World of modern manufacturing focus of expo

Article taken from LaSalle News Tribune, October 20, 2014

The 2014 North Central Illinois Discover Manufacturing Career Expo will be 8:30am – 2:30pm Wednesday, Oct. 22.

For the second year, the Discover Manufacturing Career Expo will connect high school students and manufacturers to help raise awareness of manufacturing opportunities in the Illinois Valley.

One Illinois Valley native who has gone on to an exceptional career in the manufacturing industry will be the keynote speaker.

Jim Blass, who grew up in Peru and graduated from La Salle-Peru Township High School, class of 1973, and Illinois Valley Community College, is now the director of Global Product Validation for Caterpillar’s product development and global technology division.

He will share his experiences in the manufacturing industry.

In his nearly 40 years with the Caterpillar company, he has held a variety of manufacturing and product development roles. He most recently served as the operations manager for Caterpillar’s Aurora, Ill., and Peterlee, UK facilities. He also held positions as the operations manager for the Pontiac facility, tech manager for ACERT injectors and product manager for Caterpillar Environmental Technologies and Cooling Design Center.

Blass is a noted inventor with 14 patents and holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial manufacturing technology from Illinois State University.

Many Career Opportunities

The event will bring students from 13 area high schools to tour local manufacturers and to IVCC’s new Peter Miller Community Technology Center.

While touring the manufacturing locations students will see the multitude of career opportunities available in the modern manufacturing industry.

Afterward, students will tour IVCC’s new facility while learning about post-high school educational opportunities that could prepare for careers in manufacturing.

They also will have additional opportunities to speak with representatives of the participating manufacturing companies.

Students will tour the facilities of Carus Corp., Sabic, Black Brothers, MBL USA, Vactor, Allegion (LCN Closers), Gardener Denver and Eakas.