Local high school students attended a Manufacturing Day event at the Snoqualmie location of Allegion (Technical Glass Products) on Oct. 4 and saw the company’s production firsthand.
It was the company’s first time participating in Manufacturing Day, a nationwide effort to inspire students to become manufacturers. The annual educational event takes place in October, during which manufacturing companies invite the community to learn about the industry.
“Manufacturing isn’t just your hands and your time — it’s your hearts and minds as well,” said Whitney Moorman, Allegion reputation management leader.
About 50 students from Mount Si High School, Cedarcrest High School and Renton Technical College attended a presentation that included a panel discussion followed by a tour of the operations. The event was also attended by Snoqualmie city administrator Bob Larson and state scheduling and outreach representative Casey Duff from Sen. Maria Cantwell’s office.
They all witnessed actual production of fire-rated and architectural Technical Glass Products (TGP).
Moorman said Allegion companies produce glass, doors, steel frames, locks, emergency exits, door closers (arms), smart locks and various security solutions. Their sites do custom orders for both residential and commercial buildings, with more commercial clients out of the Snoqualmie plant.
On the busy factory floor, wearing protective safety goggles and ear plugs, the students and officials were led in groups throughout the large facility, which was filled with the sounds of tools and machinery. Tour guides explained what was happening at each station. They saw the assembling of frames and doors, as well as some welding, smoothing and powder coating.
Some of the students were there with Mount Si High School teacher Gregg Meyers as part of his construction technologies class. One of his students present, Dylan Van Vleet, a senior, said Meyers’ class is his favorite.
“I like how it applies to real life while it also implements the core,” Van Vleet said. “It’s cool that everything he teaches us applies to the real world.”
He said he’s not yet sure what he’ll do after high school, and that’s why he’s taking classes like shop and exploring different paths. After the tour, he said he thought the field trip experience may help him with his career decisions.
“We just want to be opening their eyes to all of the possibilities in the industry,” Moorman said.
The panel discussion was led by TGP HR director Janice Evans.
Panel members were programming supervisor John Ryan, production planning supervisor Scott McNeill, engineering manager James Whitehouse, quality engineer Jennifer Stiles, project manager Jared Clay, manufacturing engineer Charlie Clark and maintenance technician Daryl Petree – who Evans said is from Snoqualmie.
“We love to hire local. There’s lots of opportunities here. There’s multiple companies here,” Evans said. “Anyone can work in this industry.”
The panelists answered questions and talked about what it’s like to work in their field.
“I get projects that I get to put my own twist on, be creative on,” Stiles said. “I like that this job is different every day. It’s not a typical 9 to 5 job. I get to be active and on my feet, and I get to solve problems.”
Each of them in turn spoke of collaboration, teamwork, creativity, problem solving, idea sharing and getting to do different things. They said the people at their company care and they all stay engaged. While their jobs can be quite demanding at times, they say most days are great.
When asked what the company work environment was like, Petree said he felt it was, “demanding but in the most rewarding way possible.”
“I’d say our culture and atmosphere is like that of a sports team, sharing in the positives and the challenges,” he said. “There’s a strong sense of camaraderie.”
Moorman said the event could evolve. They already plan to host another Manufacturing Day next year, and they are collecting student feedback via a survey regarding this year’s experience.
The goal of the event is to build relationships with local schools and find creative ways to teach students about careers in manufacturing. Allegion also is developing apprenticeship programs and offering tuition reimbursement opportunities.
Moorman said Allegion, which owns more than 30 global brands, acquired the company TGP in 2017. The Snoqualmie location of TGP, a company that’s existed since 1980, opened in 2008 and currently has about 180 employees, about 100 of which are manufacturers, she said.
In total, there are more than 1,300 Manufacturing Day events held in the United States in the month of October. For more details, go online to www.mfgday.com.