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WNC Business

HCPED celebrates National Manufacturing Day

Oct 16, 2023 04:28PM ● By Randee Brown

On Friday, October 13, The Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development celebrated National Manufacturing Day with local high school students and leaders from the business community.

The National Manufacturing Day events celebrate all the items made in Henderson County, and brings career path awareness to high school students. Several manufacturers hosted tours including Avery Dennison Corporation, Jabil Inc, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Lassonde Pappas Company, and Linamar Light Metals.

Business leaders had the opportunity to visit Linamar, a company that has been manufacturing a variety of aluminum and magnesium vehicle parts in Henderson County since 2006. Linamar is host to 513 employees in a 410,000 square foot facility, who manufacture items via a highly-automated, high-pressure die casting and machining system. Clients include Ford, GM, Volvo, Maserati, and Corvette, and the facility is the sole source of Ford’s magnesium cross car beam.

 Linamar is home to one of the few growing manufacturing processes in the world. Driven by automotive electrification and Elon Musk, the facility creates many lighter-weight vehicle parts that are one piece rather than consisting of many individually-stamped pieces that have been welded together. A recent $33.5 million investment will soon launch a new program producing specific parts for General Motors.

This year’s Manufacturing Day event was the first to include a panel of speakers at a lunch for all students and business leaders who participated in the day’s tours. All panelists attended Henderson County high schools and now work in the manufacturing sector. Panelists included Dusty Walker of Current Lighting, Melissa Bell of Alchem Incorporated, Sydney Bass of Avery Dennison, and Jeremy Edwards of Lassonde Pappas.

These panelists entered their manufacturing careers out of high school, seeing the opportunities for immediate career entry as well as possibilities for apprenticeships and scholarships to help earn college degrees.

Panelists agreed the diversity in available job positions and upward momentum opportunities were highly desirable and led to their career choice, and one panelist said her only regret was not beginning her manufacturing career sooner.

Manufacturing is the industry in Henderson County that “pays the bills,” and the HCPED works to attract and retain quality jobs, solicit new compatible businesses, and assist the expansion of existing companies while enhancing quality of life for the county’s residents.