What do these businesses do?Local manufacturers will toot their horns and quell some myths Wednesday during “Superior Manufacturers Revealed.” Visitors can see what Superior-Lidgerwood-Mundy Corporation makes and sit in the cockpit of Kestrel Aviation’s prototype plane. It’s a chance to see the products being made in your own backyard, from Field Logic archery targets to Genesis Attachment shears.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Local manufacturers will toot their horns and quell some myths Wednesday during “Superior Manufacturers Revealed.” Visitors can see what Superior-Lidgerwood-Mundy Corporation makes and sit in the cockpit of Kestrel Aviation’s prototype plane. It’s a chance to see the products being made in your own backyard, from Field Logic archery targets to Genesis Attachment shears.
“You can see it, stand next to it and talk to the engineers that make it,” said Dave Minor, president and CEO of the Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce.
The event, sponsored by the Chamber and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, will also focus on how these jobs, many of which have a global reach, impact the community.
“A lot of times people drive by but they don’t know what the businesses do behind the doors,” said Charlie Glazman, associate dean of continuing education at WITC.
“Come and see what’s going on,” Minor said.
The Chamber president said residents may know the names of these companies, but not what they do. Yet manufacturers have a huge impact on the community — Minor estimated several hundreds of millions of dollars in payroll, subcontracting and donations each year.
Some, like Exodus Machines, have been front-page news for recent expansions. Exodus CEO Kevin Boreen said local manufacturers provide living-wage jobs that give local young adults the opportunity to stay in the area. The Exodus CEO expects to learn some new things Wednesday himself, although he knows most of the other companies participating in the event.
“I think a gathering like this showing the size and strength of local manufacturing can create a rallying point for the community,” Boreen said. “There are quite a number of quality manufacturers in Superior and we as a community should be proud of what’s going on in our town.”
The event will also showcase WITC, which provides flexible programming to fill skilled manufacturing jobs. Participants can tour the classrooms and see what placement rates are.
“Without local schools like WITC it would be difficult to find employees with the appropriate skillset,” Boreen said. “I have been hiring graduates of WITC for well over a decade. They have a quality welding and machining program.”
Today’s manufacturing jobs are nothing like the stereotype from the 50s and 60s, Minor said. They’re clean and high-tech with very competitive wages. They’re in demand — about 60,000 jobs are available in manufacturing statewide, but there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill them. And training for them can start right here in Superior. Many people don’t understand the wealth of opportunities in their backyard, Glazman said.
“We’re really trying to connect the dots,” he said.
Wednesday’s event, which takes place from 5-8 p.m. at WITC, 600 N. 21st St., is free and open to the public. It begins with a social hour from 5-5:45 p.m., followed by a short presentation and an open house from 6-8 p.m. Food and beverages will be served. Although the event is free, people planning to attend are asked to RSVP ahead of time by calling 715-394-7716. Other participating manufacturers include AMSOIL, Calumet, Charter NEX Films and Graymont.