It was our pleasure to host the winners of our recent “Ring-A-Majig” contest at Rotor Clip’s manufacturing facility in Somerset, New Jersey, this past week. James Powell, Joshua Adams, Josh Katsikis and Owais Siddiqui from EastCarolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, were given a tour of Rotor Clip’s manufacturing facility as well as an opportunity to visit the “Design in Engineering” trade show held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, June 14-16, 2016.
They were also taken on a tour of New York City, including a visit to the 9/11 memorial site in lower Manhattan.
The four won the 2016 Rotor Clip “Ring-A-Majig” contest, challenging students pursuing technical courses of study to use retaining rings (non-traditional fasteners) in original product designs. The contest was held in affiliation with ATMAE, the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering.
I had the opportunity to discuss a variety of issues with the students during their stay here at Rotor Clip. I was particularly impressed by their optimism and belief the future is looking good for those pursing manufacturing as a career.
Owais Siddiqui noted that his parents originally wanted him to pursue a career in IT. But he countered that “hardware was always exciting for me.” Before you can utilize software, he said “you need hardware.”
James Powell understood the concern about automation and how it eliminates conventional factory jobs. But embracing robotics will, in his view, create the need for more skilled technicians in the future. “We will just be re-directing what is needed as we evolve to a different skill set,” he noted.
Just working for a paycheck is not how Josh Adams regards his career. “I want to feel good about what I’m doing.” He said. He noted breakthrough technologies like 3-D printing bode well for US manufacturing. “Imagine what it (3-D printing) will be like in 10 years,” he said.
TV shows like “How it’s Made” first turned Josh Katsikis on to manufacturing. His studies at East Carolina University have demonstrated to him that “manufacturing is a very viable option as a career.” He also believes that new technologies like robotics “can increase production and create technical jobs that pay well.”
This belief in US manufacturing and the promise it holds for creating meaningful jobs is not just naïve optimism. As a recent Wall Street Journal article noted, “Countries that don’t make anything, soon lose their edge.”
Not if these students have anything to say about it.
Joe Cappello is Director of Global Marketing for Rotor Clip Company.