2017 was a year of growth and development not just for PFERD, but for the communities we serve. We took part in numerous events with a mission of sharing knowledge and building excitement around the US manufacturing sector.
Encouraging the Next Generation of Manufacturers
Throughout the year, we donated time and materials to students interested in welding and other industrial professions. In February we donated products and prizes for Sequoyah High School’s 8th Annual Welding Competition. The event was hosted by the American Welding Society’s Chattanooga Section and featured dozens of student entrants.
We also sponsored a SkillsUSA WorldTeam welding competitor, who placed 5th overall in the event. The WorldSkills Competition took place in October in Dubai, and a team of 11 US competitors from around the country participated, bringing home four Medallions of Excellence.
Our support of youth in the manufacturing sector also meant hosting a Manufacturing Day event on October 6th. We had about 120 students attend our open house and career fair to learn about our different departments and opportunities. They also got to use some tools – with proper safety precautions!
Supporting Women in STEM
While extensive efforts are being made to recruit young people in the manufacturing sector, the skills gap remains a challenge. There’s the added challenge of showing young women that they can have rewarding careers in the industrial world.
Over the summer, we hired two female engineering interns to assist with key engineering projects including designing tooling molds and identifying methods to increase production efficiencies on the shop floor. Both interns added value to our team, making strong contributions during their time at PFERD.
Reaching Out to Fabricators
Toward the end of 2017 PFERD was busy preparing for and attending two major events – FABTECH and the PRI Trade Show.
FABTECH 2017 is a key platform for us to highlight the solutions and value PFERD products bring to the metalworking industry and this year’s show was a great success! At this year’s show we incorporated gamification as one of our marketing strategies with – PFERD DERBY! This was a web-based application that rewarded participants based on the number of challenges they completed. In the end, we had three top winners:
- 1st prize – Drew Painter – Equipment & Lab Specialist, Mid-State Technical College (Wisconsin Rapids, WI)
- 2nd prize – Hallie Madole – Student, Truckee Meadows Community College (Reno, NV)
- 3rd prize – Aaron Wulk – Welding Instructor, Mid-State Technical College (WI)
The 30th annual Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show was another high point in our year. We met with fabricators and other professionals in the racing industry to highlight our offering to this market and introduce product lines that fit well for this production niche.
Planning for the Future
As we begin the next chapter in 2018, we’re already looking forward to new opportunities for growth. Keep checking back to see what we have planned for the year ahead. And if you have any ideas for how we can get involved in your projects, let us know!