Leaders in the American Manufacturing Renaissance

Pic­tured (Left to Right):
Matthew Bell, VP of MHD; Kirk Fistick, Pro­duc­tion Man­ag­er; Matthew Deale, 2nd Shift Fore­man; Monique Mitchell, Expe­d­i­tor; Samuel Agboh, Qual­i­ty Con­trol Pro­duc­tion Spe­cial­ist; Ben­nett Nwankwo, Machine Oper­a­tor; Melvin Lewis, Spe­cial Projects Pro­duc­tion Spe­cial­ist; Vin­cent Free­man, Press oper­a­tor; Chris Soud­er, CNC Router; William Pepe, 2nd shift Pro­duc­tion Super­vi­sor; Jonathan Benique, Machine Oper­a­tor; Anna Payan­zo Cot­ton, RCBC Vice Pres­i­dent of Work­force Devel­op­ment and Life­long Learn­ing; Lin­da Bobo, RCBC Direc­tor of Pro­gram Devel­op­ment and Instruc­tion; Dr. Michael Cioce, RCBC Pres­i­dent

Rowan Col­lege at Burling­ton Coun­ty and Mul­ti-Hous­ing Depot

Sub­mit­ted By: Kirk Fistick, Pro­duc­tion Man­ag­er, Mul­ti-Hous­ing Depot

I am in man­u­fac­tur­ing.”
In Amer­i­ca today, this state­ment about one’s cho­sen career path is unfor­tu­nate­ly often met with a neg­a­tive point of view. This is a false per­cep­tion. While not the world leader, Amer­i­ca is still the 2nd largest man­u­fac­tur­ing coun­try in the world and many indus­try experts project Amer­i­ca will become the world’s largest man­u­fac­tur­er by 2020. The social, civic, and soci­etal ben­e­fits that man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­vides are profound—for every one man­u­fac­tur­ing job, 15 oth­er jobs are cre­at­ed or sus­tained.

For a new gen­er­a­tion of Amer­i­cans, the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor has become an attrac­tive alter­na­tive to estab­lished career nar­ra­tives. A work­er can quick­ly earn a respectable income in a short amount of time with­out the bur­den­some fate of col­lege debt. There are few rea­sons for this; first, man­u­fac­tur­ing in Amer­i­ca focus­es on cut­ting edge tech­nol­o­gy uti­liz­ing net­worked sys­tems, com­plex soft­ware, and spe­cial­ized machin­ery. Next, the plant of today is not the dirty steel or tire plant of the past, but a dizzy­ing array of com­put­ers, machin­ery, and high­ly intel­li­gent and moti­vat­ed employ­ees. Final­ly, Amer­i­cans are great at inge­nu­ity, inno­va­tion and entre­pre­neur­ship. In the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, employ­ees can flex these innate­ly Amer­i­can strengths with­out the bur­den­some pre­req­ui­sites of edu­ca­tion or expe­ri­ence. Man­u­fac­tur­ing allows employ­ees to quick­ly estab­lish tech­ni­cal and indus­try spe­cial­iza­tion, and sub­se­quent­ly allows for employ­ees to seek addi­tion­al edu­ca­tion as the indi­vid­ual matures in respon­si­bil­i­ty.

With these oppor­tu­ni­ties in mind, Rowan Col­lege Burling­ton Coun­ty (RCBC) devel­oped the Advanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Pro­gram in 2016 with the Burling­ton Coun­ty Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy. The pro­gram address­es the lack of fun­da­men­tal tech­ni­cal skills in the work­force today. The 330-hour pro­gram pre­pares indi­vid­u­als for entry-lev­el posi­tions in the advanced man­u­fac­tur­ing indus­try. The train­ing cov­ers blue­print read­ing, applied math, job lay­out, hand and pow­er tools, man­u­al milling, man­u­al lathe, grind­ing, band saw and CNC lathe and mill machines. The train­ing also pro­vides OSHA 30 and NIMS Lev­el 1 cer­ti­fi­ca­tions.

Mul­ti-Hous­ing Depot (MHD) was an ear­ly sup­port­er of the RCBC Advanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Pro­gram. MHD is a 124-year-old Amer­i­can fam­i­ly-owned busi­ness based in Burling­ton, NJ, that pro­vides qual­i­ty prod­ucts and excep­tion­al cus­tomer ser­vice to the mul­ti­fam­i­ly indus­try. The man­u­fac­tur­ing divi­sion of MHD pro­vides high-qual­i­ty cab­i­nets, coun­ter­tops, and kitchen refac­ing prod­ucts uti­liz­ing over $9 mil­lion in state-of-the-art machin­ery from Ger­many and the Unit­ed States. The man­u­fac­tur­ing plant runs dai­ly from 4:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. employ­ing 70 peo­ple with plans for future expan­sion.

Pro­gram Grad­u­ate Spot­lights
Nine of RCBC’s Advanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Pro­gram grad­u­ates are hard at work at MHD. Monique Mitchell was one of the first grad­u­ates that MHD hired in August 2017, and the first female grad­u­ate of the Advanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Pro­gram. Monique start­ed as an edge­ban­der machin­ist, which is the most high­ly skilled tech­nique in the man­u­fac­tur­ing plant. Edge­band­ing fin­ish­es the raw edge of mate­r­i­al to make our cab­i­nets and relat­ed prod­ucts. Monique con­tributed great­ly to chang­ing the per­cep­tion of women work­ing in the man­u­fac­tur­ing plant result­ing in a three­fold increase. Monique has excep­tion­al skills and lead­er­ship that enabled her to be pro­mot­ed to a cus­tomer ser­vice spe­cial­ist where she is a vital link between MHD’s sales force and the man­u­fac­tur­ing plant. Monique’s expe­ri­ence as a machine oper­a­tor and her under­stand­ing of the man­u­fac­tur­ing process has made her tran­si­tion to a cus­tomer ser­vices spe­cial­ist role much eas­i­er. This is a mod­el MHD hopes to emu­late for future office posi­tions, and the Advanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Pro­gram makes such a strat­e­gy pos­si­ble.

William Pepe recent­ly grad­u­at­ed from the Advanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Program’s most recent cohort. William is a leader at Aca­cia Cab­i­net­works, Mul­ti-Hous­ing Depot’s Pre­mier Man­u­fac­tur­ing Divi­sion for the mul­ti­fam­i­ly indus­try. Unlike Monique, William was already employed at MHD, but want­ed to fur­ther his knowl­edge of advanced man­u­fac­tur­ing. A part-time farmer and welder, William start­ed at MHD as tem­po­rary employ­ee and quick­ly became a per­ma­nent employ­ee, a CNC machine oper­a­tor, the machin­ing area lead, and most recent­ly the 2nd shift super­vi­sor. William pur­sued the Advanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Pro­gram because he aspires to become a pro­duc­tion man­ag­er and the pro­gram helped solid­i­fy his tech­ni­cal skills. In addi­tion to his pro­fes­sion­al goals, William aspires to com­plete an asso­ciate degree in mechan­i­cal engi­neer­ing tech­nol­o­gy at RCBC, and even­tu­al­ly a bachelor’s degree.

Vin­cent Free­man is a grad­u­ate of the third Advanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Pro­gram cohort. In the past, Vin­cent worked as air­craft main­te­nance engi­neer, a hard­ware store man­ag­er and as a night­club bounc­er, nev­er real­ly find­ing his niche. Vin­cent is a hands-on guy that likes to see how things work and real­ized he need­ed retrain­ing for a career in the new advanced man­u­fac­tur­ing indus­try. Vin­cent says he “appre­ci­ates that an advanced man­u­fac­tur­ing career allows mature work­ers to use their inge­nu­ity, but still stay active for main­tain­ing a healthy life style.” Vin­cent is grate­ful for the Advanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Pro­gram because he could quick­ly learn his job and con­tribute to MHD’s suc­cess. Vin­cent now oper­ates MHD’s $1 mil­lion Wemhon­er-Pres­son press, which cre­ates rigid thre­mo­foil doors for the cab­i­nets. Fur­ther­more, he is learn­ing the oper­a­tion of MHD’s Komo CNC Routers. Vin­cent is very enthu­si­as­tic and excit­ed for his career and the career of his Advanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Pro­gram class­mates at MHD.

About RCBC
Rowan Col­lege at Burling­ton Coun­ty is one of the fastest grow­ing com­mu­ni­ty col­leges in the region and home of the 3+1 pro­gram that allows stu­dents to earn a Rowan Uni­ver­si­ty bachelor’s degree for less than what most uni­ver­si­ties charge for a sin­gle year. In addi­tion to sav­ing about $75,000 on a bachelor’s degree, stu­dents can enjoy a mod­ern­ized Mount Lau­rel Cam­pus that focus­es on improv­ing the stu­dent expe­ri­ence with a new cam­pus quad and Stu­dent Suc­cess Cen­ter, and state-of-the-art tech­nol­o­gy. The college’s Work­force Devel­op­ment Insti­tute pro­vides job seek­ers and busi­ness­es with a full array of indus­try train­ing pro­grams that meet the needs of the evolv­ing work­force. Learn more at rcbc.edu.

About MHD
Mul­ti-Hous­ing Depot began as a fam­i­ly tra­di­tion 124 years ago in 1894, with deliv­er­ies being made by horse-drawn carts. We began appli­ance sales in 1987, opened our man­u­fac­tur­ing facil­i­ty for cab­i­nets and relat­ed prod­uct in 1994, expand­ed into our Win­dow and Door Divi­sion in 2003 and today we are con­tin­u­ous­ly improv­ing our ser­vice and man­u­fac­tur­ing capa­bil­i­ties with cut­ting-edge tech­nol­o­gy. We have gone from one line of pro­duc­tion for cab­i­nets to three in an as many years with mul­ti­ple shifts. Our fifth-gen­er­a­tion com­pa­ny con­tin­ues to build and grow through strong cus­tomer sup­port, hard-work­ing per­son­nel and the fam­i­ly envi­ron­ment that is so deeply ingrained in the MHD cul­ture. Teamed with our qual­i­ty prod­ucts and ser­vices, we are The Smarter Way to Mul­ti-House.

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