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Day of caring will have 1,200 corporate volunteers helping nonprofits

It’s time for the Lehigh Valley’s corporate workforce to become its volunteer force. 

Thursday is the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s 30th Day of Caring. 

Around 1,200 employees from local companies will work with 50 area nonprofits with a day of volunteering, which serves as the public kick-off of United Way’s 2023 campaign. 

According to the United Way, participants from 54 area businesses will complete more than 50 service projects through Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties. 

Among the projects, Victaulic, Dual Temp Company Inc., UGI and JP Morgan Chase & Co. Will work with the American Red Cross to install fire alarms in Easton homes. 

Workers from Just Borrn will be at Marvine Elementary school cleaning, organizing and decorating United Way Community School. 

 United Way President David Lewis and 2023 Campaign Chairs Tony and Adrienne DaRe of BSI Corporate Benefits will join volunteers throughout the region as they perform their volunteer work. 

Lehigh Valley Intern Impact Day planned for Friday

It’s the intern’s turn to show what they can do to support the community. 

This Friday, more than 275 interns from 11 area businesses will participate in the fifth annual Intern Impact Day for the volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley. 

The summer interns will work on projects at 16 area nonprofits to help them gain a better sense of community. 

The Volunteer Center said that attracting and retaining talent for major companies is key and helping the interns to have an increased sense of community with new connections can be a decisive factor in staying in the Lehigh Valley.  

The program launched in 2019 with 200 interns participating.  

In 2020 and 2021 the Volunteer Center hosted virtual events for interns across the country introducing them to means of connecting where they are and the value that volunteers bring to the nonprofit sector. The interns had the opportunity to understand the nonprofit infrastructure specifically around housing, homelessness and food access.  

In 2022 the interns were back in the community and the Volunteer Center was able to promote the program wider this year to bring new companies to the table. 

This year, the day will involve interns from ADP, Air Products, Amazon, Andesa Services, ArtsQuest, FreshPet, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Olympus, PPL Electric Utilities, St. Luke’s University Health Network and Victualic.  

The Volunteer Center will be kicking off the day at CocaCola Park before the interns go to their projects. 

Victaulic acquires Tennessee manufacturer

Easton-based Victaulic has acquired a Tennessee company. 

The manufacturer of pipe joining, fire protection and flow-control solutions has acquired the the business assets of Tennesse Metal Fabricating Corp. (TMF) to help support its growth in the infrastructure market and increase its capacity for large-diameter piping solutions. 

TMF specializes in water, wastewater and infrastructure projects throughout North America. 

 “The acquisition of TMF is a natural fit with Victaulic’s business strategy. This strategic step demonstrates our ambition to further expand our growth and service capabilities to our valued North American construction customers,” said Rick Bucher, president and CEO of Victaulic. “Victaulic is delighted to welcome the TMF employees to our Victaulic family and we are excited to have these talented individuals as part of our skilled workforce.” 

 He said a major aspect of Victaulic’s business strategy has always been to manufacture products in close proximity to its customers. The addition of the TMF business includes three buildings totaling 125,000 square feet and over 36 acres of land. 

 

Victaulic acquires Western Pa. foundry for expected growth

Victaulic has purchased the Waupaca manufacturing plant in Lawrenceville. PHOTO/SUBMITTED

 

Victaulic in Easton is growing its foundry production capacity by 70% with the acquisition of the 220-square-foot Waupaca manufacturing plant in Western Pennsylvania.

The Waupaca facility in Lawrenceville is one of the region’s largest employers of steelworkers.

Victaulic, which manufactures mechanical pipe joining, fire protection and flow control solution said the acquisition will help it meet expected future growth as its business demands increase.

The facility, which includes two foundry molding lines, will also allow Victaulic to produce larger-scale products.

“The addition of Waupaca’s Lawrenceville foundry will provide the scale and capacity necessary to continue our growth plans and most importantly service our valued North American customers. Additionally, Victaulic is doing its part to add vital manufacturing jobs within Pennsylvania,” said John F. Malloy, chairman of Victaulic. “A major aspect of our business strategy has always been to manufacture products in close proximity to our customers.”

Victaulic has nearly a thousand employees in the Lehigh Valley and remains one of the region’s largest employers of steelworkers, with plants in Northampton and Lehigh counties.

The company said it plans to add approximately 90 new jobs to the new Tioga County facility in the near future.

Victaulic is also nearing the completion of an additional 400,000-square-foot light assembly operations facility in Lower Nazareth, which is expected to be completed later this year.

Victaulic names Bucher as CEO starting in January

Rick Bucher

 

Victaulic, the Easton-based manufacturer of pipe fittings, has appointed Rick Bucher CEO.

He will replace John F. Malloy, who will retire Jan 31. Malloy will be staying on as chair of Victaulic’s board of directors.

Bucher joined Victaulic in 2009 as vice president of engineering. He has been serving as president of Victaulic since April. He was appointed Chief Operating Officer in June of 2019.

Before joining Victaulic, Bucher worked for W.L. Gore, a manufacturer of advanced composite materials.

Bucher received a B.S. and M.S. in engineering from Rice University and a Ph.D. in material science from Virginia Tech.

“Since joining Victaulic in 2009, Rick has reinforced Victaulic’s long-standing commitment to innovation,” Malloy said. “Under his leadership Victaulic’s patent portfolio has grown substantially with the issuance of over 3,200 patents globally while our research and development organization has doubled in size.”

Last year Victaulic added close to one million square feet to the company’s manufacturing operations.

These investments included a new, 400,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing center in the Lehigh Valley, as well as investments and expansion of the company’s facilities in Dalian, China; Drezdenko, Poland; and Ontario, Canada.

Rick Bucher named president of Victaulic

Rick Bucher has been named president of Victaulic in Easton. PHOTO/SUBMITTED –

Victaulic in Easton has named Rick Bucher president and COO.

He will continue reporting to John Malloy, who had served as president and CEO for 16 years. Malloy will remain chairman and CEO of the company.

Bucher began with Victaulic in 2009 as vice president of product development, eventually rising to the role of executive vice president of technology and product development.

He was named COO in June of 2019.

Prior to Victaulic, Bucher worked for W.L. Gore for 14 years in industrial and medical sectors. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in material science and engineering from Rice University, and a doctorate in composite materials from Virginia Tech.

Victaulic is a producer of mechanical pipe joining solutions. The company has 14 manufacturing facilities and 29 branches worldwide with nearly 5,000 employees.

Builders pitch in to rebuild camp for low-income kids

L-R: Eric Luftig (Victaulic), Christina Schoemaker (Valley Youth House), Jim Eck (Quadratus Construction Management, Inc.), Eric Scheler (Commerce Construction Co./Majestic Realty Co.), Rick Koze (Kay Builders), Jason Engelhardt (Langan), Tom Harrington (Valley Youth House) –

 

A number of Greater Lehigh Valley construction companies have joined forces to help Valley Youth House of Bethlehem make improvements at the nonprofit’s Orefield campgrounds.

Kay Builders, Majestic Realty Co./Commerce Construction Co., Brooks Development Group, Quadratus Construction Management Inc., Langan, and many others are helping Valley Youth House build new cabins at Camp Fowler, a project valued at $1.4 million.

“These cabins will be built by the heart to last another 100 years,” said Richard H. Brooks, president, Brooks Development Group, one of the companies assisting with the project, in a statement released Thursday.

Valley Youth house said the cabins on the 43-acre property were built 75 years ago and are unsafe, with uneven and damaged flooring, leaking roofs and rotting wooden siding.

These renovations are expected to improve safety and expand the usefulness of the camp for Valley Youth House clients, and the community groups that use the camp.

The camp serves youth of all ages with a focus on those who would otherwise not have access to camp experiences. This population includes low-income children and youth, youth in foster care, and homeless youth, many of which have experienced significant trauma in their lives.

“Camp Fowler allows youth of all ages to dream, learn and discover their strengths in a unique setting.  It is a very special place and an essential element in Valley Youth House’s programming,” said Eric B. Luftig, chair of the board of directors for Valley Youth House and vice president at Victaulic in Easton.

LV Manufacturers host Manufacturing Day events

Oct. 4 is national Manufacturing Day. To mark the occasion a number of Lehigh Valley manufacturers held special events to promote manufacturing careers to young people.

Victaulic invited more than 40 area students to its world headquarters in Forks Township to learn about the company’s operations.

The students were from the Career Institute of Technology’s Machine Tool Technology Program in Forks Township, which serves the Bangor, Nazareth, Wilson, Easton and Pen Argyl area school districts.

Victaulic, which has been active in promoting STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education in schools, provided the opportunity for the students to learn about what kind of skills and training are needed to enter a manufacturing career at a place like Victaulic, which is a manufacturer of pipe fittings.

ATAS International Inc. of Upper Macungie Township, another local STEM supporter, also invited students to take a tour of its plant, led by John Fenstermacher, general manager.

During the tour, the eighth grade students got to experience first-hand the processes in which metal components for building envelopes are manufactured. The company also hosted a panel discussion on manufacturing industry careers and students got to hear directly from ATAS employees about their job responsibilities and skills.

Victaulic and ATAS were among nearly 2,800 manufacturers across the nation participating in Manufacturing Day events.

Bevy of strategies boosts staff recruitment

As temperatures soar, unemployment continues to drop, fueling a fiercely competitive market for skilled workers.

From manufacturing to professional services to higher education, one thing is sure: It takes a mixed bag of savvy recruiting tools to attract talented job candidates.

Successful matches may come from old-school networking or digital platforms designed to attract and resonate with the right candidates.

Here’s a snapshot of Lehigh Valley employers and their efforts to bring potential employees to that first interview.

Digital to-dos

Lehigh University is using its diverse departments and employee workforce to host “employee takeovers” on its Instagram account in order to get the “Work, Life, Lehigh” message out to potential job applicants, said Hillary Kwiatek, employee communications specialist at Lehigh University.

Similar to “A Day in the Life” storytelling, potential employees can take a peek into the job of a Zoellner stage manager, for example, or a Lehigh marketing professional. Zoellner Arts Center is a performing arts theater on the Lehigh University campus in Bethlehem.

“When they [employees] are in charge of the university’s Instagram account, our followers grow,” Kwiatek said.

Lehigh also uses video storytelling by creating brief video content and pushing it out on its Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

“A recent hire told me one of the videos she saw inspired her” to accept a position at Lehigh, Kwiatek said.

Aubrie Fenicle, a Lehigh human resources and talent acquisition associate, said paid LinkedIn tools helped further hone the recruiting process.

“LinkedIn Recruiter allows us to speak directly to the applicant we’re looking for,” Fenicle said.

She said LinkedIn is a great way to set the stage for future recruiting, too, as she can connect with those who might not be actively looking for a job, at least not yet.

“It allows me to have conversations with them,” Fenicle said, adding: “It’s no longer a time you can put a job on a board and get 50 qualified applicants.”

Carissa Klein said social media platforms, including LinkedIn Recruiter, allow her to source talent directly.

“It’s what the majority of headhunters and [third party] recruiters use to source candidates,” said Klein, an attorney recruitment manager at Norris McLaughlin, a law firm with offices in Allentown and New Jersey.

Klein said the Lehigh Valley is a tightknit community where everybody seems to know everybody else.

“Our attorneys often serve as our recruiters,” she said.

Burnishing reputation

Carlos Valdes, director of human resources for Victaulic in Forks Township, said employment recruiting programs should include a dose of reputation management.

“Company reviews like Glassdoor, Indeed and Comparably are just a few of the fastest-growing employer review sites guiding job seekers … If you want to attract top talent you need to know what past and current employees are saying about you,” Valdes said.

Leveraging review websites as a listening tool can help firms make changes to improve employee perceptions as “that will only help your recruiting efforts,” he said.

At Lehigh Valley Health Network a “robust training program to grow our future colleagues” is a high priority, according to Megan Morris, director of talent acquisition for human resources.

Morris said LVHN has job opportunities for people of all skill and education levels, including those entering the workforce with only a high school diploma.

College students, meanwhile, can take advantage of LVHN’s summer research scholar program. Summer student scholars are paid employees with job responsibilities. They are assigned to a supervisor mentor.

“We hope they make a connection with someone at LVHN … and that they come back [to us],” Morris said.

A broad playing field

As local employment markets tighten, the same competition for talent is playing out across the nation and on the global level, said Therese Beck, director of employee experiences at Olympus Corp. of the Americas in Upper Saucon Township.

“I don’t think tactics alone work. There needs to be a strategy,” Beck said.

She said looking at the competition is an important factor in developing sound strategies and communicating the Olympus message and brand to prospective candidates. Recent benefit additions enjoyed by Olympus employees include company perks and a greater focus on health and wellness.

The company also works with staff to develop transferable skills to ensure employees enjoy longer careers with more mobility within the company, Beck said.

“We’re focusing on breadth of experience – not so much about promoting up, or climbing the ladder, but rather promoting out. We want to grow and develop good people leaders,” Beck said.

She said aligning employee talent, strengths, interests and passions in positions throughout the company helps everyone grow.

Victaulic acquires sprinkler company

Victaulic of Forks Township has acquired a Michigan-based sprinkler manufacturer. (File photo) –

Forks Township-based Victaulic Inc., a manufacturer of pipe fittings, has acquired a more than 100-year-old Michigan-based fire-protection company.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Globe Fire Sprinkler has been a family-owned manufacturer with 105 years of continuous production of sprinklers and valves.

John Malloy, CEO of Victaulic, said the addition of Globe Fire Sprinkler to the Victaulic brand will allow the companies to work together to develop new fire-protection solutions.

The Globe acquisition also broadens Victaulic’s existing fire-product portfolio, increases its engineering and R&D capabilities, and brings additional strength to its sales force, he added in a statement.

Steven Worthington, Globe’s president, will serve as president of Globe Fire Protection, which is the name the acquired company will adopt after the merger. He said Victaulic brings the financial resources that the former family-owned company needed to innovate.

Victaulic employs 4,000 people worldwide, while Globe Fire Sprinkler has 250 employees.

Victualic is celebrating 100 years in operation this year.

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