Company leader: Manufacturing provides range of career opportunities

Jake Steffen of Middletown works at an extruder machine at Deceuninck North America in Monroe, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Deceuninck North America is a fully integrated design, compounding, tooling, and PVC extrusion company that produces energy-efficient vinyl window and door systems. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Deceuninck North America is looking to emphasize that manufacturing provides not only a different structure, but also a range of career opportunities.

The Monroe-based, fully integrated design, compounding, tooling, and PVC extrusion company at 351 N. Garver Road produces energy-efficient PVC window and door systems.

Its commitments to sustainability, constant innovation and imaginative design make it an industry leader in window and door systems, company officials said. Its customers manufacture approximately 5 million windows and doors annually.

We asked Deceuninck North America President and CEO Filip Geeraert five questions about the company and the challenges it is facing, including how it’s doing filling open positions.

Q: What are some of the major challenges your company is facing, especially when it comes to finding employees?

A: "The job market is very competitive in the Monroe area. We look for employees who have some mechanical aptitude and/or cultivate a curiosity of how things work. We also find that our employees enjoy the rhythm of a manufacturing job, which creates opportunity for time off during daylight hours to take care of their personal needs. Manufacturing jobs provide a different structure and, in some ways, more freedom than a traditional 9-to-5 office job."

Q: In what ways is Deceuninck North America uniquely positioned to help the manufacturing industry address those challenges?

A: "To leverage the local workforce and create real impact in the community, we are proud to continue our partnership with Cincinnati State College, providing a combination of online study with hands-on experience to teach skills that can directly translate to Deceuninck's specialized work. Additionally, new employees receive a streamlined on-site training program that immerses them in our systems and processes to provide the necessary skills to succeed and advance within the company."

Q: What’s the company’s vision of growth for the near future?

A: "Deceuninck North America's growth rate continues to outpace the market average. Last year (2016) was the 4th year in a row we had double digit sales growth. The successful growth is attributable to several factors. Deceuninck's commitment to service excellence, innovation and sustainability are of significant note. Deceuninck is currently investing over $10 million annually to support its growth.

“This investment covers diverse areas including process improvements, new lines and equipment, material handling and tools to run new extrusions/parts. Deceuninck continues to improve its operations, service delivery and quality with several operational investments. Deceuninck has won multiple regional business awards for the company’s growth and innovation. In 2016, we expanded our North America presence by constructing a new production facility near Reno, Nevada.”

Q: What sort of job growth has Deceuninck North America experienced post-recession. How much longer do you expect that to last at those levels or greater and why?

A: "Deceuninck has created jobs in all areas of the business – manufacturing, engineering, design, customer service, material science, sales and maintenance – representing a wide range of jobs that require diverse skill sets. Its number of full-time employees total has grown 30 percent during a six-year period (2011-2016). These full-time positions are permanent positions with full benefits –medical, 401K and paid leave.

“On a related note, recent economic reports indicate that the U.S. residential market continues to gain traction. American homeowners are gaining more confidence in the economy and are feeling more secure about the housing market as well. The remodeling industry is also picking up with pent-up demand for window and door system renovations. This is good news for the construction and window and door industries that we serve.”

Q: What’s the biggest false notion your company has encountered when it comes to the manufacturing industry as a whole and how do you seek to dispel that notion?

A: "We want to emphasize that manufacturing provides a range of career opportunities — engineering, mechanical, process and managerial to name a few. It's important to note that potential employees have an opportunity to pursue a career at Deceuninck North America that does not necessarily require a college degree. For those who are interested in higher education while working, we offer a college tuition reimbursement program."

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