LONDONDERRY — A group of Pinkerton Academy students and faculty members toured the Wire Belt Co. of America’s plant Monday as New Hampshire focuses its attention this week on manufacturing.
The tour was part of a number of events planned throughout the Granite State and New England, following National Manufacturing Day on Friday.
Also taking the tour was Christopher Way, the interim director of the state Department of Resources and Economic Development.
“I think this visit is going exactly the way it should, and it’s exposing the next generation to the realities of the manufacturing floor and opportunities,” Way said. “I think they go away feeling hopeful, knowing that there may be opportunities for them in manufacturing.”
Students learned about the company and its many clients throughout the nation and world. The company is a supplier of conveyor belts to a variety of businesses, including candy, circuit board, solar panel and brake pad manufacturers. In addition to the U.S., the company has manufacturing facilities in the United Kingdom and Germany.
A number of employees who work at Wire Belt of America have more than 25 years of experience, said Sue Foss, the company’s continuous improvement coordinator. Bringing in younger people to see the facility can be a key to the company’s future, Foss said.
“A number of those employees are looking at retirement in the near future, and we need people that have the skill sets in order to come and fill those positions,” Foss said.
Pinkerton began working with Wire Belt about a month to develop a plan for students to work at the facility, said Doug Cullen, Pinkerton’s career coordinator for the Center for Career. The company was one of several the students planned to visit on Monday.
Also assisting on the tour was Scott Monk, Wire Belt’s vice president of operations. Following the tour, Monk accompanied students into a meeting room and outlined some of skills the company is looking for in its employees.
In addition to learning about metallurgy and mechanical systems, students should try to take some mechanical training, Monk said. Students should also especially concentrate on math, Monk said.
“These are skills that you guys can pick up while you are in school,” Monk said. “Pay attention to your math. It’s very important.”
Also taking the tour was Zenagui Brahim, executive director of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. In summing up the benefits students would derive from the tour, Brahim said the students gained an invaluable view of the manufacturing process.
“We are hoping that these kids when they leave are going to talk to their teachers and think about coming back and learning more about all of those skills that were covered,” Brahim said. “That’s exactly the purpose of today’s visit.”