Since 1990, Manufacturing Works (originally as WIRE-Net) has recognized leaders in our manufacturing community.
In 2000, to honor our expanding mission, WIRE-Net established our Mission Builder Award to recognize industrial companies that exemplify our mission.
This year, keeping the focus on the three pillars of excellence outlined in our 2020 Vision, our award winners were chosen for their success in workforce development, industrial technology, and leadership succession.
The Buschman Corporation, with Cleveland based headquarters and manufacturing, is the global leader in metering rods critical to the manufacture and converting of papers, films and foils.
Founded over 40 years ago in a dirt-floor basement by Tom Buschman, the company has grown to become the quality leader and industry standard through the development of ultra-precision metering rods, offering significant gains in productivity and quality for companies around the world.
Several years ago, the Buschman leadership team sought to address not only the skills gap that they encountered when recruiting young workers, but also the social and economic conditions of the neighborhood around their historic building on the near east side.
The result was the Advanced Manufacturing Practicum, or AMP. Developed in partnership with Max Hayes High School and with critical support from Manufacturing Works Senior Manager of Youth Workforce Development, Jessica Westropp, the program is designed around the core principles of Learn, Earn and Return.
Through a combination of coaching, education, incentives and on-the-job training, AMP offers a program for small manufacturers to feed their talent pipeline, while giving back to the communities they are a part of.
By mid-2020, it is AMP's goal to share this blueprint for successful workforce development with other manufacturing companies in the Cleveland area.
Lincoln Electric Holdings
Lincoln Electric is addressing the skills gap with its new state-of-the-art Welding Technology & Training Center (WTTC). The center opened its doors to students in January 2018, and a waiting list to enroll is already growing. The new two-story 130,000-square-foot facility doubles Lincoln Electric's previous welding education capacity and is home to the latest tools and tech in the welding industry.
As an internationally recognized foundation for the development of best practices in welding education, the WTTC features 166 welding and cutting booths, a virtual reality training lab, a 100-seat auditorium and extensive seminar and welding classroom space to advance technical skills.
Their curriculum and programs are designed to meet the needs of industry by addressing every segment of the skills and knowledge spectrum – from basic welding and teaching concepts up through the latest in advanced manufacturing technologies.
Lincoln Electric's welding school has trained more than 100,000 welding students and is the longest-running welding school in the world. This new facility represents the company's long-term commitment to welding education and professional development that will shape the next generation of welders, managers, and industry leaders.
Bowden Manufacturing could just have easily gotten this award for their achievements in workforce development—given the work they're doing with engineering interns from Case Western Reserve University. However, we have chosen to recognize them for their outstanding work in the field of manufacturing technology.
A little over a year ago, Andy McCartney, President of Bowden Manufacturing chose to make an investment in digital technology for his business.
First, Bowden added sensors to their machines to accurately monitor performance and provide much-needed insight into the struggle against time and resources. Bowden is using the newly-collected data to better schedule their work in busy times.
Later in 2018, McCartney took the next step in adding a collaborative robot to his operation. Cobots are a tool that enables operators to work more efficiently—removing them from working like robots—and becoming cobot programmers while handling more value-added tasks.
McCartney has been gracious in sharing the successes and challenges of Bowden's journey with manufacturers around the region to help them evaluate how digital technology can make a difference for their business.
Great Lakes Brewing Company
At its annual company summit in May 2018, Great Lakes Brewing Co. – Ohio's first and largest craft brewery – announced the creation of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), joining a growing community of ESOP-owned craft breweries across the country. Co-owners Patrick and Dan Conway made the surprise announcement to their co-workers as part of the annual awards ceremony that concludes the summit.
Said Patrick Conway "Every year, we give The Conway's Award – a sort of founder's award – to recognize one employee for outstanding contributions to the company. This year, we decided the award was the perfect way to announce the ESOP, recognizing everyone in the company as deserving. Instead of the customary hardware, we're giving them a stake in our company." Added Dan Conway, "Many recognize our company as having a family-like culture – we've just expanded the size of the family!"
ESOPs are in the Conway family's blood. Patrick and Dan's father, John F. Conway, a well-known tax attorney in Cleveland, introduced the first ESOP in Ohio – and one of the first in the country – for his client Alloy Engineering. "We think our father would approve of what we're doing today," says Dan.
The company had been reviewing the possibility of an ESOP for more than ten years. As the owners noted in the company's annual Sustainability Report, they believe the combination of the 30-year anniversary, possible expansion plans in Cleveland's Flats neighborhood, and the ESOP will provide a strong foundation for the next 30 years and beyond. "It reinforces the idea that we're all in this together," says CEO Bill Boor.