The 140-year-old, familyowned company started in Switzerland and moved the processing operations into the United States within the last 50 years. The U.S. headquarters is in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
“They started in Switzerland many years ago,” said Tom Amedro, general manager of the Urbana operation for the last seven years. “It was Weidmann initially, the Weidmann family started the business, and then Jean Tschudi took over in the 1920s and the Tshcudi family has been running it since, keeping the original Weidmann company name. The company itself then grew.”
According to Amedro, Weidmann has always been involved in creating electrical transformers. The company’s main product is paper and board, which he says is really just thick paper, made the same way and pressed together to become board.
“It all goes into transformers, whether it be a transformer on a pole to power generation to transformers like at Dayton Power & Light,” he said.
“It’s utilized to, obviously, insulate the transformer from shorting out. So it’s a very important part of the transformer. Our company has developed itself into what I call a cradle to grave company, and what I mean by that is we have transformer engineers on our payroll that help design transformers and work with customers.
We have a lot of experience and have people from Westinghouse, for example, that we hired in. They’ll help develop the new transformer designs with a customer.
Of course, with that we’re suggesting to use Weidmann insulation as we go. So they design the transformer, then they make it, then at that point they’re utilizing paper and board into these transformers. And these transformers, in the way we look at the business, are in two different categories, and we consider power transformers the bigger ones, like DP&L and bigger substations that use mainly a lot of board - more board than paper - but they also use paper to wrap the wire.
The distribution side is smaller transformers, which would be on top of a telephone pole.
Between each layer would be either a copper sheet or an aluminum sheet. It is then wound with copper, paper, copper, paper, built out to the size of a transformer.
“Once they complete it and it’s out in the field, we also have a division that does monitoring of the oil,” he continued.
“All these transformers are filled with oil, and that’s what helps cool them and insulate them as well. We have a whole separate lab division kind of like you go to a doctor and you get your blood test, and they tell you all your results as to cholesterol and what not - well, they do the same thing to the oil. So if they find certain gasses and things in that oil it will tell them the life of the insulation. So we monitor that. And then on top of our oil testing we also design monitors they can attach to these transformers that’ll measure temperature, moisture, gasses and things like that, and they can do online measuring.
Customers will also come to us at times to do a post mortem to find out why it failed, so we take it apart to find out why. So cradle to grave.”
Of the company’s sales volume, Amedro said that about 66 percent of what they make stays in North America, 11 percent goes to Mexico, 11 percent goes to Brazil, 4 percent goes to Europe, one percent goes to Turkey, 3 percent goes to the Asian Pacific region and 3 percent goes to China.
“In each one of these locations we have a sister company that we can ship to and they’ll convert it, and then they’ll ship to the various people in that country,” he said. “We do occasionally ship directly to a customer in Korea.
Sam-Dong is one of the larger customers. They also have a site in Tennessee that we ship paper to and they make the wire and wrap it with the paper.”
Weidmann’s first step into the American market occurred about 50 years ago, according to Amedro, with the purchase of a plant in St.
“That’s how they got their first foot into the U.S., in St. Johnsbury,” he said. “From that point, then, as they grew they bought two more converting operations.
They bought them from Avery-Denison. One operation was in Framingham, Massachusetts, making the lightweight papers into crepe - makes it stretchy - it starts with standard paper and then we run it through the crepe operation. This crepe paper is then sold to wire companies. Then they also bought an operation just outside St. Louis in O’Fallon, Missouri, and they took the heavier paper and they put this diamond dot on it that is an epoxy resin and that resin, what that does, is after they, the transformer maker, get done wrapping this all together layer after layer they put a clamp on it and they set it in an oven and they bake it, and this epoxy diamond touching the copper bakes it all together so it becomes a solid unit.”
Amedro said that as competition has gotten more intense in the last ten years, Weidmann decided it would be a better idea to move all their operations under one roof. They decided on the 700 W. Court St. property and bought it in 2010.
“As they were going around looking for operations, most of the heaviest part of our customers are east of the Mississippi. So we had looked in Tennessee, probably Indiana and a couple other places to be more centrally located between east and west,” he said. “We very seldom ship material to the west coast, but we ship a lot of overseas stuff, so we needed good access to highways, and the timing was right. We looked for a property that already had the infrastructure there, water systems, effluent systems, had the air systems and everything set up. That’s why this site became very attractive.”
The building where Weidmann’s Urbana operations are located was originally built in 1910 and started out as the Howard Paper Company, established in 1895. According to Amedro, the Howard family sold the property in 1965, at which point it passed through several hands before it was purchased by the Fox River Paper Company in 1991. Around 2007 the property was again purchased by Neenah, Inc., who Amedro said ran the paper business for about eight months and then shut it down and gutted it.
Several years later, Jerry Damewood bought the building to use as a warehouse, but got rid of the machines on the mill and converting side.
“Jerry had bought the whole building when we came in,” Amedro said.
“We wouldn’t take over the rest of the property until we got a clean bill of health from the EPA, because the old property had a coal fire boiler, it had asbestos and all that, so the city actually bought the rest of the property and through a brownfield grant they got it cleaned up. Once that was cleaned up and we got a covenant not to sue from the city and state, then we took it over. That’s when we started building our operation.
“We then built it up the way we’re set up now,” he added. “The company decided they were going to put everything in one house, so they moved the whole Framingham and O’Fallon operations here for the converting - that’s what’s in the center part of our building and a little part on the west. And then the paper machine went in on the far east of the same building, and that’s the original building - the 1910 building.
So now everything’s done under one roof. We make our own paper and convert our own stuff.”
Weidmann still operates the board mill in Vermont, but is able to do everything else from their Ohio facility.
Weidmann continues to be a third tier provider, supplying paper but not the copper wire or other metal parts of the transformer, and they do business all over the world.
“We’ve been growing,” Amedro said. “When we started we had 95 people, now we’re up to 160 people. We’re getting to capacity levels on our DPP machine that makes the coated papers, and we continue to expand that business, and we take pride in that for a paper company we stick strictly into the electrical paper business. We don’t jump into commodity and make brown paper for brown paper bags, for example, just to run our machines. We specialize in engineered papers that are specific to an application, so it’s really high specialty type grade. We’re growing those engineered papers which then continues to increase our volumes.”
The Papermachine at the plant runs for ten days, then is down for four days to perform maintenance. Amedro says most of their raw material comes from spruce and lodge pine trees in British Columbia. There are currently about 160 employees in Urbana, but Amedro estimates that there are over 2,500 company-wide.
“We always have a certain amount of turnover,” he said. “Skilled labor is toughest one to find right now, we’re looking for off-shift mechanics.
I think they’re looking for three operator positions as well. There’s constant turnover from retirements and people want to go to a different shift. I think it’s a great company in the fact that it’s family owned and the one thing they do is they really treat their people well, and because of that we get a lot of loyalty to the company and people are pretty happy working here.”
Anyone interested in applying to work at Weidmann Electrical Technology or who wants to know more about the company may call 937-652-1220.
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304.
Staff Report from Urbana Daily Citizen
Teams had competed in their school districts and the winning team from each school district advanced to the county-level competition at UU. During the event, students participated in a trade show with local manufacturers.
Judges for the contest were George Walker of Advanced Technology Products (ATP); Andrea Mitchell of Job and Family Services; and Nicole Rush of the St.
Paris Public Library.
Assisting with the contest were Jason Taylor of Shaffer Manufacturing/ Bundy Baking Solutions, donating the mouse traps; and Dan Yohey of Rittal, creating and making the trophies for the winners.
Information from Champaign Economic Partnership.
The 5 Champaign County schools have developed teams to compete at their school district competition this Wednesday and the winning team from each school district advances to the county-level competition held at Urbana University on November 1. During the event, students are also able to participate in a tradeshow with local manufacturers. The winner of the 2nd Annual Design is Urbana High School.
Click here to read more about the Design Challenge.
Photos by John Coffman Photography
By Christopher Selmek email@example.com
Editor’s note: This is one in a series of articles about local manufacturing and global impact.
The Sarica Manufacturing Company is a relatively recent addition to the manufacturing companies doing business in Champaign County. CEO Steve Schneider founded the company in June 2005 with his wife, Connie, and since then has acquired two additional companies that each have customers all over the world.
“My wife is actually 51 percent owner of Sarica, so we started the company just her and I,” Schneider said. “We did this and we grew it from there with a couple other employees, so Sarica is a total start-up in 2005. We started in our original building, which was at 116 E. Court, and then grew from there.”
Sarica is an electronics manufacturing services provider that builds electronics, particularly for the aerospace industry. Hughey & Phillips produces airport lighting and obstruction lighting, such as lights on cell phone towers and water towers. Eisen Works, the more recent acquisition, performs mechanical assembly that supports its own customer base as well as that of the other two companies. All have offices here in Urbana.
Growing the business
Schneider originally came to Urbana in 1986 to work in electronics manufacturing for Honeywell Grimes Aerospace. In 1996 he left Honeywell to work for Monarch Marking Systems in Dayton, where he worked with barcode systems. Then in 2004 he left that company to begin working on his own venture, which would become Sarica.
“We did not have a plan to sell things overseas,” he said. “For the first couple years I was just hoping the fax machine would go off every day to try to get an order from customers that I had done business with at either Honeywell, during my tenure at Honeywell, or during my tenure at Monarch Marking Systems to build electronics for them. The first couple years were very difficult, we were not near as prosperous as we are today.”
By 2009 orders were abundant. Hefty growth had started around 2008, and the first international customers arrived around 2010.
“We started doing business with a company in Singapore that was looking for electronics, that was a supplier to some
of my existing customer base,” Schneider said. “That’s kind of what happens. We don’t have any real sales force. Our customers refer us to their supply chain, and so it just grows from there. They were producing a part for somebody else and they needed somebody to produce electronics, so they called us and we started doing business with them in 2010. They are still a customer today.”
The company in Singapore specifically was looking for cable harnesses, which Schneider describes as difficult electronic harnesses that go in an airplane application. A harness is a cable that typically has a circular connector on one end that connects a power supply in the aircraft to an avionics unit flight instrument display.
Sarica started doing business with Europe and Israel in 2014 after company representatives attended the Paris Air Show. There, Schneider said they were approached by several companies interested in finding a U.S. source for products.
“A lot of it has to do with FMF funding - Foreign Military Financing,” Schneider said. “What’s done on that is that the United States government will provide to countries funds for their own selfdefense. But there’s a contingency on those funds, whatever they’re going to go buy for self-defense, that money has to be spent 100 percent back in the U.S, so that’s what started it. We were and still are today a supplier to the Department of Defense, so we had all the pedigrees, all the things that are a requirement in FMF funding. Companies or countries that get this funding from the United States… they then have to spend that money in the United States, so it’s kind of good that it comes back to us.”
Israel was particularly interested in developing Patriot Advanced Capability – or PAC-3 missiles, which Sarica had developed for some of its existing customer base, so Schneider said that he and these defense companies were a good match for one another.
“They don’t want to go to just anybody and have to train them on how to build stuff to these other engineering drawings,” he said. “We knew how to do this, and we had the pedigree and the specifications and the certifications already in place, so it was a good fit.”
Israel comes to Ohio
The Dayton Development Corporation hosted a seminar to introduce local businesses to the Israeli Ministry of Defense in September. Several times before, Schneider said, he had been asked to speak at these kinds of events, but always he had been traveling outside the area. This time he was available and spoke before 50-70 people before bringing some of them to Urbana for a tour.
“It was very interesting, a lot of folks who were in the audience were trying to get FMF funding business from companies in Israel, and a lot of them had just started the quoting process with companies which were already customers of ours,” he said. “Now that we’ve started doing business in Israel we have business with a few companies over there.
“Folks from Ministry of Defense that were there did not know a whole lot about Sarica, and did not realize I had been doing all this work over there for all this time,” he continued. “So they were very interested in coming here and doing a plant tour and taking a look at that.”
Schneider said each of his three companies has different markets and that he spends much of his time making trips specific to one customer base.
“All three of those companies are parked in different markets,” he said. “Sarica is primarily parked in aerospace, so it’s dealing with customers who are either defense or in international military, or who are in aerospace companies like Airbus, Boeing and Honeywell. Hughey & Phillips produces a product that none of it goes on an airplane. So Sarica primarily produces a product that goes on defense vehicles or on airplanes. Hughey & Phillips is all ground bases, so its customers are completely different. Those customers are airports, government contracts, that are bidding projects that are a new cell phone tower or a new building in Dubai, and all over the world.”
Hughey & Phillips, which Schneider acquired from Honeywell in 2009, has since added three additional companies and continues to be a growth and acquisition-based company. That company has locations not only in Urbana, but also in Mansfield, Ohio, Lakeland, Florida, and now Fort Lauderdale.
“In the case of Hughey & Phillips, we just acquired a company in Fort Lauderdale formerly called Astronics, and this is a game changer for us because it puts us on a whole different plateau in the airport market,” he said. “Customers before, when they came to Hughey & Phillips, we might have only been able to supply maybe 10 of their product lines on the airport. Today those customers and those contractors can come to us and we can supply the whole airport with everything that they need. That’s a game changer, and it’s starting to happen to us already with getting lots of new opportunities to go big, where before it wasn’t as attractive.”
Schneider said Eisen Works, as a mechanical assembly company, has a smaller footprint than the other companies. He said that company currently has more work than they can handle and that if he could hire additional people for that organization he would be able to take on even more contracts.
“They have the same pedigree as Sarica, so they’re parked in the Aerospace account,” he said. “They have their own customers, a lot of those same customers are Sarica customers, but they also have their own customer base where they do very intricate, like Swiss watch, mechanical assemblies. It’s a very narrow client base that they have because of where they want to be parked at, but they do have some medical customers that need precision instruments, very small. They’re doing very well, they’re growing also, but it’s an order of magnitude difference from the other companies.”
“We are continuing to grow,” Schneider said. “It’s very positive. The market is very good right now, both domestically and internationally for our products, and in the case of Sarica … if we didn’t take another order tomorrow, we have enough backlog today to produce more sales in 2020 than we did in 2019.
“It’s done very well, and that’s a testimonial to everybody that works here,” he continued. “I wish I could say that I’m the greatest salesperson in the world to convince all these customers to buy products from us, but it really has nothing to do with that. We have no real sales force and I’m not very good at it. What customers continue to do is go to Sarica because we do what we say we’re going to do and our product lasts for a very long time.”
Schneider said that the main reason his customers stay with Sarica is because — as one of his customers said — “with Sarica we get the product, and you’re the first electronics supplier we’ve had that we did not have to send product back.”
“We’ve built all these companies on their ability to do what we say,” Schneider added. “We don’t want to hire a bunch of people and then lay back off. That is not what we’re doing here and it’s not what we’re about. If we can find good, steady, sustained growth we’re going to do it. In the case of Eisen Works they get lots of opportunities to produce thousands and thousands of parts, and then that order disappears and they don’t have that again until maybe next year. We don’t want to staff up in a seasonal type of business, like they do for Christmas holidays and folks that work at department stores. When we hire somebody we want them to be here until they retire.”
According to Schneider, the Urbana plant produces about 230 different part numbers every month, so employees are always working on something different and the work is not repetitive.
“A lot of times when people talk about manufacturing they think they’re sitting on an assembly line and just putting the same part on the same part all day long,” said Lin Giampetro, Sarica’s manager of culture development. “Here they do kit builds, so they get a kit that has everything in it, build the entire product, and like Steve said they might be working on one job for a couple days, and then they’re done with it, and then the next thing is completely different.”
Schneider added that they were lucky to be located in central Ohio, with many of their employees traveling to work from throughout Champaign County, Clark County, and the Columbus area. “There are great resources that are available in this area,” he said. “Unfortunately, what has happened over the last decade is there’s been a lot of manufacturing companies that have boarded up their doors and moved to China, or put it offshore someplace else. A lot of those folks are still here and they’re excellent, they’ve got a great work ethic, they know how to read engineering drawings, they’ve got a good ability to work on some of the most sophisticated electronics in the world that we produce right here in Urbana, Ohio.”
Sarica has about 85 employees in Urbana and about 120 total in Ohio, but is always looking to increase the workforce with good assemblers, solderers and machinists. For more information about job opportunities, e-mail lgiampetro@saricamfg. com.
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304
“There are great resources that are available in this area. Unfortunately, what has happened over the last decade is there’s been a lot of manufacturing companies that have boarded up their doors and moved to China, or put it offshore someplace else. A lot of those folks are still here and they’re excellent, they’ve got a great work ethic, they know how to read engineering drawings, they’ve got a good ability to work on some of the most sophisticated electronics in the world that we produce right here in Urbana, Ohio.”
-Sarica CEO Steve Schneider
Photos by John Coffman Photography.
By Christopher Selmek, Urbana Daily Citizen
Editor’s note: This is one in a series of articles about local manufacturing and global impact.
The Hall Company is a local, family-owned business with humble roots that now exports products to Israel, Japan, the Czech Republic, the Philippines, Australia, Germany, France and Canada. President Kyle Hall said that since the fiscal year began in July his company has been trending at 29% international sales, which he said means the Hall Company will probably make more international sales in 2020 than in any year previously.
“Our largest trading partner is in Israel, so we do a lot of business with GE Healthcare in Israel, but they build stuff in different places, so we make these large sensors, and our sensors go on their call-meters they use for scanning. So we’re selling stuff that goes to their division that does gamma cameras,” Hall said. “They build a lot of them in the Netherlands.
We have a couple customers in the Netherlands, but most of the business in the Netherlands, they actually buy panels from us, so we’ll negotiate a contract with GE for the year… and some of them they ship directly to Haifa in Israel. Some of us they will tell us to ship to another company in Israel, and then some of them they’ll ship to the Netherlands. And those people who produce these call meters will attach our part and then they ship the entire thing. That’ll all GE Israel, but it still goes to different places.“
Hall explained that as an industrial printer, the company works in about five different segments including medical, aviation, industrial equipment and consumer products, most of which remain in the United States. But the percentage of international sales has been growing, particularly as Hall builds a relationship with General Electric, which has divisions in Israel, China, Japan and is growing and buying new companies all the time, according to Hall.
“Most of what we’re doing overseas is actually medical,” he said. “There are occasions where we sell aviation and some other things, because we have customers all over the place, but from a volume standpoint it’s really mostly medical, and that drives our business. Sixty percent of our business is medical in any given year. Probably 10 percent plus is aviation, we have another 10 percent that is probably industrial automation. A percentage of it is consumer products, and then we do stuff for scientific and testing equipment, anything you can think of. If you think about it, everything needs a switch, a sensor, an overlay, a nameplate or a label telling you what it is. Everything out there has something on it.”
According to the company website, The Hall Company has been providing world-class solutions to customers in the sensor, printed electronics and identification product markets globally since 1961. William D. Hall Sr., who was an aeronautical engineer by trade, founded The Hall Company in his basement in Urbana initially to serve the aerospace industry. The company’s initial product offerings included metal nameplates, foil labels, printed lenses and metal control panels. The Hall Company supported the budding space program by providing printed lenses and nameplates to the Gemini and Apollo space missions. As the company grew its engineering and production capabilities, it started producing graphical overlays and printed circuit boards.
“In the 1970s plastics hit the market, and that changed everything,” said Kyle Hall. “We started doing a lot of plastic printed overlays … Then in the late ’70s printed electronics hit the market and become one of our biggest businesses. We got one of the first patents in the United States for a membrane switch. It took off and became our largest volume business, and it still is today.
“We think we exported our first part in 1993, and that went to Hong Kong,” he added. “When my father (James) was around they did a lot in Germany, a lot in Japan, but our sales were at a lower level. They’re higher now, so back then it was probably a lower percentage of total sales.
Over the last several years it’s just really taken off, and it’s been by a couple customers.”
Hall said that today his company exports switches and high-tech sensors to companies all over the world, but particularly to General Electric, as well as an American corporation that does its manufacturing in Mexico.
“That customer moved their production from the United States to Mexico, so that’s not great for the American economy, but we were able to hold onto it, so it’s good from that standpoint,” Hall said. “We’re still exporting that … we’ve been doing business with GE for 40-something years and now pretty much when they need a switch like this anywhere in the world they just contact us.”
Hall said they began doing business with the Israeli Ministry of Defense around 2008, but had previously worked with a smaller company in Israel that now works with General Electric.
Kyle Hall is the third generation of his family to take on the role of company president, following his father James’s passing in 2008, and said he has seen the technology change even in his 11 years at the helm.
“We’ve looked more to digital,” he said. “We’ve gone from membrane switches to looking for a lot of capacitive technology - more of whole builds instead of just selling a switch or a circuit. We’re doing a lot more valueadded assembly. We’re looking at growing our current customer base and how we can really concentrate on expanding with them, and that’s going to lead to some new international things.
We anticipate our international business to double over the next five years, based on what our customers are doing, which would be very good for us.”
Hall is currently a member of the Champaign Economic Partnership’s board and says he tries to support them as much as he can.
“I think it’s a good entity for the county from an economic development standpoint,” he said.
“I think it works well. When the city was doing one thing and the county was doing another thing it was kind of all over the place, it was complex. So I think now that everyone’s pooled resources it makes sense.”
His company is also a member of the Dayton Development Corporation and Hall served on their board several years ago. The DDC hosted a seminar to introduce local businesses to the Israeli Ministry of Defense and to give them information about quoting and bidding services.
Hall said he was unable to attend the seminar due to a quality audit scheduled for the same day, but he did travel to Dayton to have lunch with Israeli representatives the next day.
“It was kind of just a meet and greet to see how we could partner,” Hall said. “I think they’re looking for whole pieces of equipment like cars and tanks and things like that, whereas we just make components.
But we got some ideas for how we can look at it, and we are registering with the IMOD to see if we could quote something at all, because there could be something we do that could be a replacement part or something of that nature.”
Last year, 21 percent of Hall’s international sales went directly to Israel.
Another 44 percent of sales went to the Netherlands, but Hall explained that most of those products will end up in Israel.
While Hall creates both tier one and tier two components, the company they work with in the Netherlands is a total second tier provider.
Hall said he has traveled overseas when it is necessary, but because GE is based in America it is often more convenient to have GE representatives visit Urbana. He said that GE moved a lot of their medical business to China a few years ago and no longer builds anything at their corporate offices in Milwaukee.
“Our international business is based off of long-standing relationships with companies that are just doing stuff overseas,” Hall said. “We do have smaller companies that will reach out to us, they’ll find us on the web and stuff like that, but it’s really more driven by GE and ComEd and Siemens and people like that.”
Despite Hall’s international ambitions, the company still hires a largely local workforce, has maintained a head count of about 35 employees at their local plant, and currently has open positions they are looking to fill. In this way, Hall hopes to strengthen the economy both for entry-level manufacturing specialists seeking a job, and for the country as a whole.
“The best way to fix an economy, whether it’s broken or just to improve it, is to make something here, send it overseas, and bring those dollars back here,” Hall said.
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304
Students are preparing for the second annual Champaign County Design Challenge formed by CEP, local manufacturers, OHP and UU to celebrate October as National Manufacturing Month.
The 5 Champaign County schools have developed teams to compete at their school district competition this Wednesday and the winning team from each school district advances to the county-level competition held at Urbana University on November 1. During the event, students are also able to participate in a tradeshow with local manufacturers.
Story submitted to Urbana Daily Citizen
Timed to coincide with November’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month observance, lung screenings will be available 8 a.m.-noon Nov. 2 and 30 at Mercy Health – Urbana Hospital, 904 Scioto St. Call 937-328-8100 to schedule a lung screening and for more information. Walk-ins will be welcome based on availability.
People who smoke or have a history of smoking may benefit from an annual lung cancer screening, according to a Mercy Health news release. Using a CT scan, a radiologist can detect lung nodules that may be cancerous. Detecting lung cancer early can provide better health outcomes for patients. Those interested are advised to talk to their physicians about lung cancer screening.
Click here to see article on Urbana Daily Citizen.
It is time to clean out your medicine cabinets as part of a regular routine. Disposal of your unused or expired prescription medications helps prevent medicine misuse. Youth in our county report that they have high levels of access to prescription medications in their homes and the homes of relatives. Take 2 minutes for prevention, by disposing of these medications and properly securing them in your home.
Join us for a medication disposal event at Kroger in Urbana on Saturday, October 26th from 10am - 2pm. As a community service, Mary Rutan Hospital will also dispose of used/unused syringes at no charge. Drive thru service is available. No inhalers or liquids will be accepted.
If you are unable to attend this event, you can dispose year round at one of five local permanent medication disposal (drug drop-boxes) located at the St. Paris Municipal building (police department); Mechanicsburg Police Department, Urbana Municipal Building (main entrance), Champaign County Sheriff's Office, or at Mercy Hospital near the ER entrance.
Prevention works. Everyone has a role in keeping our community safe and healthy. Add this event to your calendar now and we will see you there!
For more information regarding this event please contact Champaign County Drug Free Youth Coalition & Opiate Task Force and Mary Rutan Hospital.
October is National Manufacturing Month
“We are fortunate to have such diversity of manufacturing in Champaign County,” said Marcia Bailey, CEP Director. “We want our young people to understand the career choices that exist in manufacturing and having this opportunity helps them gain first-hand knowledge. We have approximately 3,700 people working in manufacturing in our community and many companies are looking for skilled employees.”
Last year, the CEP, Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, Urbana University, and manufacturers from around the area created the inaugural Champaign County Design Challenge. After a successful first year, the design challenge is returning. For the second year in a row, approximately 90 students from Graham, Mechanicsburg, Triad, Urbana, and West Liberty-Salem are participating.
The student teams were challenged to design a mousetrap race car within a series of criteria and constraints under the guidance of an industry mentor. Each school participating can have up to four teams with five students and is open to middle or high school students. For the challenge, the mousetrap car must include five simple machines and four wheels with the goal of the car going 20 feet. The teams cannot purchase or 3D print materials.
The mentors for the teams are Steven Brandeberry from JWP, Zack Zizzo and Stephen Oser from Orbis, Mike Wagner from Navistar, Colin Turcu, Hayden Gephart, and Ethan Hess from KTH, Jeff Helman from Rosewood Machine and Tool, Jacob Schmitt from Ultra-Met, Dan Yohey from Rittal, Tyler Bumbalough from the Urbana City Engineering division, and Steve McCall from Champaign County Engineer.
“The goal of the design challenge is to expose students to local manufacturers, interact with professionals, and use their creativity to complete a project,” said Allison Koch, Ohio Hi-Point Satellite Supervisor. “The groups are being judged on their collaboration and their ability to explain their successes and challenges.”
The teams compete at their school district and the winning team from each school district advance to the countylevel competition held at Urbana University on November 1. All participants are invited to listen to the finalists present each team’s design to the judges.
During the event, students are also able to participate in a tradeshow with local manufacturers.
“Design thinking happens at the intersection of art and science. Designers direct our lifestyle, create our products, and shape the environments where we live, work, and play,” said Dr. Christopher Washington, Executive Vice President and CEO of Urbana University. “Urbana University is proud to host the Champaign County Design Challenge event for young designers in our region.”
The Champaign County Design Challenge trophy is currently housed at last year’s winning school, Triad High School.
For more information about manufacturing programs for students, please visit www.cepohio.com, www.ohiohipoint.com or www.urbana.edu.