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Job fair set for Wednesday at Civic Center

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Rome and Floyd County manufacturers are coming together for a special job fair Wednesday at the Rome Civic Center.

“I had some inquiries from several local manufacturers that called me and said they needed employees,” said Ken Wright, director of business and industry services at the Rome Floyd Chamber of Commerce. “They are seeking skilled employees, technically-skilled workers, welders, computer programming controllers, maintenance employees, both electrical and mechanical.”

John Quinlivan, chairman of the Rome Floyd Chamber board of directors and CEO at Redmond Regional Medical Center, said the event at the Civic Center on Jackson Hill will be a great opportunity to connect key employers with a ready and able workforce.

“The event should be a win-win-win for the employers, job seekers and our region,” he added.

The hours for the job fair are going to be from 2 to 7 p.m. Wright said there may be some people who are currently on a job but may be under-employed who would like to participate in the event. “We want to give them a chance whether they work first shift or second shift; we want them to have a chance to come to it,” Wright said.

He said the Chamber conducted a similar event four years ago when Diane Lewis was chairwoman of the Greater Rome Existing Industries Association. “We targeted manufacturing because we didn’t want to open it up to retail sales or service industries or things like that,” Wright said. “We wanted to see people who had experience in manufacturing or had that desire, so they could be fresh out of school or out of college but want to go into a manufacturing career.”

Wright said that about 10 industries participated in the last event, which drew between 400 and 500 people to the Civic Center. “Each of the companies found candidates to interview, and many of the companies actually hired,” said Wright.

Companies that are slated to participate Wednesday include Southeastern Mills, Stemco, International Paper, Steel King Industries, Marglen Industries, Carlsen Precision, Advanced Steel Industries, Soymet, Tyson Foods, Packaging Products, Ball Corp., Suhner, Neaton Rome and Ogle­thorpe Power.

Wright said the newest company to join the manufacturing sector in Rome and Floyd County, Carlsen Precision, had planned to interview locally a week ago or so. The Canadian firm decided to hold off and participate in the job fair Wednesday.

“We’ve got a couple of expansions underway. The Ball Corp. is in the middle of a major expansion and we’ve got some that are replacing retiring employees,” Wright said. “International Paper has an aging workforce along with some others, so we’re opening up the Civic Center.”

Lee Coleman, the automation division manager at Suhner Manufacturing, 43 Anderson Road, said he knows Suhner is looking for at least four employees but said there are probably 20 openings within the plant that has three different divisions operating under one roof. “I don’t quite know what to expect,” Coleman said. “We’re looking for two main positions, people in technical sales and machinists. Those are the two things I’m looking for.”

Coleman said the company is also looking for general machine operators, “people who are maybe a step above with some technical training, someone who can read drawings easily, knows how to use simple instruments, calipers, things like that.”

Coleman said the key is to match people with positions and vice versa. “We are always looking for good people, so even if we don’t have a direct match for somebody we see there at the fair, we’ll hold on to the resume because we may have something that will open up later,” Coleman said.

Teri Warner, human resources manager at Neaton Rome Inc., said the automotive supplier at 1634 Technology Parkway is seeking to fill maintenance technician positions, production control management and assistant production control management jobs and an engineering management position. “Experience in the automotive industry would be very helpful,” Warner said.

Cordelia Aaron, a human resources supervisor and recruiter at Neaton, said the company is also looking to hire a translator-interpreter who is fluent in Japanese.

Robert Rampley, president at Soymet, said his company was looking for welders, metal fabricators, lathe operators and machine shop workers. The business is based out of a facility at 29 Westside Industrial Blvd.

Rampley did not say exactly how many employees he would be looking for but did say the company was poised for significant growth.

Jack Pritchett, human resources manager at Marglen Industries, 1748 Ward Mountain Road, said the plastics manufacturing firm that has operated in the Shannon community for over 40 years is looking for maintenance technicians.

“It’s primarily shift maintenance,” Pritchett said. “If we can find the right people I think we’d probably take on two people right now.”

Greg Jones, corporate spokesman for Ogle­thorpe Power, said the utility was looking to fill a number of positions at the Rocky Mountain Pumped Storage Hydroelectric plant in Big Texas Valley.