February 20 Questions: Eric Virkler

 

JUSTIN SORENSEN / NNY BUSINESS

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Lowville Academy’s $11m capital project nearing completion, auditorium opening soon

STEVE VIRKLER / JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS Contractors work in the Lowville Academy and Central School auditorium. It is scheduled to reopen after the Christmas break.

STEVE VIRKLER / JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS
Contractors work in the Lowville Academy and Central School auditorium. It is scheduled to reopen after the Christmas break.

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Schools, businesses celebrate manufacturing

JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS PHOTO BY STEVE VIRKLER A contingent from Lowville Academy visited QubicaAMF Oct. 13 for Manufacturing Day. They were, from left to right, school counselor Gilbert Monnat, Kris Stokes, Isaiah Roes, George Cornell, Sarah Haggett, Dillon Christman, Gabe Rivers, Damien Barley, technology teacher Ken Kozin and Alex Caterham.

JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS PHOTO BY STEVE VIRKLER
A contingent from Lowville Academy visited QubicaAMF Oct. 13 for Manufacturing Day. They were, from left to right, school counselor Gilbert Monnat, Kris Stokes, Isaiah Roes, George Cornell, Sarah Haggett, Dillon Christman, Gabe Rivers, Damien Barley, technology teacher Ken Kozin and Alex Caterham.

By MARCUS WOLF AND STEVE VIRKLER
JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS

Manufacturing day across the north country sent students from many schools into the factories and warehouses of area companies.

Students from South Jefferson High School toured the production floor at Jain Irrigation Inc. and watched presentations about the company’s operations, departments and career opportunities Oct. 13 for the fifth annual North Country Manufacturing Day.

In Lowville, students from three different school districts toured the QubicaAMF plant, starting with a group from Lowville Academy and Central School.

The students learned that the plant is the largest bowling pin manufacturing plant in the world, producing about 7,000 pins per day, and that three feet of lumber are required for each one.

They got to see the section of the mill where wooden bowling lanes are produced, then saw the kilns where the wood is dried and followed the pin manufacturing process from planning wood pieces, to gluing them together, shaping them, covering them with plastic molds and applying chemical finishes and designs.

Gilbert J. Monnat II, a guidance counselor at Lowville who also took the tour, said Manufacturing Day is valuable to show students that there are options besides the college track, including higher-paying technical jobs like welding, but that training is still essential and “education doesn’t end at high school.”

“I think it’s very important to expose our kids to it,” Mr. Monnat said.

The eight Lowville students were all member of Kenneth Kozin’s robotics class.

JAIN SELF CONTAINED

Four managers from Jain delivered presentations about how the company manufactures its Chapin Drip Tape, a water conservation tape for drip irrigation systems that allows water to travel directly into the crops’ roots.

Students learned and discussed the practices and roles within the company’s manufacturing process, including maintenance, quality control and safety departments. Students from the Sackets Harbor Central School District also were given a tour and presentations after South Jefferson.

Heidi L. Edtar, a school counselor for South Jefferson High School, said that she brought nine high school students grades 11 to 12 with her to the facility. South Jefferson was one of 17 schools throughout Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties to tour any of the 14 participating manufacturing facilities.

“It was all interesting,” said Christopher A. Stevens, 17. “I might try to get into it.”

North Country Manufacturing day is an annual event in which manufacturing companies volunteer to showcase their operations and discuss the industry with students. F. Marshall Weir III, marketing director for the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency, said that JCIDA, CITEC Business Solutions, the Jefferson County Department of Employment & Training at the WorkPlace, Lewis County Economic Development, the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services, the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services and other organizations worked together to coordinate tours with all of the manufacturing companies and contact school districts to garner interest.

“It’s a great idea for getting people to know about the jobs that are available here,” said Michael R. Shantz, human resources and safety manager for Jain Irrigation.

Project Team Supervisor Michael C. Crump guided the students throughout the production floor and discussed each step of production.

Students watched the machinery operate as Mr. Crump described how each machine worked, including how the notch wheels make slits in the irrigation tape, how the winders wrap the tape around the spools, how the flow testers ensure that water flows through the tape and how the wooden spools are built.

“I like the whole process, 17, “going down and seeing how everything works,” Kyle C. Duvall said.

Mr. Crumb also showed students the packaging process and the company’s maintenance shop where machinery parts are built and faulty equipment is repaired.

Maintenance Manager Tracy J. Vincent said that the company builds all of the machines used for production.

“It’s different here because most factories have stuff imported,” Mr. Stevens said. “Here, they do it all at once.”

The South Jefferson High School students also learned about Jain Irrigation’s product output and national market.

Mr. Shantz said that the facility’s 96 employees work together to produce 30 million feet of basic and deluxe turbulent flow irrigation tape each week for corn, onion, strawberry and broccoli farmers throughout the country.

“We don’t have job openings here,” General Manger Carson D. Lennox said. “We have career openings.”

August 2016 Feature Story: North Country Family Health Center

Back from the brink

Joey Marie Horton is the executive director of North Country Family Health Center, Watertown. The center has clawed its way back from near closure three years ago.  Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Joey Marie Horton is the executive director of North Country Family Health Center, Watertown. The center has clawed its way back from near closure three years ago. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

North Country Family Health Center turns corner

By Gabrielle Hovendon, NNY Business

How healthy is the North Country Family Health Center? Take a look at its numbers. [Read more…]

August 2016 Cover Story: Telemedicine

Technology connects patients with care

The telemedicine machine utilizes a camera, top, that can be controlled remotely by a distance doctor, to analyze a patient and run tests for stroke diagnostics. The display of the doctor would be on the main computer screen, and the patient and location nurse can be seen in an inset screen, seen at bottom right. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

The telemedicine machine utilizes a camera, top, that can be controlled remotely by a distance doctor, to analyze a patient and run tests for stroke diagnostics. The display of the doctor would be on the main computer screen, and the patient and location nurse can be seen in an inset screen, seen at bottom right. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

Telemedicine another tool working to improve
access to specialists for rural residents

By Norah Machia, NNY Business

A patient recently came into Samaritan Medical Center’s Emergency Department presenting with symptoms of a possible stroke. Although a CT scan was done to rule out other causes, the physician treating the patient was still not completely convinced that stroke was the correct diagnosis. [Read more…]

Orleans, Lowville, other communities to receive funds needed for water projects

Road salt contamination has caused extensive corrosion at Andy Greene’s home in Fishers Landing, as seen here in his basement where he sits behind a corroded pipe on a hot water heater ruined by salt, holding a kitchen faucet he replaces every few years. Photo by Justin Sorensen, Watertown Daily Times.

Road salt contamination has caused extensive corrosion at Andy Greene’s home in Fishers Landing, as seen here in his basement where he sits behind a corroded pipe on a hot water heater ruined by salt, holding a kitchen faucet he replaces every few years. Photo by Justin Sorensen, Watertown Daily Times.

Several north country municipalities, including the town of Orleans, are getting millions of dollars in state funding for various water infrastructure projects. [Read more…]

Lewis County recycling center upgrade bids come in around $300,000

Bids for an upgrade project at the Lewis County recycling center intended to improve its no-sort system came in around the $300,000 mark, as anticipated. [Read more…]

July 2016 Feature Story: Craft Beverage

Tapping into agri-tourism

From left, Kaneb Orchards owners Edward Kaneb Jr.  and Elizabeth  Kaneb  with Kaneb Orchards marketing/sales manager Nancy Badlam at their Massena cider operation. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Business.

From left, Kaneb Orchards owners Edward Kaneb Jr.and Elizabeth
Kaneb with Kaneb Orchards marketing/sales manager Nancy Badlam at their Massena cider operation. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Business.

Region’s craft beverage industry diversifies as it grows

By Karee Magee, NNY Business

Twenty-one years after the north country’s first craft brewery, Sackets Harbor Brewing Company, opened in 1995, the craft beverage industry in the region has hit its stride as a major contributor to agri-tourism. [Read more…]

Lowville officials reflect on ever-changing infrastructure project plans

It started last summer as a $12 million project to upgrade five primary village streets and replace utility pipes. [Read more…]

June 2016: Nonprofits Today

Forging a partnership to help our needy

Bob Gorman

Bob Gorman

In the 1960s a colleague once made this observation about then-Congressman Gerald Ford: If Ford were sitting on a park bench eating his lunch and saw a hungry kid sitting next to him, he would hand over his sandwich without giving the matter a second thought. Ford, the colleague contended, would then return to the halls of Congress and — without a second thought — vote against funding for the national public school lunch program. [Read more…]