Naples, Fla. — Plastics pros on two panels at the 2018 Plastics News Executive Forum emphasized the importance of finding the right personnel.
"We're focused on finding skilled labor that will fit in our company," said Jim Kepler, president of injection molder Intertech Plastics Inc. of Denver. At the event, held March 6-7 in Naples, Kepler credited the CareerWise Colorado apprenticeship program with "re-energizing" Intertech.
Charles Sholtis, founder of injection molder Plastic Molding Technology Inc. of El Paso, Texas, added that an apprentice program that PMT started when it was based in Connecticut produced an employee who eventually became the firm's chief maintenance engineer.
Employees of the millennial generation "want to learn and want to know that they're part of something," according to Plastics Hall of Fame member John Beaumont. Beaumont founded plastics firm Beaumont Technologies of Erie, Pa., and taught at Penn State-Behrend for 25 years.
In 2015, he launched the American Injection Molding Institute, a study program that can provide the technical skills needed for the injection molding field. The AIM Institute is located at Beaumont's headquarters in Erie.
Two executives featured in Plastics News' "What Keeps You Up at Night?" segment also commented on culture and recruiting.
"Culture can mean a lot of things," said John Hoskins, president of contract manufacturer/injection molder Octex LLC in Sarasota, Fla. "It has to be something inside of you. It's how you can flourish personally and professionally."
Hoskins added that Octex has been successful in finding workers from diverse fields.
"You have to be willing to sit people down and give them the materials that will let them paint a Picasso," he said.
Geoff Foster, founder and president of injection molder Core Technology Molding Corp. in Greensboro, N.C., has been able to recruit top students from North Carolina A&T University, where he serves as an adjunct professor.
Foster added that his company's best marketing efforts have been positive word-of-mouth from top customers such as automaker BMW and pharmaceuticals firm Merck.
"When we do good work, our customers will tell other companies about us," he said.