Montana manufacturers to offer public tours as part of national event
BOZEMAN — Members of the public will have opportunities to tour Montana businesses as part of a national celebration of manufacturing.
Aerospace manufacturer Boeing in Helena, snowboard binding maker Spark R&D of Bozeman and aluminum parts producer Spika in Lewistown are among those who will open their doors during Manufacturing Day on Friday, Oct. 5.
If you’ve ever wondered how things are made, these tours are a great way to find out,” said Paddy Fleming, director of Montana Manufacturing Extension Center at Montana State University. The events are also a chance for people to see what manufacturing jobs look like and determine whether a manufacturing career might be a good fit for them, he added.
MMEC works one-on-one with manufacturers to improve their production processes, expand into new markets and develop their workforce, among other things. MMEC encouraged its manufacturing clients around the state to participate in Manufacturing Day and has been helping them organize their events.
Shane Cantrell, MMEC’s western Montana business adviser, helped coordinate a tour of MMEC client Northwest Factory Finishes of Bonner, which makes pre-finished building products for distribution around the Pacific Northwest. Cantrell will speak at the event.
“We want people to understand how manufacturing is good for Montana and get the word out to young people that this is a viable career option,” Cantrell said.
At Bozeman-based West Paw, which has a long history of working with MMEC, visitors will have a chance to see how industrial sewing machines and plastic injection equipment are used to make dog beds and toys. “We’re hoping to get a lot of people here to showcase some of the career opportunities available in manufacturing,” said Amy Schumann, West Paw’s public relations manager.
Manufacturing Day was started by the nonprofit Fabricators and Manufacturers Association in 2012. Since 2017 it has been organized by the National Association of Manufacturers, an advocacy group.
Since MMEC was established in 1996, it has strengthened Montana’s manufacturing economy by generating $297 million in new investment, $1.3 billion in new and retained sales, 5,550 new and retained jobs and $141 million in cost savings, according to data MMEC tracks for federal reporting. MMEC is housed in MSU’s Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering with five field offices around the state.
A full listing of the Manufacturing Day events and information about how to attend can be found at https://www.mfgday.com.