Issue: 2021 Fall

Advertisers Index

Post: Oct. 16, 2021


Ad Essentials 261x351

Selux Careers

Resource Guide





Capitol address:
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
Phone: (202) 456-1414


Capitol address:
322 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-6542
District address:
One Park Place, Suite 100
Peekskill, NY 10566
Phone: (914) 734-1532

Capitol address:
478 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4451
District address:
P.O. Box 749, Yonkers, NY 10710
Phone: (845) 875-4585


Capitol address:
1017 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6506
District address:
222 Mamaroneck Avenue, Suite 312
White Plains, NY 10605
Phone: (914) 323-5550

Capitol address:
2331 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5441
District address:
123 Grand Street, 2nd Fl.
Newburgh, NY 12550
Phone: (845) 561-1259

Capitol address:
1007 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5614
District address:
256 Clinton Ave
Kingston, NY 12401
Phone: (845) 443-2930


LOB indicates: Legislative Office Building
188 State Street, Albany, NY 12247


State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Phone: (518) 474-8390


Albany Office
110 State Street, Albany, NY 12236
Phone: (518) 474-4044


District address:
222 Grace Church Street, Suite 300
Port Chester, NY 10573
Phone: (914) 934-5250
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 509
Phone: (518) 455-2031

District address:
20 South Main Street
New City, NY 10956
Phone: (845) 708-7701
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 514
Phone: (518) 455-2991

District address:
47 Grand Street
Newburgh, NY 12550
Phone: (845) 567-1270
Fax: (845) 567-1276
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 815
Phone: (518) 455-3290

District address:
1 Park Place, Suite 302
Peekskill, NY 10566
Phone: (914) 241-4600
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 812
Phone: (518) 455-2340

District address:
4254 Albany Post Road
Hyde Park, NY 12534
Phone: (845) 229-0106
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 613
Phone: (518) 455-2945

District address:
90 North Street, Suite 205
Middletown, NY 10940-6576
Phone: (845) 344-3311
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 415
Phone: (518) 455-2400

District address:
1580 Columbia Turnpike
Building 2, Suite 1
Castle-On-The-Hudson, NY 12033
Phone: (518) 371-2751
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 508
Phone: (518) 455-2381

District address:
721 Broadway, Suite 150
Kingston, NY 12401
Phone: (845) 331-2083
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 902
Phone: (518) 455-2350

District address:
41 South Main Street
Oneonta,NY 13820-2516
Phone: (607) 432-5524
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 506
Phone: (518) 455-3131


District address:
100 S.Bedford Road, Suite 150
Mount Kisco, NY 10549
Phone: (914) 244-4450
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 331
Phone: (518) 455-5397

District address:
3 Starr Ridge Road, Suite 204
Brewster, NY 10509
Phone: (845) 278-2923
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 318
Phone: (518) 455-5783

District address:
2 Church Street
Ossining, NY 10562
Phone: (914) 941-1111
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 641
Phone: (518) 455-5348

District address:
67 North Main Street
New City, NY 10956-3700
Phone: (845) 634-9791
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 424
Phone: (518) 455-5735

District address:
One Blue Hill Plaza, Suite 1116
POB 1549, Pearl River NY 10965-3100
Phone: (845) 624-4601
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 626
Phone: (518) 455-5118

District address:
28 North Main Street, Suite 2
Florida, NY 10921
Phone: (845) 544-7551
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 329
Phone: (518) 455-5991

District address:
6 Depot Street, Suite 103
Washingtonville, NY 10992
Phone: (845) 469-6929
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 433
Phone: (518) 455-5441

District address:
18 Anawana Lake Road
Monticello NY 12701-3200
Phone: (845) 794-5807
Middletown City Hall, 3rd floor
16 James Street, Middletown, NY 10940
Phone: (845) 342-9304
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 826
Phone: (518) 455-5355

District address:
4747 Middle Settlement Road
New Hartford, NY 13413
Phone: 315-736-3879
14 Central Ave, Suite 101
PO Box 247
Wallkill, NY 12589
Phone: (845) 895-1080
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 544
Phone: (518) 455-5334

District address:
45 Five Mile Woods Road, Bldg 2, Suite 2
Catskill, NY 12414
Phone: (518) 943-1371
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 937
Phone: (518) 455-5363

District address:
Governor Clinton Building
One Albany Avenue, Suite G-4,
Kingston NY 12401-2946
Phone: (845) 338-9610
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 716
Phone: (518) 455-4436

District address:
47 Grand Street
Newburgh, NY 12550
(845) 562-0888
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 628
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-5762

District address:
North Hopewell Plaza, Suite #1
1075 Rt. 82, Hopewell Junction, NY 12533
Phone: (845) 221-2202
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 531
Phone: (845) 221-2202

District address:
12 Raymond Avenue, Suite 105
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603
Phone: (845) 454-1703
Capitol address:
LOB: Room 841
Phone: (518) 455-5177


733 10th Street NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 637-3182

5788 Widewaters Parkway
Syracuse, New York 13214
Phone: (315) 474-4201

111 Washington Avenue, #400
Albany, NY 12210
Phone: (518) 465-7511

1 Scobie Drive
Newburgh, NY 12550
Phone: (845) 391-8214

1971 Western Avenue, Suite 1110
Pittsford, New York 14534
Phone: (518) 320-2746

9 N. Mill Street
Nyack, NY 10960
Phone: (845) 735-2100

800 Westchester Avenue, Suite S-310
Rye Brook, NY 10573
Phone: (914) 948-2110

One Civic Center Plaza, Suite 400
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Phone: (845) 454-1700

40 Matthews Street, Suite 104
Goshen, NY 10924
Phone: (845) 457-9700

214 Fair Street
Kingston, NY 12401
Phone: (845) 338-5100



199 Dennings Avenue
Beacon, NY 12508
Phone: (845) 838-1600

3399 North Road
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Phone: (845) 575-3000

330 Powell Avenue
Newburgh, NY 12550
Phone: (845) 561-0800

1 Hawk Drive
New Paltz, NY 12561
Phone: (845) 257-7869

53 Pendell Road
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Phone: (845) 431-8000

115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940
Phone: (845) 344-6222

145 College Road
Suffern, NY 10901
Phone: (845) 574-4000

112 College Road
Loch Sheldrake, NY 12759
Phone: (845) 434-5750

491 Cottekill Road
Stone Ridge, NY 12484
Phone: (845) 687-5000

75 Grasslands Road
Valhalla, NY 10595
Phone: (914) 606-6600

5 Boces Road
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Phone: (845) 486-4800

53 Gibson Road
Goshen, NY 10924
Phone: (845) 291-0100

200 Boces Drive
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598-4399
Phone: (914) 245-2700

65 Parrott Road
West Nyack, NY 10994
Phone: (845) 627-4700

Rt. 9W, PO Box 601
Port Ewen, NY 12466
Phone: (845) 331-5050

17 Berkley Drive
Rye Brook, NY 10573
Phone: (914) 937-3820


111 Washington Avenue, 6th Floor
Albany, NY 12210
Phone: (518) 426-4058

42 Catharine Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Phone: (845) 220-2244

3 Neptune Road, Suite 821
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Phone: (845) 463-5400

40 Matthew Street, Suite 108
Goshen, NY 10924
Phone: (845) 294-2323

40 Gleneida Avenue
Carmel, NY 10512
Phone: (845) 808-1021

Two Blue Hill Plaza, PO Box 1575
Pearl River, NY 10965
Phone: (845) 735-7040

PO Box 1800
244 Fair Street
Kingston, NY 12402-1800
Phone: (845) 340-3000

148 Martine Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601
Phone: (914) 995-2000

15 Stone Castle Road, Rock Tavern, NY 12575
Phone: (845) 567-1213
120 Saw Mill Road, Hastings, NY 10706
Phone: (914) 231-9670


191 Main Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Phone: (845) 473-9000

3 Washington Center, 4th Floor
Newburgh, NY 12550
Phone: (845) 568-5090
18 Steward Avenue
Middletown, NY 10940

120 Bloomingdale Rd.
White Plains, NY 10605
Phone: (914) 995-3910

521 Boces Lane
Kingston, NY 12401
Phone: (845) 443-8066

50 North Street
Monticello, NY 12701
Phone: (845) 794-3340


290 Broadway
New York, NY 10007-1866
Phone: (212) 637-5000

200 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20210
Phone: 1 (866) 487-2365

401 New Karner Road, Suite 300
Albany, NY 12205-3809
Phone: (518) 464-4338

707 Westchester Avenue, # 209
White Plains, NY 10601
Phone: (914) 682-6712

26 Federal Plaza Suite 3108
New York, NY 10278
Phone: (212) 264-1450


625 Broadway
Albany, New York 12207
Phone: (518) 292-5100
regional office
33 Airport Center Drive, Suite 201
New Windsor, NY 12553
Phone: (845) 567-4882

625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233
Phone: : (518) 402-8044
regional office
21 South Putt Corners Road
New Paltz, NY 12561
Phone: (845) 256-3000
Fax: (845) 255-0714

Building 12 W.A. Harriman Campus
Albany, NY 12240
Phone: (518) 457-9000
50 Wolf Road
Albany, NY 12232
Phone: (518) 457-6195
regional office
4 Burnett Blvd.
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603
Phone: (845) 431-5700



County Executive’s Office
22 Market Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Phone (845) 486-2000


Orange County
Government Center
255 Main St.
Goshen, NY 10924
Phone: (845) 291-2700


Putnam County Office Building
40 Gleneida Avenue, 3rd Floor
Carmel, New York 10512
Phone: (845) 808-1001


Office of County Executive
11 New Hempstead Road
New City, NY 10956
Phone: (845) 638-5122


Sullivan County
Government Center
100 North Street, PO Box 5012
Monticello, NY 12701-5012
Phone: (845) 807-0450


244 Fair Street
Kingston, NY 12401
Phone: (845) 340-3800


900 Michaelian Building
148 Martine Avenue, Suite 408
White Plains, NY 10601
Phone: (914) 995-2900


ACM Association for Computing Machinery


ASQ ASQ Mid-Hudson Section 302

ASSE American Society of Safety Engineers
Hudson River Valley Chapter

HVOPEN HV Open (previously MHVLUG)
Open Technologies

HVP Hudson Valley Programmers

IEEE Mid-Hudson Section of the IEEE

MHCUG Mid-Hudson Computer User Group, Inc.

MHHRA Mid-Hudson Human Resource Association

MHVSHRM Mid-Hudson Valley Society for Human Resource Management

PMA Precision Metalforming Association of NY and NJ

PMI Project Management Institute

SME Society of Manufacturing Engineers

SWE Society of Women Engineers

WiM Women in Manufacturing


COI Podcasts

Manufacturing Career Stories





At HV Mfg, we believe careers in manufacturing are rewarding and fulfilling, and we know that each person working in our sector has a unique story. Some people grew up tinkering with things and working with their hands. Some grew up in the family business. Some wanted to invent things. And some – perhaps most – just stumbled into a good job at a good company.

Brenda Shaffer

For this edition, Council of Industry Vice President Johnnieanne Hansen caught up with Brenda Shaffer, Vice President of Selux Corporation to hear her story.

Over the next few editions of the HV Mfg, we hope to share some of these stories to highlight the fact that there is not one path to a career in manufacturing and that our sector is a welcome home for people with a wide range of backgrounds and interests.

JH: How did you get started at Selux?

BS: Prior to Selux, I was working as a production control manager at another company, but I didn’t enjoy the people or the work. Without another job lined up, I decided to make a move. I did some nonprofit work for about a year before this opportunity. I started as a receptionist; I was introduced to Selux through a friend who was working here. I took the job because it looked like a good place to get my foot in the door.

JH: You’ve been here for over 30 years – how have things changed?

BS: Yes, this is my 33rd year. When I started there were about 10 people. We only sold products through Staff Lighting, which is now Zumtobel. Staff Lighting would sell and market our products under their name. The phone wasn’t ringing, and I wasn’t comfortable sitting idle. I started getting involved in assisting the part time bookkeeper, purchasing, & engineering BOM’s, from there I started asking questions and going directly into the factory to help with customer or vendor calls. There was no computer system when I started so once we did get one, I was instrumental in the setup. For a period of time, we had no manager; it was just me and one employee overseeing the factory. I was always back there and, over time, opportunities presented themselves.

Selux separated from Staff Lighting in 1995 and started selling and marketing our own products around the country. We added more employees and I started managing quotes and customer service. Between 1995 and 2006, I was running the factory. In 2006 we hired a plant manager, and I took on other responsibilities in the organization. But I have gone back to assist the factory three or four times and am doing that currently. At this point we have about 130 employees. I still have my hands in so many different things and that is a part of my job that I really like.

Mitchell Dorn welding
Mitchell Dorn welding poles and columns.

JH: Tell me a little more about that. What are some of the things you currently do?

BS: I do a little bit of everything. I’m Vice President of Operations, which includes customer service, factory, safety, facilities maintenance, purchasing and what we call product definition control, which is the area that creates manufacturing BOM’s. So basically, managing what goes from order release to manufacturing.

JH: What do you find most rewarding?

BS: The Next Big Thing.

I am always looking for the next big thing. Whatever that is, it might be a process challenge, an IT opportunity, something to automate and make things easier or more efficient.

I’m very involved with the software and the processes of the factory. I was the project manager for a new ERP system in 2008. I implemented that project with a coworker who sat in my office and for six months, he and I talked about how it should be done and exactly what it should be doing. I always have my hands in manufacturing, even if I’m not doing the day-to-day scheduling and people management, I am working behind the scenes on continuous improvement.

Over the last two years, because of COVID, it’s been hard to chase the next big thing and that frustrates me. I only feel successful when we accomplish that next big improvement and then move on to another challenge.

JH: To execute the next big thing, you probably need strong relationships with colleagues or department leaders. How have you been able to build relationships that would help accomplish these goals?

BS: Yes, I have a very strong commitment to getting things done and I work with great people. Selux has a solid team that appreciates collaboration, so I focus on having the conversations, getting feedback and ideas from the team. If we’ve done the research and I’m confident in the project, we can implement the solution.

Damaris Paulsen
Damaris Paulsen working on an interior lighting fixture assembly.

JH: Are you just naturally inquisitive? It sounds like you are always looking for a better way to do things.

BS: Absolutely. I don’t let anything pass through without asking all the whys. We need to ask the questions. Why this? What then? How do you know? I ask questions until I get the information I need to get to the bottom, and then I start thinking about, how to move forward.

For example, while looking at our planning schedule I quickly learned that we were duplicating tasks that were consuming significant amounts of time and I had to find a way around it. I worked with our IT people, and we automated the process, now we have an intranet linked to our ERP, and all the factory employees receive key information much faster.

That’s how it evolves. I see things that need to get done, and I try to figure out ways to fix them and make them simpler. That has always been my approach to problem-solving and has fostered my career progression with Selux.

JH: I’m curious about your background, was there anything in your academic background that positioned you to be successful in this field?

BS: No, it wasn’t anything specific. When I was in high school, all my classes were in the morning, and I was working two jobs. I worked a job from twelve to four and another job from five to nine, every day of the week. One job was at Burger King, where I became a manager before I graduated from high school. I would travel from three different stores and at 18 I was managing multiple stores. It wasn’t my long-term plan, but the work needed to be done and if I was going to work there, I was going to do my best.

That’s what I tell people here, especially employees in the factory. If I have to come to a place and work there for 8 to 10 hours a day, I want to enjoy what I’m doing and do it to the best of my ability. If I’m not, why am I wasting my time? It’s just not in my DNA. Let’s find something that makes you happy!

JH: A couple of years ago, the Council wrote an article about the company. Can you tell me what Selux does in your own words?

BS: We are manufacturers of high-end architectural lighting. What that means today is different than what it meant five years ago. We’ve always been at the forefront of lighting. Selux came up with the linear lines of light, we started them first. Now, it seems like every other day there’s a new lighting company popping up. It is a constant challenge to stay ahead of the competition.

JH: How does Selux do that – stay ahead of the competition?

BS: We have to be innovative. We must approach the market with new ideas, be on the forefront of new technology and design products. Innovation is critical and our people are essential to creating an innovative culture.

Finished Lighting for packing
Finished exterior lighting product staged for packing.

JH: We know that business has changed because of the pandemic. How difficult has the last 20 months been for you?

BS: Fortunately for us, prior to the pandemic we put time into our processes, so our systems and equipment were ready to transition quickly. Within a week, the office staff was able to work from home without hesitation. No glitches and that was a big advantage and a big accomplishment.

Operationally the biggest challenge was the constant change. At first we were told to reduce staff by 25%, and then by 50%, the next day, it was by 75%. I was juggling schedules, trying to keep the factory floor informed and safe. In the end we were designated as an essential business and able to remain open. We ended up with three 8-hour shifts, five days a week to spread factory workers out, while office staff worked remotely.

JH: Would you say your workplace is back to normal?

BS: We are back to normal. Two factory shifts, four 10-hour days. Our office staff is expected to return to the office, but that’s a whole new challenge.

Prior to the pandemic we said, “these are your hours, you are expected to be on time.” But now, it’s different. Office staff is set up to work from home, so if someone has an afternoon obligation they can always clock in for a few hours in the evening.

We know that moving forward, the office environment needs to be more flexible. Employees may need to come in later or leave earlier to manage their outside responsibilities. If that is the case, they can put in extra hours in the evening or work from home part of the week. If we can create a winning culture for Selux and the employee, we will continue to be successful as an organization.

JH: It seems like you have more than a handful of things on your plate. How do you decide what is most urgent?

BS: That’s easy – focus on the customer first. Anything related to the customer is the most urgent. The factory is building products for the customer so that’s going to take precedence.

JH: Last question. What advice do you have for people considering a career in manufacturing?

BS: Find something you love to do and do it well. When you’re working, you want to get noticed for the right reasons, not the wrong reasons. That’s what’s going to help move you forward. Show up and do your best – people are going to see that.

There is a lot of opportunity at Selux. Come and join us!

JH: Thank you for sharing your story Brenda.

BS: Thank you for thinking of me.

Hudson Valley Community College

Putnam Precision

Future Workforce





Workforce Reimagined graphic

There is much currently being written about the labor shortage that is occurring and the natural tendency has been to blame generous Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for demotivating job applicants.

This explanation, perhaps, is overly simplistic as it doesn’t take into consideration that the labor shortage has been going on for quite a while in multiple sectors like manufacturing and health care. It also does not account for issues of childcare with remote learning, ongoing uncertainty concerning COVID-19 safety protocols, large numbers of workforce exits by retirees who were lingering in the workforce and career shifting by people who are taking the opportunity to change careers.

The reasons for the labor shortage are complex and it is far more productive for employers to implement new and creative strategies to develop an ongoing talent pipeline. The first step is to consider the following factors that can negatively affect a potential talent pool:

1. Housing costs in suburban and metropolitan areas force low-income individuals to live further away, making commutes expensive and time-consuming. If compensation for a job is at the lower range, consider how the workforce will afford to live in the area, navigate public transportation, or afford travel expenses such a maintaining a vehicle and paying for gas. Performing a reasonable compensation analysis will help you become more competitive.

2. Minimum qualification requirements: Many low- to average-paying job postings require a 4-year degree as a minimum requirement, when it’s not necessarily relevant to the daily tasks of the position or commensurate with the cost of obtaining a degree. It’s time to assess if this credential requirement is creating a disparate impact in your hiring practices. By lowering the minimum requirements for a job to a more realistic level and investing in training, an employer can greatly increase the pool of job applicants.

3. Childcare and transportation costs can act as a barrier to securing and maintaining a job. Old school thinking didn’t take these issues into consideration when employing someone as it was considered the employee’s personal problem if they wanted the job. Perhaps it’s time to be more flexible and creative by offering stipends as a recruiting and retention tool.

4. Is there a career track to promotions, training, and ultimately higher compensation? Employees are more willing to start at the low end of a career ladder if there is opportunity to grow with the company. A career development path provides motivated employees with an ongoing mechanism to enhance their skills and knowledge that can lead to lifelong skill development, promotions or transfers and increased confidence. Also introducing them to a prospective mentor is a great recruiting tool and company differentiator.

5. Expand the recruiting net to a diverse workforce. Employers who make accommodations in the workplace for employees with disabilities make the work culture more inclusive and better for everyone. For example: putting in a ramp makes your workplace accessible to someone in a wheelchair, but also a mom with a stroller, or a senior who can’t handle stairs, or someone injured on crutches. Rather than thinking of these accommodations as a cost, think of them as customer service. Additionally, Gen Z are on the lookout for these types of accommodations.

Hire Train Motivate Retain graphic

6. Workplace flexibility has been accelerated by the pandemic and the increase of people working remotely from home. The COVID-19 shutdown demonstrated that, in many cases it is possible to work efficiently from home. So while the workforce will be going back to the office, there is room for flexibility, especially when considering transportation and family caretaking issues.

7. Paying a liveable wage: The most expensive part of running a business for an employer is labor and the pressure to contain wages, benefits, and the number of workers is high. But this is at odds with the needs of the worker to have a livable wage. If the job has high turnover or goes unfilled it’s time to assess the job description and make sure the job is (1) still in alignment with business outcomes (2) the compensation is still competitive with the title, location, and industry.

Building and maintaining a talent pipeline in a tight job market is extremely challenging and requires creative tactics and the employers who are succeeding have made a long-term commitment to changing old paradigms. It is vital to a strong economy and the success of all. Lead on.

Allison Madison

Allison Madison is the President of Madison Approach Staffing, Inc. in Hawthorn, NY. Serving clients in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut Tri-State area.


Marshall and Sterling

Post-Pandemic Labor Market





The pandemic recession is currently going down in the books as the shortest in U.S. history. But that likely won’t stop it from leaving some scars, as this recession has also been one of the deepest in U.S. history. Nowhere is this more evident than in the labor market, where there are 5.3 million fewer jobs as of August 2021 relative to pre-crisis (-3.5%), despite the economy having recovered to just 1% pre-pandemic levels of output at the end of 2Q 2021. However, one of the surprising aspects of this recession is that in the wake of the pandemic, demand for labor is not the only factor impacting the trajectory of the recovery. Instead, labor supply has also been a key issue for firms, and shortages have been holding back production, particularly in the manufacturing industry.

Nonfarm Payroll By Industry table
Figure 1: Manufacturing remains the economy’s sixth-largest employer by industry Data as of August 30, 2021. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In our view, some of the constraints holding back labor supply should ease over time as virus and caregiving concerns are mitigated and expanded unemployment insurance benefits expire. But other factors, such as aging and accelerated retirements, are likely to be more persistent drags on labor supply that firms will need to adapt to in the future.


Manufacturing is one of the sectors of the U.S. economy that has turned traditional recession dynamics upside down. The manufacturing industry typically tends to suffer more acutely than the overall economy during recessions, as consumers cut spending on big-ticket items, particularly durable goods. The pandemic, however, induced the opposite reaction.

Consumers rushed out to purchase goods of all kinds—everything from appliances to exercise equipment to electronics—that allowed consumers to cook, exercise, work, and entertain themselves as they hunkered down at home due to virus concerns and restrictions. As a result, spending on goods overall is up 20% relative to pre-pandemic levels, in turn pushing up demand for workers at manufacturing firms that make these goods.

Job openings soared by 121% relative to pre-pandemic levels as of July 2021. Yet, employment in the industry is still down 3% as of August 2021. It is notable that, despite these losses, the industry retained its position as the economy’s sixth-largest employer by industry (Figure 1) and has bucked the typical recession trend, with employment in the industry fairing slightly better than the 3.5% overall loss in jobs across the economy.


Surveys of manufacturing firms highlight that a low supply of workers, rather than low demand for labor, is the key culprit holding back job growth, as well as production. Some of these labor supply issues are likely temporary and should ease over time as vaccinations and boosters continue to be distributed, as virus trends improve, and children return to in-person schooling. This, in turn, should support the return to the labor force of those workers who may have left because of concerns about the virus or due to child and other caregiving issues. The expiry of expanded unemployment insurance benefits across the remaining 25 states that had not already curtailed benefits as of September 6 and the fading impact of economic impact payments may also prompt some workers to return to work as savings cushions start to dwindle.

Reservation Wage Chart
Figure 2: Workers willing to accept slightly lower wage to return to work in July relative to March 2021 Data as of July 31, 2021. Sources: Macrobond, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Recent data hint at some progress toward workers coming back into the labor force. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s latest labor market survey noted that the share of individuals who reported searching for a job in the past four weeks increased to 24.0% in July 2021, up from 19.6% in March 2021. In addition, the survey reported a slight decline in the average reservation wage (lowest wage respondents would be willing to accept to take on a new job) as of July 2021 relative to March 2021 (Figure 2), driven by those with incomes of less than $60,000 (though the average reservation wage still remains elevated relative to pre-pandemic).

This suggests that workers may be more willing to re-enter the labor force relative to March, when the third round of fiscal stimulus checks was sent out, and unemployment insurance benefits were extended prior to the widespread distribution of the vaccine. Analysis from the Indeed Hiring Lab found similar results, with a notable increase in survey respondents actively searching for work as of July (to 31.6%, up from 24.4% in June), and with COVID fears receding sharply as a reason cited for non-urgent job searches. The quits rate of workers in the manufacturing industry (the share of workers voluntarily quitting jobs as a share of total employment) also ticked down slightly in July 2021, after hitting a record high in June. The rise of the Delta variant may stall these trends in the near term, but as virus trends settle, some of these constraints should continue to ease.


Other challenges, such as a drag on the labor force coming from accelerated pandemic-induced retirements, and aging workers more generally, may have longer-lasting impacts on firms’ abilities to rebuild their workforces even after temporary pandemic related effects fade. The Federal Reserve in its July 2021 Monetary Policy Report estimated that even without the pandemic, the aging of baby boomers would have contributed a 0.3 percentage point increase in the share of the population that is retired. However, their analysis found that in the wake of the pandemic, the share of the population that was not in the labor force and retired jumped by a significantly higher 1%, accounting for over half of the decrease in the labor force participation rate from February to May 2021.

Share of Workers chart
Figure 3: Manufacturing faces relatively older workforce compared to other industries Data as of December 31, 2020. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York survey noted earlier also reported that the average expected likelihood of working beyond age 62 moved from 51.9% down to 50.1%, between July 2020 and July 2021, the lowest since March 2014 (the start of the series). The trend toward accelerated retirement may have been spurred on by the increased vulnerability of older workers to the virus and more comfortable household balance sheets of retirees with exposure to housing and equity markets, both of which remained more buoyant during this recession relative to the Great Recession. These factors suggest that accelerated retirement may be a more permanent damper on the labor force and a challenge firms will have to contend with in finding the labor they need to for future growth.

This may pose challenges for the manufacturing industry in particular, given that it had already been struggling with shortages of labor even before the pandemic due to the aging and retirement of its baby boomer workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 25% of workers in the industry were above the age of 55 (compared to 24% for the overall economy) as of 2020, and the median age of workers in the industry is 44.6 (compared to 42.5 for the overall economy). This puts the industry roughly in the top percentile of industries with aging workers.


While the near-term outlook suggests firms will continue to have strong demand for workers given backlogs of orders that still need to be worked through as a result of lingering supply chain disruptions, the longer-term outlook also suggests demand for manufacturing workers will remain solid in a number of areas.

A trend toward increased investment in technology could be a silver lining of the pandemic.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projections of the pandemic’s net impact on manufacturing employment through 2029 is positive relative to its baseline pre-pandemic estimates in its moderate impact scenario (+0.6% from 2019 to 2029), though the projections turn slightly negative in its strong impact scenario (-0.1%) due to more pronounced downside impacts on manufacturing in the transportation industry (such as aircraft, ships, and boats). However, both scenarios are expected to boost manufacturing firms’ employment needs in areas like manufacturing of computer-related equipment (as a result of increased remote work), as well as pharmaceuticals and medicines (due to the need for future vaccines), by roughly 19%.

How might manufacturing firms respond to more persistent dynamics of increased demand for workers and a shrinking labor force due to aging? In the near term, firms may raise wages to attract and retain workers. Firms may increasingly turn to technology to work around labor shortages.

A June 2021 Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City manufacturing survey found that over 40% of firms had already invested, or planned to invest, in labor-saving automation strategies at a faster pace than in the past in order to address labor shortages. A trend toward increased investment in technology could be a silver lining of the pandemic, as it bodes well for the future of the industry in terms of improving productivity. These are themes we will be exploring more broadly in our upcoming Capital Markets Forecast to be released later this year on our website,, where you can find also find additional research insights.


Wilmington Trust is a registered service mark used in connection with various fiduciary and non-fiduciary services offered by certain subsidiaries of M&T Bank Corporation. This article is for informational purposes and is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the sale of any financial product or service.

1 Federal Reserve Bank of New York, SCE Labor Market Survey, July 2021

2 Indeed Hiring Lab, Job Search Survey, July 2021

3 Federal Reserve, Monetary Policy Report, July 2021

4 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, 2020

5 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment projections in a pandemic environment, February 2021

6 Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Manufacturing Survey, June 2021

Rhea Thomas

Rhea Thomas is a Senior Economist with Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors (WTIA). She holds a BA in Economics and International Studies from Yale University.

Armistead Mechanical

Belfor Property Restoration





family, dreams, and dedication

The Crepini Team
Crepini Executive team from left to right – Steve Sacchinelli (CFO), Eric Shkolnik (Executive Chairman & Co-Founder), Paula Rimer (CEO & Co-Founder), Yelitza Chavez (Food Safety and Quality Assurance Specialist), Lisa Shkolnik (CMO), Sam Shkolnik (CSO), Ari Shkolnik (COO), and Ann Daw (President).

Husband and wife duo Eric Shkolnik and Paula Rimer, respective Executive Chairman/COO and CEO of Crepini, were introduced to crêpes at a young age. Prior to meeting each other, they were both born in Russia and their families immigrated to the U.S. and settled in NYC. In America, Shkolnik and Rimer both pursued careers in IT and even launched a successful tech company together. All the while, neither of them could stop thinking about the crêpes of their childhood and their desire to introduce them to America.

Nearly two decades later, Shkolnik and Rimer finally decided to pursue their dream. Their product was called Crepini: a cross between the Russian Blini and the French Crêpe. Through extensive home based recipe testing, years of company development, and the grit and entrepreneurial spirit of their family, Shkolnik and Rimer now own one of the most successful businesses in the field.

The American Dream

The Crepini story entails much more than its product. The company has been a family effort from its inception and its founders continue to uphold the values of hard work and perseverance. Shkolnik and Rimer took a leap of faith in leaving their corporate careers to pursue their passion and launch the idea as their business. “We decided that we were going to bring the traditional crêpe to America,” says Rimer. “We just had the vision. And that’s how it was born,” she says.

Shkolnik and Rimer had no prior experience in the food industry and completely switched their career paths to focus on their vision. In 2007, the couple went all in to begin developing their take on the crêpe. With no contacts, no equipment, and no prior experience in the food or manufacturing industries, they began testing recipes in their tiny home kitchen and initially envisioned an ecommerce-only business. The couple took their process one step at a time to gradually build the brand. Shkolnik and Rimer rented shared space on weekdays out of a catering kitchen in Westchester, where they lived at the time. The couple hired some of the catering staff to work for their growing business. Crepini had its first employees. The company was beginning to establish itself and develop into an official business.

In 2008, they attended their first trade show, where several food retailers expressed interest in Crepini. Slowly but surely, Crepini gained traction. With a growing client base, Rimer and Shkolnik decided to move their operations into their first one-machine facility in Brooklyn, where they automated cooking processes and continued research and development. “The product received positive feedback,” says Shkolnik, “but we realized in order to produce and satisfy the growing customer base, we needed to automate.” The couple moved into a Brooklyn apartment to focus on the business. After striking a deal with NYC public schools, they found the business taking off. Soon enough, the young company had already outgrown the space. Shkolnik and Rimer relocated into a larger two-machine Brooklyn facility as distribution increased.

The Crepini Line
Crepini employee placing Grande Egg Wraps with Cauliflower into packaging machine.

Zero to Hero

After several years of increased success, Shkolnik and Rimer watched the business plateau. The company poured capital into equipment, emptying their savings accounts to invest in the business without reaching the next level. Rimer and Shkolnik needed a change in approach.

The couple’s son, Crepini’s Chief Sales Officer, Sam Shkolnik, had been working behind the scenes on company development. With experience at trade shows, he developed a relationship with Costco. The retailer took a liking to Crepini products, which were sold in stores. However, the crêpes were considered a dessert, as they were sweet at the time and not an everyday product. Costco asked Crepini to create a savory crêpe with egg white, spinach, and feta. Having never tested the product, Paula cooked up samples in her kitchen (“I was the R&D!” she jokes) while the company pondered how to make the product more versatile and American-ized without requiring such high quantities of cooked egg whites. Ten years after its inception, Crepini’s biggest revelation came in the form of a dream.

Eric Shkolnik awoke in the middle of the night after having a dream about cooking egg whites on a crêpe line. This one small idea, he explains, was exactly the clarity the business needed. He says, “This product took us from ‘zero’ to ‘hero’.” The couple realized they could create healthy, low-calorie egg wraps with no sugar and no carbs. The product was a hit. “It went from the same equipment, same people, same team, same company and instantly was an overnight success,” says Rimer. This idea built the foundation for today’s Crepini products.

The company continued product development and in September, 2019, Crepini moved from Brooklyn into its current 100,000 sq. ft. facility, located at iPark in Hopewell Junction, NY. The company makes one million Crepini each day. Crepini aims to make its products suitable for a wide range of clients, regardless of their diets. Today’s Crepini wraps are keto- and paleo-friendly, gluten-free and range from eight to 30 calories. Ari Shkolnik, Rimer and Eric Shkolnik’s other son, plays an integral role at Crepini. As Chief Information Officer, he manages the entire manufacturing plant and oversees all operations. Without the dedication of her two sons and their involvement in the company, Rimer emphasizes, Crepini would not be where it is today.

Crepini fishkill facility
Crepini’s East Fishkill production facility. The company plans to expand in 2021.

Crepini’s products underwent rigorous testing and correcting to achieve the perfect recipe. Rimer says everybody at the company reports to a higher authority: the consumer. Lisa Shkolnik, Chief Marketing Officer, emphasizes the role of consumer feedback in product development. “We get emails daily. As soon as we see there is a repetitive problem, we fix it,” she says. “We continually improve our packaging and there’s constant investment into new equipment.” The first rendition of the egg wrap contained wheat flour, which received complaints from consumers with Celiac’s disease. Crepini reworked its product to contain a gluten free flour blend instead.

The company offers egg wraps that come in two sizes, grande and petite. Currently, Crepini offers three varieties: egg wraps with cauliflower, gluten-free grains, and sweet potato and turmeric. These products are available in store, online, and wholesale.

Crepini’s products stand out against competitors for their thinness and versatility. Crepini are enjoyed any time of day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, a quick pick-me-up snack. They are ready-to-eat and can be made with either savory or sweet fillings.

The Family Dynamic

Today, Crepini has approximately 100 employees. The family-owned business highly values culture and ensuring employee satisfaction. Some Crepini employees even moved to Dutchess County when the company relocated from Brooklyn. “Many of the people who started with us are still here today,” says Rimer. “When we began, Crepini was fortunate to hire and nurture the best talent.” Sam Shkolnik explains employee success and growth at the company is a standout. “Almost everyone who’s in their position today didn’t have experience in what they do now,” he says. We really learned this manufacturing process together without any real experience. We’re a super collaborative team and we really help each other out.”

Crepini weight check
Crepini employee verifying weight of wrap stack before packaging.

Eric Shkolnik is a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program. It was there that he learned the importance of company culture. “We help out moms with their kids. Employees have a place for their dogs to stay,” he says. One of Shkolnik and Rimer’s favorite routines is lunchtime. “Every day in the office we have lunch together. We talk to our employees, whether it’s family or business or something funny or something tragic. We’re all at the same level at the table.”

The company adheres to an open door policy and encourages communication in the workplace. “We have amazing employees,” says Rimer. “The pinnacle of our success is our culture and our family. Our employees are like family to us.”

Building the Future

Crepini just began leasing an additional 61,000 sq. ft. of space in the iPark warehouse to accommodate the company’s growth. The space is undergoing massive renovations to make room for increased production space. With expansion comes the need to hire additional employees. “Everybody at Crepini gets a chance to move up,” Shkolnik says. Everyone came from the ground up. We want people to bring ideas and innovation.”

With technological advancements in manufacturing, Crepini will look to integrate automation into more of its processes. However, Shkolnik and Rimer emphasize the importance of their people and value talent over technology. “Food safety, consumers, family, culture: they are the purpose behind what we do here,” says Rimer. Crepini holds a Global Food Safety Initiative Certification and received the Think Dutchess Large Business of the Year award in 2020. “We report to a much higher authority, the consumer,” Rimer says. “Our number one priority is public health and safety.”

Crepini quality check
Crepini employee checking for quality before moving on to be labeled.

Crepini wraps are sold in grocery stores including Walmart, Aldi, Publix, Costco, Sprouts and soon, Kroger, to name a few. Crepini has an international presence with products available in Canada, Japan, and the Middle East. Next year, the company will launch in Mexico. The team is working towards selling products in Taiwan, South Korea, and China. Crepini’s success has spread across the world and it only anticipates an upward trajectory.

With Crepini already outgrowing its current facility, Shkolnik and Rimer reflect on how quickly the company has grown since moving upstate. By next year, Crepini will produce two million crêpes on ten production lines, doubling its current production number. “We entered with so much enthusiasm and that entrepreneurial spirit of never giving up and always persevering no matter what,” Shkolnik says. “We never imagined it would take only two years to get to this point,” Rimer says. “It’s a dream come true.”

Taylor Dowd

Taylor Dowd is Communications Coordinator at the Council of Industry. She is a journalism graduate of SUNY New Paltz.

Fair Rite

Cleaner Future




Zero Emission Electric Sector Targets graphic

Central Hudson Gas & Electric, as a founding member of the Council of Industry when it was formed in 1910, has long been a supporter of our local manufacturing sector. At that time the nation was about 30 years into a transformation with the advent of electric power generation. In 1884, Thomas Edison built the Montgomery Street Station, one of the world’s earliest central electric generators, in Newburgh. Today, Central Hudson still maintains an electric substation at this location. So much has changed since then but what was true in 1910 remains true today; that our customers, including local manufacturing companies, require reliable, affordable energy each and every day. This is especially true for our region’s industrial and manufacturing sector that continues to play an integral role in the regional economy.

New York State is, once again, in the midst of one of the most ambitious energy transitions in the country. The 2019 landmark law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) calls for dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through a variety of policy measures. Among them is providing 70 percent of the state’s electric needs through renewable resources by 2030; and producing zero emission electric generation by 2040. The law also specifies the technologies to be used, with established levels required for solar and wind generating capacities as well as battery storage.

Central Hudson supports a pragmatic approach toward achieving a low-carbon energy system and is making substantial investments in the local energy infrastructure to facilitate renewable resources, enhance system efficiency and improve storm resilience.

One of the reasons businesses choose to call the Hudson Valley home is because of the abundant and reliable energy resources available to them. As we’ve seen, the absence of reliable power can have devastating effects. Recent events in California and Texas have demonstrated what can happen when our energy system is unable to meet the needs and demands of its customers, from a loss of commerce to, more importantly, loss of life.

Energy Production Pie Chart

The need for reliable service will only increase as more and more elements of daily life are electrified. New York State’s goals require moving substantial portions of our transportation and building heating systems, which together contribute nearly 70 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in New York State, to be powered by electricity. This evolution will require significant investment by electric utilities in the electric grid and by consumers and businesses in new end use equipment.

Renewable sources like solar and wind are clean, but intermittent, dependent on sunlight and wind. Today’s battery storage systems offer only several hours of power, and then must be recharged. In other words, there is a gap between today’s technology and their ability to meet environmental goals while ensuring continuous, reliable power.

In order to bridge this gap, it is imperative that policymakers keep an open mind to emerging technologies and resources while avoiding the pitfalls of selecting an overly prescriptive approach. Already we are seeing promising advances in the use of hydrogen and renewable natural gas. Starting next year, the Cricket Valley Energy Center in Dover Plains will begin a pilot test of blending hydrogen with natural gas for the purposes of power generation. In many cases, these zero greenhouse gas emitting resources can be transported through the existing natural gas pipeline system, significantly reducing the financial impact of an energy transition by leveraging existing infrastructure.

In addition to reliable service, it is critically important that we successfully reduce emissions at the lowest-possible cost to our customers. Within Central Hudson’s service territory, energy efficiency programs offer the most cost-effective way to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, with an annualized cost of approximately $0.01-$0.02 per kWh. This makes energy efficiency programs 80-90 percent less costly than renewable energy.

NYS Clean Energy Initiatives table graphic

Central Hudson offers incentives on a variety of energy efficient equipment for commercial and industrial customers. Programs provide incentives and rebates toward energy efficient interior and exterior lighting, heating and cooling equipment, kitchen equipment, building controls and custom measures that allow for more unique equipment to be considered. Central Hudson’s energy efficiency incentives are designed to help end users afford to upgrade their old or failing equipment to high-efficient, energy saving technologies.

Initiatives like our energy efficient programs are funded by New York’s utility customers. In fact, customers are financially supporting all of the programs linked to achieving the state’s clean energy goals. In 2020 alone, Central Hudson customers paid $69 million, or approximately 10 percent of the average residential bill, toward New York’s clean energy initiatives. Of this, Central Hudson’s commercial and industrial customers contributed more than $33 million. These costs are only expected to grow as utility-scale offshore wind and other projects begin development.

Renewable Energy graphic

Just as the introduction of electric power generation revolutionized the way we live and work, this next transition is likely to be transformational as well. Central Hudson believes renewable energy sources will play major and critical roles during this energy transition. We also believe an approach that encourages energy efficiency programs coupled with the use of multiple, diverse and complementary solutions that allows for evolving technology provides the best pathway toward the ambitious targets outlined in the CLCPA. Central Hudson recognizes the need to transition to a low emissions energy system as quickly as possible, but we must also do so in a way that protects the environment while providing the businesses and industries that have powered New York’s economy the opportunity to thrive.

For more information and to view Central Hudson’s report Powering the Path to a Cleaner Future, visit www.CentralHudson. com/my-energy/our-energy-future/powering-the-path/; for more information on energy efficiency programs that can help lower utility bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, visit

Anthony Campagiorni

Anthony S. Campagiorni, Vice President, Customer Services & Gas Operations for Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.

Ametek Careers

Walden Environmental


Join the Council of Industry

Focusing on Manufacturing


Westchester County | BY TAYLOR DOWD


David Matera
Bantam Tools’ David Matera is visually inspecting a plate.

In 2021, skilled laborers are some of the most sought-after applicants in the manufacturing sector. With a major skills gap across the county and countless businesses suffering from the impact of the pandemic, manufacturers find that hiring qualified talent is more important than ever before. Westchester County is stepping up to address this issue headon to benefit both employers and employees.

The Westchester County Office of Economic Development has formed initiatives to expand the local manufacturing sector and prepare potential talent for careers in the industry. In January, with help from the Council of Industry, it established an advanced manufacturing task force to focus on expanding jobs and introducing local manufacturers to talent.

The pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs in place across Westchester County will help stimulate economic growth and fill open entry-level manufacturing positions. According to the New York State Department of Labor’s 2018 statistics, the manufacturing sector pays an average annual wage of $105,703 in Westchester, the fifth highest of ranked industries for the county. It reported the average annual employment in the county’s manufacturing was 12,984 hires.

“Advanced manufacturing is an in-demand industry in Westchester County that offers high wages. The goal of this pre-apprenticeship program will help build a pool of qualified applicants for employers to tap into which will ultimately improve productivity, profitability and competitiveness,” says Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “This program is ideal for individuals with limited to no prior knowledge of manufacturing to begin their career path. We want to give people living in this county an open door for advancement.”

The county’s newest endeavor is the advanced manufacturing pre-apprenticeship program, whose focus is building a pipeline of candidates suitable for employment at local manufacturing companies. The program will launch its first cohort in November 2021.

“People can have a fantastic career in manufacturing,” says Bridget Gibbons, Director, Economic Development Westchester County, who is the lead partner on the program. “After the pandemic people are leaving certain industries and finding opportunities that suit their skills. There’s a clear career path in this sector.”

The pre-apprenticeship program will offer Certified Production Technician (CPT) 4.0 certification through the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) to those who successfully complete assessments. The program offers individual certificate assessments in the following areas: Safety, Quality Practices & Measurement, Manufacturing Processes & Production, Maintenance Awareness, Green Production (Not part of Full CPT Certification). Certificates will be presented to individuals who “demonstrate mastery of the foundational, core competencies of advanced manufacturing production at the entry-level to front-line supervisor,” according to MSSC. Ideal program candidates will be those with limited to no experience in manufacturing.

Candidates who receive a certificate of completion will be ready to be employed by any manufacturer as an apprentice through the Council of Industry’s apprentice program. These apprenticeships vary in length from 16 months to four years in trades including CNC machinist, toolmaker, maintenance mechanic, industrial manufacturing technician, and more. This allows for a seamless transition from pre-apprenticeship to apprenticeship. “The key issue for manufacturers in Westchester is that they cannot hire people because there’s not a pipeline of talent. This makes it hard for businesses to grow,” Gibbons says. “My hope is that the whole sector begins to blossom and we can recruit more employees for the advanced manufacturing ecosystem.”

Bore Micrometer
Bore Micrometer

Westchester Community College (WCC) is partnering with Westchester County Office of Economic Development and coordinating with the Council of Industry to develop the pre-apprenticeship program. Instructors from the college will be teaching courses, many of whom are experienced professionals in the manufacturing sector. The college will offer a hands-on, immersive manufacturing experience for those in the pre-apprenticeship program.

Additionally, WCC offers a National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) program for those with limited to no experience in the industry. The three-course program spans 189 total hours of instruction, which runs at least once per year. Courses offered include Introduction to Manufacturing, Advanced Manufacturing: CNC Milling Operator, and Advanced Manufacturing: CNC Turning Operator. Students who successfully complete the courses can test for and receive four certifications from the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS). It typically takes less than a year to complete.

Non-degree seeking students have opportunities in short-term workforce development in manufacturing at WCC. Those looking to further their education can explore degree opportunities, including Mechanical Technology A.A.S.

“WCC has something for any stakeholder in the advanced manufacturing sector. If you’re looking to get into a sector that provides you with a sustainable, living wage, advanced manufacturing is the way to go,” says Charles McGinnis, Assistant Dean, Workforce Development at WCC. “The college can provide the training you need to get into those career building fields.”

The college works through the SUNY Apprenticeship Grant Program to help defray costs and provide tuition assistance for students. With grant initiatives, select students who meet criteria could have the entire program cost covered. Employers also benefit from the program, receiving tax credits of as much as $4,000 per year per worker, enrolled as an apprentice. Even short-term workforce programs offer financial assistance.

The pre-apprenticeship program will allow the college to assist local manufacturers in providing a pool of prospective employees and on-the-job training for candidates. McGinnis anticipates success in the pre-apprenticeship program and looks to fulfill the needs of both students and local manufacturers. “We want local manufacturers to help inform our direction on what we provide and what we offer,” he says. “It’s a robust program of study opportunity in a growing field that provides a career opportunity.”

Christian Meyer
Bantam Tools’ apprentice Christian Meyer reaching for a gauge.

Council of Industry member and advanced manufacturer Bantam Tools in Peekskill, NY, has worked alongside the Westchester County Office of Economic Development and WCC. The company enrolled in the Council of Industry’s apprenticeship program in May to develop budding talent and create an internal pipeline. Today, three apprentices are working side-by-side with a mentor to learn the ins and outs of CNC milling, the company’s specialty.

Ron Lorentzen, General Manager at Bantam Tools, explains the success of the program. “We have taken some young, very capable, well minded individuals and selected them to address the skills gap and create homegrown talent,” he says. “The apprentices are very engaged.”

Lorenzten explains education is a part of the company’s “DNA.” Bantam manufactures desktop CNC mills commonly used in schools’ STEM programs and now, it looks to teach apprentices and expand knowledge of CNC to local manufacturers. “As an organization, we’re very involved in partnering with people like the Council of Industry and trying to educate people on what manufacturing is all about.”

Bantam chose its apprentices from an internal pool of employees, focusing on those who display exceptional work ethic, attention to detail, and quality of work. Lorentzen says one employee had only been working for several weeks before being selected as an apprentice. Choosing internal candidates helps reduce turnover and equips apprentices with the skills they need to succeed in Bantam.

Christian Meyer is currently an apprentice at Bantam learning the trade of CNC Machinist. Meyer started his apprenticeship with specific career goals but no prior experience. “Bantam Tools was the group that opened their doors for me to develop the desired skill set that I was seeking,” he says. “They understand the goals that I’ve set in place and are supportive of their apprentice’s navigation through the program.”

Meyer explains there are two areas of the apprenticeship –on-thejob experience and related instruction– that require fulfillment to complete the program. Meyer completes on-the-job requirements by completing daily operations with his mentor. Related instruction has helped him excel in the work environment through curricular engagement.

Looking ahead, Meyer plans to grow with the company as he expands his knowledge of the trade each day. He considers the program a personal investment that will allow him to become a machinist. “My best suggestion is to be passionate about the trade you are pursuing and approach it with a high level of dedication,” he says. “Your future self not only depends on your commitment to the program but will be appreciative of all the opportunities drawn to you following.”

In the future, Lorentzen anticipates expanding the program and taking on more apprentices. He notes the significance of work ethic and team player mentality at Bantam. “As we develop and release more products there will be higher demand for the skillset. We’re a team of people reaching a common goal together,” he says. “The apprentices of today will be the mentors of tomorrow.”

With a changing economy and more open positions in manufacturing than ever, teaching and hiring new talent will prove essential to the sector. As partners, Westchester County, WCC, Bantam Tools, and the Council of Industry anticipate growth in the industry and aim to educate others on the benefits of a career in manufacturing.

To learn more about the Pre-Apprenticeship program, email:
If you’re a prospective student or a company looking to partner with WCC, contact: Charles McGinnis

Taylor DowdTaylor Dowd is Communications Coordinator at the Council of Industry. She is a journalism graduate of SUNY New Paltz.

Westchester Catalyst

Sun Common




With Industry Leaders


HV Mfg asked the manufacturing community to recommend a book, article, or podcast that impacted them personally or professionally.

Kris Young

Kristine Young – President, SUNY Orange

The Title: Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do

The Authors: Studs Turkel

A Brief Summary: This seminal nonfiction book is a collection of stories of real people describing their real jobs and their real thoughts about their jobs and the world and lives connected to those jobs during the early 1970s.

In What Ways Did You Find It Valuable or Impactful: I’ll forever be grateful for having been assigned this book as an 18-year old, first-year college student in the early 1990s, as it shaped my view of the working world and the people in it. I remember reading and re-reading sections over and over again, staggered by the lack of dignity with which some humans treated others as they worked.

I was astounded by the mundane nature of work which some individuals tolerated in order to win a paycheck for their survival and the survival of their families. I immediately felt the privilege of being a residential college student being cared for by cafeteria workers, custodians, and others and resolved to earnestly talk with and learn from these employees just as I would my professors.

These years later, Mr. Turkel’s work is deeply baked into the way I approach workforce development as a community college president. I feel we must always keep in mind the dignity and rich humanness of the workforce we seek to develop in our communities, and be ready to learn from those we seek to develop. As we design curriculum and learning experiences, Studs is right there with me.

Working: Studs Terkel

Alan Seidman

Alan Seidman – President Construction Contractors Association

The Title: Killing Crazy Horse

The Authors: Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

A Brief Summary: Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard chronicle the history of our country’s founding and expansion, on lands that were already populated by Native Americans. From General Andrew Jackson’s brutal battles with the Creek Nation to President James Monroe’s epic “sea to shining sea” policy to President Martin Van Buren’s cruel enforcement of a “treaty” that forced the Cherokee Nation out of their homelands along what would be called the Trail of Tears.

Readers go behind the legends that many of us were taught in school to reveal little known historical moments in the fascinating creation story of America.

In What Ways Did You Find It Valuable or Impactful: This book provides a graphic description of how our country was geographically enlarged through violence, imprisonment, and murder. All of which were fully authorized and endorsed by the American Government of the time.

I can’t help but compare this story with how my own ancestors fled Eastern Europe in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They came to this country to flee the same type of violence and massacre as the American Government committed upon the Native Americans.

In this time of increasing social action, the crimes committed against Native Americans should not be overlooked.

Killing Crazy Horse

Donald Hahn

Donald Hahn – Sales Manager Ignition Life Solutions

The Title: Traction

The Author: Gino Wickman

A Brief Summary: A well written account of pitfalls causing business enterprises to stall or fail. Traction looks at the six primary pillars of any enterprise and discusses the reasons companies fail and what they can do to sustain improvement. There have been many strategic planning and innovation books written, but none have come close to the practical applications discussed in Traction.

The premise is that all company’s grow as they are beset by challenges and opportunity. Virtually every company reaches a point where their processes seem to falter, market conditions impact their profitability, or they are unable to scale to keep up with demand. Gino Wickman discusses that there are six primary pillars of a business: your ability to align and focus your team using standard KPI’s; well documented processes; frequent and consistent feedback; attracting and developing great talent; aligned to a common purpose; and passion, are the building blocks of all successful companies.

In What Ways Did You Find It Valuable or Impactful: This book provides the best opportunity to instill a healthy, change-ready organization as it applies many of the principles found in ISO, Six Sigma, and Operational Excellence to transform a company in about six months. This is Michael Gerber’s Emyth; Simon Sinek’s Begin With Why; and Jim Collins’ Good to Great all wrapped up in a simple straight-forward system designed to raise the bar. I have trained in strategy and innovation and change management and growth for over 20 years and this is the only tool you need to adopt. SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD and EFFECTIVE.


Steve Pomeroy

Stephen Pomeroy – President Schatz Bearing

The Title: How to Survive a Pandemic

The Author: Michael Greger, MD

A Brief Summary: The author provides a history of human viruses, an explanation of the origin of pandemics, current practices that puts us at risk for the next pandemic, ways to be prepared, and steps to take to prevent future pandemics.

In What Ways Did You Find It Valuable or Impactful: First of all, I appreciate that we’re all tired of hearing about COVID-19. We all want to go back to our normal lives. I get it and I’m with you.

However, it would be a mistake if the only takeaways from the last couple of years are that we can develop vaccines quickly and have disaster preparedness plans ready to go when needed. It would also be a mistake to think that it will be 100 years until something like this happens again or that COVID-19 is as bad as it could get. Although a small portion of this book is devoted to preparing for a pandemic, this is not a “prepper” book. It also doesn’t focus on who is responsible for COVID-19.

The book gives a fascinating history of the common threads in the origins of human viruses. The best way to avoid repeating history is to understand it. Even if you’re convinced that COVID-19 came from a lab in Wuhan, an intentional or accidental release from a lab isn’t the only way or even the most likely way the next pandemic will start. The best way to avoid being harmed by the next pandemic is to prevent it from happening in the first place. This book makes the case that the global community, including the U.S., needs to make some changes or it will just be a matter of time before history repeats itself.

How To Survive A Pandemic

Harold King

Harold King – President, Council of Industry

The Title: The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous.

The Author: Joseph Henrich

A Brief Summary: The WEIRDest People in the World is an example of “big history.” Similar to Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (which I also enjoyed) it draws on a wide variety of data–including creative empirical research (e.g., studies of which United Nations delegations were most likely to pay New York parking tickets despite having diplomatic immunity) – to post a provocative explanation for major historical developments.

A cornerstone of Heinrich’s theory is that the Catholic Church’s marriage policy in the middle ages that, among other things, limited cousin marriage and banned polygamy broke down clan based cultures and led to more community-based, cooperative cultures. The “WEIRD” from this title is an acronym meaning “Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic,” as well a reminder that people from these societies are psychologically different from most of the world, and from most humans throughout history.

In What Ways Did You Find It Valuable or Impactful: On a macro level, as we begin to face the challenges of a post pandemic world – a world that at once seems both more collaborative and more confrontational – I found this study of the origins of “Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic” societies to be a valuable tool to help understand what makes people different – and the same. Henrich goes to great lengths to say that WEIRD psychology is different, not better or worse, but different. Understanding and bridging those differences will be essential if we are to address the global economic, health, and climate challenges we are facing.

On a more personal level, and perhaps this is an indication of my own biases, I appreciated the author unraveling the historical events that led to nearly universal literacy and what we now call “work ethic.” WEIRD Societies are far from ideal, but, and these are my thoughts, not the authors, they have brought great freedom and prosperity to the people who live in them.

The Weirdest People In The World

Neil McGill

Neil McGill – Director of Operations, Allendale Machine Systems

The Title: Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

The Author: Simon Sinek

A Brief Summary: Sinek starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over? People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with WHY. They realized that people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it.

Start With Why shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way – and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.

In What Ways Did You Find It Valuable or Impactful: After reading the book and discussing it in a leadership group that I am part of, it really had me thinking about why Allendale does what it does. When I started talking about this with my leadership team it made us realize that if we concentrate on the WHY we could create a company that was more impactful to our employees and customers.

As I read other leadership and business books I find that they all revolve around the idea of WHY, they just present it in their own way.

Start With Why

Steven Effron

Steven Effron – President, Effron Products

The Title: The Spy and the Traitor – The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War

The Author: Ben Macintyre

A Brief Summary: This nonfiction thriller shares the story of Oleg Gordievsky, a Soviet KGB agent who rose through the ranks of the Soviet spy agency from the late 1960s through the mid-1980s. Gordievsky secretly starts working for the British and provides key information that foils Soviet plots, exposed their spies, and ultimately avoided global thermonuclear war between the US and the USSR. Macintyre’s biography is full of intrigue, incredibly fast paced, and contains an absolutely thrilling escape story.

In What Ways Did You Find It Valuable or Impactful: One of the key takeaways from The Spy and Traitor was to see the amount of time, patience, intelligence, and sophistication of the spy tradecraft, especially in the way that British agents worked to cultivate Gordievsky after he became disillusioned with the Soviet Union. I was equally fascinated reading Agent Sonya, another book written by Ben Macintyre. Agent Sonya profiled a Soviet agent who lived in England and provided key nuclear intelligence to the Soviets after WW2.

A key theme of this book is the understanding that sometimes there can be misconceptions about intentions and it is critical to make sure that you have a comprehensive understanding of your opponent’s (or business partner’s) perception of your message. Without this connectivity and information, there is a likelihood to go down a path of escalation or deterioration of a relationship. This book brought reminders of key lessons in patience while trying to find reliable sources of information. I found this to be especially relevant to today’s international relations between the US, Russia, and the UK.

The Spy and the Traitor

Susan Dean

Susan Dean – Director of Operations, NY Metro, McKesson Corporation

The Title: Multipliers – How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

The Author: Liz Wiseman with Greg McKeown

A Brief Summary: Have you ever wondered what it is about some managers that you love to work for while others you dread? Wonder no more! The leaders that you love to work for are defined as Multipliers – leaders who empower and are able to motivate workers to achieve their best. Opposite Multipliers are Diminishers. They are those leaders who are self-focused and may have difficulty motivating their team. As highlighted in the book, the ability of Multipliers to empower their team typically results in their ability to do more with less.

The Five Disciplines of Multipliers as outlined in the book are to (1) Attract and optimize talent, (2) Require people’s best thinking, (3) Extend challenges, (4) Debate decisions, and (5) Instill accountability.

In What Ways Did You Find It Valuable or Impactful: I have worked for 3 leaders during my career that have challenged me to do my best work. Reading and learning about Multipliers helped me to gain an additional perspective of why these leaders are so good in their ability to empower their teams. This understanding is helpful in the journey to great leadership!


Chris Rodrigue

Chris Rodrigue – Director of Operations, Ametek Rotron

The Title: Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation

The Author: James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones

A Brief Summary: “Lean Thinking” is a term first used by James Womack and Daniel Jones to describe their study of the Toyota Production System and the concepts that allowed Toyota to grow into the company it is today. Utilizing an organizations most valuable resource, its people, Lean Principles can be deployed through tools like Value Stream Mapping and Kaizen to improve value as it relates to the organization, its employees, and customers. Womack and Jones explore these tools and put together a framework for Continuous Improvement that is applicable to any business sector. Lean Practitioners often refer to Lean Thinking as the Lean Bible.

In What Ways Did You Find It Valuable or Impactful: Early in my career I was trying to set myself apart from others in a competitive job market. At the time, I was reading anything I could get my hands on to differentiate myself.

Lean Thinking was one of the books I picked up and immediately gravitated toward the teachings and philosophy. I felt as though I had unlocked a secret formula that if applied correctly, could help any organization become more competitive it their market segment.

Over the years I have been fortunate enough to work in and deploy Lean tools in Government, Health Care, and Manufacturing. While at first glance one may ask, what do they all have in common? Many would say nothing. However, they are all made up of process steps and customers that define value. Once this is understood, lean tools can help in reducing the non-value-added steps and maximizing the ones the customer is willing to pay for. Lean Thinking has shown me the symbiotic relationship between an organization, its employees, and its customers. If done correctly, all three will benefit from “Lean Thinking”. I surely have.

Lean Thinking

Arnoff Global Logistics




Good Chemistry



John Malmgreen, Vice President of Manufacturing & Quality, Eastern Alloys | With HV Mfg Staff

Good Chemistry

HV Mfg travelled to Maybrook, Orange County, to sit down with John Malmgreen, Vice President of Manufacturing and Quality at Eastern Alloys. We spoke with John about the challenges and opportunities facing Eastern Alloys – and the manufacturing sector in general – as well as the career path he took to his current position and his thoughts on management and leadership. We also got a thorough chemistry lesson focused on the properties of zinc and aluminum alloys – a lesson that left us fascinated and wishing we had paid a bit more attention in high school chemistry class.

John Malmgreen with ingots
John Malmgreen next to jumbo ingots used in the galvanizing industry.

HV Mfg: Thanks for doing this. Let me jump right in. Where are you from and how did you get started in the manufacturing sector?

JM: Well, I grew up in Brooklyn. And as far as manufacturing goes – I’m not exactly sure how that happened! When I grew up there was never any discussion or exposure to industry either in my home or at my school. My father worked as a mechanic in the Brooklyn shipyards and after he married my mom he worked as a building superintendent while my mom was a bookkeeper/secretary for a printer. There just was no discussion about manufacturing, although I spent time with my father doing maintenance work in the building.

Later, when I was in the last years of high school and early years of college, my father became a partner in an auto salvage yard where I got great experience taking parts out of cars and seeing how they worked literally from the ground up. I suppose that these experiences would later help me when I did go into industry. However, I was a pretty good student and teaching seemed like a good profession for me so that is the direction I headed in.

My first job out of college was as a science and math teacher at a Catholic center for young women addicted to drugs. Father Daniel Egan – famously known as the “Junkie Priest” – hired me to teach math and science at New Hope Manor at Graymoor. Father Egan didn’t want the girls who were recovering to fall behind in their studies while they were at the center, so he hired a few teachers to keep them at grade level.

I taught all different levels and disciplines – the girls were all different ages. It was like a one room schoolhouse. It was very challenging. After a year or so I took a job as a ninth-grade science teacher in Monticello. I worked there about a year. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. I think I expected the kids to be more self-motivated. And, then realized that teaching as a profession was not for me. I decided to start looking for something different, something more in line with my interest in science and chemistry.

I found a job with International Nickel at the research facility in Sterling Forest as a chemical technician practicing wet chemistry.

HV Mfg: Let me back up a bit, where did you go to college?

JM: I graduated from Hunter College, part of the City University of New York in Manhattan. I graduated in 1973.

HV Mfg: So, your first job in manufacturing was with International Nickel? And what exactly is wet chemistry?

JM: Yes, that was my first job in manufacturing. Wet chemistry is generally done, as the name implies, in the liquid phase, it is basically what you think of when you think of chemistry, test tubes, beakers, and burets on a bench being carefully measured and mixed together. Think of Sherlock Holmes at work in his lab in an old movie. In my position at International Nickel, I was using these methods to determine the purity of metals and the composition of novel alloys that were being developed.

Wet chemistry is really labor intensive but, I really liked the job and learned a lot. I also learned that I was good at it and while working at International Nickel I was able to get my master’s degree in chemistry from Farleigh Dickenson in New Jersey.

HV Mfg: Was there anyone at International Nickel who helped you along this path?

JM: Yes, absolutely. Bob Liu was my boss and ran the Wet lab in Sterling Forest for International Nickel. He was brilliant. So knowledgeable and experienced. No matter what we needed to test for he always knew the answer. “Mix this, add that, then this, wait 2 days then add this and test for that.” He was always right, and my only challenge was to try to remember or write down all the steps and later understand what chemical reactions were involved. I like to think that some of that knowledge rubbed off on me.

HV Mfg: How did you end up at Eastern Alloys?

JM: I had hit a bit of a dead end at International Nickel. I was working as a lab tech there and once I finished my master’s degree I was looking for something a bit more challenging. I answered an ad for a Chemist/Process Engineer here at Eastern Alloys. I came up to Maybrook to interview, and when I met Mr. Bauer, I knew it was a good fit. That was in 1978 and I have been here in a variety of roles ever since.

Eastern Alloys parts
Example of just a few of the things that are made from zinc die casting alloys. There are two blender bases; large and small electrical connector fittings; hardware (utility knife and door handle). Decorative useful items – belt buckle and clip; smaller items (miniature castings) are the striker and burner tube for butane lighters.

HV Mfg: We have had the pleasure of meeting Richard Bauer.

JM: Then you know that he is a great man and brilliant metallurgist, also great to work for. Eastern Alloys has been a leader in the zinc alloys industry for more than half a century and Dick, and now his son (also a metallurgist) and granddaughter, are the reason for that. They are very committed to – not just their employees and their customers, but also the zinc alloy industry as a whole. They, we, firmly believe that if we lift the industry, we will lift up Eastern Alloys.

HV Mfg: Now may be a good time for you to tell us about Eastern Alloys and the Industry. What do you make? How is it used? Who are your customers?

JM: “Eastern Alloys manufactures world-class zinc alloys for the die casting, foundry, and steel coating industries.” That is what the website says. It is pretty concise. But let me go a little deeper. Diecasting is a very efficient way to mass produce metal parts. Basically, you force liquid metal into a mold to make a part. It is used to make complex shapes, parts can be mass produced very precisely, and die cast parts are also very durable.

Some of our customers make tools, hardware, parts for the auto industry, and many more. You need to select the right metal for die casting a part to work. It needs to have the right strength and the right melting point. It needs to flow a certain way. Zinc, in some combination with other metals, is almost always the right choice.

Zinc alloys are also used to protect metals from corrosion. Steel will not corrode as quickly when covered with a zinc coating, even when a scratch or cut exposes the steel to air or moisture. The zinc coating will always tarnish and corrode first because zinc is more electronegative (more reactive) than steel and therefore provides cathodic protection.

Eastern Alloys’ customers depend on us to know about zinc die casting and zinc alloys for coating metals to help them succeed.

HV Mfg: Do you work with customers to help them find solutions? Do you develop your own solutions?

JM: Yes, and yes. We have some technical salespeople who are very knowledgeable about our alloys and capabilities, so if a customer is having challenges with a part or wants to improve its properties, we will work with them to find a solution.

We also are always working to improve the quality and versatility of our metals so that die casting is a more economical and practical manufacturing solution. I mentioned earlier that we are committed to the industry. That means finding ways to keep costs down and quality and productivity up for our customers.

HV Mfg: We can see why quality is so important and that determining the quality of your product is largely a chemical process. Is it still a very labor-intensive process?

JM: Quality is the core of our business and no, it is not as labor intensive in 2021 – there have been huge technological advances since my wet chemistry days – but we still rely heavily on smart, reliable people to run tests, calibrate equipment, and to interpret and document results.

Tests that used to take days to run now can be done in minutes. We use spark-atomic emission testing. We take a sample of our metal alloy and the machine fires a high voltage spark into the metal to create an energized cloud of atoms. The light emitted is measured to determine the various materials in the metal. Each element has a unique pattern of emission lines. By picking the right line and measuring the amount of “light” (typically UV), you can determine the concentration of the element. This is done simultaneously for each of the metal elements of interest.

The machine does a lot of work quickly, but it is only as accurate as we calibrate it, so we have strict procedures and benchmarks to keep it accurate.

torching zinc ingots
Torch used to dry and preheat raw materials.

HV Mfg: You were hired as a Quality and Process Engineer and are now Vice President of Manufacturing and Quality. Were there any other titles along the way? What has changed in 43 years?

JM: I had the title of plant manager for big chunk of that time as well.

A lot has changed… and at the same time a lot remains the same. Technology has changed. We are way more efficient and productive than we were in the past because of technological improvements. We produce more here with fewer people. The quality and variety of our products have also changed and improved over time. The industry has changed, both ours and our customers. We used to, for example, sell much more to firms that made parts for the auto industry but as fuel efficiency became more important heavy die cast parts have been replaced by lighter materials.

On the other hand, we see opportunities in the EV market. What is the same is that I really like what I do and the people I do it with. The Bauer family’s commitment to the company and the industry is the same as it was when I first came on board in 1978. We are still focused on the customer, and I am sure that will not will change long after I leave.

HV Mfg: We understand that may be soon, that you are phasing out of the job – heading toward retirement. Is that the case?

JM: Yes, that is true. I am down to 3 days per week now and intend to be on a lighter schedule soon. I am developing my replacements. Andre Santa will be the Director of Quality and Kent Findley will be the Plant Manager.

What makes a good leader? Effectively communicating and setting clear expectations.

HV Mfg: Tell us about your leadership style and what do you think makes a good leader?

JM: I guess my style comes from my teaching days. I try to provide our team with all the information and tools they need to do the job and then trust them to do it. I try to communicate expectations and, for the most part, I am not disappointed. Of course, it is easy when you have a team like mine that are eager, willing, and motivated.

As far as what makes a good leader, I guess it is just that. Effectively communicating and setting clear expectations.

HV Mfg: Are there any mentors you had who helped you become an effective leader? Anyone from history you admire?

JM: I am sure there are historical examples, but none jump out at me today. I would like to again mention Richard Bauer. His commitment to the company, its customers and employees has been something I have tried to emulate during my time here.

John Malmgreen and Andre Santos
John Malmgreen and Andre Santa in front of zinc alloy in our standard ingot shape. The ingots are packaged into bundles that can weigh over 2,300 pounds.

HV Mfg: What are some of the Challenges and Opportunities facing Eastern Alloys?

JM: As far as the challenges, the number one current issue is getting material. It’s hard to source metals and even harder and more expensive to get them trucked here. Longer term challenges are customers seeking cheaper solutions off-shore – die casting has been trending that way for years.

As for opportunities, I think we can continue to find new applications for zinc. It is not a particularly sexy metal, however is has some very useful properties and can be very competitive with plastics in many applications. In fact, we have developed a proprietary alloy that we have been marketing for several years. It is strong and can also be cast in very thin sections to make light but strong components.

HV Mfg: Any particular challenges being located in New York State?

JM: Energy costs are a challenge – it takes a lot of energy to melt metal – even zinc and aluminum. Trucking costs are high, and taxes and regulations are costly as well. We have a plant in Kentucky, so it is easy to compare the cost side of the business. At least relative to Kentucky, New York is expensive.

HV Mfg: You served as Chairman of the Council of Industry Board of Directors and have sat on our Board for more than a few years. How has Council membership been beneficial to you and Eastern Alloys?

JM: I have found being connected to other manufacturers in the region to be very helpful. It is a great network. We have also had several people complete the Certificate in Manufacturing leadership and that has been very valuable.

We also buy our energy through the Council’s buying consortium and that has saved us a lot of money and time through the years.

HV Mfg: Thank you very much for your time – we really enjoyed the interview and the chemistry lesson.

JM: My pleasure, thank you for the opportunity.

visit Balchem

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Central Hudson: Make Ready

Mfg Challenges and Solutions



Are We There Yet?

business risk chart image

As we close out summer 2021, and the vacations, road trips, and family adventures come to a close before heading back to school, we may have all heard once or twice “Are We There Yet?”. It’s so common we often joke with our kids about it even if they’re well past the age of needing 3 DVDs to make it across the state anymore. Even the purpose of our summer trips changes over time when kids need more college visits than trips to Space Mountain. The journeys and destinations change, but there is always a human need to know we are getting closer to that next milestone.

My journey in manufacturing consulting over the past year has been no different with countless clients and partners all trying to navigate the current landscape of operating in the middle of a global pandemic and searching for a “new” normal. From Buffalo to Hudson Valley, the stories have been both eerily similar and, in some cases, remarkably unique. How organizations have learned to adapt and grow since March of 2020 has been the main indicator of pandemic survival and success.

While no one can really knows the answer to “Are we there yet?” with respect to the “end” of the impacts of the pandemic, the truth is that it may not matter when it comes to successfully navigating your next set of manufacturing or service challenges. Most customers now, while empathetic with the supply chain impacts and other forces generated by this new normal, have unmovable needs of their own, and “but…COVID-19…” isn’t really the force majeure it used to be 12 months ago.

So, how did the strong survive and flourish? What lessons did so many small and medium sized manufacturers have to learn on the fly when the world changed so many months ago? Well, the first step for many was to learn to focus the collective energy on customer needs and do whatever was necessary to ship product and maintain cash flow. In most cases throughout 2020, this allowed companies to survive but usually under great stress while trying to maintain pandemic safety and distancing for employees and dealing with erratic customer and supply chain inputs.

In these conditions, support functions, certification programs, and improvement projects almost universally took a back seat for those most impacted by the pandemic. Many of the best “survivors” had these strong support functions in place ahead of time and then made specific choices to prioritize them even when it seemed impossible or too costly in the short term. Specifically, the processes Human Resources, Mechanical Maintenance, and Information Technology became key indicators for many organizations of how well they would fare during these ongoing challenges.

Perhaps the most impacted support function during these pandemic times has been Human Resources. The range of new material and topics, as rules changed seemed endless from NYS and other regulatory bodies, was immense. Implementation of new safety measures was a new full-time job and keeping employees and their families safe took on new meaning. We all needed new mechanisms for onboarding, facility ingress and egress, training, and on the job protections. CEOs and COOs everywhere suddenly relied on somewhat underappreciated groups to keep the doors open legally and safely, and keep those machines running! What a challenge! So many places rose to the test and even improved their processes to recognize gaps in resources, required skills, and cross training to continually adjust to this ongoing pandemic requirement.

plant a tree

As the saying goes, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second-best time is now.”

Mechanical Maintenance was also another important support function that gained a new perspective on value during the pandemic. With labor availability immediately impacted by the pandemic, there could be no time lost for a machine to be down while people were available. The priority for planning and creatively scheduling machine downtime to coordinate with labor became much more impactful under near emergency conditions and limited employee availability. Many preventive maintenance programs at our small and medium size manufacturers suddenly had much more influence on production schedules and became a great area to invest in and expand.

Of these three support processes mentioned, Information Technology had the unique position of having the potential to have very high risks in terms of cost and functionality, but also the highest reward in terms of impact and productivity. Sub-performing IT systems were still costly during a pandemic and did not facilitate employees working from home or allow enough access to company data or shop floor requirements. The best systems on the other hand, transitioned seamlessly from office to remote work and allowed management and technical staff to troubleshoot production problems real time, coordinate countless meetings and action items, and communicate well with customers and vendors. Industry 4.0 was not another catch phrase for these success stories; it became their new way of life!

But that really doesn’t tell the whole story. It was invaluable to have these support processes when the pandemic hit, but staggeringly difficult to implement after. Investing and prioritizing in these support functions was often only possible because of the presence of a larger management system and the proactive assessment of risk in the organization. Very few organizations had “global pandemic” on their list of company risks. However, many knew how to respond to risk or rapid changes from the outside world and had processes in place to address resource needs, customer schedule changes and supply chain issues to mitigate the potential negative results.

All currently certified companies to ISO:9001 2015 or similar already had risk mitigation plans in place that even at a minimum, provided a jumping off point for tackling a new, significant unknown. Their management systems had already been prepared for risk, with a methodology to assess, rank, and take action on the most vital issues, pandemic or otherwise. Many could quickly decide what they needed to keep as their core business and where they could offload unnecessary activities, or even subcontract tasks where they did not have a core competency.

But like many of you, I find myself asking “Are we there yet?” as in are we done with the pandemic? Can we breathe a little easier yet? Can I sleep tonight with my supply chain in shambles? Can we just be done with this pandemic grind? Well, maybe not, but the best organizations going forward are the ones that were on the right track before all of this started.

As the saying goes, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second-best time is now”. But no matter when they start, these organizations empower their people not only to do the right thing for the customer every day, but also to speak up objectively about risk and ask questions that move the company forward. What is our core competence? Did we move closer to that or further away during the pandemic? How can we utilize all of the pieces in the organization in the best way possible? Where do we objectively need help? These focused thoughts and questions will be great component to any successful organization, regardless of where the next big risk comes from.

Ben Kujawinski Ignition LifeBen Kujawinski is Principal at Ignition Life Solutions, having served the manufacturing community across NYS in roles ranging from test engineering to vice president for over 20 years. Currently focusing on customer successes in quality management systems, operational excellence, and change management.

Manufacturing News Briefs 2021 Fall


New Rules, Regulation and Legislation

The Manufacturing Economy

Empire State Manufacturing Survey:
Growth “at a Swift Pace”

Business activity grew at a swift pace in New York State, according to firms responding to the September 2021 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index climbed sixteen points to 34.3. New orders, shipments, and unfilled orders all increased substantially. Looking ahead, firms remained very optimistic that conditions would improve over the next six months, and capital spending and technology spending plans increased markedly.

• The index for number of employees rose eight points to 20.5.

• The average workweek index increased fifteen points to 24.3, pointing to str ong gains in employment and hours worked.

• The prices paid index held steady at 75.7.

• The prices received index edged up two points to 47.8, mar king its third consecutive record high.

• The new orders index rose nineteen points to 33.7.

• The shipments index shot up twenty-three points to 26.9, indicating str ong growth in both orders and shipments.

• The unfilled orders index rose to 20.9.

• The delivery times index moved up to a record high of 36.5, indicating significantly longer deliv ery times.

Producer Inflation Accelerated in August to a Record 8.3% from a Year Ago

The producer price index rose 0.7% for the month, above the 0.6% Dow Jones estimate, though below the 1% increase in July. On a year-over-year basis, the gauge rose 8.3%, which is the biggest annual increase since records have been kept going back to November 2010. That came following a 7.8% move higher in July, which also set a record. Excluding food, energy, and trade services, final demand prices increased 0.3% for the month, below the 0.5% Dow Jones estimate. Still, that left core PPI up 6.3% from a year ago, also the largest record increase for data going back to August 2014.

NAM Survey: Manufacturing Optimism Cools from Record Highs – Supply Chain, Labor Force Biggest Concerns

On NAM’s Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the third quarter of 2021, 52% of surveyed companies said their business outlook is “somewhat positive,” while an additional 36% said they are “very positive.” In all, 88% of respondents said conditions are at least somewhat positive, down only slightly from June’s 90.1%. Based on the results, NAM set its manufacturing outlook index to 58.4%.

On a list of business challenges, 86.4% of surveyed companies said they were having trouble with increased raw material costs, and more than 90% of respondents said they expected those prices to continue climbing. Eighty percent of companies said they were having trouble attracting and retaining a quality workforce, even as 68.2% said they expected to increase full-time employment. Workforce shortages were seen by 81.5% of respondents as the biggest risk to the current economic outlook.

Industrial Production Now Beats Pre-Pandemic Levels

The Fed’s latest report, issued September 15, shows industrial production in August hit 101.6% of average monthly production in 2017. The latest figure is 5.9 percentage points better than 12 months ago and 0.3 points better than February 2020, the last month unaffected by COVID-19.

Manufacturing production rose by 0.2 points, 5.9 points better than 12 months ago and 1.0 point above its February 2020 level. Production of motor vehicles increased in August as the seasonally adjusted annual rate rose to 9.53 million units, up from July’s annualized rate of 9.31 million trucks and automobiles and the 2020 average of 8.82 million.

Shortages Constrict U.S. Economy

A shortage of basic goods across the manufacturing sector is snarling supply chains and causing headaches for companies nationwide. Supply chains have become clogged as many manufacturers try to build up their stock, even as traffic jams in ports in China and near Los Angeles slow transit and shipping, prices have risen. Some suppliers in Asia have refused to build out additional capacity to address a rising demand for products and materials, out of concern that the increase may only be temporary.

The shortages are making it difficult for buyers to source materials that used to be easy to get. Manufacturers are stuck with mostly finished products as they wait for slow-to-arrive components, and the uncertainty and scarcity have caused prices to rise. Rising prices have led to fears that sustained inflation could last longer than previously anticipated.

Interest Rates May Rise Sooner Than Expected, Fed Indicates

The Federal Reserve signaled it could start reversing its pandemic stimulus programs in November and could raise interest rates next year. The Fed’s rate-setting committee revised its post meeting statement to say that it could start to reduce, or taper, its $120 billion in monthly asset purchases as soon as its next scheduled meeting, Nov. 2-3.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell added that officials generally agreed at their meeting that “a gradual tapering process that concludes around the middle of next year is likely to be appropriate.” New projections released at the end of the Fed’s two-day policy meeting showed half of 18 officials expect to raise interest rates by the end of 2022. In June, just seven officials anticipated that. Meanwhile the Fed lowered its forecast for GDP growth in America this year to 5.9% while raising its inflation forecast to 4.2%.

Natural-Gas Prices Surge, and Winter Is Still Months Away

Natural-gas prices have surged, prompting worries about winter shortages and forecasts for the most expensive fuel since frackers flooded the market more than a decade ago. U.S. natural-gas futures ended September 24 at $5.105 per million British thermal units. They were about half that six months ago and have leapt 17% this month.


NAM Launches Grassroots “Manufacturers United”

With major policy issues coming to a head this fall in Washington, the National Association of Manufacturers this week launched Manufacturers United–a new digital platform to power the industry’s grassroots advocacy. “What’s at stake, fast facts and useful statistics, how to take action–it’s all there to help individual manufacturers find information and act on it to create an impact,” said NAM Assistant Vice President of Advocacy Michael O’Brien.

Research shows that persistent, sustained advocacy is incredibly important–and that outreach from individual constituents has the most impact, especially when policymakers are undecided on an issue. Manufacturers United unleashes the power of manufacturers who have been interested in advocacy but haven’t known where to start.

Tax Increases Would Cost a Million Jobs

Corporate tax hikes and other tax reform rollbacks under consideration could lead to 1 million fewer jobs in the first two years, according to a new study conducted by Rice University economists for the NAM.

Economists John W. Diamond and George R. Zodrow calculated the effects of increasing the corporate tax rate to 28%, increasing the top marginal tax rate, repealing the 20% passthrough deduction, eliminating certain expensing provisions and more. The researchers found that these changes would cause large negative effects for the economy. The worst of these would include:

• 1 million jobs lost in the first two years.

• By 2023, GDP would be down by $117 billion, by $190 billion in 2026 and by $119 billion in 2031.

• Ordinary capital, or investments in equipment and structures, would be $80 billion less in 2023 and $83 billion and $66 billion less in 2026 and 2031, respectively.

Environmental Safety and Health

New York State HERO Act Activated –
Safety Plans Required

On Sept. 6, 2021, Gov. Kathy Hochul directed the NYS Commissioner of Health to designate COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health. The designation is official and available on the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) website.

Now that such a designation has been made, employers are required to implement or “activate” their Plans. The Standard also outlines specific details regarding implementation of the airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans when there is a designated outbreak.

This includes immediately reviewing their current plan, updating the plan to incorporate current information, guidance and any mandatory requirements as necessary or appropriate, and finalizing and promptly activating the plan. It also includes a “verbal review” requirement, distribution of the plans, posting a copy of the plan and ensuring that a copy of the plan is accessible to employees during all work shifts. OSHA Proposes HazCom Standard Changes.

New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, (CLCPA) Takes Shape

The CLCPA planning process is well underway and includes a work group dedicated to assessing impacts on, and proposing mitigation measures for, “energy intensive trade exposed” (EITE) industry. The state has yet to adopt a specific definition of EITE sectors but based on factors including the percentage of production costs attributed to energy and the share of sales attributed to exports, it has focused on several industry sectors, including paper, chemicals, cement and metals production, semiconductor production, and pharma and food production. The state expects that these sectors account for the majority of all in-state industrial GHG emissions.

Importantly, the CLCPA planning process has determined that emissions from the entire manufacturing sector are already below the 2030 target of 60% of 1990 emission levels. Even so, the EITE work group has discussed a target of an additional six percent emission reduction for the industrial sector by 2030, to be met primarily through energy efficiency measures and fuel/energy substitution (including “decarbonization” of the electric power sector, which will reduce emissions attributed to industrial electricity consumption), “allowing more time for innovation to meet the 2050 goals.”

President Biden Mandates Vaccines for Employees of Firms with 100 or More Employees

Mr. Biden ordered the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to issue a rule requiring firms with 100 employees or more to mandate vaccinations for their workforces, with weekly testing for those who opt out. OSHA may take time to promulgate its directive, but opponents are already staking out their ground: several Republican governors have vowed to take legal action.

The Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on vaccine requirements. But plaintiffs have sued successfully to scuttle other public-health measures from the Biden administration. In August the Supreme Court invalidated a moratorium on evictions issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And in July a federal appeals court rejected restrictions imposed by the CDC on cruise ships. Both rulings demonstrated the willingness of the judiciary to narrow the government’s public-health authority.

Labor, Employment and Workforce Development

889,000 Manufacturing Openings in July:
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Of the 10.9 million job openings in the United States in July 889,000 were in the manufacturing sector. Up from 880,000 in June and 402,000 a year ago. Of the those 481,000 were in durable goods and 408,000 in non-durable goods.

There were a total of 441,000 hires in the sector in July, down from 483,000 in June and up from 362,000 a year ago. Total separations were 423,000 in July down from 427,000 in June and up from 378,000 a year ago.

Meet the Workers Gaming Remote Work with Multiple Jobs

A small, dedicated group of white-collar workers, in industries from tech to banking to insurance, say they have found a way to double their pay: Work two full-time remote jobs. Of course, they don’t tell anyone and, for the most part, don’t do too much work, either. Alone in their home offices, they toggle between two laptops. They play “Tetris” with their calendars, trying to dodge endless meetings. Sometimes they log on to two meetings at once. They use paid time off – in some cases, unlimited – to juggle the occasional big project or ramp up at a new gig.

Many say they don’t work more than 40 hours a week for both jobs combined. They don’t apologize for taking advantage of a system they feel has taken advantage of them.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Expire

Nearly 18 months after Congress came to the rescue of jobless Americans, its historic expansion of the nation’s unemployment benefits system expired nationwide September 6th. Lawmakers, who extended the three pandemic programs in December and March, are not expected to extend them again. A key component of the relief effort was a federal weekly supplement for out-of-work Americans. Initially, the jobless received a $600-a-week boost from April through July of 2020. Congress then revived the enhancement in late December but reduced it to $300 a week.

Lawmakers also created two other measures to aid the jobless when the coronavirus struck. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program provided payments for freelancers, the self-employed, independent contractors and certain people affected by the outbreak, while the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program extended payments for those who’ve exhausted their regular state benefits. President Biden said last month that states can use federal relief funds to extend the programs beyond Labor Day, but so far none have said they will do so.

MIAP Apprenticeship Program

The New York State Manufacturers Alliance – of which the Council of Industry is a founding member – has created a New York State Manufacturers Intermediary Apprenticeship Program (MIAP). Administered in the Hudson Valley by the Council of Industry MIAP is an employer-led public-private program for registered apprentices in manufacturing occupations.

This apprenticeship has two basic elements. The first, On-the-Job Training (OJT), consists of a seasoned employee, craft person capable and willing to share their experience with an apprentice, in a hands-on manner. The second, Related Instruction (RI), consists of learning more theoretical or knowledge-based aspects of a craft. This registered apprentice program will typically be 16 months to four years in duration.


Machinist (CNC)

Electro-Mechanical Technician Maintenance Mechanic (Automatic Equipment) Quality Assurance Auditor Toolmaker

Industrial Manufacturing Technician (Introductory Trade)

Creators Wanted – Manufacturing Institute’s New Workforce Campaign

creators wanted students

The NAM and The Manufacturing Institute unveiled their Creators Wanted experience this summer in Dallas, previewing it for the NAM’s Executive Committee as well as local business leaders, workforce development officials and the media. Visitors got an exclusive look at this “mobile manufacturing experience” that will soon embark on a tour around the country, showing Americans what modern manufacturing is all about.

The tour allows you to experience the creativity of manufacturing firsthand and up-close. In the gamified experience, participants work as a team to solve a series of immersive challenges, requiring their full attention to think and compete. As they move through each obstacle, teams will learn more about modern manufacturing careers, the skills required to be successful and how people and technology work together.

visit Ulster Savings

visit Orange Packaging

Board Chair Letter


Rich Croce
Rich Croce
Chairman of the Board of Council of Industry, and President of Viking Industries
The most striking thing to happen to all of us in the last year and a half was being alone. Quarantine was a word that took on a much more powerful meaning. Many felt lost and helpless. For the members of the Council of Industry we found a place to be together and not be alone. Together we helped each other provide a safe work environment for our thousands of employees. Together we reminded everyone of the products we make that are often taken for granted. Together we look to the future as the members of the Council of Industry build their businesses stronger than before.

Most of us entered the Spring of 2020 wondering how to respond to a virus and constantly changing guidelines. Family businesses were unable to turn to the previous generations or other mentors and ask, “How did you deal with this when it happened to you?” No one had dealt with this in the last hundred years. The Council of Industry was there to help distribute and decipher the information that was coming in fast and furious with their COVID daily briefing. Members connected to assure each other we were not alone. We shared best practices and learned from each other at 21st century speed. Our employees and their families are thankful we had each other and an association like this to help plot a course through a difficult year.

2020 provided us a new definition of what it meant to be essential. Shopping for toilet paper was less about price and choice and all about availability. Personal protective equipment like masks and gloves became a daily necessity. Our members pivoted to provide critical items to our community quickly and affordably. Never was it more important to have a supply chain of materials close to where the community needed them. The perception of our factories changed to facilities providing critically needed items with the help of technology. Their Staff, families and children will speak of them with pride at their great contributions of lifting our communities out of this pandemic.

The togetherness and unity I have felt in the last 18 months with the Council of Industry members fills me with such hope for the future. With all the challenges we faced, the Council was there to provide connection, resources and advocacy to ensure we would be able to open our doors, safely, tomorrow and the next day. We have new challenges today, and the Council is here to guide us through them. We will have different challenges tomorrow and I know the members will come together to help each other again. The value of membership in the Council of Industry has never been higher than it is right now. Manufacturing is essential and the Council allows us to speak with a common, powerful voice to ensure the community understands just how essential we are.

I would like to conclude by thanking Harold and Johnnieanne for all they did and continue to do to help the organizations, leaders and staff at all of the member companies. I would also like to thank all the leaders of other organizations who have helped me during the past year and will be there for me should I need help again. Just like those who have helped me, I will be sure to be available to anyone out there who thinks I may be able to help them. We are not alone and never have been. We have each other and always will.


Chairman of the Board

Presidents Letter

Post: Oct. 15, 2021


Welcome to the Fall 2021 Edition of HV Mfg

Harold King
Harold King

Putting this magazine together every 6 months provides an opportunity to reflect on the issues of the day – noting how much things change – and how much they don’t. This semi-annual exercise was particularly interesting this year. COVID-19, regulatory policy, the labor market, inflation, supply chain, vaccines… the Governor of New York… all seem quite different than they were in April. At the same time, many seem very much the same. In this edition of HV Mfg, we examine some of the issues facing manufacturers in the region and we leave it up to you – dear reader – to decide what has changed and what remains unchanged.

Among our stories is a profile of Crepini, a rapidly growing family-owned manufacturer of healthy crêpes and wraps by Taylor Dowd. Johnnieanne Hansen interviews Brenda Shaffer whose career path within Selux Corp. has taken her from an entry-level admin to Vice President. Central Hudson’s Anthony Campagiorni writes on New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and the need to ensure the reliability of the grid as we move toward a carbon free future. Wilmington Trust economist Rhea Thomas provides a macro look at the labor market to help shed some light and perspective on the workforce crisis we are all facing. Ignition’s Ben Kujawinski offers some lessons from companies that successfully navigated the early stages of the pandemic. We learn how Westchester County is upping its workforce game by supporting the Council of Industry’s Apprentice program. Eastern Alloys’ John Malmgreen is the subject of our Leader profile. John’s passion for chemistry and his low-key leadership style have helped Eastern Alloys become a leader in their industry.

Also in this edition is our Manufacturers Resource Guide. The resource guide provides key contacts at agencies, organizations, and schools that offer support to Hudson Valley manufacturers. We have our news briefs and several of our members and friends provide reviews and recommendations on books they have found impactful or interesting as well. Council of Industry Board Chair and President of Viking Industries Richard Croce provides a member’s perspective on the pandemic and the role the Council of Industry played in support of manufactures. His heartfelt words are much appreciated by myself and our team.

Finally, a sincere thank you to all the advertisers in this edition. Their support helps The Council of Industry spread the important message that Manufacturing is “essential” to the region, the state, and the nation.

Harold King
Council of Industry


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