SIDNEY — Friday, Oct. 7, was National Manufacturing Day, a day of opportunity for our local community as several manufacturers in the area opened their doors to the public for a birds-eye view of what it takes to be a success in an ever increasing world of competition.
One of those participating in the occasion was Advanced Composites in Sidney. The main manufacturing building is located at 1062 Fourth Ave. with a separate building next door that houses research and development as well as the maintenance department. Advanced Composites has been in Sidney for more than 30 years and currently has three facilities located in Ohio, Tennessee, and Mexico with Ohio employing more than 300 people. At the plant simple polypropylene is combined with rubber, pigment and talc and then cooled and cut into tiny bits that are shipped out to be molded into anything from dashboards to car bumpers.
Visitors were greeted at the door by human resources associate Judy Nichols. After signing in visitors were introduced to Julie Henne, human resources manager who explained the reason for the open house.
“Manufacturing Day is a growing movement of manufacturers dedicated to overcoming the shared challenges facing most manufacturers today,” said Henne. “The most pressing issue is a gap in skilled labor with over 80 percent of manufacturers not being able to find the skilled workers they need.”
Henne continued noting that gap continues to widen and that the purpose of Manufacturing Day is to draw greater attention to the outstanding opportunities that manufacturing can provide and promote the pursuit of skills that will lead to a profitable and long-term career that offers security and growth for qualified candidates.
After the brief explanation visitors were escorted to a large conference room by Henne, who introduced them to members of the management team including John Gamble, vice president in charge of manufacturing. Gamble has been vice president for the past 11 years managing both the Ohio and Tennessee plants. The company has enjoyed much improvement and success over the years under his leadership and he shared a Power Point presentation giving visitors an overview of the manufacturing process they use to create and distribute expanded polypropylene (PP) resin the key element used in the injection molding process to create internal and external parts for the automotive industry.
“It is a very precise process with a high degree of consistent quality and we are the largest manufacturer of ‘PP’ in the United States cranking out about 1.5 million pounds of product a day, we are in a very competitive business where quality and customer service is the key to our success” said Gamble. “We are constantly improving our product with a focus on keeping it lightweight and durable at the same time so research and development is very important for keeping us on the cutting edge of technology.”
Advanced Composites provides product to several major auto manufacturers including but not limited to Honda, Ford, GM, Toyota and Nissan. Finished product is shipped via semi-trucks or on railcars from Advanced Composite’s railroad yard that currently holds about 65 rail cars. Production has doubled since 2012 and a new 60,000 square foot addition is currently under construction to facilitate upgrades and modifications in the production process.
Gamble also said how thankful he is for the management staff and all the employees who faithfully contribute to the company’s achievements;
“Our success did not happen by accident, is has taken many years of dedicated planning and hard work and I’m very proud of each and every person working here and acknowledge their valuable contributions,” said Gable.
After the presentation visitors were treated to a short tour of the manufacturing area by Jody Collier who explained the inner workings of the plant. Before leaving visitors were treated with refreshments and given a complimentary tote bag containing lots of goodies and a list of current job openings.
“We have jobs available for all levels of education, form hourly production to engineering and maintenance. We also offer the option and advantage of direct hiring which is a plus to anyone considering employment,” said Henne. “Please feel free to stop by and fill out an application, we currently have a few vacancies to fill and anyone interested is welcome to apply.”
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News