showed her the benefits of pursuing engineering as a career. She graduated from Penn State Harrisburg with a mechanical engineering degree in 2020. Miller looks forward to sharing her story with high school students.

“The more I think about talking with students, I just want to speak authentically. I want to showcase what I’ve done because it came so naturally for me. I didn’t look at myself as an underdog because I’m a woman in engineering. I just looked at it as what would anyone in this position do and how can I do my best,” she said.

Miller wants to encourage students to look at non-traditional ways to get the education they need for their desired career paths. Miller started taking college level courses while in high school, something she encourages students to consider.

“Get into those programs early if you can. You’re in high school and you may not want to do more schooling, but looking back it was the best thing I did,” said Miller. “A lot of companies will help pay for your education. It comes down to your personal drive. The company will see you want to do more, and you want to grow, and they will invest in that as well.”

Sixteen of the ambassadors participated in the orientation program in Luzerne County on March 31. Ambassadors representing companies in the Northern Tier will participate in an orientation program on April 4 in Towanda.

School guidance counselors interested in having a Dream Team Ambassador speak at a career fair or other school event should contact Osborne via email, For more information, visit their website,