PETALUMA -- The first North Bay Manufacturing Trade Fair and Jobs Expo, held on Feb. 20 at the Sequoia Business Center, attracted more than 340 attendees, including 100 high school students and dozens of candidates looking for jobs.
[caption id="attachment_69753" align="alignright" width="350"] Dick Herman (left), president of 101MFG, Patrick Harper, manufacturing manager with Agilent Technologies and keynote speaker along with Gene Russell, president and CEO of Manex, passed the football as each spoke to the 340 attendees at the Manufacturing Trade Fair.[/caption]
“By any measure this half-day session was a success,” said Dick Herman, president and founder of 101MFG (101mfg.com).
“We had 41 manufacturer exhibitors from the region, and some came from as far away as Auburn, Fremont, Lake Forest, San Leandro and Willits to showcase their growing businesses and to seek qualified candidates," he said. "Most of the exhibitors outside of the North Bay do business with local firms in our area.”
More than half of the exhibitors present -- 25 of the 41, or 61 percent -- have jobs waiting to be filled right now, and others plan to ramp hiring activities during the year ahead.
Keynote speaker Patrick Harper, manufacturing manager for Agilent Technologies in Santa Rosa, said that while his firm’s recruitment program has leveled off, one third of Agilent’s employees are expected to retire in five years and another third will do the same ten years from now.
He said his firm has to keep looking down the road for qualified future candidates coming from technical training programs, such as those developed by 101MFG and its partners.
“Our goal is to create California’s next great manufacturing center in the North Bay with a world class supply chain, a great labor force at all levels, and the ability to make key improvements in order to compete in a world market,” Mr. Herman said.
[caption id="attachment_69754" align="alignleft" width="350"] More than 100 high school students visited various exhibits to learn more about manufacturing and technical job opportunities at the Manufacturing Trade Fair on Feb. 20.[/caption]
He announced a new strategic partnership with the Corporation for Manufacturing Excellence, better known as Manex, to assist 101MFG in consulting with small to medium-size firms on issues such as onshoring vs. offshoring, lean manufacturing techniques, reducing time-to-market and increasing overall sustainability -- when it comes to labor, water, energy and capital -- as well as how to plan the best use of space and other critical subjects.
Mr. Herman said this partnership, launched Jan. 10, has a well-defined market plan targeting 300 California firms engaged in fabrication, machine tooling as well as small parts and component production.
He said this partnership fills a void of expertise crucial for the manufacturing industry. It focuses on bringing best practices to businesses and enhancing R&D functions using lessons learned by the nation’s top centers of excellence by giving these firms access to techniques that develop and sustain continuous improvement.
[caption id="attachment_69755" align="alignleft" width="350"] SPT Small Precision Tools, based in Petaluma, was one of 70 small- to medium-sized manufacturers at the trade fair.[/caption]
“We will begin by setting expectations designed to upgrade operational performance, with follow up sessions and measurements after six months to gauge results,” Mr. Herman said. “One of the big opportunities for almost all manufacturers involves eliminating non-value added steps.”