Monday, November 4th, 2013
U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT 5) was in a familiar area when she arrived to tour the Cheshire, Connecticut facility of SPI member company Industrial Heater Corp. on Halloween morning. That’s because, in addition to being in Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District, which she represents in Congress, Cheshire is also her hometown.
The congresswoman was there to become familiar with the inside of IHCO’s factory, and learn what the company does and how it operates. She toured the manufacturing facility accompanied by Industrial Heater’s president, Tad McGwire.
Industrial Heater Corp. began designing and manufacturing heaters for leading manufacturers of plastics processing machines shortly after World War II. The company’s product lines have expanded significantly since then and today its products include barrel band heaters employing various advanced technologies, cartridge and nozzle heaters, strip and plate heaters, and thermocouple temperature sensors.
Industrial Heater began exporting to plastics machine companies outside the U.S. in the early 1960s and now does business around the globe. The company is an active member of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association. Tad McGwire is a member of SPI’s National Board, vice chairman of SPI’s Machinery Division and a member of the Operations Committee for the association’s triennial international plastics industry expo, the NPE.
Rep. Esty spoke with some of the workers as she was shown how they made and assembled parts for the various types of heaters. Then the production machines went quiet as the workers gathered to hear what the congresswoman had to say about Social Security, taxes, the minimum wage, immigration issues and workforce development, among other things. The employees asked questions, many of which were in Spanish. A bilingual employee served as the interpreter.
John Grant, SPI’s Senior Manager, Government Affairs said it was a great town hall meeting. There were journalists present from local news media, and their descriptions of the visit and town hall meeting can be found here: Eve Britton, Cheshire Citizen, http://tinyurl.com/mmls6cl; Luther Turnelle, New Haven Register, http://tinyurl.com/kb5uxmc
Visits like this, which bring federal and state legislators to working plastics industry facilities, are arranged by SPI’s Government Affairs team for SPI on behalf of member companies, and everyone benefits. The legislator learns about manufacturing directly from the source. She or he is able to meet the people who work in the company, and to see that these are good paying jobs with benefits. Finally, the legislator can speak with the employees about the issues and legislation that concern them.
The company’s management also is able to talk about the issues that concern them with a person in a position to do something about those issues. It’s a win-win for all concerned.