DEARBORN, Mich., HEALDSBURG, Calif., October 4, 2012 —Northern California's Sonoma County is one of the world's greatest wine producing regions, but the corridor along Highway 101 from Petaluma through Santa Rosa to Healdsburg is also a tech powerhouse.
More than 150 manufacturers, including Agilent Technologies, Enphase Energy, General Dynamics, JDSU, L3 and Labcon have facilities in the region according to Dick Herman, president of 101MFG, a private alliance of area manufacturing executives.
"Manufacturing is cool again," says Bart Aslin, CEO of the SME Education Foundation. "Our mission is to help make stronger connections between exemplary instructors like Petaluma High School's Dan Sunia and organizations including SME and 101MFG who bring local manufacturers together to prepare their future workforce. We are delighted to recognize and to help support the expansion of this program in
Dan Sunia, a thirty year veteran machinist who began his career at a US Navy shipyard in nearby
"Most of my friends and my generation came up through apprenticeships. I was fortunate to be part of a program sponsored by the US Navy," he says. "Programs like ours don't exist at many high schools anymore because as a society we forgot that students who want to be engineers or who aspire to a good career opportunity need a hands-on education. That's especially true with today's advanced manufacturing. We are grateful to the SME and honored to receive this award which will help us reach out to more teachers and more students in more schools."
Local industry executives agree. "We've produced a generation of kids who are book-smart, but they've never made a real plastic or metal part," says Jim Happ, CEO of Labcon North America. His company produces 8 percent of the world's laboratory pipettes and centrifuge tubes and is currently bringing back work from
“My parents moved their first company (now General Dynamics OTS) from LA to
And it couldn't have come at a better time. There is a definite trend to bring production back to the
"We conducted a survey of more than 300 Bay Area Manufacturers," says 101MFG's Herman. "The message was clear. Yes we need engineers, but for every one engineer we'll hire, we also have a need for three or four machinists, assembly techs and quality inspectors. These jobs are well paid and are the basis of long term careers."
Despite recent economic warnings, 101MFG forecasts growth of 2,000 new manufacturing job openings in
"We have direct involvement of many 101MFG manufacturers, we've formed a new SME Chapter for local members to serve as mentors to high school and college students pursuing these careers; and we've worked hard to get the support politically and from our communities through organizations such as BEST," says Herman. "Despite the inevitable ups and downs we're all facing in the economy, everyone's skin is in the game and we are confident of success."
101MFG is a private alliance of manufacturing executives throughout Northern California, dedicated to become "
For more information, visit www.101MFG.com
About Petaluma High School:
Petaluma High School is a public high school located in the city of
About SME Education Foundation:
Created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $31 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit the SME Education Foundation at www.smeef.org. Also visit www.CareerMe.org , for information on advanced manufacturing careers and www.ManufacturingisCool.com, our award-winning Web site for young people.
Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation, 313.425-3302, email@example.com; Dick Herman, President, 101MFG, 707.766.1537, dherman@101MFG.com