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Editor's Blog

‘Manufacturing is for Everyone’


The McPherson CertainTeed employees include (from left) Tim Groote, Chris Holloway, Janet Lynch and Jennifer Smith.

CertainTeed takes pride in playing a part of the National Manufacturing Day celebration in McPherson, Kan.

What is unique about CertainTeed’s celebration of National Manufacturing Day at its plant in McPherson, Kan., is that CertainTeed’s activities are just one part of a town-wide, month-long celebration of local manufacturing. This is a town that celebrates its industry, and CertainTeed enjoys being a part of it.

“This will be our facility’s fourth year celebrating National Manufacturing Day,” says Janet Lynch, plant manager of the CertainTeed siding facility in McPherson. “Our town chamber heard about the event years ago and declared October manufacturing month. This is a rural town with a lot of manufacturing.”

McPherson assigns a different day or week to many of the area’s different operations to shine a light on local manufacturing. This year, CertainTeed will be opening its facility and celebrating on Oct. 25, which coincides with the 25th anniversary of CertainTeed’s Cedar Impressions® Polymer Shake and Shingle Siding.

In addition to commemorating its innovative product line, CertainTeed will be showcasing its focus on safety. The McPherson facility has gone 11.5 years without a lost-time injury. Lynch also wants to demonstrate to students and community visitors the variety of jobs at the facility, as well as the ability for workers to progress.

“We take everyone through the plant and stop at the stations so our employees can show their daily work,” Lynch says. “One of the benefits we offer is that we offer flex time to all employees. They can take flex time, take hours off when they need it to help balance work and home, and it still allows them to work in a manufacturing environment.”

She notes that fewer than 15 percent of the jobs at her facility are degreed positions, so there are opportunities for everyone. CertainTeed targets local students in high school and college, as well as people from the military. This year, McPherson is hosting a bus tour for people transitioning from the military, taking them to several plants around town.

“Manufacturing is for everybody,” Lynch says. “I have been in this position for six years, but my background is in retail and supply chain. This can be a life-long career for people. We are very proud of our automation, but in every department there are pieces of equipment and jobs that are interesting.”

McPherson is a town of about 15,000 people, and the market for employees can be tight with the number of opportunities in the area. Even so, Lynch is proud of what CertainTeed offers.

“People want to come to work, do a good job and feel valued,” she says. “We are not the highest payer, but we are very competitive. We compete for labor with our culture and how we use our values to treat people well. It is a lot of fun to bring people through our facility and show them all of the cool stuff. We have employees who have been here for 40 years, and that is because you can choose what you want to be engaged in and learn how what you do can impact the business. Manufacturing Day provides us with an opportunity to show how exciting it is.”

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