Celebrating a Long Career and Ready for Retirement
Weiss-Aug is a custom insert molding, precision metal stamping, and assembly solution provider with a rich history and an unbelievable team. They touch the automotive, medical, electronic and semiconductor industries and pull from over 45 years of experience. This company based in East Hanover, NJ is ready to wish an important member of the team a happy retirement.
Paul Rettberg, Apprenticeship Program Manager, is ready to take a step back and see what this retirement thing is all about. He has been with the company since it was founded in 1972. He’s watched Weiss-Aug grow from a four-person shop to a thriving group of manufacturers that employ over 200 individuals with four facilities located around the country.
Weiss-Aug’s Rapid Growth and Paul’s Support
The company continues to expand, offering additional services and products. From their humble beginnings, Weiss-Aug now offers services that range from Research and Development to Real-to-Reel Molding and Laser Welding just to name a few. All this growth requires a robust workforce. The company was running into issues managing their expansive growth because so much manufacturing work was being shipped overseas. They needed to act fast so Weiss-Aug could continue to thrive right here in New Jersey.
“The only way we were going to keep the business growing is to create our own tool & die makers,” said Paul.
To cultivate the company’s own talent pool, the leadership at Weiss-Aug wanted to create an apprenticeship program. The company worked with Donna Scalia, Apprenticeship and Training Program Specialist, at the U.S. Department of Labor back in the late 70s to develop a USDOL Registered Apprenticeship program which follows a nationally recognized curriculum.
Proud to Share His Knowledge
Paul Rettberg was extremely proud to be discussing the story of the apprenticeship program. There was great pride in his voice as he described his own experience as an apprentice and the work Weiss-Aug continues to do on the workforce development front. He stated that some of the apprentices who graduated from the first apprenticeship class are managers at Weiss-Aug today.
Without a team made up of individuals who shared the same passion as Paul, Weiss-Aug would have had no chance of becoming the company they are today. He is a forward thinker and a kind man, both attributes that make for a great mentor and leader. It wasn’t hard for him to realize the value of the apprenticeship program. Paul was an apprentice in 1962 where he acquired the skills that allowed him to thrive in a career that spanned over fifty years. This fact made him the perfect candidate to lead the latest iteration of the Weiss-Aug’s apprenticeship program.
A Registered Apprenticeship Too Valuable To Lose
2008 was a difficult year for all businesses. The financial crisis forced Weiss-Aug to step back from their USDOL Registered Apprenticeship program. Management got together in 2010 to jumpstart the program. Since technology has changed so dramatically since the original Registered Apprenticeship started in the late 1970s, the company needed to revise the program and get it re-registered with the USDOL. Donna Scalia once again helped Weiss-Aug develop and refine their curriculum. After Weiss-Aug officially registered their 21st-century apprenticeship program, Paul Rettberg was given the opportunity to lead the initiative.
Paul has been in charge of Weiss-Aug’s USDOL Registered Apprenticeship Program since 2011. However, he’s ready to retire and let the next generation of manufacturers continue moving the company forward, many of them trained under his leadership. He said the biggest benefit of the program is that many of the apprentices ended up staying at Weiss-Aug. Some did leave, but most individuals stay with the company for the majority of their careers.
It’s challenging to find people that are passionate about a company. Paul is one of those unique individuals that have the humility to step back and praise his company, not just his accomplishments, even during an interview about his time at Weiss-Aug. “Forget about me, it’s about Dieter Weissenrieder and the people,” said Paul.
Apprenticeships are a proven way for manufacturers to cultivate a strong and loyal workforce. Weiss-Aug recognized that developing a Registered Apprenticeship program would be a valuable way to address the workforce shortage in the late ’70s. For the past nine years, Weiss-Aug has used its USDOL Registered Apprenticeship to address the workforce challenges in the 21st century with glowing success. Paul Rettberg has been instrumental in its success and has played a role in the massive growth Weiss-Aug experienced over the past 50 years.
Weiss-Aug is losing a valuable member of the team. The New Jersey manufacturing community is losing an incredible advocate as well. Everyone at NJMEP is wishing Paul Rettberg an extremely relaxing and happy retirement.