PIRC Director's Message
We recently reorganized to support our revised and expanded business plan to meet increasing demands for services from our members and other industry partners. Current staff assignments include:
PIRC Assistant – JoAnn Otto. JoAnn performs administrative, accounting, and secretarial functions for the PIRC management staff, as well as coordinates training and project tracking activities.
PIRC Engineering Manager – Gary McQuay. Gary provides engineering expertise and leadership to the PIRC R&D programs, as well as manages facility and equipment resources. He handles capacity and scheduling issues in support of industry project initiatives and operations. He also manages the Rotational Molding Center of Excellence (RMCE).
Client Development Consultant, PIRC – Christy Allen. Christy coordinates client development and continues to create workforce development programs for our industry partner companies. She manages both grant-funded and client-funded training programs, educational seminars, and on-site corporate workforce development programs, including the Global Standards for Plastics Certification (GSPC) employee certification program.
PIRC Program & Technical Service Manager – Chris Gagliano. Chris manages the overall direction and provides leadership for the Thermoforming Center of Excellence (TFCE). He is responsible for establishing new and maintaining existing relationships with customers, serving as the first point of contact for R&D activities.
PIRC Laboratory Supervisor & Project Coordinator – Jessica Fischer. Jessica was promoted to supervise the plastics laboratory staff as she also manages the project flow through the PIRC. The laboratory staff includes a project technician and six student research assistants. Jessica graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Penn College’s plastics program in 2009.
We see significant opportunities for expansion of workforce development programs among plastics product manufacturers. An expanded use of outsourcing to contract manufacturers, due to higher employee cost factors, may create a market for the PIRC training products. The industry also shows signs of growth in terms of new materials, innovative processing, and higher conversion volumes. A re-shoring movement is in place bringing production previously outsourced offshore back to the US. These movements, along with retiring skilled workers from the “baby boomer” generation, continue to create a need for workforce training products currently offered by the PIRC.
In our previous newsletters, we promoted an employee certification program called Global Standards for Plastics Certification (GSPC) that is now being offered by the PIRC. I want to emphasize the merits of this program in reference to productivity of workers in the plastics processing industry. This program began as an apprenticeship program in the United Kingdom and has become the only internationally recognized program designed to ensure that plastics industry employees have a consistent body of knowledge and skills related to plastics processing and production. I believe that this powerful program may be the answer to the existing workforce skills gap in the plastics industry. Incorporating GSPC into operations at your facility starts with contacting our office.
As usual, your feedback is welcomed.
C. Hank White