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EMS firm VirTex joined thousands of manufacturers across the Americas and Mexico on Manufacturing Day as they opened their doors to showcase to the public what modern manufacturing in action looks like, and to inspire the next generation of skilled workers.
"One of the common problems within the EMS industry is that as we build for well-known, brand leading companies, and if we are doing our job right, no one hears about us; we are the industry's best-kept secret,” says Rick Polansky, senior vice president of business development at VirTex. "We are essentially the brand-behind-the-brand, the OEMs route to market. We saw Manufacturing Day as a route to highlight the scientific, technical, engineering and mathematical environments [STEM] that EMS companies like VirTex operate in every day, to bring the products that you use in your day-to-day world to life!
"We have over 250 employees spread across our three facilities, all cross-trained and developed to work across several varying market segments. Many of these people have been part of our VirTex family for over 20 years. Manufacturing Day was a route to educate people as to why a career at VirTex, or the EMS industry as a whole, is a good one, a stable choice, with promotional or cross training opportunities where you are at the centre of innovation and technology and dispel some of the misconceptions that manufacturing is simply manual labor, build-to-print."
During Manufacturing Day, VirTex welcomed over 20 visitors to their headquarters in Austin, Texas. The company collaborated with a couple of their local partners: AISD, the Applied Technology Centre, Anderson High School, and the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association (ARMA).
To ensure that visitors received true hands-on experience and to guarantee that they left with a real understanding of a day-in-the-life of VirTex, their visit kicked-off with an overview of "What is Contract Manufacturing," by Eric Wichamann, general manager of the Austin facility. This was followed by a facility tour, and an interactive Q&A where many guests discussed how they would like to help share their experience about the reality of working in manufacturing, versus the image that manufacturing has become synonymous with.
"It was important for us to show our support to Manufacturing Day, as we were able to expose STEM students to modern day manufacturing as a career, and alternatives to traditional four-year college programs," says Brad Heath, CEO. "The event allowed us to build on our relationships with teachers and community college partners, to help us to create a curriculum and internship program that can further the interest in manufacturing as a career. At VirTex, we believe that we bridge the high school and community college curriculum, better preparing the students for a future in manufacturing, innovation and the supply chain. I was personally delighted with the interest of the students and their academic leaders who both couldn’t hide their surprise and fascination that a career in manufacturing holds. It would now be my pleasure to welcome them to VirTex as interns."