Washington County students take manufacturing tour
Learn about career opportunities
MARIETTA — Students considering their futures encountered some of the companies that might be part of their career pathways during Friday morning’s Manufacturing Your Future event organized by Building Bridges to Careers.
More than 100 freshmen and sophomores from six high schools gathered at Washington State Community College for breakfast and an opening talk by U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, who told the students that many careers are available in the field as a viable alternative for those who don’t wish to go to a four-year college.
“You live in a manufacturing region of the state that has been known for excellence for generations,” he said. “We have more energy resources here than any place on the planet, and there are a lot of opportunities coming our way.”
The students each had the chance to tour two or three of the eight plants on the roster, and representatives of the manufacturing companies eagerly courted the small groups and showed off their plants. As freshmen and sophomores, the students showed interest but indicated they had many decisions to make.
Emily Walker, a Fort Frye High School sophomore, offered a typical reply when asked why she came on the tour.
“I’m just keeping my options open,” she said.
Grimm Scientific is headquartered in a small, unobtrusive building along the western strip of Pike Street. Marketing and sales director Todd Foraker showed his group of students how the company’s niche products are made – Grimm manufactures control systems for sports medicine and therapy, including whirlpool baths and cold compression therapy machinery.
Students saw demonstrations of circuit board soldering, pipe brazing and sandblasting, and got a look at a custom double whirlpool bath that uses Grimm controls.
“We do custom work, so the people here are engineers that use CAD systems, electrical technicians,” he said. Foraker said the plant employs 16 people and hopes to expand in the near future.
At Deep Rock Disposal south of Marietta on Ohio 7, general manager John W. “Wes” Mossor told his group the company employs 20 people ranging from high school graduates to professionals with four-year degrees. He and Brian Chavez, a chemical engineer and part of the company’s ownership group, said Deep Rock, which specializes in disposal of drilling and energy well water, and other energy companies in the area need skills ranging from degreed professionals like engineers and geologists to truck drivers and laborers.
“Not everyone needs to go to college,” Chavez said. “There are plenty of opportunities in this field for everyone.”
“We need dependable, reliable people,” Mossor said. “This (the energy sector) is probably the fastest growing industry in the U.S.”
The groups returned to WSCC for a networking lunch, with several manufacturing representatives answering questions and explaining their fields.
Lance Snyder, a sophomore at Frontier, said the plasma cutting table at Micromachine Works in Vincent captured his interest.
“I really liked the way they could make articles using machines directed by computers,” he said. “I might consider something like that if my plans fall through.”
Snyder said as of now he’s planning to go into medicine, possibly nursing.
Although Rachel Slan, another Frontier freshman, was impressed by the giant brine tank at Deep Rock, she said she’s not likely to pursue a career in that direction.
“I’m interested in becoming a mortician, or maybe interior design,” she said.
Nathan Been, a Belpre sophomore, also found the brine tank memorable but for now isn’t considering energy work as a career.
“I’m looking at becoming an auto mechanic,” he said.
Jeff Hollister with Vanguard Paints and Finishes sat down with a group of students for lunch and showed them work flow documents from his operation while having lunch with them.
“This is great,” he said later. “Manufacturing needs lots more qualified young people. It’s good pay – the average in Ohio is $58,000 – it has opportunities, and statewide there are thousands of jobs. They’ll remember these tours, and in a couple of years maybe they’ll think about this as a career.”