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Friday, August 29, 2014

Manufacturing Day: The American Manufacturing Story Old and New


For Manufacturing Day 2013, I headed to Brentwood, N.Y., to visit Thuro Metal Products, a contract manufacturer for the commercial automotive, aerospace, and industrial products industries.

David Thuro, company president, welcomed representatives from industry groups like the Long Island Forum for Technology (LIFT) and students from the area to a tour of Thuro. He said that these were “exciting times” for manufacturing and that the recovery from the leaner period that began in 2008 has strengthened Thuro and American manufacturing in general. Companies like Thuro have learned to embrace new technologies and focus on increasing quality and enhancing precision.

Thuro Metal Products used Manufacturing Day as a way to present its story, which is truly an example of the American dream. Following World War II, David Thuro’s father, Albert, lived with his family in a displaced persons camp outside of Munich for several years. Well after applying to leave the country, Albert Thuro was allowed to move to the United States in the 1950s. He used his trade and machining skills to land a job in New York, where he worked for a German-speaking boss. He gradually learned English and built a career. He served a stint in the U.S. Army and in 1971 founded Thuro Metal Products. He said has been working six days a week ever since, resting only on Sundays.

Thuro operates in two facilities: a 25,000-sq-ft factory housing its turning and milling machines, and a slightly larger assembly plant. We saw the precision-products Thuro machines that would eventually end up in helicopters and luxury automobiles, and watched as many of the company’s 65 workers performed quality control or designed CAD files.

I had the opportunity during the tour to speak with Peter Hamblen, a student from Farmingdale State College. After spending a semester focused on Bible studies and music, Hamblen realized he didn’t want to go into heavy debt to pay for his education. He applied to Farmingdale and was accepted in its engineering program, and even negotiated a part-time job at Thuro. Just as Albert Thuro’s story is emblematic of the classic American dream, Peter’s is typical of many 21st century students.

My colleague Beth Goodbaum visited Festo to learn about their automation solutions, which you can read more about here on IMT Career Journal. Additionally, ITAC worked with local partners to get students to G.A.L. Manufacturing, a company that manufactures elevators in the Bronx.

Did you participate in Manufacturing Day? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments, or contact me on Twitter @BrianL_TN.

–Brian Lane

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