In honor of Manufacturing Day, Mack is taking a moment to reflect on tomorrow’s manufacturers, engineers and leaders by looking back at the Company’s 2017 internship program. Join us for an inside look at how students are making a difference at Mack and launching careers.
Six Former Interns Begin Careers with Company
ARLINGTON, Vt. (Feb. 7, 2017) – It is February, which means Vermont’s skiers are hitting the slopes and college students are hitting Mack Molding with resumes in hopes of landing a summer placement – and possibly a career. In fact, during the last year Mack has welcomed a record number of interns back as full-time employees at its Headquarters after graduation.
In all, six former interns have returned through Mack’s doors, bringing with them an intimate knowledge of Mack’s operations coupled with fresh ideas and the promise of a strong future in manufacturing. The recent hires include Manufacturing Engineer Kelsey O’Dell; Quality Engineers Aaron LeBeau, Peter Bush and Brendan Gleason; Program Coordinator Britney Coley; and Finishing Technician Matthew Comar.
“Welcoming these young professionals back to Mack has been a great pleasure, not only due to what they bring to the organization but the fact they represent the measurable impact of our workforce cultivation efforts,” said Mack Molding President Jeff Somple. “As a manufacturer, and a New England one at that, we are keenly aware of the challenges associated with recruiting for skilled and professional positions. This is why we have invested in opportunities to influence the next generation of engineers and technicians.”
While Mack has hosted interns for many years, the program was redefined in 2011 as the Company sought to build a more sustainable workforce by showing students how rewarding a career in manufacturing – and a life in Vermont – can be. Since then it has become the pinnacle of its workforce cultivation efforts.
Each intern is assigned specific projects that allow them to return to school with a tangible experience they completed from start to finish and can show to prospective employers. During the summer they also participate in a series of “Lunch ’n Learns” where senior staff members and seasoned employees present on various aspects of the business, conduct tours of Company facilities and help develop presentation and interviewing skills. By the end of the summer the students turn the tables, conducting their own “Lunch ’n Learns” as they present the results of their project to their peers and Mack’s senior management.
Meet the Recruits
Peter Bush returns to Mack as a quality engineer after graduating from the University of Vermont with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. Previously a sales and engineering intern at Mack, he has experience in planning, preparing and organizing resources for class 3 medical device product development studies and facilitating related communication between manufacturing, quality and management.
Britney Coley has been named a program coordinator in the Company’s medical device sector. The St. Lawrence University graduate has a bachelor of science degree in biology and psychology. In her role, Coley maintains program schedules and records, facilitates document control tasks and interface with customers as part of a multi-disciplinary team from across the organization focused on launching new products and improving performance.
Matthew Comar, who studied advanced manufacturing at Hudson Valley Community College, joins Mack as a finishing technician. Comar brings experience in SolidWorks and Mastercam software, as well as knowledge of CNC mills, lathes and manual machine tools. As a finishing technician, he will perform set-ups of various processes, including pad printing, milling and sonic welding, as well as maximize efficiency and quality of production.
Having received his bachelor of science degree in science and technology studies from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., Brendan Gleason joins Mack as a quality engineer. Gleason developed a deep understanding of Mack’s medical device manufacturing business as a quality technician intern, collaborating with manufacturing, quality and management to satisfy customer needs for over 300 unique medical parts.
University of Vermont graduate Aaron LeBeau, who has been appointed as a quality engineer, earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. In addition to previously serving as an intern on Mack’s quality engineering team, LeBeau spent a summer working in production. He previously gained experience as an electrical technician intern at Abacus Automation in Bennington, Vt., and brings experience in computer-aided design, quality management and data analysis software to Mack.
Kelsey O’Dell joins Mack as a manufacturing engineer in the Company’s medical business. She received her bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, N.Y. In addition to previous Mack experience, O’Dell honed her engineering skills as an undergraduate research assistant at RPI’s Lighting Enabled Systems and Applications Engineering Research Center.
The internship program is only one piece of Mack’s strategy, which includes engaging students of all ages. In addition to sending engineers and other team members into the classroom, Mack has welcomed students as young as kindergarten for visits, as well as local high school juniors and seniors for an inside look at life at Mack during its Made in Vermont Days.
From Oct. 24-28, 2016, Mack hosted this biennial event – designed to reach students looking to go to a four year school, as well as certification and technical programs, and those who may wish to enter the workforce directly. In all, nearly 50 students, educators and parents participated, including home school students and their peers from Arlington Memorial High School, Southwest Vermont Career Development Center, Long Trail and Burr & Burton Academy.
Students toured the Headquarters, building their understanding of Mack’s vertical integration of services. Following the tour students participated in a workshop introducing manufacturing flow theory before learning about careers, hearing business insights and having a Q&A with key staff members. They also were given the opportunity to sign-up for more in-depth workshops on injection molding, machining, sheet metal fabrication, manufacturing and engineering to be held at a later date.
Mack is able to leverage the power and name recognition of Manufacturing Day and Manufacturing Month by having the event in October, creating additional pull through while increasing access to supportive resources. Additionally, Mack benefited from its relationship with the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC). The non-profit trained some of the Company’s employees to conduct the manufacturing flow workshop featured during the event, giving students context to what they had seen on the manufacturing floor.
“We are proud to have hosted around 100 interns to date and influenced countless more students,” Somple said, “We always hope to send them back to school with some executional knowledge and a better understanding of the opportunities available to them, and our hopes are now realized as we welcome our newest recruits home.”
About Mack Molding
Mack Molding is a leading custom plastics molder and supplier of contract manufacturing services. Mack specializes in plastics design, prototyping, molding, sheet metal fabrication, full-service machining and medical device manufacturing. Founded in 1920, Mack is a privately owned business that operates 11 facilities throughout the world. Don Kendall is CEO and chairman. For more information, go to www.mack.com.
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Contact: Larry Hovish
From Oct. 24-28, 2016, Mack hosted its biennial Made in Vermont Days at its Arlington, Vt., Headquarters – bringing local high school juniors and seniors into the Company’s manufacturing space to learn about manufacturing and engineering careers through tours, workshops and presentations.
The program is designed to reach students looking to go to a four year school, as well as certification and technical programs, and those who may wish to enter the workforce directly. This year Mack welcomed four schools – Arlington Memorial High School, Southwest Vermont Career Development Center, Long Trail and Burr & Burton Academy, as well as local home school students. In all, nearly 50 students, educators and parents participated.
Students toured the Company’s HQ through the lens of one particular product manufactured there that incorporates virtually Mack’s entire vertical integration of services. Following the tour students participated in a competitive workshop introducing the theory behind manufacturing flow before learning about careers available to them with the Company’s Director of Human Resources, hearing business insights from the HQ Plant Manager and an open Q&A with these key staff members. Students also were given the opportunity to sign-up for more in-depth workshops to be held at a later date in the following disciplines: Injection Molding, Machining, Sheet Metal Fabrication, Manufacturing and Engineering.
By hosting the event in October, Mack is able to leverage the power and name recognition of Manufacturing Day and Manufacturing Month, creating additional pull through while increasing access to supportive resources. Additionally, Mack benefited from its relationship with the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC), whose team trained some of the Company’s up and coming employees to conduct the manufacturing flow workshop featured during the event, which proved fun and informative for students, putting some context behind what they had seen on the manufacturing floor.
Mack’s Made in Vermont Days represent just one facet of the Company’s outreach efforts to cultivate the next generation of talent needed to drive manufacturing in the Northeastern United States. With a goal of building a sustainable workforce by encouraging the next generation of engineers, technicians and professionals, Mack regularly brings in middle and high school students, sends engineers into the classroom and has even had programs for children as young as kindergarten. In addition to Made in Vermont Days, Mack’s high point in this effort is an internship program that has hosted close to 100 interns from schools like UVM, WPI, RPI and RIT. The Company is now starting to recognize the fruits of its labor with a record number of interns – six – joining Mack as full-time employees in 2016.
Over the past few years, Mack Molding has developed a summer internship program that is unique when compared to average internship programs. Between 10 and 15 students with various backgrounds of study are hired to work in different departments at Mack Molding’s headquarters in Arlington, VT. So what’s unique? Each intern is assigned a specific project to complete by the end of the summer, which they then present to the other interns and Mack senior management. On completion, the students leave with a tangible project in hand that they completed from start to finish, and can show to prospective employers.
For many of the interns, Mack’s distinctive internship program is what made them decide to stay in Vermont for the summer instead of obtaining internships near their colleges or in other cities. “With the intern program, we try to expose Vermont’s brightest to careers right here at home that are fun, exciting and part of a growing industry,” says Jeff Somple, president of Mack Molding’s Northern Operations. “We’re building a lot of interesting products across several markets…we’re trying to get that word out to the future generation of workers, and it’s succeeding. We’ve had 11 interns from colleges all over the country each of the last two summers, and three have now come back to Mack as full-time employees, all in different disciplines.”
In addition to completing the assigned projects, the interns also take part in “Lunch ‘n Learn” sessions, in which senior staff members present various aspects of the business, including tours of headquarters and other Mack plants.
While many might assume that only students studying engineering and related fields would be considered respectable candidates for the internship program, the opposite is true. This summer’s interns include students majoring in architecture, occupational health and safety, foreign languages, and biology, among others. “This internship is the best job I’ve ever had. I am learning more than I can say and I genuinely enjoy the people I work with,” says Brittanie Bradley, a junior studying architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Trevor Derby, a junior at Clarkson University studying electrical engineering, says, “So far, this internship has been very beneficial. I am gaining experience in a wide range of areas and I think the program is a great idea.”
Overall, the interns are more than pleased with the program. “My favorite part is that they give you an actual project that you’re responsible for completing and then presenting to staff,” says Kristen Somple, a student at Harvard. “The advantages of this type of program are evident. The program itself is very well-structured and every intern truly gains something.”
– Rebecca Marie Murphy is a Communications Intern from The University of Vermont