Last updateWed, 04 Aug 2021 3pm


Mentoring in Manufacturing: A Program That Works

Michaela Stickley, assistant director of human resources at A.W. Chesterton Company, talked with VALVE Magazine about the company’s employee mentorship program.

VM: How did your mentoring program get started?

MS: Back in probably 2013 our then-CEO gave the human resources department the mission to develop initiatives to make the company a great place to work. The idea was to provide an environment where employees could thrive and grow, not necessarily to get on any “best place to work” list. We thought, “What can we implement to make this happen?”

Maureen Crawford Hentz, now vice president of HR, created the mentoring program based on past programs she ran. It had to be “Chesterton-ized,” however, to work in a manufacturing company.

Why Women are Turning to Manufacturing as a Career

Women work in all aspects of companies that use or manufacture valves. Although the industry might not be as progressive as some others, more and more companies realize the value of having a diverse mix of employees then actively recruiting and retaining that mix. They are also looking at women as a possible source for filling the “skills gap” that the entire manufacturing world now faces.

One reason for the lack of females is that many girls and young women don’t know much about the opportunities manufacturing present so they don’t think of industrial businesses as a career option. Programs that expose elementary and middle-school students to STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and manufacturing can lay the groundwork needed to understand where that opportunity lies.

Navigating the New Administration’s Impact on Manufacturing and Trade

In the Spring issue of VALVE Magazine, we reported on potential political and economic ramifications from the new administration’s stance on jobs, manufacturing, environmental regulations and trade. In that article, we shared some of the information given in a presentation by legal counsel Eric McClaffery of Kelley Drye and Warren at VMA’s 2017 Leadership Forum.

In this web-exclusive feature, we are expanding on that presentation along with many other issues space did not allow for in coverage in the print edition.

Reshoring, Robots and What Happens if We Do Bring Jobs Back?

While offshoring is painted as the major villain in the decline of numbers of manufacturing jobs in the U.S., automation may actually be a bigger threat. It has been estimated that 80-90% of the manufacturing jobs lost since 1977 have been caused by productivity gains, not trade deals or foreign labor.

Among the technologies that have made possible those productivity gains are industrial robots. New research from MIT’s Daron Acemoglu and Boston University’s Pascual Restrepo has quantified those gains in terms of job losses. They asserted that up to six workers lost their jobs for every robot per thousand workers, and wages fell by as much as .075%. The researchers assert that robots eliminated up to 670,000 American jobs between 1990 and 2007.

The State of Industrial Distribution in 2017

Key trends for the industrial distribution sector and recommendations on how distributors can gain a competitive edge in a complicated economic environment were the topics addressed during a recent webinar hosted by Modern Distribution Management.

David Manthey, senior research analyst at Baird, began the presentation with an overview on the current state of the economy as revealed by Baird’s Fourth Quarter 2016 survey of distributors. He pointed out that, even though there are many positive indicators—including record-breaking highs on the stock market, low interest rates and high employment rates—the U.S. economy has only been able to achieve single-digit growth. However, the election of Donald Trump has changed the atmosphere somewhat toward a pro-growth inflationary environment with less regulation and infrastructure investment.

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