2022 Made in Connecticut Manufacturing Awards
CBIA, CONNSTEP, and ReadyCT concluded Manufacturing Month celebrations by honoring two organizations and an educator who exemplified passion and innovation in manufacturing this year.
TD Bank regional vice president Steven Litchfield presented Amodex Products the Small Business New to Market Export Award and Beta Shim Company the Technology Innovation Award at the Oct. 27 Made in Connecticut: 2022 Manufacturing Summit in Wallingford.
ReadyCT director of public affairs Sheryl McNamee also presented Bristol Public Schools STEM supervisor Jaime Rechenberg with the Pathway Award for Excellence in Manufacturing.
“These awards recognize those who are making a difference on the shop floor, in the classroom, and in their communities,” CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima said.
‘Where the World Is Going’
Amodex Products president Beverlee Dacey accepted the company’s Small Business New to Market Export award with great excitement.
As a second-generation family business owner, Dacey led the Bridgeport manufacturer to exports with more countries.
Amodex recently added Panama, Canada, and Dubai to its list of export markets.
“If you make a product like we do, exporting is really where the world is going,” Dacey said.
“The world out there really likes U.S.-made products.”
She said the resources available to Connecticut businesses are part of the company’s success story.
Amodex used the U.S. Small Business Administration’s STEP grant program to launch exports to Canada.
Connecticut’s resources also played a role in Beta Shim’s success.
Beta Shim’s director of operations, Natasha Valenti, accepted the company’s Technology Innovation Award with gratitude.
“We’re always trying to be innovative within our own walls, everyone is to some extent,” Valenti said.
“But it has really been with our involvement with CDMCC [Connecticut Defense Manufacturing Community], CCAT [Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology], CBIA, CONNSTEP, and numerous other companies within the past year that has taken us to the next level.”
Beta Shim made transformative efforts to adopt innovative technologies that directly address their aerospace customers’ requirements to maintain a digital thread in design and production.
“We were able to manipulate our own parts, challenge some of the software to make it fit our needs, and that opportunity alone is invaluable to a small business,” Valenti said.
The company is continuing to work on finding solutions to produce high quality products for their customers.
As companies focus on their processes and work to innovate, educators are driving positive messages about careers in manufacturing.
In Bristol Public Schools, STEM supervisor Jaime Rechenberg is leading the way.
“Jaime is working to change the image of manufacturing to something that is dynamic, dimensional, and digital,” McNamee said.
As a former chemistry teacher, Rechenberg said she did not realize the opportunities that were available to students in manufacturing.
Since becoming part of the Bristol community, she realized the potential.
“Bristol is home to more than 120 manufacturers, most of whom are struggling in the post-COVID economy to find a workforce,” Rechenberg said.
“Through the collaboration with these businesses, Bristol schools began to re-envision learning pathways for students, pathways that no longer just focused on college-readiness, but made a transition to providing students opportunities to experience the workforce prior to entering it by building industry-specific skills and stocking industry-recognized credentials within our programs.”
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