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Crider: Manufacturing Day 2017 highlights an “important part of the Rowan County economy”

By Jessica Coates
jessica.coates@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The fifth annual Manufacturing Day is set to take place Oct. 6.

And Rod Crider, who started as the president and CEO of Rowan Works EDC earlier this year, said that he is trying to make the Rowan County celebration of the national event bigger than ever.

“This is an important part of the Rowan County economy. It’s certainly one of our more important industries, in terms of employment and wages,” Crider said.

Crider said that he’s been involved with planning Manufacturing Day events since the annual celebration began in 2012.

He said that there are many purposes for Manufacturing Day, including honoring the contribution that manufacturing industries make to the local economy and debunking “incorrect perceptions” about the industry.

“Sometimes society has an incorrect perception of manufacturing jobs as loud, dark and dirty,” Crider said. “But they’re actually very clean, very bright and not very noisy.”

Crider said that working on a production floor is just one of the many jobs available in the manufacturing industry.

“They need accountants, people in marketing, all types of occupations,” Crider said. “And it doesn’t always require a four-year degree to enter (the industry).”

In years past, students have been invited to tour facilities like Agility Fuel Solutions and Freightliner. Crider said that he hoped that effort would continue and expand.

“We’d like to help students and teachers and counselors and parents understand there are great careers in manufacturing that require lots of different skills,” Crider said.

In addition to inspiring students to pursue manufacturing careers, Crider said that Manufacturing Day gives the county a chance to go and learn more about what local manufacturers need.

“So (we’re) getting closer to the manufacturers through these visits, and the events allow us to learn more about them,” Crider said.

He said that, during these visits, his team is able to ask local manufacturers whether they know of any opportunities the EDC could capitalize on.

“We’ve been very proactive in asking them about opportunities to attract suppliers here, asking, ‘Are there any suppliers that you would benefit from having closer to you?’” Crider said. “We’re also looking to find out about how we can strengthen supply chains and maybe leverage those in economic development opportunities.”

This year’s Manufacturing Day events will take place during the morning of Oct. 6.

On Oct. 6 at 9 a.m., Continental Structural Plastics — located at 6701 Statesville Blvd. — is hosting a facility tour and a presentation.

On the same day at 10 a.m., Power Curbers — located at 727 Bendix Dr. — will host an information session and factory tour, which will include a question-and-answer period with manufacturing personnel. Closed-toe shoes will be required.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.

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