A Day for Making Things Happen: Hundreds of Students and Parents get an Insight into Today’s Careers in Manufacturing

Flight officer Jay Bringam of the California Highway Patrol explains how manufacturing and technology aid law enforcement with the use of the department's helicopter. Austin Dave/The Signal
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By Tammy Murga                                                                                                                                                      Signal Staff Writer

Santa Clarita Valley industry leaders ecently agreed that while manufacturing isn’t exactly sexy or glamorous, and it’s often portrayed as the dark, dingy factories in film — there’s a variety of career options and room for growth for everyone.

That was the topic of a speaker panel and roundtable discussion at College of the Canyons for National Manufacturing Day on Thursday, Oct. 4.

“Manufacturing, the term maybe doesn’t sound that glamorous at first, but I think when you really dive deep into it there’s just so many layers and I think that’s what we’re trying to unpack today,” said Quan Gan, founder of Gantom Lighting and one of the evening’s speakers.

He was accompanied by Anthony Borgia, production operations director at Lockheed Martin; Tanya Carter, national sales manager for Chocolates A La Carte; Dr. David Ciardi, a senior research scientist at the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute; and Paula Holman, human resources manager at PPG Industries.

Dozens of parents and students had the chance to hear from the five panelists on what qualities industry employers look for today and how the younger generation can prepare for their fields of interest.

Perhaps one of the most memorable pieces of advice that stood out to audience members were three top ingredients necessary to succeed, shared by Borgia.

“It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in,” he said. “If you have integrity, the right attitude and work ethic, then you will go far and learn from those around you.”

Daniel Mihm, 16, and his mother, Mary, said they liked what Borgia said. The student said he has always had an interest in computer science, saying “it comes easily to me.”

By asking how things work, he managed to build his version of the popular video game PAC-MAN.
The Mihms and others also had the chance to sit among today’s leading manufacturers and representatives from advanced technology industries and learn about opportunities in design, robotics, engineering, fabrication and distribution.

Even in the chocolate industry, as Carter shared.

“Think about the chocolate that you normally work with and think about having to replicate a face,” she said. “You need someone whos’ in engineering and design because there’s no cookie cutter.”

Holman added that there are plenty of jobs in manufacturing that people don’t necessarily think about.

Holly Schroeder with SCV Economic Development Corporation, which helped sponsor the event, said, “We want to let kids and parents know how much manufacturing has changed through technology…

“There are dynamic, creative career paths to keep people challenged and engaged for a lifetime.”

Manufacturing Day activities extended into Friday when hundreds of William S. Hart Union High School District students attended demonstrations and workshops with representatives from several industries including Lockheed Martin and Advanced Bionics.

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