April 24, 2020

For more information please contact:
Zenagui Brahim
President, NH MEP

Local Manufacturing Companies Work with Franklin High School to Offer Student Opportunities

CONCORD, NH – Toward the close of 2019, Franklin High School was looking for a way to introduce their students to opportunities in manufacturing and reached out to the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NH MEP) for assistance in their efforts. NH MEP is a manufacturing sector advisor for the NH Sector Partnership Initiative (SPI) – a state program which cultivates workforce development in the five primary sectors – Construction, Health Care, Hospitality, Manufacturing and Technology.

Zenagui Brahim, President of NH MEP, and Jo Brown, Franklin City Counselor, coordinated with Eptam Plastics, PCC Structurals, Inc., Sealite/Avlite, Vitex Extrusion and Watts Water Technologies to present their innovative technologies during a three-day Manufacturing event at the school. Looking to the next generation to build their workforces, manufacturers took the first step in giving students the opportunity to sign up for tours at their facilities and potentially get placed in internships or entry-level jobs.

“The students of Franklin High School have shown excitement to learn more about manufacturing careers. The participating manufacturers look forward to having these students visit their site and hopefully be part of their workforce. We thank Mayor Tony Giunta and the members of the city council for joining us at the Manufacturing Night Event. We thank Superintendent Daniel LeGallo and Carrie Charette, High School Principal for their support and guidance in this initiative”, said Zenagui Brahim.

Here’s a look at what these vital manufacturers do and what they presented to Franklin students.

Sealite/Avlite is a global manufacturer of navigational aids for the marine and aviation industries and the parent company of Avlite which produces LED airfield and approach lighting. Avlite presented specific lighting and buoy products and emphasized their products’ global impact.

“I’m proud that what I do has a major impact on others around the world,” said Codi LaBrecque, Roto Team Lead. “Our buoys in Africa have helped tourism and commerce, bringing jobs and growing the

local economies.” Mike Brace, Assembly Team Lead, also expressed enthusiasm to students about his role with Avlite. “To think that the products I put together have helped combat terrorism is awesome!”

Eptam Plastics is a leader in solving the most difficult challenges in plastic component manufacturing and CNC machining. EPTAM is now a single-source point of contact for precision manufacturing solutions in both plastics and metals with operations in New Hampshire, Colorado and New Jersey. The company serves leaders in the medical, semiconductor, and aerospace/defense industries to provide advanced solutions for emerging commercial technologies.

Russ Nadeau, Chief Operating Officer, explained their specialization in automated inspection and precision machining, with metal-to-plastic conversions, material design support, and design for manufacturability with FMEA practice. 

Watts Water Technologies is parent to a family of companies that design, manufacture and commercialize high-quality, innovative products and solutions that promote the comfort and safety of people and the quality, conservation and control of water used in commercial, residential, industrial and municipal applications. They serve as a long-term partner for installers, specifiers, distributors and OEM customers.

Mike Mullavey, Technical Advisor, quoted his former high school machine shop teacher that he says always stuck with him: “It’s nice to reach into your pocket and find something more than a nickel”. They also noted how great it is to see products installed around the world that were proudly made in their town (Franklin, NH).

Vitex Extrusions, now part of NSA Industries, LLC, operates 24/7 and provides aluminum design support and prototyping, custom aluminum extrusions, aluminum fabrication, CNC machining and tooling for multiple applications in lighting, solar energy and automobile accessories.

Micah Shaw, Value-Added Production Manager of Vitex’s Fabrication Department, showed students an example of an auto crossbar they manufacture. “Vitex turns out a variety of shapes under the global brand Thule for Mazda, Honda, Nissan, Cadillac and other vehicles in accordance with their roof rack system.” He proceeded to give accolades to Joe and his crew for their role in the remarkable performance of the extrusion press shown in the video. “For three years running, it was the highest producing press of its size in all of North America…so that’s a pretty big deal for a small town in this area,” Micah explained.

PCC Structurals supplies Investment Castings, Forgings, and Airframe products from numerous facilities around the world. Their two locations in Tilton and Franklin, NH, specialize in complex air and vacuum aluminum investment cast components. 97% of their market is aerospace, supporting military & commercial aerospace customers, as well as energy & medical applications. 

Amanda Volpe, General Manager of PCC Structurals Tilton, held up a finished cylindrical fan housing for display. “PCC makes over 600 parts in their New Hampshire locations alone – parts that can be as small as a penny up to the size of a missile tube.” After several days of processing, a number of really skilled people do all the machining, welding, and inspecting of the product. “We’ve got parts on the F-18, 737, the Apache helicopter – pretty much anything that flies has a part made here in Franklin.”

Next Steps

Students gathered around company booths and spoke with representatives after the presentation. “We’re trying to give all high school students an opportunity to learn about the ‘cool stuff’ made here in NH,” Brahim noted. The event successfully motivated students to sign up for a visit to the company of their choice to learn more about it and the available job opportunities and internships. Due to COVID-19, some of these tours were postponed, but manufacturers are looking forward to meeting with students when schools reopen.

Manufacturers and Educators – Learn more about the NH Sector Partnerships Initiative and Manufacturing Month

COVID-19 Resources for Manufacturers


About NH MEP

New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership
172 Pembroke Road
Concord, NH  03301

Phone: 603-226-3200

The New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, gender, disability, age, political affiliation or belief. This nondiscrimination policy encompasses the operation of all educational and training programs and activities. It also encompasses the employment of personnel and contracting for goods and services.

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Press Releases

Students Will Virtually Tour Manufacturers in October During NH Manufacturing Month

An entire month of celebrating manufacturing in New Hampshire!

For the last 7 years New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership with help from the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs, the Community College System of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Department of Education and many other partners organized NH Manufacturing Month. NHMEP hopes to encourage students into building their career with local manufacturers, keeping them in state after graduation.

What is it all about?
In previous years, throughout the month of October, high school and middle school students went on field trips to visit local manufacturers. During those trips, manufacturers had the opportunity to show students how cool manufacturing is and inform them of all the in demand careers their field has to offer. This year, our plan is to engage students in virtual visits to manufacturers.

StopTheSpread’s ImpactAssets COVID-19 Response Fund

StopTheSpread is an organization whose mission is to catalyze the private sector response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since early March, StopTheSpread and NIST MEP have worked together, matching StopTheSpread partners with MEP Centers and clients in order to facilitate increased production of personal protective equipment (PPE), testing and treatment equipment, and ventilators. Recently, StopTheSpread joined forces with ImpactAssets an organization raising capital for their COVID Response Fund.

StopTheSpread has opened their intake form to manufacturers facing financial roadblocks in their COVID-19 pandemic response efforts.

Any manufacturer that wants to produce PPE (e.g., masks, gloves, gowns, etc.) or testing and treatment equipment may apply for an impact investment using the intake form.

Progressive Manufacturing Expands Team with New Marketing and Communications Specialist

West Lebanon, NH – September 2020: Progressive Manufacturing, Inc. is excited to announce that Lori Decato-Metz has joined the team as Marketing Communications Manager. In her role, Lori will develop creative content to expand Progressive Manufacturing’s presence in the New England market and also promote their brand SÓLAS Contemporary Fire, which produces modern and efficient fireplace products.

Prior to joining Progressive Manufacturing, Lori worked as a creative marketing professional for many regional and global brands, including Timberland, Eastern Mountain Sports, ECCO and Bauer Hockey.

Mascoma Community Development Wins $65 Million Tax Credit to Facilitate New England Expansion

Mascoma Community Development, an entity of New England based Mascoma Bank, has received a $65 Million tax credit allocation to facilitate industrial and manufacturing expansion, along with retail and main street redevelopments in rural and minor-urban communities of New England. The award is from the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) authority from the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI Fund. Project developments will be focused on New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

“We will use this award to provide much needed flexible financing for manufacturers needing to update deteriorating facilities and aging equipment,” said Dick Jennings, Managing Director, Mascoma Community Development.

Rewarding Opportunities at USAF Advanced Manufacturing Olympics Virtual Event

Virtual Event: October 20-23, 2020

This October, the US Air Force will launch an inaugural virtual event, the Advanced Manufacturing Olympics (AMO), which is “aimed at translating innovative ideas into enduring solutions” in manufacturing technology across the United States. Distinguished leaders in academia, government and industry will be speaking to discuss the future of advanced manufacturing.

Topics at the Advanced Manufacturing Olympics will include Industry 4.0, 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality, automation and more. There will be open discussion on technical challenges and potential solutions for the Air Force’s sustainment issues.

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