NYS Manufacturing Now – The Best of 2022

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Steve Melito: Hey, it’s Steve Melito, host of New York State Manufacturing Now, 2022 was a great year for the podcast. We had 12, count them, 12 outstanding guests. We talked about robotics, electronics, sauces, and semiconductors. We covered cybersecurity, talked about women in the workforce, and what it takes to work at the distribution center for my favorite store, Tractor Supply. Hey, we even did a podcast to promote an event. So if you’re looking for the most bang in your marketing buck next year, keep FuzeHub in mind.Pauly Guglielmo: It is such an honor to be here. Thank you for having me. This is really cool.

Steve Melito: Hey, you are most welcome. It’s great to have you here. I know some people know you as Pauly and hopefully I didn’t get your last name wrong. We’re both pizan here, I think, so shame on me if I did.

Pauly Guglielmo: That’s right. No, you’re good. You got it, Guglielmo.

Steve Melito: All right, beautiful. So hey, tell us about yourself. You have, what I think, is an unusual career path that didn’t exactly start in the kitchen.

Pauly Guglielmo: No. Really I took a weird, really sharp left-hand turn at one point in my career. So basically I’m a radio guy. This is what I did for my entire life, Steve. I worked for iHeartMedia for 15 years, and I did morning radio here in Rochester, New York for the last 10 with the Brother Wease Show, which is a big brand here in Rochester. But I’m not from Rochester, I’m from northeast Ohio, and when I first came to Rochester, the thing I missed the most, because I was young, I was in my twenties, is I missed home. I missed my grandfather, I missed Sunday sauce, that Italian tradition of Sunday sauce, and so I just started making it here, and that’s how I made friends. It was the only thing I ever had, the only card I’ve ever had to play. The only trick in my bag of tricks, Steve, is that I can make sauce on Sunday. And so if there was a girl I was interested in, that was the date. It was, I’m going to make sauce. If it was buddies that I wanted to make, it was, “Hey, come over for sauce and we’ll watch football afterwards.” That’s the only skill I’ve ever had in life. I loved it, did it so much that I missed my grandfather and eventually decided I wanted to try to bottle the sauce. Just one time, one time deal, one time shot, something for my grandfather for a Christmas present, we could call it. And I did it. I figured it out. I googled, I found Cornell University, I found myself a little co-packer, and I started making sauce. I got very lucky. I mean, we hustled. We did every festival, every event. The sauce was good, and it did not hurt that I was on the radio every day. And it snowballed and we were in five stores, and then 10 stores, and then 20 stores, and 50 stores, and 100 stores, and before you knew it, we were in a couple of hundred stores and we had a nice little presence in the category.

Steve Melito: This is a dream story. Now, at FuzeHub, of course, we talk to a lot of food entrepreneurs, people who make things in the kitchen and want to get to that next step. How did you get into distribution, get into stores and supermarkets and such?

Pauly Guglielmo: Well, I worked morning radio, so my advantage was that I woke up every morning at 2:15 AM and went to work at 3:30 AM and I was out at lunchtime, so I, every single day, was free at about noon. And the great thing about that was that I could then load up my trunk with sauce and drive around town, stopping into all the different mom-and-pop stores and generally be able to reach the owner, or at least a decision maker, because I was stopping in at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 on a weekday. So many people have that disadvantage where they get started and they’re working their regular job still, so the only free time they have is at night or on weekends, and they’re missing the decision maker when they’re going in. But really, honestly, Steve, I was just cold calling. I was walking in with a jar of sauce and a 30-second elevator pitch and crossing my fingers. I got a little better over time. I started to figure out that for all the nos that I was getting, that I could circle back and I could talk about, well, there’s this store that’s just five miles away, they started carrying it, they took a couple cases and they sold them right away. I’ve delivered 10 cases to that one store just five miles from here in the last three weeks since the last time we talked, so I’m hoping maybe this time you’ll give us a chance. And sometimes that would work, sometimes it wouldn’t. Other times I would offer, “Hey, I’ll come in on Saturday and I’ll do a demo.” And so that was another way that I could finagle my way in, was by offering to do a demo. And then if that didn’t work, I would finally, and I only suggest this if you’re really desperate to get into a store, but I would offer a guarantee where I would say, “If you don’t sell it within 90 days, I’ll come buy it back from you.” And that let me build at least that initial 20, 30, 40, 50 stores that gave me… Now I had a resume, now I had something to bring to the bigger supermarkets and say, “Look, we’re in these 40 stores and we’re doing X amount of sales.” And that’s how it started.

Steve Melito: Let’s talk about workforce a little bit more, because you’re going to get to the point that you do have to scale up. What do manufacturers need to do to do that now? One of the ways they can approach it is to appeal to members of demographic groups that have traditionally been underrepresented. At your company, do you do anything like this to appeal to groups that you can bring in?

Holly Black: Absolutely. We do it on a corporate and on a local level. So on a corporate level for Wob Tech, we have various ERGs which are employee resource groups, and these are focused towards diversity and inclusion to really target those demographic groups that are underrepresented.From these ERGs, we can find out the key information to better represent ourselves to not only retain our talent that we have to make sure that we’re servicing the diversity groups we have here on site, but also to encourage and to promote ourselves to people from those demographic groups, to encourage them to want to work for us, and truthfully to want to work in manufacturing as a whole. We’re not selfish, we know that people like to move around, so as long as we’re encouraging these types of people to come into our company or into other manufacturing, it all works out well for us in the end.

Steve Melito: What do you think are some of the challenges to getting more women involved in manufacturing?

Holly Black: Truthfully, women are the most underrepresented group in manufacturing. Mostly I believe that this is from a stereotype that started years ago, truthfully, even if you go back to the World Wars, when men had to leave their manufacturing jobs, so you had these female idols come out, like Rosie the Riveter. They were promoted everywhere to encourage women to join the manufacturing realm, then as soon as the men came back, women fought to stay in the working world, but most women were pushed out of these manufacturing jobs because they were stereotyped as manly work, grunt work. Women were encouraged more to pursue office types jobs, nursing, teaching. So in the end, we won the battle, we were able to work, but really we focused on looking for those gender-stereotypical roles. I think the best way that we can start to break this bias is to start young. For a long time, and I’m not saying that we haven’t made a lot of advances, and definitely, in the recent decade we’ve seen these changes in our high schools and middle schools, but high school girls were expected to take home EC classes while boys were expected to take shop class. Stereotyping, again, the roles that each were expected to pursue once they got out of school. Wob Tech has created this program called Wob Tech Girls. This is a week long summer STEM camp for middle school girls. The way this program works is we partner with a local university. When we started the program in the beginning, we had that university help us with our curriculum, but really at this point we have our own team of engineers, which are all women, so it’s really helpful when creating this curriculum to focus on girls, and these engineers write our content. We also work with internal sourcing from our companies to get all the supplies that are needed for the camp. We spend a week at the university with the girls, 9:00 to 3:00 , and then at the end of the camp, we bring them on site to the local facility so they can see manufacturing in action. I would encourage anybody that is listening, especially if you don’t work in manufacturing, just to go see a manufacturing plant. I’ve been in manufacturing pretty much since I was a little girl and I was allowed to run around my father’s plant. Just to see manufacturing, it really is truly awesome. I don’t use that word casually. Just to see things being built, it is a wonderful experience and I think it does encourage people to want to get involved in manufacturing. So bringing these girls on site to see it, we think really encourages them to want to pursue. And it doesn’t have to be just production work or buying, but really look at the engineering, the details of all of the work.

Steve Melito: Let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about cybersecurity threats in general, and manufacturers face a lot of them. What are your thoughts on responding to incidents like ransomware, wire fraud, and business email compromise?

Reg Harnish: I spend all of my days lately with small manufacturers and small businesses. Ransomware and wire fraud or business email compromise really make up, this is going to be a guess, but 80 to 90 plus percent of the incidents that we see. And while we recognize that some of these issues are becoming more sophisticated and they are moving downstream, so things that we only used to see in enterprise, we’re now seeing in 20 person ball bearing manufacturers, the way you build resilience in your organization hasn’t changed a whole lot. And so, again, one of the things I like about the NIST frameworks, and in particular 171, is that it focuses on some things and provides guidance on a few areas that really help minimize that risk. And not necessarily, or not just, the risk of likelihood, so we’re not talking just about prevention, but also for most small businesses it’s impossible to avoid all cyber crime or bad things happening with computers, but what’s become more important is your ability to discover and detect these issues quickly, and then recover in a way that you’ve minimized any disruption, you’ve avoided as much of the cost or loss and damage as possible during the incident, and then honestly, just getting back to business. Responding to ransomware and wire fraud is certainly systemic, but there’s not a lot of rocket science in what we’re doing. And I think you will find that some of the greatest controls to prevent, detect, recover, are fairly fundamental and things we’ve been doing for some time.

Steve Melito: Do you think that email is the weakest link? I get about five or 10 attempts a week to get something from me.

Reg Harnish: If email is the weakest link, it’s only because it’s the most frequent application that we interface with and it’s more visible or accessible to more human beings. It’s more central to all the work that we do. Email by itself is no more or less secure than anything else out there. It really comes down to what you do with it and how often. I think there’s also another very common cliche in our industry that humans are the weakest link. And while I agree with that fundamentally, it’s not in the way that most people explain it or express it. So when the cybersecurity industry says that people at the greatest link, they’re talking about folks not taking time with email to assess links, inspect an email, an attachment, those kinds of things, and so they’re really focused on social engineering type issues with email or, let’s say, a browser. But honestly, the problem is much bigger than that. Don’t forget, it’s a human who wrote sloppy code that was vulnerable. It was a human who misconfigured a firewall because they wanted to leave early on a Friday. Or it’s humans who open or hold a door for an unregistered visitor. So the human problem is much deeper than just clicking links. I do agree that all cybersecurity risks come down to a human being, but keep in mind if someone, a human being, clicks a link in an email, it means that a lot of technology has already failed. So in that attack chain, the human being is just the last element that failed, because there’s a dozen other technologies and other processes and things that have already failed. I think humans get a bad rap in terms of social engineering. Not to say that we’ve solved that problem, because we haven’t, but I think we need to take a step back and recognize that humans are littered throughout the cybersecurity domain and clicking links is but one of those risks.

Steve Melito: Whenever I go to a store, or even when I drive by a manufacturing company these days, a machine shop, a warehouse, whatever, I see a help wanted sign. A lot of companies having a hard time finding workers. What are some of the things that Tractor Supply does to attract workforce talent?

Rodney Denslow: Believe it or not, almost four years in, we’re still primarily organic growth, word of mouth. People that are there are trying to bring their friends and neighbors and family members in. We attend a lot of the local career fairs and job fairs. We use the LinkedIn recruiter and we try to fine-tune for specialized positions, but the majority of our positions are organically filled, just word of mouth. Coming into COVID, we actually had about 2000 applications ahead. Obviously, COVID changed a lot of things, but we’re still doing okay with that organic growth.

Steve Melito: I’m glad to hear it. I remember, and I think it was last year, that Tractor Supply gave a tour on Manufacturing Day. Were you part of that?

Rodney Denslow: Actually, I worked with Cory Albrecht and set that up. I really like to let people know what we do and give that next generation a chance to see what we do. the thing with logistics is we’ve got basically every skillset we can put to work in some aspect of our business. It’s just a great time to introduce it to the community, introduce it to the youth, and let everybody see what we do.

Steve Melito: That’s fantastic, Rodney. Last question. What else would you like our listeners, and they’re statewide, they’re probably in other states as well, what would you like them to know about your location in the Mohawk Valley and what Tractor Supply is up to there?

Rodney Denslow: Well, at the Frankfurt facility, there’s a few things we do, because I’m always looking at emerging technologies and things to make us more efficient. I like to vet out new technologies at Frankfurt, so we test out a lot of things in our local shop that will be implemented into the new buildings. It’s also important to know that we are a growth company and we’re opening up a new store about every four days, so that means there’s growth opportunity. As we expand across the country, there’s room to take people up and out with us. We’re always looking for those leaders that are looking to cut their teeth and come in, or people that aspire to be leaders that are willing to come in and work their way up. The growth is fantastic. The company is growing. We’re just trying to do good things for the community, take care of our people, and take care of our customers.

Steve Melito: Tell us, what is the hiring outlook for the semiconductor industry?

Tara McCaughey: It’s really strong. With the passing of the CHIPS and Science Act and the New York Green CHIPS legislation, there’s going to be long-term demand for semiconductor talent. In fact, it’s estimated that there’s going to be 42,000 new positions created over the next five years nationwide. At GlobalFoundries, we plan to build an additional facility here in Malta, New York, and that’s going to add an additional 1000 new jobs over the next five years. That’ll be a combination of technician and engineering roles with the majority being technicians, in fact.

Steve Melito: That’s a lot of jobs. That’s fantastic news. What kind of skills does someone need to enter the semiconductor industry?

Tara McCaughey: The great thing about GlobalFoundries is that we’ve created many pathways into our industry. Whether you have a high school diploma or equivalent, a community college degree, a Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD, and additionally, military veterans are great pathways into our industry, you can make a great career here.

Steve Melito: So lots of opportunities. And then once you’re in the semiconductor industry, what is career growth like? Where can you go?

Tara McCaughey: Career growth is really strong. It’s really unlimited. You can follow a lot of different pathways. We have great learning and development organization where you can grow your career right here within our industry. In addition to on-the-job training, we have leadership development courses, a multitude of ways to learn through online learning, networking, mentoring, cross-departmental projects, and involvement in our great employee resource groups.

Steve Melito: Excellent. So we know a little bit about some of the challenges that the semiconductor industry faces today, and certainly just in the last couple of years, but what are the challenges you think it’s going to face in the next 10 years, the next decade?

Tara McCaughey: The challenge is going to be talent. As a country, we need more students entering engineering and science fields in both the two year and the four year and graduate schools, so that the US can regain its position as a major manufacturer of semiconductors.

Steve Melito: I think we’d all look forward to that. What else would you like people to know about the manufacturing of semiconductors?

Tara McCaughey: Well, semiconductors are pervasive. Many people don’t realize the enormous impact these tiny chips have on our everyday lives. Everybody knows about the chips in their smartphones, but they’re also in our cars, in medical devices, in data centers, 5G, all the connected things in our homes, so it’s vital to the economic growth of our country, and vital even to our national security, to have these chips made in the US.

Steve Melito: So the tagline for this event, Kristofor, is a climate tech conference for manufacturers. I just wanted to ask, what is climate tech and why should it be a priority for manufacturers?

Kristofor Sellstrom: It’s an important point. Climate tech is a pretty broad statement, but it boils down to anything that really is progressing decarbonizing the economy. So it could even be a widget that goes into an electric vehicle. It could be a piece of metal fabrication that is used for heat pumps. It could be anything that is driving decarbonization. I think there’s a lot of conversation around the electric sector and electric energy and the solar and wind, but here in New York State, those targets have been set, that market is pretty mature, and the electric is only around 13% of the total emissions in the state. 60% of the emissions in the state are actually building and transportation sectors. So if you think about the goals of decarbonizing the economy, we should be going after the building and transportation sectors. If you think about all the buildings in New York State, all the buildings in the country and in the world, and you think about all the transportation vehicles, the trains, the cars, the buses, you think about all this infrastructure and all this equipment, that needs to be electrified, it needs to be decarbonized. Someone has to build it, someone has to install it, and this is just a huge opportunity for manufacturers and a huge opportunity for New York State, as well as the US economy, to start to bring some of this manufacturing back onshore and to create the new energy market and the new era of manufacturing. The climate tech is a broad statement, and it can cover any of those sectors, but if you’re working toward decarbonizing something, you’re in the climate technology sector.

Steve Melito: Good to know. How did Jamestown BPU get involved in this event? Wouldn’t you want to sell more and not less energy to manufacturers?

Kristofor Sellstrom: Yeah, certainly. We’re a municipal utility company, we serve electric, we also serve other sources of utilities as well. We have water, waste water, we have a district thermal system that puts out hot water to our community. We’re really involved in this mostly because we’ve seen the legislation, we’ve seen a lot of movement in the electric sector, which, again, is only like 13% of the emissions, but it is a sector that can be pretty rapidly decarbonized, and we’re directly impacted by that decarbonization process. As we’re looking at this market and this legislation, particularly the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act that was passed recently in New York State, is going through this growth cycle, it’s looking at all sectors of the economy, so we might be the first ones to see it because electric was first up on the chopping block of things to fix, but as we got into it, we realized that this is a huge manufacturing opportunity and as a municipal utility, our success is really the success of our community. I mean, our goal is to grow our community, to stabilize our community. We are a Rust Belt community. In the 1980s we lost a lot of manufacturing and haven’t really recovered from a manufacturing perspective, so we have a lot of manufacturing space that’s available. We have a great workforce here that’s ready to work. We have existing manufacturers who we want to come to this conference and try to diversify their portfolio. They might be companies that make parts for other manufacturers that maybe are making parts for combustion vehicles, and we’re trying to encourage them to look at making parts for the electric vehicles so that they’re diverse in their future outlook. We’re just trying to get that conversation going. We think that if you can get enough manufacturers all thinking about the same topic and the same industry, then you can create a catalyst that will enable growth, and ultimately that growth is a good thing for our community, and it’s a good thing for the utility.

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