First Posted on UrbanaCitizen.com: March 10th, 2016
By Joshua Keeran - firstname.lastname@example.org
In cities like New York, Boston and San Francisco, where parking is at a premium, individuals often shell out thousands of dollars or in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars for one parking space. This past November, Honeywell Aerospace’s Game Changers Employee Club in Urbana found out just how much their fellow associates are willing to pay for parking at the workplace.
As a way to raise funds for local organizations, the club was given approval to place up for bid 56 prime parking spots at Honeywell Aerospace’s state Route 55 location. The spots had previously been available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“The online bidding process was open for all associates at all levels throughout the site for several weeks,” Honeywell Aerospace Executive Assistant April Shockey said. “Employees were able to use an alias throughout, making the process fun and exciting. Cheers and applause broke out when the last bids processed through.”
The result of the fundraiser revealed Honeywell Aerospace employees value prime parking spots, as bids ranged from $50 to $305. In total, the 56 spaces brought in over $6,000, and the winning bidders have access to their spots until November.
After the auction wrapped up, Shockey said, employees were asked to provide feedback as to which organizations the club should donate the funds to. The decision was made to donate $2,000 to the Grimes Flying Lab Foundation, $2,000 to the GrandWorks Foundation/Gloria Theatre, and $1,000 to the Champaign County 4-H Committee.
During an employee meeting on Wednesday, Tom Duggan, senior director/plant general manager, presented the donations to representatives from all three organizations. On hand to accept the checks were Randy Henson, vice president of the Grimes Flying Lab Foundation Board; Lydia Hess, GrandWorks Foundation administrative manager; Diane Jess, Champaign County 4-H Committee treasurer; and Melinda Morrison, Champaign County OSU Extension director/4-H educator.
Honeywell Aerospace employees also decided to put aside $1,000 from the auction to be used to bid on livestock at the Champaign County Fair in August.
While not at the same scale as the parking space fundraiser, the Game Changers Employee Club raises funds for different organizations throughout the county on a monthly basis.
“They sell awareness ribbons and badge buddies that employees are able to wear on their badge lanyards that gives them a casual dress pass for the month,” Shockey said.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.
Over three dozen students enrolled in an Ohio Hi-Point Career Center satellite manufacturing program at Triad High School celebrated Manufacturing Day on Oct. 2 by touring one of the oldest operating manufacturing companies in Champaign County – Honeywell Aerospace (formerly Grimes Manufacturing/Grimes Aerospace).
“Honeywell is one of the largest employers in the county, and we felt it was important to broaden community understanding of the products we manufacture here and the services we provide,” said Tom Duggan, senior director and site leader of the Honeywell Aerospace in Champaign County. “There isn’t a better way to do that than to bring community members onsite on national Manufacturing Day to see for themselves.”
Founded in Urbana in 1933 by entrepreneur and inventor Warren G. Grimes, who later became known as “The Father of the Aircraft Lighting Industry,” Grimes Manufacturing made a name for itself as a leader in the aerospace lighting industry. In 1997, the company was acquired by AlliedSignal Inc., which later became Honeywell International Inc. after merging with Honeywell Inc. in 1999.
“Honeywell Urbana has two plants focused on the production and repair of interior and exterior lighting for commercial and military aircraft,” Duggan said. “We also manufacturing airplane wipers and some internal displays. Primarily, our products end up on Boeing aircraft, but we have other Aerospace customers as well.
“Our Russell Street facility is focused on parts fabrication such as machining, polishing and non-destructive testing. They supply materials to the Route 55 facilities and other Honeywell facilities around the globe,” he added.
Field trip details
The 40 students interested in a career in the manufacturing sector who took part in the Manufacturing Day event, were given a unique look into the daily operations of Honeywell Aerospace during guided tours of the company’s two Urbana facilities – 550 state Route 55 and 515 N. Russell St.
Duggan said students saw 80 percent of the company’s operations on the factory floor, but students had to view some operations through windows because those particular areas required specific personal protective equipment and training.
Duggan said the company hopes the tours helped “provide insight and possibly inspiration around careers in manufacturing and Aerospace.
“Some of the students may one day be operators, technicians, engineers and leaders at Honeywell Urbana,” he added.
Rachel Lewis, Champaign Economic Partnership administrative assistant, said local economic development officials and manufacturers have taken part in national Manufacturing Day in one way or another for the past four years. Last year, students from Urbana High School and Ohio Hi-Point toured the Bundy Baking Solutions’ Shaffer Production Facility located at 720 S. Edgewood Ave. in Urbana.
Lewis said the aim of the Manufacturing Day student tours is to give students interested in a career in manufacturing an inside look into local companies while increasing community exposure for local employers.
“Manufacturing Day is vitally important as it allows the community to show the future generation of workers that manufacturing is making a comeback, that manufacturing can support a strong community network, and that it can provide stable employment,” she said. “Manufacturing Day also gives an opportunity to focus on our current local employers and the wonderful employees right here in Champaign County who help to create American-made products for a variety of industries.”
Triad High School principal Kyle Huffman said the 40 students who participated in the Manufacturing Day tours of the Honeywell Aerospace facilities were high schoolers currently enrolled in the advanced manufacturing program, a satellite program offered to students through a joint effort between Triad and Ohio Hi-Point Career Center.
The advanced manufacturing program, which includes a feeder program at Triad Middle School, replaced the district’s industrial arts program decommissioned following the 2014-2015 school year, Huffman said.
“Our goal is to take our manufacturing students on tours of the various businesses in the county so that they are aware of the employment opportunities that may be available to them because of our program,” he added. “We decided to have our first tour on Oct. 2 to celebrate Manufacturing Day, and Honeywell graciously offered to allow us to tour their facilities.”
As for the importance of such tours, Huffman said, “The goal is for these students to realize the employment opportunities that are available in Champaign County and make real life connections to what they are learning in the classroom.”
Huffman added he hopes tours like this help the younger generation realize the local manufacturing sector consists of more than just a certain car manufacturer located in Marysville.
“When we think about manufacturing jobs, most people think of Honda and don’t realize that there are other local manufacturing companies looking for skilled and dedicated workers,” he said. “Champaign County is a great community, and for those students who want to make it their home as adults, we want to help them find employment opportunities.”
Manufacturing firms in Champaign County have added jobs and had a greater economic impact as the economy has begun to recover, local officials said Tuesday.
Both private and government officials have worked more closely together in recent years, and are working together to address issues like workforce development, said Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for the Champaign Economic Partnership.
Representatives from several area manufacturing firms met Tuesday morning as part of a manufacturer’s council in which local companies gather with education and government officials and discuss ways to address workforce issues.
Some signs indicate those efforts are already paying off, Bailey said. Information provided by the Dayton Development Coalition shows the industry provided jobs for about 2,900 workers in 2013, and that has grown to about 3,800 jobs this year.
Several manufacturers have worked together to attract younger workers, Bailey said, including hosting displays and a booth at the Champaign County Fair. Drawing younger workers is important because much of the current workforce is aging and there are now too few people in the pipeline to replace them.
“It’s going to take a lot to turn it around,” Bailey said.
The council also recently hosted a manufacturing day, offering tours at Honeywell sites to area high school students. Bailey also pointed to a new program developed by Trial Local Schools and the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center that started this year to teach manufacturing skills to students in the district as early as middle school.
Making sure there are students interested in the field will be critical to fill vacant jobs as manufacturing becomes more advanced, she said.
The industry accounted for $319 million, or about 33 percent of Champaign County’s gross regional product in 2013. That figure represents the goods and services produced in the county. By last year, manufacturing’s impact had risen to $399 million, or 36 percent of the gross regional product.
In the past, the city of Urbana had provided much of the funding for economic development in the county. But several companies and government agencies recently formed the CEP, which includes funding from both private and government entities. That should benefit manufacturing firms because it will provide more resources and coordination for economic development, said Todd Michael, president of the Champaign Economic Partnership.
“It’s a whole different attitude than we’ve had in the past,” Michael said.
Bailey also recognized three local companies that have a long history of providing jobs in the county.
Ultra-Met, which makes parts for the aerospace, defense and biomedical industries, has its 50th anniversary this year. Johnson Welded Products in Urbana, which makes parts for the heavy truck industry, has been there for 35 years. KTH Parts Industries Inc., in St. Paris, will mark 30 years as a parts supplier for Honda.