Member Manufacturers

New member spotlight: Cubbison Company

Since 1951, Cubbison Company has been offering nameplates, labels, overlays and signage for industrial and commercial applications across the globe. Its 30,000 square-foot facility is located on Victoria Road in Youngstown.

The top customers served are original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) but also include military/defense, transportation, aerospace, medical, oil and gas, and agriculture. There are currently about 70 employees at Cubbison.

Chief Operations Officer JC Kocjancic says the company is fortunate to have a long-standing workforce and isn’t dealing with shortages or turnover. He’s been with the company for 14 years.

“It hasn’t been as bad for us as other places have experienced. We’ve been able to attract good employees even when we do lose people,” Kocjancic said.

Importance of MVMC membership

Kocjancic also ran Cubbison’s sister company, Drake Industries, in Austin, Texas for more than three years. That’s where he recognized the importance of interconnectedness among businesses.

“I learned a lot about the manufacturing industry through Drake and realized there were organizations like MVMC out there.”

Kocjancic knew about MVMC for a while before joining. He believes the company’s good culture and reputation helps with employee retention, but it never hurts to be part of a manufacturing-focused organization.

“We get to talk with the right people, make connections that will help us with the customer side, vendor side and anything else we may need.”

Products and technological advancements

Cubbison’s metal nameplates, labels and overlays have been primary staples for years. The company has also grown its capabilities to match the changing technology.

Barcodes for nameplates and label designs help with product tracking and asset management needs. In addition, the company offers user interface products like membrane switches, sensors and touch technologies that incorporate the Internet of Things (IoT) and Manufacturing 4.0.

Kocjancic says the type of material used for a product and how it’s made comes down to what’s most efficient and cost-effective for the customer.

“There are variations of nameplates and labels. In the printing process, you might need UV or chemical resistance, or the product might be subject to corrosive environments. There are also different adhesives that depend on surface requirements. The longevity of products is paramount to a lot of our industrial customers.”

A new age in printing

Kocjancic adds that Cubbison has come a long way from decades ago.

“A lot of people usually think large equipment. We’ve transitioned from old school ways. We have high-speed digital printers now. They’re fun to run. It’s not a tedious process anymore, and it’s more efficient.”

That includes a printing press and converting equipment installed at the end of 2022. It can handle large-volume orders and makes the printing process faster and much more efficient.

Even with a growing business and a loyal workforce, Kocjancic wants to remain prepared to handle whatever curves might come down the line.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next 15 years, but having the outreach to MVMC is a good thing,” he said.

Member Manufacturers

New member spotlight: Eddie Kane Steel

A steady spike in business has hit Eddie Kane Steel over the last couple of years. Plant manager Matt Knauff says 2024 is expected to be the best yet for the Masury company.

With just over 60 employees, the plant needs to add more staff as it continues to grow.

“We’re working on adding a third shift since we have an expansion coming,” Knauff said.

Positions that need to be filled include burn table, threading and saw operators, welders, galvanizing line, and general labor. Most employees work four, 10-hour shifts and have Friday through Sunday off.

Branching out, building up customers

Eddie Kane’s local plant is among seven locations coast-to-coast that serve thousands of national customers. The distributor of flat plate steel also makes parts for trampolines, forklifts and dumpsters.

“We provide probably the most quality counterweights you can buy. We do about 2.5 million pounds per month of burned weight, 150 tons or more of flat plate steel and between 150 to 200 steel cages,” Knauff said.

He noted that preparations are underway for the growth that’s expected this year.

“We put $2.5 million into the building. We’re redoing offices, some outside work and other various renovations.”

RB Steel, also in Masury, is Eddie Kane’s woman-owned branch, which is looking to expand. It specializes in anchor bolt cages for the construction industry, as well as telephone poles and power towers.

Connecting to MVMC

Knauff had a personal link to MVMC before joining the organization.

“I worked with Alex Hertzer when he was at ClarkDietrich for a while. Eddie Kane has been looking at ways to help bring people in and get more involved in the community. I knew Alex went to MVMC, so I gave him a call.”

What also attracted him to MVMC were the networking and best practice sharing opportunities.

“We like to help a lot of people who are trying to get their lives on track, so we’re interested in programs like WorkAdvance,” he said.

Eddie Kane supports diversity in the workplace, prioritizes hiring veterans and encourages women to apply for jobs.

“We have female welders. We’ll help and train anyone who is willing to try, and we’ll even help people get jobs somewhere else if they aren’t a good fit here.”

Knauff says the company is implementing automated machines in 2024 to alleviate some of the physical labor for the manual grinders.

“It’s a difficult job, but this will make it easier for anyone to be able to do. It allows us to move employees around where gaps need to be filled.”

Although satisfying customers is top of mind, he says it’s just as important to keep employees safe, invest in them and be as supportive as possible.

Member Manufacturers

Fireline leverages YBI Industry 4.0 funds for mixer control system

Fireline, Inc. in Youngstown realized it needed a better system to control mixers at the plant. The company was able to come up with a solution through Industry 4.0 concepts, assistance from the Youngstown Business Incubator and the organization MAGNET.

Fireline produces a wide range of slip-cast refractory ceramic shapes used to make parts in the aerospace industry. Manually controlled mixers are required in the process. Like many manufacturers, the company is dealing with being short-staffed, which can leave room for error due to employees taking on multiple tasks.

Automation to the rescue

Mark Peters is the director of engineering and has been with the company for more than 20 years. He says when a mixer is on high speed for too long and overheats, it’s a waste of material, time and costs a lot of money for repairs. That’s why Fireline wanted to develop a more automated system.

“We got an email notification from YBI about the funding for Industry 4.0 pilot projects and jumped on the opportunity,” Peters said.

Fireline then partnered with MAGNET and its engineers for about a year to develop a Wi-Fi connected mixer control system. It can be set on a certain recipe, run unattended and default to a slow speed when it would time out.

“MAGNET made it easy. Their engineers asked really good questions. We weren’t locked into specific equipment or systems. We figured out what was best for us.”

Fireline wanted to be able to monitor the mixing system, so specific data points are communicated to a central dashboard for the team to view.

“We spent a lot of time with this, gave them a mix tank for testing, and they came up with this system. It allows us to be proactive rather than reactive,” he said.

Ready for a trial run

The completed system was delivered to the company in November 2023. It’s being stored until it can be installed. Peters says other plant priorities have caused delays, but he’s hoping to start the trial run in the second quarter of 2024.

“We also need get people comfortable with the system before it’s implemented. Change can be hard, and there are specific ways this needs to run for monitoring.”

It will take about six months to determine its effectiveness. Now that Fireline knows the materials and design elements involved, the company plans to use the system on other mixers.

“Moving forward, this makes implementation easier. We now have the platform to eventually integrate other equipment,” Peters said. “MAGNET gave us a relative shortcut to getting it done. We would’ve used more resources and time doing the project on our own.”

Benefits of implementing IIoT

He noted the company has also been using IIoT to monitor power and air compressors. Industry 4.0 is something he recommends to manufacturers that need to streamline production, save time and money.

“Technology pricing is down, and capabilities have increased. There are challenges, but the services MAGNET and YBI provide make it worthwhile. This is a time investment, but companies should take advantage. The money won’t be there forever.”

Peters says the total cost of the project was $35,000, but Fireline only paid $15,000 out-of-pocket. MAGNET also helped the company obtain some extra money through the Ohio Defense Community Grant – as it’s part of the defense supply chain.

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. But when you look at an IIoT system like ours, this solves all the issues. The payback is immediate on something like this.”

YBI funding for Industry 4.0 pilot projects runs through 2024. Contact Daniel Longo or Stephanie Gaffney to begin an assessment or for more information.

Member Manufacturers

New member spotlight: Mullen Insurance Solutions LLC

Organizations looking out for the best interests of the Mahoning Valley workforce are attractive to Mullen Insurance Solutions in Boardman. For owner, Nate Mullen, Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition fits that category, and becoming a member makes sense.

“We’re just trying to get our name out there a little more,” he said.

Connecting with MVMC

Mullen, a health insurance broker, started the company in 2021 but has been in the industry for 13 years. He already had established relationships with some MVMC members before joining the coalition.

The other meaningful connection was through one of his account managers, Heather Willison. She previously worked with MVMC assistant director Gina Pastella.

Mullen worked with his other two account managers, Mary Ann Christie and Becky Miller, before starting his company. All three say they’re good at something different, which helps their process run smoothly.

Mullen always dreamed of having his own business, but it came true sooner than expected.

“I didn’t think this would happen until my late 40s or 50s, but when my old employer sold to a large agency, I decided it was time to move on,” he said.

Close-knit team

To say Mullen clicks with his employees is an understatement. He swells with pride and emotion talking about the company environment.

“We just have the most incredible team of people here,” he said.

Mullen Insurance currently handles health insurance plans for about 60 groups in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties. It ranges from one-person businesses up to groups of more than 200 employees.

“The unique thing about our business is the way we work with companies. We only grow when they grow. It’s not about premiums. As the workforce grows, that’s how we see growth,” Mullen said.

Standing out from the competition

He says the challenging part is trying to be different. In health insurance, the pricing is all the same.

“There is no ‘better deal’. If a broker tells you that, they’re lying. So, our way of being different is our service model and through the technology we use for enrollment platforms,” he said.

That is important to larger employers and multi-location businesses because work for HR becomes easier.

Mullen Insurance is affiliated with the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce and the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber. Being part of the MVMC is just another opportunity to be more engrained in the Mahoning Valley.

“We feel our service method is different than larger companies, and customers get a more personal experience using our business,” Mullen said.

Member Manufacturers

New member spotlight: Roemer Industries

The continued struggle to find and retain workers, along with a key network connection, led Roemer Industries to join Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition. Like many businesses, the company needs help building its workforce.


Roemer specializes in custom graphic industrial identification products like nameplates, signs, labels, overlays and panels. The company has more than 150 customers. Most of them fall in the transportation, railroad, automotive and aerospace industries.

“We’re not just fabricators, and we’re not just printers. We marry the two, and that makes us more unique,” said Alyssa Pawluk, marketing specialist at Roemer Industries.


The company originally started in Sharon, Pa. in 1937. Decades later, Roemer moved to Masury, where it’s been for more than 30 years. Dave Gurska is the owner and president. He also owns AML Industries in Warren, another MVMC member. Roemer currently has 41 employees.


Complying with material certifications


Roemer has certain standards to abide by for various jobs – including government contracts.


“A lot of customers require certifications for materials and documentation for jobs. When we deal with the metals and materials, we’re very specific about what we use and how we apply it,” said Jill Palumbo, Roemer’s chief operating officer.


Paula Lazzari is the business development specialist at Roemer Industries, and she recently got an inquiry about a possible government contract. A business that makes military helmets was asking about Roemer’s certifications for materials and doing research.


“The company is deciding if we comply, and they might send us something to quote, and then we’ll see if we can build that relationship,” said Lazzari.


Palumbo says sometimes those contracts can be difficult. It’s usually a long process and includes mountains of paperwork.

The process of making products


Various metals and materials are used to make the products like stainless steel, aluminum, brass, vinyl and polyester, to name a few. Depending on the customer’s needs, a product can be made heat and weather resistant, reflective or tamper-evident. Some of the processes used at Roemer include etching, screen printing, laser marking, milling, CNC punching, welding, engraving, digital printing and vinyl cutting.


“We have custom tools to make nameplates and labels. There are certain requirements for every order. Some of the products can be made different ways, but it’s about finding the best way based on the quantity,” Lazzari said.

Roemer can also add a barcode or QR code on any label. This allows it to be scanned for inventory purposes or to pull up maintenance information.


The etching process and washing the print screens requires close attention because they involve hazardous chemicals. There’s extensive training for employees in those jobs in case of an emergency.

A special company comes in to remove and dispose of any extra chemicals that aren’t used.


Why join MVMC?


Palumbo says besides hearing about MVMC through AML Industries, the company’s interest in membership is because of the resources and training programs offered.


“We need people on the floor in our production areas. Every place has turnover. Covid was an adjustment period, but we’ve been growing since then,” she said.

Some people were laid off due to the pandemic, and others quit, but the company was fortunate to survive. An entry-level job at Roemer starts at $16.50. In production, there is a certification program where employees can earn higher wages for reaching certain milestones.


“There isn’t a huge population in this area, so it’s hard to find people willing and able to work. We have geographical challenges because it can be a long drive from other communities,” Palumbo said.


She adds that having contact with local manufacturers through MVMC is beneficial. Roemer has the chance to communicate with businesses going through the same things and establish relationships.


Palumbo recently had the chance to see the WorkAdvance program in action. She visited a bootcamp cohort and talked with participants about Roemer, which is a committed employer.


“They were definitely engaged and wanted to be there. That was encouraging to see,” Palumbo said.

Member Manufacturers

New member spotlight: Alcon Mechanical

Alcon Mechanical in Niles believes that creating partnerships is the best way to serve the community. The company hopes to continue building on that mission now that it’s joined Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition.

Bob Summers, director of development at Alcon, wants people to know the company is familiar with manufacturing and is glad to already be serving businesses that are also members.

“We are equally focused on promoting MVMC and what the organization does – just as it recognizes Alcon. Ultimately, this leads to benefits for both parties. There’s more to Alcon than just mechanical work,” Summers said.

A history rooted in partnership

The company has been around for nearly 30 years and serves mainly commercial and industrial clients in northeast Ohio and into Pennsylvania. It’s licensed and certified to perform process piping, HVAC and hydronics, plumbing and food equipment service. There are 125 employees – which include two engineers and 12 people in the front office.

Alcon isn’t hiring right now, but owner and president, John Deraway, sees the challenge ahead of not having enough veteran, skilled workers.
“We’re facing issues like other companies. The aging, skilled workforce is retiring. We’re training the new people as fast as we can, but there’s going to be a gap that isn’t going to be filled. It takes time to make these employees,” Deraway said.

He got his start as a pipefitter, then worked his way up at the company for more than 20 years. Deraway bought Alcon in 2019 from George Poschner Jr. whose family also worked at there.

In the early days, Alcon was called Commercial Piping and partnered with Diamond Steel and Compco Industries before all the companies went on their own. About a decade later is when Commercial Piping changed its name to Alcon Mechanical.

On-site service

When it comes to fabricating products for customers, a lot of work is done at the job sites.

“Before we make anything, we have conversations with everyone on the ground to make sure they can handle it. There’s a lot of coordination, and our engineers do all the logistics,” Summers said.

He says the advantage of working on site means they can roll with changes and eliminate the possibility of extra costs to a project. Summers added that Alcon does quite a bit of welding when it comes to parts. Those are typically then shipped or transported to customers.

Big name projects

One of the most significant projects for Alcon, which is still in the works, is the Ultium Cells battery plant in Lordstown. Summers says the mechanical contract went to a Michigan company, but for Alcon, it was a case of being at the right place at the right time.

“I ended up getting ahold of the main coordinator, and through that, he offered us work. Although we didn’t do all the mechanical work, we were the first area mechanicals to be working there, besides the Michigan company,” Summers said.

The work is still going on at Ultium. Summers says many of the plans from a few years ago in terms of EV batteries changed, so the companies recently worked together to make adjustments.

Alcon is also planning to work on Ohio’s new Intel plant in Columbus. The company will be supplying piping systems for chemicals and the gas lines. The hope is to make most of the products at Alcon and then ship them to the site. The company has also done  significant projects for Howmet Aerospace and NLMK Steel.

Implementing health and safety initiatives

There are two new initiatives for the company when it comes to health and safety. The first is advanced leak detection technology that Alcon hopes to offer customers. Management is working with the company Fluke to learn the system and how it can be implemented for local businesses.

“We can walk into plants with a handheld device to see where leaks might be,” Summers said. “The results will show how much is being lost, return on investment, as well as how much it would cost to fix the problem.”

He stresses the most important aspect of this technology is knowing how it can affect a business from a health standpoint. Summers says even small amounts of certain gases or chemicals can be dangerous to people and the environment. Right now, Alcon is going out with engineers to learn how to detect issues and finding out what customers need most.

The company is also looking into a new-to-market air quality system. It uses plasma-style technology which creates ions that attach to contaminants. This makes it easier for them to be caught in a filter.

“Common sense tells you that if your work environment is better, people will be healthier, feel better and overall be more productive,” Summers said.

Keeping the service department steady

Looking to the future, the owner says the money is in the service department when it comes to a career.

“It’s going to get expensive, and it already is,” Deraway said. “You try to retain workers as best you can, but it’s just one of those things.”

He is fortunate to have stayed busy over the last decade but notes the continuous battle with a tight supply chain. Deraway is also always willing to jump in and work with the crew on a job.

“Sometimes it’s a break from what’s going on in the office. No one can say I don’t know how hard something is because I’ve done it,” he said.

He has some honest advice, too, when it comes to job seekers.

“Money shouldn’t be the first thing on the list when it comes to a job. If you can have a conversation with someone, shake someone’s hand, look them in the eye and stay off your phone you will flourish compared to everyone else,” Deraway said.

Member Manufacturers

New member spotlight – Integrity Jobs

Creative thinking isn’t a foreign concept to engineers. They understand what it takes to “manufacture” things we use every day. John O’Neil, senior vice president at Integrity Technical Services (Integrity Jobs) in Akron, Ohio, knows this all too well.


Why join MVMC?


Integrity Jobs echoes MVMC’s mentality when it comes to the “stronger together” motto. O’Neil says it’s great to be able to recruit in the manufacturing world. He says doing things with integrity is something he takes seriously.


“Everyone is looking for good talent. I believe in a good reputation. I want people to know we did the best we could. I take it very personally when things don’t work out for everyone,” O’Neil said.


He first heard of MVMC through the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber, and then was put in contact with senior project manager Alex Hertzer.


“Alex is the best person you could meet as the first impression of an organization. Very helpful in this process,” O’Neil said.


He was surprised to see the list of current members because he noticed he’s already done business with most of them. He’s looking forward to building those relationships and continuing to help fill open positions. Integrity Jobs deals with at least two thousand companies, and manufacturing is a big portion of the requests for skilled labor workers.


Back to the beginning


O’Neil started out as an engineer with Syntonic Technologies, which is no longer in business, as a field technician for the Ohio Turnpike Commission. He serviced all the electronic equipment, mainframes and even the Ohio State Highway Patrol communication systems.


Five years later, he ended up at Diebold solving problems with ATM machines. He closed that chapter in 1989, and then was contacted about working for a career staffing service.


O’Neil was a sales associate for a year before leaving to partner with two former bosses. Together, they formed a company called North Star Resources, which was outside Cleveland. He was vice president of sales.


“The owners were great people, and I worked closely with them. Unfortunately, they both passed away. One in 1995, and the other in 1996. They were always in the staff services field,” O’Neil said.


Rebuilding a business

Since most of the staff was from Akron, the company was relocated and changed names to Integrity Technical Services (Integrity Jobs). O’Neil’s wife, Judy, was named the CEO. She owns 100 percent of the company and takes care of all the financial business.


“In 1996, Integrity Jobs was born, and we’ve been growing from the bottom up ever since. Coming from engineering, it was easy to grow a network. The first few months of business brought in about $2 million, and then it was up to $6 million within a couple years,” O’Neil said.


During the Covid pandemic, the company took a hit like many small businesses. Several people were laid off, but it’s starting to pick up again.


“We are hiring in sales and recruiting to build things back up. We have a new sales rep for the Youngstown area now,” O’Neil said.

Putting people first


He stressed the staff is constantly reaching out to employers to see what jobs need filled. They’re also dedicated to helping job seekers. He says good candidates are scarce, and shortages are hard to overcome. It also takes some convincing to get employers to sometimes choose people who aren’t the perfect fit.


“We get new jobs coming in every day. Late in the year, the numbers increase. You never know what’s going to happen day-to-day. With turnover rates, there’s not enough time in the day to replace people,” O’Neil said.


Improving his clients’ lives is something he credits as making everything worthwhile.


“If I was in this for the money, I would’ve left a long time ago. It’s a rush when you put someone to work that hasn’t had an opportunity. People thank me for finding them a job they’ve been looking for a long time to find. I had the chance to help them, and that’s important,” O’Neil said.

Member Manufacturers Uncategorized

New member spotlight: Liberty Steel Industries … It’s All in the Family

Liberty Steel Industries, of Warren, is now a member of MVMC. Company headquarters sit on Larchmont Avenue Northeast – with the plant across the street on Dietz Road. As many Mahoning Valley businesses can relate, Liberty Steel Industries is being passed down the family line.


It was founded in 1965 by Jim Weller Sr. There are about 100 employees right now, and the hope is to grow larger in the future, according to John Weller, who is third-generation management. He is the materials coordinator and in charge of purchasing at the plant.


Weller remembers starting out washing trucks as a kid, then working at the plant through high school, college and eventually becoming full time in 2012. His grandfather (Weller Sr.) is 92 and remains involved with the company.


“He still comes in here a couple days a week to see what’s going on,” Weller said.


A Warren Ohio Steel Service Business

Weller says the company is in the steel service business. Workers handle cold and hot rolled steel that is stamped, blanked, and molded into parts for the heavy trucking industry, as well as lawn and garden.


One high-volume product the company makes is shovel head blanks. Weller said they produced 6 million of them in 2021. The blanks end up being formed into different types of garden shovels branded with recognizable names like Craftsman and others.


“You could walk into just about any hardware store, and you’ll be able to tell it’s one of ours,” Weller said.


He chuckled when explaining the heavy parts made for the chassis in the trucking industry.


“We pretty much make the stuff you can’t see.”


Liberty Steel Industries or Liberty Steel Products?
There was a company split in 2015 with Liberty Steel Products in North Jackson. Family members also run that location.


“Despite it causing a little confusion, we kept the names mainly because of our good reputation in the community,” Weller said.


Liberty Steel Industries also has a Lordstown distribution center where about 80% of the products get finished, assembled, packaged, and then shipped right to customers. There is an additional stamping and welding plant in Saltillo, Mexico.


The Warren plant runs 24-hours with three shifts Monday through Thursday. There’s also an option to choose 12-hour shifts Friday through Sunday. Weller hopes to attract new employees with that schedule.


“We need to give the guys working now a break. They’re putting in long hours with a lot of overtime, too.”


Why join MVMC?
Liberty Steel Industries is focused on enhancing workforce development, so it made sense to join the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition. The company is looking for people to fill spots in just about every area.


“We need general laborers, press operators, forklift drivers, welders and more,” Weller said. “We’re trying to grow from the bottom up – from general labor to engineers. We hope being part of MVMC can help.”
The plant also needs people who are interested in robotics training. Weller says it’s something the company has been using more.


“We’re not replacing workers with robots. We’re just taking those workers and putting them in other places where they are needed more.”
He also says making new connections doesn’t hurt in hopes of growing in the future.

Member Manufacturers

ClarkDietrich celebrates employee’s 50th year on the job

He’s already an institution, a mentor, a workhorse and all-around good guy, but if Melvin Bragg ever gets around to calling it a career at ClarkDietrich, his name will not soon be forgotten.

Bragg’s Vienna employer celebrated his 50th anniversary at the plant with a warm reception including his wife, current and former co-workers, and corporate executives who traveled in for the occasion.


Days earlier, the plant revealed the winning entry in a “Name the Robot” contest among employees to memorialize a new piece of automation equipment brought in to help load and stack pallets. The name plant employees decided on? “Melvin.”


“The timing could not have been more perfect. It’s definitely a sign of the amount of respect they have for him,” said Tina Parker, Senior HR Business Partner.


The accolades didn’t stop there.


Everyone’s got a kind word to say about Melvin


“He just loves to work,” said Melvin’s wife, Gertrude. “He ain’t quitting. I tried a few years ago and he said, ‘No, I’m working.’ He’ll retire when he’s ready.”


“He’s had a tremendous career here,” said Chris Plant, Plant Manager. “I think he’s done every job in the plant, and we appreciate everything he’s done.”


“He’s just a pleasure to be around,” said Safety Manager Ken Von Bergen. “To make it 50 years with one job I think it’s just incredible. He’s an asset you don’t want to lose.”


“He’s a great guy, always very helpful,” said Mill Operator Stephen Nyako.


“He doesn’t keep his institutional knowledge to himself, Melvin’s going to give you everything he’s got,” said Supervisor Mike Fountain.

“He puts in more hours than anybody, and everybody likes him,” said Supervisor Mike Long.


Secrets to Melvin’s longevity


It was September 1972 when Bragg’s brother-in-law told him about the opening at what is now ClarkDietrich. Bragg, then just 18, had been performing warranty work at Martin Chevrolet.


“I went in, applied for the job and started working the next day,” Bragg said.


His starting wage was $2.30 an hour as a guillotine operator, which Bragg said was among the highest paying jobs in the area at the time.


Bragg, a man of few works but countless smiles, attributes his staying power to two time-tested pieces of advice: “Keep a positive attitude and you’ve got to enjoy what you do,” he said.


Congratulations, Melvin! And keep up the great work.


ClarkDietrich is a member-manufacturer of Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition.



Member Manufacturers

Seated in Youngstown, Gasser Chair is global winner in game of thrones

How many times have you gone to a restaurant, hotel or casino and paid attention to the chair?


From now on, you probably will.


In Youngstown, MVMC member manufacturer Gasser Chair Company builds chairs that can be found around the world.


Founded in 1946 by the Gasser family, the company originally manufactured aluminum for helicopters.


In the 1960s, there was a transition into dining room sets and chairs, which in time evolved into the product Gasser is known for.

What’s in a chair?


Just about every piece of a Gasser chair is made in-house at the facilities on Logan Way.


“It’s amazing what all goes into making a chair,” said Tony Brown, human resources manager.

Gasser Chair employee makes foaml
Nearly every part of a Gasser chair is made on-site in Youngstown, including the foam.


There are hundreds of types of chairs, he said, and each creation depends on what the customer is looking for.


Gasser specializes in hospitality and gaming chairs.


Each is designed to a customer’s specifications.


“It’s a pretty intricate process,” Brown said.


At the corporate office, the sales team comes up with the name of each chair, oftentimes pulling inspiration from the Mahoning Valley.

Putting each other first


There are 100 employees at Gasser, between manufacturing employees who make the foam, sew fabrics, weld, hand-craft wood and sew final pieces together.


When a potential employee walks in for an interview, they usually always have the same thing to say.

Gasser employee installs rivets into a chair.
There are 100 employees at Gasser, who sew, weld and assemble chairs.


“I can’t tell you how many times interviewees will say ‘the culture feels different here,’” Brown said.


Oftentimes, employees from different departments check in with others just to see how everything’s working and flowing.


“It’s what we pride ourselves on. We’re family-owned and the culture is inclusion and family-oriented.”