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Member Manufacturers

Employee support is a key factor in Commercial Metal Forming’s 100-year legacy

Recently, Commercial Metal Forming in Youngstown celebrated a milestone – the company’s 100th birthday.

 

In its many moving parts pushing toward success, one of the key mechanisms is the team.

 

“Our success is only going to happen based on how we help our entire organization be successful,” said Bob Messaros, president and CEO.

 

Company leaders understand the values employees bring to the table, he added, which is why CMF has been around for a century.

 

The Cushwa family started the company, which evolved over time to offer a variety of products in the last 100 years, Messaros said.

Bob Messaros and Mike Conglose of CMF stand in front of a map.
Bob Messaros, left, president and CEO of Commercial Metal Forming, and Mike Conglose, vice president of operations, both say the Youngstown business has seen success for a century because of its focus on employees.

Started in the roaring ‘20s as Commercial Shearing and Stamping, CMF now manufactures tank heads and accessories for the pressure vessel tank industry.

 

There are about 85 hourly and salaried employees locally.

 

Rounding out the company are facilities in Orange County, Calif., and Saginaw, Texas.

 

Overall, CMF has 155 employees.

Developing talent

 

Attributing to CMF’s lasting power is the loyal employees.

 

“There’s a number of employees who have been here for a significant amount of time,” said Mike Conglose, vice president of operations.

 

Many people “have endured a lot,” including ownership changes and expectations in response to shifts in the economy, most recently in the 2009 downturn.

 

As the company transitioned from 2009 forward, there was a focus on how important each person, whether in sales, production or management, is, both Messaros and Conglose said.

 

“When you look at the contribution from a lot of the people who have been here not only an extended period of time, but also the new people we’ve brought on board… I think that’s the core of how and why we’ve endured the number of years we have endured,” Conglose said.

Started in the 1920s, Commercial Metal Forming in Youngstown has around 85 employees. CMF manufactures tank heads and accessories, which are supplied around the world.

People are encouraged to work in other departments, adding to a true team effort. People aren’t pigeonholed into one area.

 

“You have to look at your own talent first and try to develop that,” Messaros said. “It’s our responsibility to make sure we are looking as deep in the organization as possible.”

 

There’s an aspect of low turnover at CMF, even throughout new ownership transitions and economic downturns.

Building a team

 

It’s a level of trust, Messaros said. People have brought their kids to work in various disciplines within the company.

 

An element to that level of trust is from leadership working with and listening to employees.

 

Conglose said the organization is a host to talented people who have worked with CMF for decades.

 

When newer employees come on board, their fresh ideas are welcomed and incorporated.

 

“They blend in and fit extremely well with the people who have been here,” Conglose said.

 

Categories
Faces of Manufacturing

Work ethic is key for Clark Dietrich employee

In the massive ClarkDietrich facility in Vienna, chances are most employees know and love Gordana Davis.

 

She just celebrated her second year with the company, and has been in manufacturing for 24.

 

“I’ve been working all my life,” Davis said. “I’m all about working and getting the job done.”

ClarkDietrich employee Gordana Davis stands in the Vienna facility.
Gordana Davis has worked with ClarkDietrich for two years, but has been in manufacturing for 24. Her commitment to her career and the industry are from a team-mentality of showing up to work to complete a task.

Born in Bosnia, Davis came to the United States in 1975 when she was 14, not speaking any English.

 

She went to school and learned the language from the foundations of ABCs and sounds.

 

In 1983, Davis got married to an American man. Together, they had three children.

 

Throughout her time building a life in the States, Davis worked as a cashier for 13 years before she headed to manufacturing.

 

Thinking about the start of her manufacturing career, Davis said: “I remember going home the first day, I couldn’t even walk up the steps.”

 

From there, she has learned every role in the company she could, training thousands of people during her time in the manufacturing industry.

 

“Everybody put trust in me.”

 

Davis loves the physical labor that goes along with overseeing her work, keeping schedule to her tasks. “I like the fast-pace” environment of the industry, she said.

 

It wasn’t long before Davis learned every role in the company she could, training thousands of people over the years.

 

Davis has only called off once — one day — in more than two decades.

 

“It’s all about commitment,” she said. “You need to be here to produce the job so we don’t lose manufacturing.”

 

ClarkDietrich is a newer member of the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition.

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Member Manufacturers

Beatitude House teens tour Brilex to learn about manufacturing job opportunities

While Brilex Industries works to design and build specialized heavy equipment for customers around the world, the local advanced manufacturer also likes to spark interest in manufacturing careers.

 

That was the case when 13 teens from the Beatitude House toured their facility.

Brilex worker shows kids the equipment
Brilex machine shop manager Jason Jones explains what he does to a group of kids from Beatitude House, hoping to spark their interest in a future career in manufacturing.

The nonprofit reached out to Mahoning Valley Manufacturing Coalition to set up a series of tours of trade and manufacturing facilities as part of its summer program for juveniles.

 

Through education and safe living, the Beatitude House helps disadvantaged women and children.

 

MVMC is a network of valley manufacturers who work together to create a skilled workforce by a number of ways, including raising awareness of different types of work in manufacturing, which can lead to higher wages. Skills are also assessed for employees, both current and future.

 

Brilex opened its doors to give the teens, between the seventh and 12th grades, a glimpse at what it means to work in a manufacturing position.

 

Opening their eyes to today’s manufacturing jobs

 

“So many young folks, and their parents, have a misconception that manufacturing is dark and dirty work,” Brilex plant manager Ryan Engelhardt, said. “Through tours, youths can see different aspects of work done in the field, and in this case, Brilex.”

 

group shot from Beatitude House kids
Tours like the one Brilex hosted with Beatitude House enables teens to see the possibilities that exist with careers in advanced manufacturing.

Speaking on a local level, tours allow for young people to see various types of work done here in the Mahoning Valley, said Katie Denno, marketing manager for Brilex.

 

As manufacturers hold tours, more interest is generated in the field, Engelhardt said. That in turn creates a “potential pool” of people who are likely to look into the field when they are ready for employment.

 

Partnering with MVMC, Jennifer Battaglia, child wellness coordinator for The Beatitude House, said the Brilex tour showed the kids different employees, ranging from welders to machinists to engineers, work together in the same building.

 

The summer program works to show the kids that college doesn’t have to be the only option they have after graduating high school.

 

“It was important to us that they were able to experience what it could like to go to a trade school, and the jobs they would be doing in manufacturing if they choose that path,” Battaglia said.

 

Tours were also held at Youngstown State University and Eastern Gateway Community College, which will lead to conversations with the teens throughout the school year about what they would like to pursue, Battaglia said.

Categories
Faces of Manufacturing

Faces of Manufacturing – Sugeily Melendez

Sugeily Melendez is a mom by day and packer at a Mahoning Valley aluminum extrusion company by night. She has worked at Pennex Aluminum in Leetonia for just under two years and is already climbing the “aluminum ladder.”

Her career with Pennex began as a forklift operator. She has since moved to her current position as packer and is in training to become a loader. Part of her drive to keep moving forward comes from her desire to dispel stereotypes of what women “can’t do.”

melendez at Pennex
Sugeily Melendez of Youngstown is a single mother who found a rewarding career in manufacturing that offers the flexibility and clean environment she was looking for.

“I feel I’m more competitive than some of the men and I’m always trying to set goals to surpass my trainers and move past stereotypes of what women can’t do. Anyone can be successful here when they show up with a good attitude and the willingness to learn something new,” she said.

Single mom derives motivation from her kids

Her primary motivation, however, comes from her children. Melendez is a single mother of three. She loves the overnight shift because it allows her the flexibility to maintain a successful work-life balance.

“Third shift is perfect for me as a single parent. I spend time with my kids and get them ready for bed at their grandma’s or their dad’s before I head to work and then I’m home in the morning to get them ready for school. While they’re in school, I nap and then we do it all over again,” said Melendez.

Family is a part of the core values at Pennex, she described.

“The atmosphere here is like one big family. They’re also very flexible when it comes to sick kids and doctor appointments,” she added.

melendez working
In less than 2 years, Melendez has already advanced multiple times at Pennex, currently working in the shipping department on the 3rd shift.

In addition to schedule flexibility and a welcoming workforce, Melendez, of Youngstown, said Pennex Aluminum also offers a safe and clean work environment.

“I just came off of a 10-hour shift and I’m still clean. I can rock my nails and I’ve never broken one. This is not a dirty, dusty place. It is a clean and healthy place to work,” said Melendez.

Pennex Aluminum is a member of Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition.

Pennex and many other local manufacturers are currently looking for dedicated individuals to join their teams. On-the-job training is available and no experience is required. Interested applicants for Pennex can explore openings here.

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Faces of Manufacturing

Faces of Manufacturing: Philip Minniti, Brainard Rivet

Philip Minniti started at employee-owned, Girard-based manufacturer Brainard Rivet in 2015 and has parlayed his time there into an upward-trajectory career and a college degree.

“I started out running the cleaning department and then bounced around to packing, billing, and settled into the shipping manager position,” Philip said.

phillip minniti
Brainard Rivet shipping manager Philip Minniti followed in his family’s footsteps into the manufacturing industry and is leveraging the career path to complete his degree at YSU. He hopes to stay at Brainard Rivet and go “as far as they’ll let me go here.”

A 2011 high school graduate, Philip, like many of his peers went straight to college where he began pursuing a degree in Business Administration. To avoid taking out student loans, he took a part-time job with UPS that ended up being a heavier workload than anticipated. That, coupled with an orthopedic injury that led to a physical rehab schedule that conflicted too much with classes, led to Philip’s withdrawal from college.

Family ties lead to Brainard Rivet

After leaving school, Philip was searching for a full-time position when he came across an opening at Brainard Rivet. After speaking with his uncles, one a current Brainard employee and one a former employee, as well as his grandfather, a Brainard retiree, he decided to go for it.

Six years later, Philip has settled into a position as shipping manager and, thanks to Brainard’s educational assistance program, is back in college at Youngstown State University resuming his studies. His day-to-day tasks include scheduling each department to ensure shipments are being filled and going out on time, helping the sales team meet quotas, and assisting anywhere he is needed.

“When you have someone with a strong work ethic like Phil you can train them in different areas and see were the best fit for them is, and that’s what we did. We tried him in a few positions and landed on shipping manager,” said Chris Morrison, plant manager.

A bright future in manufacturing

Chris said he and the staff at Brainard allow adjustments for Philip’s school schedule, adding that what Philip is doing is incredibly difficult, but not impossible. Philip hopes others who see his story will consider manufacturing as a career option.

Outside of Brainard and YSU, Philip enjoys a steady schedule of recreational sports and fantasy football. As for where Phil hopes to be after graduation, “I’m looking to go as far as they’ll let me go here. I’m always willing to learn anything and everything.”

Brainard Rivet is a world-class, cold-headed manufacturer of rivets and fasteners for the agriculture, distributor, energy, furniture, healthcare, mining, railroad, transportation and general metalworking industries. It began operations in 1916 and became employee-owned and operated in 1998.

Categories
Faces of Manufacturing

Faces of Manufacturing: David Dellick, General Extrusions

Press operator David Dellick has been with family-owned aluminum extruder, General Extrusions of Boardman for more than 6 years. After getting his start in manufacturing at a local lamination factory, David started at General Extrusions as a helper on afternoons.

As a testament to the opportunity for quick advancement at General Extrusions, David began working his way up within the company.

He moved to a press operator on midnights where he followed his personal philosophy, “Be better than the person you were yesterday.”

David Dellick
Youngstown-area native David Dellick has found a home in manufacturing at General Extrusions, providing a solid living, excellent benefits and flexibility to be a great parent.

Following that driving force, and enabled by a series of retirements creating the openings that allowed him to work his way up the seniority ladder, David became a supervisor on midnights. To most, this would seem a quick and impressive career trajectory, but to David, it’s remarkably unremarkable.

“Just show up, work hard, and show initiative to learn, retain the knowledge, and better yourself,” he said matter-of-factly.

Work-Life Balance

As a husband and father with three young children, David’s home life required a move to day shift, a move that his employer accommodated.

“I was going to sleep as soon as I got off work, getting up at 2 o’clock and going to pick up the kids from school and daycare only to leave for work as soon as my wife got home,” David said.

Modernized Manufacturing

The three-shift union shop at General Extrusions has been in business for more than 60 years and as manufacturing in the Mahoning Valley continues to grow, they are looking toward the future. David explained this is not the manufacturing of the past.

exterior building shot General Extrusions
General Extrusions is among many Mahoning Valley manufacturers who are currently hiring. Visit workadvanceohpenn.org for details.

“You can wear decent clothes to work and go home mostly clean,” he laughed.

David cited some of the obvious benefits of the job such as full-time employment with competitive wages, yearly raises, overtime and opportunity for advancement, 401K, healthcare, dental, vision, and paid vacation. He also highlighted some less obvious job perks.

At General Extrusions, David has made what he calls “life-long friends” and been able to maintain a successful work-life balance allowing him to build his life as he makes a living.

Now Hiring

General Extrusions is now searching for up to 12 production workers. Hourly wages start at $12.28 and increase to $14.49 after 60 days. Interested candidates should visit www.workadvanceohpenn.org and register for an information session to learn more about the openings.