SALEM - Still in need of material handlers, welders, assemblers and mechanical engineers, MAC Trailer Manufacturing plant Manager Les Smith said he would hire 40 to 50 people "today" if he could.
Aluminum welders are the critical need, and Smith said the company operates its own training center turning out an average of eight welders every week to two weeks.
"Our weld training center here is staff taught," Smith said.
Chris Reppy of Youngstown operates a track welder at the MAC Trailer Manufacturing plant on Thursday. Reppy has been on the job at MAC for two months and was trained at the company’s welding training center. Plant Manager Les Smith said the company needs 40 to 50 people now including mechanical engineers, welders and material assemblers and handlers. (Salem News photo by Larry Shields)
"We're interested in teaching them here ... we like to keep the school full ... people can come here and we'll teach them how to weld.
"We feel it's worth our time to invest in our plant."
Training center Instructor Marty Ciminelli said, "We're anxious to get as many people as possible."
Smith said that after two weeks "if we feel they've evolved the proper skill sets we'll place them on the line."
The plant's two biggest challenges are meeting supply chain needs which is related to the second challenge of staffing, Smith said, adding, "If we can put more people on staff we can meet delivery demands."
He explained the production demands have reached "the point we've practically sold out through 2012 at the Salem plant."
Employment has skyrocketed from 48 people 24 months ago to 340 today.
"We have the need to expand production," Smith said, adding a lack of staff is holding them back.
If the market continues to grow, MAC can add another 40 to 50 next year, he said, noting personnel needs extend to welders, product material handlers and people with mechanical backgrounds.
Output is at eight units a day, Smith said, three pneumatic tankers and five flatbeds.
"We're looking to increase the pneumatic tanks to four per day."
The plant now has two plasma (weld) tables to keep up with pneumatic tank line demands and added two new production lines since last May.
Routinely there are 20 to 25 pneumatic tankers and 15 to 20 flatbed trailers inching along the production line.
Smith said, "We're proud of our staff ... they all do a great job ... a fantastic job."
Larry Shields can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org