LOLITA, TX – OCTOBER 16, 2017 – On October 6, a little more than one month after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in southeast Texas, a total of nearly 60 students looked around in awe as they were led through some of the 4 million square foot complex amid winders, extruders, and professionals donning personal protective equipment. While Inteplast has facilitated tours of its plants in the past, it was the plastics manufacturer’s first time participating in Manufacturing Day.
Senior Director of Texas Administration Dan Martino said that the purpose of Manufacturing Day resonated with Inteplast and the company simply wanted to support the goals of the National Association of Manufacturers (the producers of the Manufacturing Day platform) by opening its doors to educational institutions.
“Manufacturing Day’s initiative illuminates the in-and-outs of manufacturing which is so important because our industry needs to attract the next generation of professionals who are not only skilled but inspired to be a part of – quite literally – the gears, nuts, and bolts of our economy. Sharing what we do and how we do it is to me a great opportunity to stoke interest in a young person’s mind, perhaps acting as a catalyst for them to determine interests for the future,” said Martino.
Industrial High School sophomore Jaydon Prukop, whose father works at Formosa Plastics (a major supplier of resin for Inteplast), said he better understood the connection between the two manufacturers. The resin made at Formosa, enables Inteplast to make bags for “big name companies” such as “Walmart, HEB, JC Penney, or any shopping place that uses plastic bags,” he said.
Brad Kucera, a senior at Edna High School, said that despite passing by Inteplast “a hundred times” he had no idea what was being made inside. “It’s cool. You wouldn’t know that they make plastic bags in here for stores like Walmart. Not only do they have jobs here, like those behind me,” he said, pointing to the operational staff manning the equipment. “But there are people in the offices, too, who help make sure everything else goes smoothly.”
Besides the students’ fascination, accompanying staff commented on the lifelong effects that Manufacturing Day at Inteplast might have on the young adults:
Dr. David Segers, principal, Ganado High School
As a new principal in this area I never would have realized that a facility like this existed here. It opens our kids’ eyes to the possibilities that are in the world around them and in their community. I’m thankful to Inteplast for bringing us in and showing us the products that they make.
Kurtis Koop, agri-science instructor, Edna High School
We brought our kids to give them a chance to see some products in large-scale manufacturing. They were really impressed with the size of the equipment, the speed at which everybody works, and the safety that they work with. We enjoyed our trip very much.
Jim Green, principal, Industrial High School
We wanted to give them an idea of what is done during the manufacturing process and are trying to get ideas on how we can improve our Career and Technology Program at Industrial High School. Any ideas that we can gain will be very beneficial to us.
Dr. John Hardwick, superintendent, Ganado Independent School District
We believe that every student counts and every moment matters. Today at Inteplast we were able to connect the dots. It’s too bad that we don’t do this more often to let the students know that besides state testing, we also have an obligation to make students understand what’s out there for them to do for them to contribute and to take care of their families, and today’s been a great example for our students of what’s possible, and maybe generate some ideas for other things they might like to do.
Brenda Wilson, Inteplast’s senior director of human resources and communications, stated, “Some students end up graduating high school and college, never fully knowing that their knack for robotics, accounting, communications, mechanics, or even graphic design can lead to a flourishing career in manufacturing. And it doesn’t have to be plastics, per se – it can be any field. We wanted to open our doors to show them the importance of manufacturing – the making of products – particularly within the United States.”
The following schools participated in Inteplast’s inaugural Manufacturing Day: Industrial High School, Edna High School, Ganado High School, Calhoun High School, Hope High School, Palacios High School, and University of Houston-Victoria. The activities, which lasted from 10 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., included tours of the IBS, BOPP I and II, and Stretch Film plants. The guests also enjoyed a meal provided by the facility’s on-site restaurant, the Inteplast Café.
About Inteplast Group
Established in 1991, Inteplast Group is a leading integrated plastics manufacturer founded on the ideal of American manufacturing. Our products support diverse markets including healthcare, foodservice, packaging, building products, grocery, retail, sanitation, industrial, and graphic arts industries. Visit https://www.inteplast.com for more information.