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Archive for April, 2014

2014 Industrial Executives Forum

The 2014 Industrial Executives Forum will take place on Tuesday, April 29th at Blue Ridge Community College’s Technology Education & Development Center.  The full agenda and details for the forum are below.  If you would like to attend, and have not already responded, please RSVP now to rsvp@hcped.org or (828) 692-6373.

Networking Breakfast: 8:00 – 8:45 am

Welcome & Made in Henderson County Update: 8:45 – 9:00 am
Pete Szelwach of Clement Pappas, and Chair of HCPED’s Existing Industry Committee, will provide a welcome and update on the committee’s work to develop and implement the Made in Henderson County initiative focused on connecting schools and industry.

NC Commerce International Trade & Export Assistance: 9:00 – 10:00 am
The NC Commerce International Trade Division will provide a customized look at international trade and export programs that are available to all businesses in North Carolina.  Attendees will hear from Rep. Chuck McGrady about a recent international trade mission to China, the resources that are available in supporting international trade and export assistance, and then hear from a company that has grown their business with ITD support.

Industry Best Practices: 10:00 – 11:00 am
SELEE Corporation- Sissy Rogers, Human Resources Manager:
SELEE excels in employee benefits, especially those surrounding health and wellness programs.  The company will share how they have empowered employees to take ownership of health, safety and wellness issues which have simultaneously improved the health and wellbeing of employees while also effectively managing rising insurance costs.

Earth Fare – Scott Little, Chief Financial Officer:  
Earth Fare a leading healthy supermarket headquartered in Fletcher, NC. The company will discuss the business’ market identification strategy, specifically focusing on how the company has utilized new capital to grow market share.

Wilsonart International – Chris McCullough, Production Manager:
Wilsonart is making strides in its waste reduction. In just three months, the company’s local distribution center went from producing 2,000 lbs. of landfill waste per week to less than 150 lbs. McCullough will share Wilsonart’s story and the practical steps they took to achieve this milestone.

Unionization Update: 11:00 – 12:00 noon
Dan Ellzey, a partner in Fisher & Phillips, LLP in Columbia, SC, is an expert in the field of labor relations.  Ellzey will present current labor trends and unionization efforts in the region and provide best practices for maintaining positive employee relations at local manufacturing facilities. Ellzey advises companies across the nation on union avoidance, as well as the development of proactive employee relations plans. He has been involved in some of the highest profile union campaigns and elections in the United States and routinely consults for automotive companies including top tier, final assembly operations located throughout the nation.

Unionization Assessment Working Lunch – Manufacturing Representatives Only: 12:00 – 1:00 pm
Immediately following Mr. Ellzey’s formal presentation, manufacturing employers are invited to an industry-specific luncheon, limited to manufacturing stakeholders. During lunch plant managers, human resources professionals and other industry representatives will be given the opportunity to participate in an assessment and evaluation session. Ellzey will lead a discussion on how industry leaders can assess their company’s vulnerabilities and overall risks to union campaigns and elections. Industry leaders will be free to ask questions and identify strategies which can be utilized within their operations to improve employee relations and reduce the risk of unionization.

This program series is brought to attendees at no cost thanks to support from HCPED Patron Members: Asheville Savings Bank, Blue Ridge Community College, Continental, Cooper Construction Company, Duke Energy, First Citizens Bank, Friday Staffing Services, GE Lighting Solutions, PSNC Energy, the Van Winkle Law Firm and supporting sponsors AT&T and Carolina Specialties Construction.

Made in Henderson County Video

We have worked with our friends in local industry and the Henderson County Public Schools to produce a short video that highlights some of the misconceptions and realities of today’s manufacturing career opportunities and work environment.  Eighteen middle school students enrolled in Career Technical Education courses were interviewed about their perception of manufacturing as a career path, and ten manufacturing companies participated to demonstrate the realities.

The result is a 4-minute video that illustrates the skills gap challenge we face locally, while emphasizing the importance of making critical connections between students and employers.

View the video on YouTube 

View the video on Vimeo

Tomorrow, over 400 8th and 9th grade students will tour ten manufacturing locations, and they will watch this video before they go.

The video and the student tours are all part of the Made in Henderson County initiative, focusing on enhancing the connection between manufacturing businesses and the school system, while telling the story of manufacturing, the products that are made here and the people who make them.  Our goal is raise the visibility of manufacturing as a viable career path to ensure that Henderson County students have diverse employment opportunities in the community, and manufacturing businesses have access to skilled, local talent.

Thanks to the companies that participated in our video, including Kiln Drying Systems, UPM Raflatac, Continental, Cane Creek Cycling Components, BorgWarner Thermal, Diamond Brand, Legacy Paddlesports, Outrider USA, Alpha Tech/Speedflex, and Selee.

Industrial Executives Forum April 29th

The Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development invites members and manufacturers to the 2014 Industrial Executives Forum scheduled for Tuesday, April 29th at Blue Ridge Community College’s Technology Education and Development Center. Registration and networking will begin at 8:00 am.

This year’s forum will include a presentation from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of International Trade on export assistance programs, a business best practices panel comprised of manufacturing leadership from area companies, and a final program featuring Dan Ellzey, a well-respected labor attorney specializing in unionization issues. This week we will feature more information about the unionization program, and future communications will provide more details on International Trade and Business Best Practices. To make plans to attend this event please RSVP to rsvp@hcped.org or contact Partnership staff directly at (828) 692-6373.

Industrial Executives Forum: Unionization Update

In February, 2014 Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, TN facility narrowly rejected the United Auto Workers by a vote of 712 to 626. The vote and narrow margins raised questions about unionization efforts in the U.S. automotive sector, and in particular the Southeast, a region which has historically operated under a right-to-work system. This vote, combined with National Labor Review Board activities and new union organizing initiatives has created an interest to address this topic at the 2014 Industrial Executives Forum.

Dan Ellzey, a partner in Fisher & Phillips, LLP in Columbia, SC, is an expert in the field of labor relations. During the Forum, Ellzey will discuss current labor trends and unionization efforts in the region and provide best practices for maintaining positive employee relations at local manufacturing facilities. Ellzey advises companies across the nation on union avoidance, as well as the development of proactive employee relations plans. He has been involved in some of the highest profile union campaigns and elections in the United States and routinely consults for automotive companies including top tier, final assembly operations located throughout the nation.

This program series is brought to attendees at no cost thanks to support from HCPED Patron Members: Asheville Savings Bank, Blue Ridge Community College, Continental, Cooper Construction Company, Duke Energy, First Citizens Bank, Friday Staffing Services, GE Lighting Solutions, PSNC Energy, the Van Winkle Law Firm and supporting sponsors AT&T and Carolina Specialties Construction.