Fall 2021 Manufacture Your Career Events

SVAM resumed in-person Manufacture Your Career panel discussions for the fall 2021 semester, as well as holding another virtual event. These events focused on a discussion from a panel of manufacturing professionals highlighting the manufacturing industry and the career paths it offers. Panelists discussed multiple topics including changes in manufacturing over the years, employee engagement, pay and benefits, facility safety, employer desired soft skills, opportunities for advancement, and different job opportunities. Students also had the opportunity to ask panel members questions and network after the panels. These events were a terrific opportunity for students to get an idea of the opportunities available for them and gain exposure to local businesses. It was also a great way for businesses to meet potential future employees.

The first event was hosted by King University in their beautiful Memorial Chapel on October 11th. Panelists included Matt Justice, Quality Engineer at Tadano Mantis in Richlands; Leah Sawer, Chief Human Resources Officer at Real Performance Machinery LLC in Independence; Lisa Jones, Director – Human Resources and Safety for Hapco and Concord American Flagpole (VA, TX, MC, China); and Te-Kai Shu, Social Media and Business Development Manager at Strongwell in Bristol.

The second event was hosted by Emory & Henry College and held in their McGlothlin Center for the Arts on November 9th. Panelists included Bryant Rutledge, Lean Manufacturing Engineer for Hapco and Concord American Flagpole in Abingdon; Jennifer Roundtree, Global Marketing & Brand Manager at Universal Fibers, Inc. in Bristol; Samantha Dowell, Human Resources Generalist at Scholle IPN in Chilhowie; and Michael Pollard, Advanced Systems Analyst at Universal Fiber Systems in Bristol.

The third and final event of the semester was a virtual event hosted via Zoom by Southwest Virginia Community College on November 16th. The panelists included Donna Reeder, Human Resources Supervisor for Hapco and Concord American Flagpole (VA, TX, MC, China); Jack Hurley, Warehouse Manager for West River Conveyors and Machinery Company; Ragan Proffitt, Production Engineer at Wolf Hills Fabricators; and Leah Sawer, Chief Human Resources Officer at Real Performance Machinery LLC in Independence. You can view the virtual panel here.

SVAM would like to thank Finley Green and King University, Amanda Pollard and Emory & Henry College, Jessica Dotson and Southwest Virginia Community College, and all the manufacturing professionals who shared their valuable knowledge and insight with us.