NEPIRC Adds SafeLandUSA Certification to Expanded Safety Training Portfolio

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) announces that Brian Matyjevich, Lean enterprise consultant and authorized OSHA outreach trainer, recently obtained SafeLandUSA trainer certification from West Virginia University. SafeLandUSA training is an eight-hour course that meets the requirements of several regulations pertaining to safety standards applicable to the natural gas and Marcellus Shale industry, particularly API RP 75 and API RP T-1.

SafeLandUSA training enables employees to recognize potential workplace hazards and follow the safety requirements of an industry with which they may have limited familiarity. Although SafeLandUSA was developed with the oil and gas industry in mind, many topics presented are applicable to other energy and manufacturing sectors.   

“I’m honored to offer training that will empower oil and gas workers to make safe decisions for their livelihood,” said Matyjevich. “The results of this training include creating a more efficient, sustainable and productive workforce that drives progress and shapes the future of energy,” he added.

As NEPIRC continues its mission to support the manufacturing sector by providing exceptional consulting and training services, its SafeLandUSA offering adds another element to its comprehensive safety training portfolio. NEPIRC is confident that this development will contribute to a safer working environment for clients and their employees. NEPIRC offers OSHA 10 & 30, HAZWOPER, Forklift and 35 other safety courses along with a free confidential EHS Gemba walk.

NEPIRC CEO Appointed to Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) recently announced the appointment of 10 individuals, including Eric Joseph Esoda, president and CEO of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC), to the Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee (IGPAC).

The full roster of appointees, consisting of tribal, local, regional and state representatives, includes:

  • Eric Joseph Esoda, president and CEO, Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center
  • Sam Cho, commissioner, Port of Seattle
  • James Collard, director of planning and economic development, Citizen Potawatomi Nation
  • Emily Desai, deputy director of international affairs and trade, California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development
  • Yusuf Hakeem, Tennessee State House Representative
  • Rory Hoskins, mayor of Forest Park, Illinois
  • Mike Matson, mayor of Davenport, Iowa
  • Laurence Reszetar, director of international business strategy, Minnesota Trade Office
  • Daphnee Sainvil, division manager, Government Affairs and Economic Development, City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Eugene Seroka, executive director, The Port of Los Angeles

“This highly qualified group of stakeholders and elected officials represent diverse backgrounds, interests and priorities, and I congratulate them on joining this important committee,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “The IGPAC is a critical link that ensures USTR’s work is responsive to needs of all people in the United States,” she added.

The new appointees will join five existing members of the committee. The IGPAC provides general policy advice to the United States Trade Representative on issues involving trade and development that have a significant relationship to the affairs of U.S. state and local governments. Advisement areas may include negotiation objectives and bargaining positions prior to entering into multinational trade agreements, the anticipated or actual impacts of implementing trade agreements, ongoing or other matters relating to previously executed trade agreements or general matters regarding the trade policies of the United States. The Committee is comprised of members who have expertise in general trade, investment and development issues.

As a member of the committee, Esoda will represent the concerns and opinions of small and mid-sized domestic manufacturers. Esoda brings more than 20 years of economic development experience, coupled with private consulting and business advising expertise. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Scranton, a master’s degree in accounting from Binghamton University and certification in diversity and inclusion from Cornell University. He is currently pursuing a business strategy certificate from Cornell University.   

NEPIRC RELEASES STATEWIDE MANUFACTURING REPORT

Report highlights Pennsylvania as sixth greatest industrial
economy in the nation

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) today released its Pennsylvania Manufacturing Industry Report 2023, an in-depth report on the impact of manufacturing across the Commonwealth. NEPIRC researched and produced this report independently of any other organization.

“This report objectively presents the most important metrics, trends and measures relative to Pennsylvania’s manufacturing economy and uses unbiased data and rigorous analysis to compare the Commonwealth’s industrial economy to other sectors within the state and to those of our peer group states across the nation,” said Eric Joseph Esoda, president and CEO of NEPIRC, when announcing the publication.

Esoda went on to explain that while, for the sake of analysis, the report occasionally presents the manufacturing sector as “vertical” – meaning a sector distinct from other segments of the economy such as agriculture, energy or health care – “manufacturing is actually much more “horizontal” than “vertical” because it is essential to the success of a multitude of other sectors. “Simply put,” said Esoda, “Pennsylvania cannot compete and win in arenas such as aerospace, agribusiness, alternative energy, biotechnology, infrastructure, pharmaceutical readiness or natural resource utilization without the resident manufacturing capability to support those sectors.”

The statistics detailed within the report illustrate the importance of manufacturing throughout the Commonwealth. For example, across Pennsylvania manufacturing accounts for:

  • More than $116 billion in Gross State Product (GSP) – or 13.8% of the Commonwealth’s total GSP
  • Over 575,000 full-time jobs
  • Nearly $41 billion in annual wages paid to employees
  • Over $43 billion in exports to other nations.

“While impressive in its own right, the data in the report actually understates the true impact of Pennsylvania’s manufacturers because it reflects only the employment, wages, output and economic activity directly related to Pennsylvania’s nearly 15,000 manufacturing firms. Economists recognize that manufacturing has among the highest employment, earnings and sales multiplier effects of any industry – meaning that each dollar of sales and net earnings recorded by a manufacturing firm and each direct manufacturing job supports a multitude of sales, earnings and jobs in downstream industries such as services, transportation and logistics, retail and so forth,” explained Esoda, “So the true impact of our great manufacturers is exponentially higher when those indirect benefits are considered.”  

The report highlights that over the past 15 years Pennsylvania’s manufacturing output increased by 49.3% – from $77.8 billion to $116.3 billion. That rate of growth surpassed that of competitor states Michigan (39.6%), Ohio (39.6%), North Carolina (28.1%) and New York (22.2%). Pennsylvania’s industrial growth even surpassed that of high-growth states like Indiana (46.9%) and Texas (45.9%). The expansion of Pennsylvania’s manufacturing economy also enabled the state to move from the eighth largest industrial economy in the nation to the sixth largest.

In addition to being the sixth largest goods producing state in the country, Pennsylvania holds the sixth position in terms of number of manufacturing jobs. Except for during the pandemic, Pennsylvania has consistently added manufacturing jobs and has risen to become home to nearly 4.5% of America’s total advanced manufacturing workforce. Nearly one in ten working Pennsylvanians report to a manufacturing profession each workday. Each of those workers share in $41 billion in wages paid annually and exceptional benefits packages, which frequently include employee-sponsored retirement plans, healthcare coverage, tuition assistance and generous paid vacations and holidays.

NEPIRC published the report as part of its ongoing efforts to support the manufacturing industry, raise awareness of manufacturing careers and keep the manufacturing support programs at the forefront of the minds of legislators and policy makers. “It’s sometimes easy to overlook a cornerstone of our economy that has upheld the Commonwealth for decades in favor of things that seem more trendy or glamorous on the surface but generate only a fraction of the benefits and impact,” said Esoda. “Our intention with this report is to ensure that leaders across Pennsylvania recognize the criticality of our manufacturing industry and the value of the programs and entities that contribute to their enhanced competitiveness, resiliency and success in a global economy,” he added.

NEPIRC is one of seven Industrial Resource Centers (IRCs) across Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania IRC Program, supported by the Manufacturing PA initiative within the Pennsylvania Department of Commerce, represents the Commonwealth’s flagship program for enhancing the vibrancy, strength and growth of the Commonwealth’s small and mid-sized manufacturers. The IRCs are also supported by the National Institute of Standards & Technology as Manufacturing Extension Partnership affiliates.

According to the report, over the past 10 years, Pennsylvania IRC clients have realized the following benefits by working with their local Center:  

  • $1.76 billion in top-line growth
  • $5 billion in retention of at-risk sales
  • $846 million in operating cost savings
  • 55,477 jobs created and retained.

The IRCs also enabled their clients to invest nearly $2 billion in expansion, modernization and workforce upskilling in Pennsylvania over the past 10 years.

The complete 20-page Pennsylvania Manufacturing Industry Report 2023 can be viewed on and downloaded from the NEPIRC website, www.nepirc.com. Hard copies are also available by contacting NEPIRC. For questions about the report, and for more information, please contact Eric Joseph Esoda via email at Eric@NEPIRC.com.

NEPIRC is a not-for-profit organization providing world-class technical, engineering, consultative, and training services to small and mid-sized manufacturers across an 11-county region of northeastern, northern and parts of central Pennsylvania. More information can be found at www.NEPIRC.com or via email to Eric Joseph Esoda at Eric@NEPIRC.com.

Tickets on Sale for NEPIRC’s Manufacturing Best Practices Summit and Expo

Tickets are now available for the 2023 Manufacturing Best Practices Summit and Expo, the region’s largest manufacturing trade show and networking event, organized by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC).

This year’s expo will be held on Friday, October 13 at Mohegan Pennsylvania Convention Center, Wilkes-Barre Twp. Individual admission is $50 for manufacturers and $100 for non-manufacturers. Registration, breakfast and networking begins at 8 a.m. The event concludes with a networking reception from 5 to 6 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased through the NEPIRC website, https://nepirc.com/manufacturing-day-2023/. All-access tickets include breakfast, admission to the expo, lunch with keynote presentation, breakout sessions, panel discussions and a closing reception with refreshments. 

Nearly 80 manufacturers and businesses that support manufacturing will have exhibit booths and product demonstrations at the expo. More than 500 attendees are expected at this year’s event.

“Manufacturing Day is an opportunity for all area manufacturers, businesses that provide services to manufacturers and individuals who want to learn more about northeastern Pennsylvania’s growing manufacturing sector to gather together under one roof at the region’s most impactful manufacturing networking event,” said Eric Joseph Esoda, president and CEO, NEPIRC. “We look forward to this year’s event being the largest in its history, both with the number of exhibitors and the number of attendees. We are very excited about our keynote speaker and the innovative topics planned for our breakout sessions, panel discussions and roundtables.”

As keynote speaker, Pete Ruggiero, COO of Crayola, will discuss how Crayola overcame post-pandemic challenges in his presentation, “Thriving Amidst Supply Chain Chaos.” His Crayola career spans a quarter of a century in previous roles, including interim chief executive officer, vice president global finance and managing director of Binney & Smith (Europe) Ltd. At Crayola, Ruggiero has played a critical role in the transformation of Crayola into an innovative company. Under his leadership, Crayola has diversified its business model through new product development, expansion into international markets, and the opening of multiple Crayola Experience attractions.

A new highlight of this year’s event is a Women Leaders in Manufacturing panel discussion moderated by Dr. Christine Kiesinger, principal, CEK Communication Consultancy. Panelists include Petra Mitchell, president, Catalyst Connection, Pittsburgh; Heidi McKenna, president, The Fredericks Company, Huntington Valley; Pat Frances, CEO, Chaucer Press, Wilkes-Barre; Grace McGregor Kramer, vice president of strategy and operations, McGregor Industries, Dunmore; and Denise Truesdale, senior vice president, human resources, Pride Mobility Products, Duryea.

Additional breakout sessions and roundtable topic discussions include:

  • Refueling the Talent Pipeline: The Importance of Familiarity
  • 3D Scanning and Reverse Engineering
  • Workplace Trends Impacting Safety
  • How Workplace Culture Works
  • Deciphering Aerospace Certifications and Entering the Aerospace Supply Chain
  • Subcontracting and Partnerships in Government Markets sponsored by NEPA Alliance Apex Accelerator
  • Demystifying Compliance: What CMMC Requirements Mean for NEPA Manufacturers sponsored by InnoTek Computer Consulting

In addition to breakout sessions, exhibits and networking sessions, students from the Tunkhannock Area High School U.S. FIRST Robotics Team will have a robotics demonstration and the Johnson College Mobile Technology Lab will be parked outside the convention center. The 35-foot-long trailer is outfitted with student workstations and equipment for training in STEM and building trades.

“Attendees will be able to see product demonstrations, learn more about the wide variety of products manufactured right in their own backyards, and network with decision-makers, buyers and business owners. We are grateful to our many sponsors for the support that makes this event possible,” said Esoda.

Sponsors of this year’s event include: NEPA Alliance APEX Accelerator, InnoTek Computer Consulting, Lackawanna College, Ashley Machine & Tool, Center City Print, JMR Industrial Enterprise Inc., North American Manufacturing, Simona, Acme Corrugated Box Co., Advent Design Corp., A. Pickett Construction, Ball Corporation, CANPACK, Cardinal LG, Cintas, Cheetah Chassis, EAM Mosca, Futuristic Innovative Graphics, Hydro, Lee & Associates Real Estate Services, Metal Integrity Precision Specialists, NovaCare Rehabilitation, OneGroup, Pennoni, Power Engineering Corp., Pride Mobility Products Corp., Space Ace Plastics, Site 2, TIW Technology, Workforce and Weiler. For a complete list of sponsors and partners, visit the NEPIRC website, https://nepirc.com/manufacturing-day-2023/.

For more information or to purchase tickets, email Chelsey Coslett, NEPIRC’s manager of marketing & stakeholder engagement, at Chelsey@NEPIRC.com or visit the NEPIRC website, https://nepirc.com/manufacturing-day-2023/.

NEPIRC Launches Dream Team Ambassador Program

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, jenelle@nepirc.com. For more information, visit their website, www.NEPIRC.com.

NEPIRC Hosts Board of Directors Mixer to Welcome New Members; Recognize Dale Parmenteri for His Years of Service

On Friday, March 11th, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC) hosted a breakfast networking mixer for its staff and Board of Directors to warmly welcome 10 new members to the board, along with recognizing Dale Parmenteri, NEPIRC’s Vice President of Consulting Operations, who is retiring at the end of the month after 8.5 years with the organization.

The incoming cohort of board members consists of executives from across NEPIRC’s 11-county region devoted to the organization’s mission of serving small to mid-sized manufacturers to ensure the growth and success of the manufacturing industry. The incoming group includes: Frank Joanlanne, President & CEO, Borton-Lawson; Zachary Aciukewicz, MFG Director – U.S. Operations, Bridon-Bekaert – The Ropes Group; Dustin Levy, Vice President, Industrial, Gentex Corporation; Mark Morrison, VP, Global Operations, Weiler Abrasives; Glenn Poirier, VP of Operations, MetalKraft Industries; Anna Rinaldi, Human Resources Manager, SIMONA AMERICA Industries; Bruce Daniels, CFO, Medico Industries; Neal Nicastro, Plant Manager, Amcor; T.J. Eltringham, COO, Lackawanna College; and Jared McTague, President, Futuristic Innovative Graphics (FIG).

Eric Joseph Esoda, NEPIRC President & CEO, also provided remarks to recognize Dale Parmenteri’s dedication and many contributions to the organization over the last 8.5 years. “Dale has dedicated his entire professional career to advancing our regional manufacturing community – as the CEO of an innovative optics company and, to our great fortune, as a leader here at NEPIRC,” said Mr. Esoda. “It’s a great thing when your professional life aligns with your personal values – and Dale personified that alignment throughout his tenure here. Our team will miss him,” he added.

NEPIRC looks forward to the leadership and valuable input of its incoming board members and is confident that its regional manufacturers will benefit from the representation of these individuals, along with NEPIRC’s current board members.

Manufacturing Roundtable Informs Legislators of Program & Policy Priorities for Growth

On February 1, 2022, Eric Joseph Esoda, President & CEO of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC), hosted a manufacturing roundtable for a joint meeting of the PA House Democratic Policy Committee and the PA House Manufacturing Caucus in State College, PA. The roundtable consisted of 10 manufacturing executives from across Pennsylvania, including leaders within Metal Integrity East & West, Restek Corporation, Diamondback Covers, Lake Erie Rubber & Manufacturing, GeorgeKo Industries, ILSCO Extrusion, The Fredericks Company, C.L. Sturkey, Inc. and Lehigh Valley Plastics.

The roundtable was requested by Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, Chair of the House Democratic Policy Committee, and Rep. Mike Schlossberg, Chair of the House Manufacturing Caucus. “Manufacturing in Pennsylvania is important to our caucus because Pennsylvania is a place where businesses want to come and stay,” said Rep. Bizzarro. “We want to hear from manufacturers on what they need to make Pennsylvania more attractive for businesses,” he added.

Within the 90-minute roundtable, which consisted of live participation and virtual attendees, manufacturers expressed their greatest challenges, barriers, opportunities and advantages relative to workforce attraction and retention, the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies and the mitigation of supply chain risks through reshoring and creating PA-based supplier networks. The participating manufacturers also offered suggestions and ideas as to what programs, policies and statewide initiatives should be created or expanded in order to accelerate their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and maximize their long-term growth and competitiveness. Increased funding for the statewide Industrial Resource Center program, creating more in-school awareness about careers in manufacturing, streamlining loan and grant processing and providing incentives to create Pennsylvania-based supply chains were among their recommendations.

The roundtable was facilitated by the Industrial Resource Center (IRC) network and moderated by an IRC host due to the Centers’ close connectivity to Pennsylvania’s manufacturing community and insight into the needs of the Commonwealth’s 15,000+ small and mid-sized manufacturers. “The importance of our manufacturing economy is a unifying topic that reaches across both aisles in Harrisburg – everyone agrees that we need to do all we can to strengthen and grow the Commonwealth’s second largest business sector with more than 585,000 employees,” said Mr. Esoda, who guided the event. “We were honored to put this venue together for the Committee and Caucus and hope we have the opportunity to host many additional events of this nature for our legislative leaders and policy-makers,” he added.

The IRC network is currently working with the PA Democratic Policy Committee to compile video highlights and a transcript of the event.

Regional Manufacturers Report Significant Results from NEPIRC Engagements

Throughout 2021, regional manufacturing firms attributed over $120 million in revenue impact, $11.7 million in cost savings and $21.2 million in expansion, modernization and workforce training to their successful engagements with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC). Those financial impacts allowed the firms to create and retain 1,200 full-time manufacturing jobs – bringing our region’s industrial employment to nearly 44,000. NEPIRC clients reported those impacts during surveys administered by the Fors Marsh Group under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards & Technology.

As a result of the dynamic results reported by NEPIRC clients during 2021, the organization maintained its placement among the top performers in the Manufacturing Extension Partnership National Network. NEPIRC also received a Sliver Award for Excellence in Economic Development from the International Economic Development Council during the year.

“We’re proud of the impacts that our offerings have had upon our manufacturing clients during this critical time of rebound and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. These results speak to the expertise of our staff and the dedication of our manufacturers to continue to thrive amidst adversity, retain their existing workforce and create new good-paying jobs,” said Eric Joseph Esoda, NEPIRC’s President & CEO. “Our manufacturing economy has already returned to near pre-pandemic levels of employment and hundreds of job opportunities are still listed on our Manufacturing Job Board,” he added.

In addition to capturing client financial and employment impacts, the Fors Marsh survey process assessed NEPIRC client overall satisfaction levels and their reasons for choosing NEPIRC for their consultative service needs. Most NEPIRC clients partnered with NEPIRC due to their staff expertise, reputation for results, exclusive focus on the manufacturing sector or practical cost of services. NEPIRC’s Annual Impact Report can be found at www.NEPIRC.com > “Our Impact”.