Experts Offer Insights at Annual Manufacturing Day Event

NJBIZ, in partnership with the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, hosted the fourth annual New Jersey Manufacturing Day on Friday morning at The Palace at Somerset Park, complete with ample networking opportunities, exhibit areas, informative speakers and an awards ceremony.

Over 400 industry professionals attended to expand and improve upon the public’s knowledge and perception of the manufacturing industry in New Jersey and its value to the U.S. economy.

Taking advantage of an extremely collaborative and conversational atmosphere, attendees and panelists discussed persistent issues pertaining to manufacturing in New Jersey, including: recruiting, challenging and retaining new generations of employees; the importance of cross-training to allow for greater flexibility in the industry; creating more open-minded hiring processes and job descriptions; the importance of continuing education throughout one’s career; and creating awareness of the various grant programs, talent networks and professional associates available to manufacturers in the state.

Here is a collection of sound bites from the event:

“We have evolved, and we hope to continue to evolve. … Sometimes, we lose that emphasis when we speak with young people. … But exposing younger (generations) to the industry’s variety of opportunities is critical to what we do.” — John Kennedy, CEO and president, New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program

“Within the next 10 years, there is going to be such a need for employees that manufacturers are going to … go into grade and high schools to recruit the best and the brightest before their competition does.” —Carroll Thomas, director, Hollings Manufacturing Extension Program

“Manufacturing in this country has had huge rises and falls. Now, it’s going back up again. The winners and losers are always defined by how innovative they are … and how willing they are to adapt. Some companies will die; others will thrive. With change comes both opportunity and threat.” — Dennis Bone, keynote speaker; director of the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship in the School of Business at Montclair State University.

“I strongly recommend that every company have one or two millennials sit in on job interviews; they can give you tremendous feedback that people in my generation wouldn’t pick up on at all.” — Gary Pezzuti, moderator; owner and president of Summit Group.

“You have to hire for culture, and train for skill. … In the past, we’ve asked millennials to adapt to our culture. … But they are not going to be happy sitting at a desk for 10 years. … We as leaders and owners of companies have to be more open to change if millennials are going to be willing to change with us.” —Jonathan Moore, panelist; director of talent acquisition, L’Oreal.

“The time spent on our phones all the time can be put to good use — we could be reading about your companies and the opportunities available to us.” — Tarakshaya Bhati, panelist; student at Rutgers University and Experience Manufacturing participant.

“We have programs across the state — particularly with the career and technical high schools — that specifically train and educate youngsters in advanced manufacturing. … If they wish to go to Rutgers, NJIT, Stevens, they can study part-time, work for you now, and continue to learn and take more advanced jobs in your company. … This is what the talent network does in the state of New Jersey, so take advantage of it.” — Gale Tenen Spak, associate vice president for continuing and distance education at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and leader of New Jersey’s Advanced Manufacturing Talent Network, ManufactureNJ.

“I’m a firm believer that people want to be a part of something greater than themselves and contribute to society. … Millennials really get this — sustainability is usually a primary question that they ask in interviews. … It’s a lifestyle. Young folks are looking for a corporation that is a lifestyle and has a positive impact on society.” — David Podmayersky, panelist; chief sustainability officer, Earthcolor

“Costs are no longer a localized issue, but a globalized one — to stay competitive, we have to focus on remaining lean.” — Dax Strohmeyer, panelist; president, Triangle Manufacturing Co. Inc.

“Being based in New Jersey and the U.S. is important, because people associate that with quality manufacturing. We should all be proud that’s still known around the world when people buy our equipment.” — Scott Maurer, panelist; president, OPEX International

The award winners of this morning’s event were:

Small Category: City Theatrical Inc.

Medium Category: Versa Products Co. Inc.

Large Category: OPEX Corporation

Innovator of the Year: David Rosen, CEO and Founder, TechX Foundry

Raymond Hopp Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence: Daniel Hertz Jr., CEO, Seals Eastern

A list of all finalists, participants and sponsors can be found here.

Click here to read the original article at NJBIZ.

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