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PRESS-REPUBLICAN in partnership with

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 • Plattsburgh, NY 12901

A look into

manufacturing in the North Country

Photo by Kayla Breen

Old Clinton County Airport becoming hub for manufacturing businesses Legislature Chairman Harry McManus hopes trend of development will continue after his departure. BY BEN WATSON Press-Republican

With growth expected, Pactiv seeks workers Upgrade to boost production line at Plattsburgh location By McKENZIE DELISLE Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — Filling the remaining 10 to 15 full-time slots at the local Pactiv operation hasn’t PLATTSBURGH — Since Clinton County moved the county airport to the old Plattsburgh Air Force Base, been easy. the old airport property has begun to become a hub for manufacturers in the North Country. Aside from The Development Corporation and Champlain Valley Educational Services both having presences there, Norsk Titanium and Monaghan Medical are both working on plant projects there. The hard push to add manufacturing plant locations and job opportunities on the old 600-plus acre patch of land was a focus for Harry McManus (D-Area 1, Champlain) as he entered his final year as chairman of the Clinton County Legislature, with him wanting to continue the progress that prior legislators had started there.

Plant Manager Lary Divine said the 74 Weed St. facility has room enough for 128 workers, but isn’t to capacity yet. “It might be shocking to hear, but out of every 10 employees that we interview and we move to the next level and give an offer to, only about 2 of those employees stay,” Divine said.

“I was the beneficiary of that when I came in,” he said of the vacant property. “I get calls from (former The plant operates under a 12-hour-shift model and legislators) periodically saying, ‘This is what we envisioned happening.’’’ most new hires get assigned the overnight block. As of July 30, a statement from Fort Schuyler Management Corporation, the construction company in “It’s tough to find that person that’s OK with both charge of the project, said that the new Norsk Titanium facility being built on the property was deemed of those things, working 12 hours and it being ahead of schedule with the move-in and installation of machinery scheduled for early this month. overnight,” Divine said. Also on July 30, medical manufacturer Monaghan Medical broke ground on a $10 million, 80,000 squarefoot plant project at the location.

But scheduling hasn’t been the facility’s only staffing roadblock, the plant manager said many applicants also fail the standard drug test.

The Norsk location is expected to create over 380 jobs in the next 10 years once it is up and running the Fort Schuyler statement added, while the new Monaghan location is slated to create over 100 jobs, Deputy “We’ve had our challenges,” he said. County Administrator Rodney Brown said. Now, though, with almost all of the frontage on Industrial Boulevard, which runs along the edge of the airport property, sold, the focus is shifting toward making the rest of the property readily developable.


Pactiv Corporation falls under the Reynolds Group Holdings Limited umbrella alongside brand names “We’ll be showing people lots that are shovel-ready as opposed to showing them an old airport,” McManus like Reynolds Wrap and Hefty. said. To help achieve this, the County Legislature recently applied for a federal grant from the Economic Development Agency.

The manufacturer operates some 40 plants across North America, including its 166,000-square-foot campus in the City of Plattsburgh.

See AIRPORT, Page 6

Teens explore local manufacturing sector North Country Manufacturing Day highlights area industry, jobs. SEE PAGE 2

See PACTIV, Page 8

Being hired to hire ETS matches the employee to the employer SEE PAGE 5

Airport development grant awarded Clinton County to get $1.5 million it hoped for to spur development. SEE PAGE 6


North Country Manufacturing

‘Training you for tomorrow’

Institute for Advanced Manufacturing offers degree programs, workforce development.

Young Blood

we can.”



Matthew Snide has always been interested in mechanics, but when he graduated from NCCS in 2016, his first career step was toward Border Patrol, studying Criminal Justice at CV-TECH. But after his first year of college, Snide decided Criminal Justice wasn’t the right degree for him, and entered the Mechanical Technology program at Clinton Community College.

IAM Technology Lab Coordinator Matthew Snide initially decided to get a mechanical technology degree as a PLATTSBURGH — Everything back-up degree for a customs and law on the Institute for Advanced enforcement career. Manufacturing’s floor at Clinton During a summer internship at Community College is on wheels. Bombardier Inc., he worked as a test “There’s nothing stationary,” technician instead of as an assembler said Duane Bibeau, a mechanical due to his grades and status as a CCC student. technology instructor. By CARA CHAPMAN Press-Republican

“So, for whatever reason, if industry took a turn tomorrow and we are no longer a transportation hub of the U.S., we are something else, we have the ability to remove equipment and bring other stuff in.” WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Snide has enjoyed the transition. “I was tinkering as much as I was allowed to before I was working, and now I’m getting paid to tinker.” GETTING CREATIVE Most people don’t associate creativity with manufacturing, but the chance to think creatively is one of Snide’s favorite things about his chosen industry.

“It’s troubleshooting. You’re trying to figure out how to do a task, and SEIZING OPPORTUNITY everybody has a different perspective. There really aren’t any wrong Though he only just graduated in answers, unless there’s programming December, Snide is now employed that’s dangerous or not cost effective. full-time at the IAM. It’s open to interpretation, how to complete a task, so it’s fun, because “There was a position toward the end you can have a creative mind and look of my last semester here that opened at the task in different ways.” up as a Lab Coordinator at the IAM. I was familiar with all of the equipment, A PEER AND A MENTOR since I was surrounded by it. I’ve done all the labs for the equipment. I Snide is also passionate about helping just applied to see what happened and students. Being so close in age to most I ended up getting the job in January of the students, Snide has become more after graduating in December.” See YOUNG, Page 11

“Any program here will really create a pathway to a job,” Snide said. “Even if it’s throughout a semester, we still have a lot of internships that we’re working through with students who are excelling.”

About 10 to 15 percent of IAM The IAM’s two components are students participate in an internship credit-bearing academic programs because most already have a job while and workforce development training. going to school, Bibeau said. The former — such as the associate degree in applied science and the certificate programs — prepare students for jobs above entry-level, Bibeau said.

Wednesday, october 2, 2019

Additionally, the companies they work for and have invested time and money into them, would like to keep them on board. HIGH PAY, TRAVEL

Those programs were then curtailed for entry-level positions to meet the Careers in manufacturing present demands of workforce development opportunities for high-paying jobs and training brought by increases in hiring traveling. by local manufacturing companies. One local company, Bibeau said, starts Clinton Community College Vice those without a degree at $18.75 per President for Academic Affairs John hour, but employees with a degree can Kowal said that piece is an important make between $23 and $27 per hour. part of the institution’s mission. “Sixteen months of your life, you can “That requires close connection to our make $8 to $10 dollars an hour more industry partners where we get a sense than what you would make before, for what their needs are and we try to and it’s a skilled set. See TOMORROW, Page 11 respond to what their needs are as best

27 Montgomery Street, Rouses Point, NY 12979 One hundred percent (100%) employee owned, Belcam Inc. has been manufacturing fine fragrances as well as bath & body care products for over 70 years in Rouses Point, NY.

Teens explore local manufacturing sector North Country Manufacturing Day highlights area industry, jobs. By McKENZIE DELISLE Press-Republican PLATTSBURGH — North Country Manufacturing Day will break down factory walls to give students an inside look at the region’s booming sector. ETS Director of Marketing and Engagement Amber Parliament said the annual event was a spin-off to the nationally-recognized Manufacturing Day.

“We struggled figuring out how to integrate the manufacturers,” Cleary said. And so, she added, when Clinton Community College opened its Institute for Advanced Manufacturing (IAM), hosting the event there was, “a no brainer.” The 2019 North Country Manufacturing Day will be the event’s third consecutive year at that facility.

We are currently recruiting for positions in

Parliament said the day had changed in other ways, too.

- Planning - Marketing - Maintenance - Production - Warehouse Supervision

Though facilities span the region, Parliament said the manufacturing “Last year was the first year that it really got interactive,” she said. “That workforce has been stigmatized. was a game changer. And so, ETS Inc. banded with other North Country stakeholders to change “We received so much positive feedback from that.” that perception.

Comprehensive salary & benefits package as well as a generous PTO policy available. Come & join the Belcam team. Email fwynnik@belcaminc.com for details.

HANDS ON, MINDS ON “This is an opportunity targeted at students to get students to understand what’s happening right here — what’s This year, the event will be held being created and what’s being Wednesday, Oct. 2 and area manufacturing innovated,” Parliament said. companies “It’s a very rewarding and meaningful will line the industry and you don’t see it in your IAM to talk about their day-to-day life.” industries and share EVENT EVOLUTION career pathETS sits on the North Country ways. Manufacturing Day Committee alongside Clinton Community The list in- Sign up for our easy curbside College, CV-TEC, The Development cludes Platt- trash and Zero-Sort® recycling Corporation, NAmTrans, the North Co, Norsk pickup today and receive Country Chamber of Commerce and Titanium, one FREE month of service! the Workforce Development Board. See EXMonthly PLORE, In year’s past, ETS CEO & President pricing Page 8 Deborah Cleary said students were starts at.... once bused to several facilities on *Restrictions and fees may apply. Please call for details. Manufacturing Day.






Call today to get started!


Wednesday, october 2, 2019

North Country Manufacturing


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North Country Manufacturing

Wednesday, october 2, 2019

Chamber head shares views As a U.S. suburb of Montreal and a scenic stop bisecting the Quebec-New York Corridor, Plattsburgh is viewed by the Chamber as an extension of PLATTSBURGH — The Manufacturing sector is Canada’s economy, and a wonderful spot for increasingly becoming the future of Plattsburgh’s Canadian manufacturing companies to set up shop. economy. The Chamber utilizes “red carpet teams”, or groups With 8.4 percent of jobs and 777 individuals of experts assembled to establish a company’s entire employed in manufacturing jobs as of 2017, it’s hard subsidiary operation down to navigating insurance to ignore the possibilities for success and prosperity and maximizing profits. available to this area, according to President and CEO of the North Country Chamber of Commerce “We’ve made ourselves the most attractive place to get these services, and we’ve done this with Garry Douglas. thousands of Quebec companies over the years,” “Never waste a failure. They are always a good Douglas said. opportunity to grow and learn,” Douglas said. Douglas’ views about the future of manufacturing The failure, of course, being the closure of in Plattsburgh are positive, but met with some Plattsburgh Air Force Base in 1995, gave Plattsburgh resignation. With the recent closing of Intrapac an opportunity to “redefine the economy of the Plastics and numerous small businesses throughout region.” By SAGE LEWANDOWSKI Press-Republican

Plattsburgh, locals have become skeptical of how effective pumping money into the manufacturing base would be. The Chamber plans to use $43 million provided by New York State to vamp up the Aerospace and Transportation cluster labeled as “Montreal’s US Airport and Aerospace Park” that would be located in the unutilized location of the old PAFB flight line. This would include 11 projects with focus on “an international cargo facility, the rehabilitation of hangars, and new and rehabilitated industrial space with flight line access.” An additional $125 million will be pumped into the fruition of a 20-year vision of a “synergistic, threepronged cluster including rail, road and aerospace,” See CHAMBER, Page 8

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5 HOW IT WORKS After just one visit, some lucky candidates walk out of ETS employed. “For others, it can be a long process,” Krell said. “We don’t necessarily place people right away. We might not have the right opportunity for over a year.” But when that opportunity does comes along, candidates generally start as an ETS employee who is then contracted out to the matched client. Krell called the process a “working interview” and said the phase typically lasts 90 days. Then, the candidate’s employment switches from ETS to the area business. In mid-September, there were some 500 workers employed by the agency.

Being hired to hire ETS matches the employee to the employer.

“You probably don’t go out and cut your own hair, you hire someone to do that,” Cleary said. “Now companies are realizing more and more that if By McKENZIE DELISLE they are going to hire someone, they’re Press-Republican going to go to a company where all PLATTSBURGH — North Country they do is hire people.” workers are hard to come by, but ETS Director of Marketing and says that’s the way it should be. Engagement Amber Parliament said Recent reports from the New York that’s especially true in the current State Department of Labor have North Country climate. revealed shrinking unemployment “Hiring and staffing is a full-time job rates countywide. and most companies don’t have the By June, Clinton County’s jobless rate resources to do that 24/7,” she said. sat at 3.8 percent, down 0.7 percent “They have other things that they need to be doing so that they can be from 2018. successful. With unemployment at a record low, ETS President & CEO Deborah “That’s what they see as the real Cleary said trouble finding employees benefit of partnering with us, because that is our one job. We do that 24/7.” was something to be celebrated. “It shouldn’t be easy to hire people,” MATCHMAKER, MATCHMAKER Cleary said. “It should be hard, because it means the economy is strong and it Recruiting is split into three main search arms: Industrial, Office/ means that people are working.” Administration and Professional. Besides, she added, finding the hirees The pairing of a job-seeking candidate is what ETS is for. with an ETS client is done via a matchmaking process, starting with a STAFFING, RECRUITING, one-on-one meeting either in person CONSULTING or over the phone. ETS Inc. has been an area staffing and recruitment agency for several That screening is when a candidate’s virtual profile is set up with help from decades. an ETS recruiter. The group has a local operation at the U.S. Oval in the City of Plattsburgh, And at a candidate’s first session, Krell as well as another brick and mortar said, the recruiter will engage with office just across Lake Champlain in them to identify any workplace likes Burlington, Vt. and an access point in and dislikes, as well as their skills and overall career goals. Saratoga Springs. Vice President of Operations Jesse “We try to make it really simple,” he Krell first joined as a recruiter back in said. “We understand that a job search can be extremely stressful.” 2013. Since then, he said, the company’s And, Krell added, it’s a free service to internal team has grown from seven those candidates. employees to nearly 30. NEW OPPORTUNITIES “We’ve been in business for over 40 years, but really the last four, five In 2019 alone ETS has conducted years we’ve undergone some really 4,992 screenings. big changes,” Krell said. “We went from an $8 million revenue company to now pushing the boundaries towards a $20 million company in 2019 and beyond.”

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Some have assumed that the staffing agency circles the same pool of people, but Cleary said that’s just a misconception. Of those nearly 5,000 screenings, she said, 2,206 of them were new to ETS. “There are constantly new people either coming to the area, or graduating from high school, or graduating from college, or coming back from college,” Cleary said. “It’s a stream of people.” And even though unemployment was low, Cleary said, the rate of workers switching jobs was very high. “Of the people screened, 78 percent were currently employed at the time,” she said. “So they’re coming in and looking for new opportunities.”

ETS said its mission was to build world-class teams. Over the years, the agency has teamed up with partners like the North Country Chamber of Commerce and The Development Corporation to attract major industries to the region. “We feel a big responsibility to help keep them here,” Krell said. And, he added, ETS contributes by keeping those industries staffed. “The lifeblood of a company is its workforce,” he said. “The people who are actually doing the work and getting the product out the door.” Email McKenzie Delisle: mdelisle@pressrepublican.com Twitter: @McKenzieDelisle

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North Country Manufacturing The Norsk Titanium facility on the grounds of the former Clinton County airport.

Wednesday, october 2, 2019

Airport development grant awarded Clinton County to get $1.5 million it hoped for to spur development


“We partnered with the Development Corporation and the Town of Plattsburgh to submit an EDA grant,” McManus said. “We put up $500,000, the corporation put up $250,000 and the town put up $250,000, and we received another $500,000 from the Northern Border Regional Commission.” The EDA grant, which was recently approved, would match the money put up by four entities to make $3 million in funds that would be used to add the roads and necessary water and electric infrastructure to continue development. “All of the frontage along Industrial Boulevard save a small piece has been purchased,” Brown said. “In order to build, you need to have at least 100 feet of frontage on a public road in the Town of Plattsburgh.” The grant money plans include utilizing an existing old taxi-way as the base for a road extending off of Industrial Boulevard, ending in a cul-de-sac. Brown and McManus said that they were confident that the existing development would help convince the EDA that more can be accomplished. “We think (its been a success), and that’s why we’re hopeful that they will grant us additional money to continue,” Brown said. They agreed that it wouldn’t stop with just the one grant, though, but would hopefully continue with future legislators working to get more grant money to ideally have the property developed all the way out to the Military Turnpike.

By JOE LoTEMPLIO Editor in Chief PLATTSBURGH — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration is awarding a $1.5 million grant to Clinton County to make infrastructure upgrades needed to support business development at the former Clinton County Airport. The grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $1 million in local funds and $500,000 in other federal funds, and is expected to help create 150 jobs and generate $15 million in private investment. “This grant award is of great importance to Clinton County, and is the direct result of collaboration of many agencies and organizations,” Clinton County Legislature Chairman Harry McManus said. “The funding will allow the county to extend a road and related infrastructure to the interior of the former Clinton County Airport property – a property that is in high demand for purchase and development by private companies, and all the promise of job creation and economic progress that would occur. This award is only possible with the cooperation of and contributions by Clinton County, the Town of Plattsburgh, The Development Corporation, and the North Country Chamber of Commerce. Economic development is a priority for Clinton County and this grant award marks a tremendous step forward in our vision for the future.” North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said the redevelopment of the old airport site as a ready industrial park has been a strategic priority of the County, Chamber, town and Development Corporation. “Norsk Titanium and Monaghan Medical got things started, providing an amazing cornerstone for the future, and now this federal support will allow the roadway access and other infrastructure required to position the site for ready development by other companies in the years ahead,” Douglas said. “The local partnership has been extraordinary, including matching funds from the county, town and TDC together, as has the active partnership of Congresswoman (Elise) Stefanik and Senators (Kirsten) Gillibrand and (Charles) Schumer, including meetings with each of them in Washington in May and steady communication all along the way. We thank them as well as the EDA for their partnership and confidence. Onward and upward.” Stefanik said the new funding is a great opportunity for the Town of Plattsburgh. “These are competitive grants, and I applaud all of the local government officials and partners who put in a great effort to re-develop this area and bring economic diversification to Clinton County,” she said.

“The increase in manufacturing in Clinton County is higher than the state average, so that shows that the money being sent into Clinton County is paying off,” McManus said. “It gives employment, it gives a tax base. In addition it allows for tourist expansion too. It’s all part of the puzzle of economic development.”

“I am proud to be an advocate for economic development in the North Country, and I will continue to be an outspoken supporter of these initiatives in Congress.”

Both McManus and Brown also acknowledged the importance that partners like the Development Corporation and the Town of Plattsburgh have had in the process over the years, with Brown mentioning help that the town gave when the new Norsk project originally wasn’t going to be allowed to move forward because of zoning issues.

“This project will help provide Clinton County with the critical infrastructure it needs to increase the region’s manufacturing-based economy. Moreover, the Opportunity Zone designation will incentivize further investment in the area.”

“The Town of Plattsburgh recognized the value that that project brought to the area,” Brown said. “They went back and changed the zoning to allow it. We work very closely with them.” And as he finishes his final term as legislator, McManus is looking back happily at the progress he’s helped make at the property, and is certain that it won’t stop with him. “I think there is a will on the part of the county legislature to continue this process; There is a commitment that cuts across all party lines,” McManus said, with Brown adding, “Every (county legislature) vote that’s been taken to progress to the next step has been unanimous. They all recognize the value of economic development for the North Country.” Email Ben Watson: bwatson@pressrepublican.com

The grant funding was also lauded by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Infrastructure development is important to the Trump Administration because it helps propel economic advancement in our country,” Ross said in a news release.

“EDA encourages investment in Opportunity Zones to not only enhance ROI for business interests, but also encourage the public/private partnerships needed to drive private investment to distressed communities,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dr. John Fleming said. “This project will help redevelop 30-acres of land adjacent to the established Air Industrial Park to support manufacturing and other businesses.” The funding goes to a designated Opportunity Zone, created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economicallydistressed communities nationwide, the release said. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Treasury Department resources page here. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. Email Joe LoTemplio: jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com Twitter: @jlotemplio


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Wednesday, october 2, 2019


Friedman: Students need to know options, including manufacturing CV-TEC aims to give students access to local manufacturing partners to help them explore careers

to sustain you in the North Country. entry-level employability skills. “We want you to know what your options are.” All CV-TEC students have the opportunity to earn the credential. CV-TEC programs such as digital art and design, transportation and AIME and other CV-TEC students BY CARA CHAPMAN construction sector components, also participate in career fairs, where Press-Republican and welding, help students develop partner businesses interview the PLATTSBURGH — A big barrier skills that can be transferred to students and sometimes offer them entry-level jobs. to students exploring manufacturing manufacturing, Friedman said. careers is that they do not know what is in their own backyard, CV-TEC These programs are foundational and No matter their specialty, companies Director of Career and Technical hopefully help students find their are looking for reliable, loyal, trainable Education Michele M. Friedman said. way to further education at a place employees who can work as a team like Clinton Community College’s and take criticism, Freidman said. “One of our goals in providing the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing, They also need to know to call in guidance for any of our career and she added. when they have to miss work and not technical (education) students is to allow them access to our local Both students and parents often to use their phones on the floor. have antiquated perceptions about business partners.” manufacturing. CV-TEC’s business partners have come in to do employability seminars That includes tours of facilities, so students can visualize themselves “Dirty grind work that doesn’t take with the students. a lot of brainpower, just repetitive working at these companies. work,” Friedman said. “They ask us all the time, ‘How is their attendance? How is their work “It doesn’t mean that you actually have to go to high school and immediately “Now, in order to operate a CNC ethic? How is their attitude? Do they go to college or go to high school and (computer numerical control) machine, get along with others?’” Friedman immediately go to work,” Friedman you have to have a fundamental said. knowledge of trigonometry and all of continued. these things, so really that awareness APPLIED ENGINEERING “There are multiple means to the end.” is key.” CV-TEC is getting ready to launch an AIME PROGRAM applied engineering program through TRAIN, SUSTAIN New Visions, with a target rollout of Students can come to CV-TEC and CV-TEC partners with ETS Inc., fall 2020. become employed at an entry-level Clinton Community College, and position while working toward an other business and industry partners The Clinton County program will be advanced college degree, Friedman to offer AIME (Assembling Industry: based at CV-TEC through the Institute Manufacturing and Education), for Advanced Manufacturing at CCC, said. an exploratory program run out of while the Essex County program will be offered at the Mineville CV-TEC “Oftentimes a company will help OneWorkSource. campus in conjunction with North support their post-secondary tuition and they can stack those credentials as Through AIME, students go through Country Community College and Prethe basic principles of manufacturing, Tech Plastics Inc., located just across they go. then sit for the National Work the street. “One of the things that we want to Readiness Credential, a nationally assessment which “We can provide a comprehensive, make sure our students know is that recognized we want to train you, but we also want Freidman described as a litmus test of yearlong, exploratory educational

experience for students who have an interest in going into engineering,” Freidman said. Some students think engineering just involves sitting in an office. “If you look at the different types of engineers that they have at Norsk and some of the other manufacturing companies, it is mind-blowing what is coming out in the engineering field right now,” Friedman said. “What we’re hoping to do is to kind of give them an opportunity to explore all of these different facets so they can make a better, more informed decision as to how to specialize when they move into the college program.” COLLABORATING CV-TEC will start by soliciting juniors from Champlain Valley Educational Services’ 16 component school districts who have been identified as potentials for this cohort. “Then we’re going to do activities with them throughout the course of this junior year, so that gives them an idea of what the program’s going to be like,” Friedman said. CV-TEC is excited to have both CCC and NCCC on board. “It’s so indicative of how the North Country works,” Friedman said. “We all recognize that there’s a small pool. We shouldn’t be competing, we should be collaborating.” Email Cara Chapman: cchapman@pressrepublican.com Twitter: @PPR_carachapman

No. Co. plant powers nationwide planes, buses By McKENZIE DELISLE Press-Republican PLATTSBURGH — Inside the walls of a 36,000-square-foot facility here, raw wires are transformed into electromechanical harness boxes. The organized grouping of cables are what transmit electrical signals throughout various modes of transportation, allowing them to operate. Those harnesses, manufactured at the AQ B3CG Group facility at 18 Northern Avenue in the Town of Plattsburgh, are what powers buses made at local Nova Bus. Plant Manager Robert Gibeault said it was a decade ago that his group followed the notable transportation manufacturer to northern New York to power its fleets. But, Gibeault said, the plant helps

power more than a dozen other Its 120 employees manufacture industries, too. between $10 and $20 million worth of product annually. “We try to partner up with the companies that have a complex CAREFUL GROWTH electrical product,” he said. “Something like airplanes or buses.” Just last year, Gibeault said the operation had quite a bit of growth. MILLIONS IN SALES “It was about 20 to 25 percent,” he AQ Group is a $520 million Swedish said. “The goal is to double in five company that operates manufacturing years.” plants on a global scale. And, if the sales are in the cards, the “There are 40 plants on four continents plant manager has the solution at his in 16 different countries,” Gibeault fingertips. said. “We’re almost up to 7,000 employees.” “We already have a plan to blow this wall out,” he said, pointing to one end The plant in the Town of Plattsburgh is of the facility, “and then expand by just a small piece of that much larger 10,000 or 15,000 square feet.” picture. “We’re just waiting.” Once located on Military Turnpike, Gibeault said the group moved into But an expansion isn’t something he its current Northern Avenue facility in sees AQ B3CG rushing into. 2017.

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It’s difficult to take on more than two or three new clients each year, Gibeault said. “If you try to develop too fast, then you’re not delivering the quality product that the companies deserve,” he said. “We try to be careful with our growth.” PRODUCTION BY HAND If the plant does undergo some changes, either via an expansion or new product development, Gibeault said those would be easy for a company like AQ B3CG to adjust to. “We always keep a flexible layout,” he said of the facilities lines of tables. “If what we have to do for our client differs next year, we want to be able to adapt.” See PLANT, Page 8


North Country Manufacturing



Wednesday, october 2, 2019


One key investment will be coming soon.

While the facility’s 12-hour, overnight shift can be a bummer, Divine said working for Pactiv has its upsides, too.

Products can vary from location to location, Divine said, but the local operation manufactures molded-fiber products.

Pactiv has planned a $5 million project to get all of the manufacturing lines at the local facility up and running.

The manufacturer offers benefits, facilitates special events and provides competitive hourly rates.

Though the plant has 16 lines, it only has the utility capacity to run 12 of them at once, Divine said.

“An employee on day one is going to start at $15.68 per hour,” Divine said, adding that the wage would be valid for a three month probationary period.

Those have a thick, paper-like consistency, he added, like the burrito bowl at Chipotle Mexican Grill. “We don’t make that bowl, but that’s an example of a molded-fiber product,” Divine said. Right now, the local plant produces about 36 million pounds of products each year. FUTURE LOOKS GOOD And those paper-like compostable.



“What we have seen recently is the big push to go to a more sustainable product,” Divine said. As such, production at the Plattsburgh plant supports Pactiv’s sustainable line with products like plates, school lunch trays and even the cup carriers found at Dunkin’ Donuts.

“We use a lot of steam to power our equipment,” he explained. “We don’t have enough vacuum pressure in the facility to run all of our lines.” And so the project, expected to take six to 9 months, would allow Pactiv to up its level of employees and its annual production. By the end, Divine said, the facility could be outputting an additional 12 million pounds of product each year. MORE HIRES The plant in the City of Plattsburgh has room for 10 to 15 full-time packers now, but that number will grow with the investment. Divine said he expects more than 40 more full-time slots to open up.

“After those three months, they’re bumped up to $17.18 per hour,” he said. “Our closest competitors are around the $13.50 or $14 range — if you’re lucky.


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 The list includes PlattCo, Norsk Titanium, Pactiv, Agri-Mark, IEC Holden, Bombardier, B3CG, Johns Manville, Nova Bus, Camso and Luminator. A combined 300 high school juniors and seniors from about 15 area school districts are scheduled to do the walk through and like last year, Parliament said, interactive stations will be set up. Featured will be activities like 3D printing, robotics, virtual welding, battle bots and torque.

“There’s a lot of investment that Pactiv is putting into this facility to expand our product line and meet the growing service demand that we have from customers who want to transfer to a more sustainable product,” Divine said.

“We’re talking over the next six to 9 months, we would like to be at a 173 headcount,” he said. “We’re trying to attract as many folks as possible.”

“Students will go from station to station to get a taste of all of this,” Parliament said.

“The future here is actually quite good.”




CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7 And the plant doesn’t have to worry about any large machinery being planted in one spot, because a majority of the electromechanical work is done by hand. “It’s mostly labor intensive,” Gibeault said. ASSEMBLY ROADMAP Production starts with a sale, because that’s when the AQ B3CG client requests a specific product outfitted for a specific vehicle. That product is then transformed into a 2D assembly sheet, or blueprint, showing the product and its various wire components and connectors on a one-to-one scale. “We invest a lot of time to redesign the diagram to scale,” Gibeault said. “The more detail you have, the better the roadmap is.” Once the product map has been generated, an assembly kit is made. “All of the wires that go into the assembly are all cut to exact length,” Gibeault said, adding that they are then placed in a bucket for each specific project along with its other required assembly pieces.


which will utilize the space of Bombardier, Nova Bus and Prevost production facilities. “Manufacturing is the thing everyone most wants because it has the greatest multiplier in the region than any other kind of activity in terms of purchase of goods and services and payroll, Douglas said. “There are some estimates that there is a five-times multiplier that goes with manufacturing, which is more than you get out of other sectors.” Sure, all of this sounds appealing to companies wishing to venture into the North Country for their latest business project, but how is manufacturing made appealing to the most important aspect of the industry: the workers? “Manufacturing is not like it was in the old days,” Douglas said. “It’s not banging iron in a forge anymore.”

From there, the assembler is given the blueprint and toolkit to put the final product together. IN-HOUSE TRAINING Gibeault said the assembler needs about one day to get the wiring done, but product turnaround is typically 30 days. That’s because of the roadmap and toolkit set up, he said.

Attendees have also been asked to look the part. “Students are told as they come into the facility that it is a replication of a manufacturing facility,” Parliament said. “So, they are told that they have to follow dress code.” That includes things like closed-toe shoes and long pants.

“We’re very competitive when it comes to pay, especially in Plattsburgh.” Divine said the local plant offers walkin applications on every Wednesday and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. “Come in and fill out application,” he said. “Most of the time, we’re able to do immediate interviews.” Email McKenzie Delisle: mdelisle@pressrepublican.com Twitter: @McKenzieDelisle

“No hoodies or sweatshirts with strings are allowed,” an event flier adds, “and attendees are expected to adhere to all safety guidelines.” Parliament said ETS will also supply the students with protective eye wear. “It really puts them into that environment,” she said. “And to be safe, as well.” ‘A GREAT DAY’ Manufacturing Day hopes to show off the variety of manufacturing that not only exists, but exists in the North Country. The opportunities range from design to welding to assembly to IT, the event flyer says. Parliament said ETS helped to spearhead the event, because, as a North Country staffing agency, they want the younger generation to see a future in the manufacturing sector. “We want manufacturing to prosper in this area,” she said. “So we thought, ‘Let’s do something about it.’ “This is what we came up with — it’s really a great day.” Email McKenzie Delisle: mdelisle@pressrepublican.com Twitter: @McKenzieDelisle

“Thirty-five percent of the employees are associated with that,” he added. “There’s probably 10 to 20 percent who get the design ready, and then 40 to 50 percent are on the assembly.” The plant manager said staffing was one of the bigger challenges in latest years, but has since slowed. “There has been good retention,” he said. “75 percent of the employees have been here for about two years.” The electromechanical can be turn-off, so most training is done in-house and lasts about one to three months. “Most people have never worked in this type of industry before they walk in here,” Gibeault said. “It’s all new and foreign.” Email McKenzie Delisle: mdelisle@pressrepublican.com Twitter:@McKenzieDelisle In fact, organizations such as Champlain Valley Technical and ETS Employment Agencies are trying to make careers in manufacturing more alluring as well as accessible. The goal is to broaden the manufacturing workforce by getting more women involved and expanding the type of employees hired. According to Douglas, a job in manufacturing may not mean back breaking physical labor. It could be engineering or more technical-based. The recently enacted MHAB project also seeks to widen the amount of workers employed in manufacturing by mandating companies hire rehabilitated individuals with prior criminal records or substance abuse issues. “We haven’t lost our manufacturing base. It’s changed, things have left but new things have come,” Douglas said. “We have this dynamic that we can grow our manufacturing base, we’re going to build a future based on manufacturing.”


gri-Mark, Inc., is a farmer-owned dairy cooperative with more than 850 members, including 475 from New York State. The co-op merged with the Chateaugay Cooperative in 2003 and purchased the cheese-making plant in Chateaugay. The merger and purchase gave the dairy farmers of the North Country an excellent local market for their milk and a chance to resurrect the McCadam cheese brand. Since then we have invested millions of dollars in our facility, including new cheese vats and cheese finishing tables within the past few years. We had 60 employees when we started, but we now have 120 employees working three shifts. Our facility is comprised of approximately 59,000 square feet, 48,000 of which are dedicated to manufacturing. Our employees help the plant receive between 1 million to 1.5 million pounds of milk per day from more than 200 local dairy farmers or about 365 million pounds per year, which equals more than 42 million gallons. From this high quality milk we produce more than 40 million pounds of award-winning cheese per year. We are looking for more employees to help us continue to produce award winning dairy products for our farmer-owners. We offer competitive wages, great benefits including health insurance.We have a partnership with the New York State Department of Labor Office, so those interested in joining the Agri-Mark/McCadam team are invited to stop in person at the One Work Source Center in Malone. The address is:

One Work Source Center 158 Finney Blvd. Malone, NY 12953

If you are an experienced Maintenance Technician and looking for a great career opportunity, please send in a letter of interest or call our Maintenance Manager directly: Tony Green McCadam Maintenance Manager 39 McCadam Lane Chateaugay, New York 12920 Phone: 518-497-6644 The Agri-Mark farmers are committed to maintaining and growing this business for future generations of New York dairy farm families and the rural communities they help support! McCadam Cheese, 39 McCadam Lane, Chateaugay, New York 12920

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www.mrpcap.com 518-561-1812 1 Plant Street Plattsburgh, NY

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Wednesday, october 2, 2019

North Country Manufacturing


The IAM’s local connections include Nova Bus, Norsk Titanium, CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 Bombardier Inc., Mold-Rite Plastics, GlobalFoundries and Landry “Once you have that, then you’re Simulation LLC. more apt to be able to go to other areas as well.” EMPLOYABILITY A student who graduated last spring Employability skills — which the works for Landry Simulation LLC IAM incorporates into its programs — installing flight simulators. include punctuality, professionalism, sexual harassment training and being He recently did a stint working in ready, able and willing to work, Mexico and is headed out to the Bibeau said. Middle East next, Bibeau said. LOCAL CONNECTIONS

They also teach skills such as interviewing and resume- and cover letter-building.

The IAM’s connections to local industry and business partners helps Additionally, they have students play it to maintain relevancy as its staff out various scenarios. members prepare graduates for the workforce, Kowal said. “We actually do role-playing where someone will actually be the president “Whether they’re graduates of our of the company, someone else may degree programs, certificates or be a victim, someone else may be a coming here for workforce training, bystander,” Bibeau said. they have something that will prepare them well for the positions that they’re “‘How does it impact the company? either in or aspiring to.” What decisions are you going to make based off of what you learned Normally, if the IAM has 15 students today?’ And it gives them different graduating at the end of a semester, perspectives on that.” two or three will go on to a four-year degree while the remaining 12 to 13 À LA CARTE MENU will have a job lined up four to six weeks before graduation, Bibeau said. The IAM is in the process of creating one-year certificates specifically “Some people want to stay in the area, designed for industry, and is some people want to travel. We have working with manufacturers and companies that are local that hire right staffing agencies on its advisory from us.” board to establish what courses and


That’s a lot of jobs. One robot might take 15 people to build, then two CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 or three, or more, to program it. Everybody says our world is going than just a Lab Coordinator – he’s to be controlled by robots, but robots become an all-around mentor for his can’t build themselves. They can’t students. program themselves, either. Robots are only so smart.” “They come to all of us equally, but it’s nice to have someone closer to EXPANDING OFFERINGS their age, because they feel more comfortable. I know what they’re With manufacturing on the rise, Snide thinking. I’ve done the labs, so I can says the IAM is working to keep pace. guide them through without giving them answers. I can help with writing “When I started out here, we were in papers, as well. We have an amazing Stafford, in one room. That was our tutoring center, but there are no official lab. Now it’s a whole facility. It’s tutors for the IAM programs, so I try a lot of industry standard, modern to do the most I can.” equipment that you’ll see in facilities. A lot of people don’t realize what we The IAM benefits not only CCC have here.” students, but local high school students, as well. Snide wants to spread the word about all the IAM has to offer. “We just had Peru high school come in to sign up for CAP courses. Their “We could always use more students. noses were leaving marks on the Wind and renewable energy. It’s windows looking at all the machines. a specialty program here that I The machinery is a big eye-catcher don’t think gets enough attention. for students, because they know Renewable energy is growing just as that they’ll be leaving here with the much as robotics. I have a friend that machinery knowledge that they’re I graduated with working on wind going to have in whatever industry turbines, climbing them every day. they’re in. It’s an easy transition, then, He’s up in the sky, seeing helicopters from getting a degree to a workforce.” flying around him. He loves it; it’s beautiful.” A GROWING INDUSTRY The IAM is introducing new programs, Snide is optimistic about the demand as well. Starting November 5th, for IAM students in the workforce. the IAM will offer an intermediate, non-credit, non-certification course “Say we have a big graduation of 20 in welding, with evening classes students from the IAM – there’d be 30 for people who need more welding job openings. The benefit of having knowledge for personal projects or more job openings than graduating industry advancement. students is we have more options for students to go into a field they prefer. Snide says they are moving toward There’s a high number of job openings being able to offer certificate courses, locally.” as well. “It just takes time. There’s a lot of paperwork that needs to be While many people think that done.” advancing technology will eliminate the number of people needed in the Overall, Snide hopes to spark workforce, Snide thinks that’s a interest in trades and manufacturing misconception. w to help other young people like him find fulfilling careers in the North “We’re not going to lose jobs. We’re Country’s growing manufacturing going to gain jobs.” sector. “You need someone that can build a “If we can keep them home, they’ll robot, and then you need somebody stay home.” that can operate or program a robot.


technologies their employees need. “We’re trying to put together kind of like an à la carte menu so you can buy so many sessions, if you will, and then you can put students in,” Bibeau said.

This past summer, the IAM offered a sort of academy for high school students exploring possible pathways to manufacturing.

The companies showed the students what the jobs would entail at their With that option, companies could facilities, and IAM instructors taught have their employees take courses students what they would need to be on such subjects as fluid power, successful in that job. employability or safety. “It’s kind of like being in high school “It’s allowing the companies to budget and you take calculus and you wonder, their training over six months or a year ‘Where am I ever going to use this so they can actually put it in a budget again?’” Bibeau said. so they know what it’s going to cost,” Bibeau continued. “Well, we took that theory and we actually put it to fruit where we said, “It also enables them to pick and ‘Okay this is what you’re going to choose what they want to do” based learn and this is where it would get on employees’ prior experience. applied.’” CO-OPS


The IAM has also created co-ops The IAM has instituted the same with some manufacturing companies standard operating procedures, or whereby the companies come in SOPs, that students would abide by in and work with classes to design and the workplace, such as no cell phone use, no drinks or food, and the use of develop their material, Bibeau said. safety glasses and closed-toed shoes. “It enables them to have access to technology, labor and equipment that “And the same thing on attendance,” they don’t necessarily need on a daily Bibeau said. basis.” “They have to be present when they’re It also benefits the students, who marked ‘here’ and if they’re not, then learn what it is like to work in a there’s repercussions for it.” manufacturing setting with real deadlines and responsibilities, he The IAM aims to fit the future needs of local companies. added. Companies have to hit goals and standards or risk losing contracts.

“We’re not training you for yesterday,” Bibeau said.

“It’s a good exposure for the students, so it gives them a better understanding if that’s someplace they would like to work,” Bibeau said.

“We’re training you for tomorrow.”


Email Cara Chapman: cchapman@pressrepublican.com Twitter: @PPR_carachapman

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North Country Manufacturing

Wednesday, october 2, 2019

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North Country Manufacturing 2019  

A look into manufacturing in the North Country for 2019.

North Country Manufacturing 2019  

A look into manufacturing in the North Country for 2019.