Senator Joins Execs, Students For Round Table At Sonics
State Senator Will Haskell recently visited Newtown manufacturer Sonics & Materials, Inc along with several students from the Advanced Manufacturing Program at Housatonic Community College.
Senator Haskell is co-chair of the CT Higher Education & Employment Advancement Committee, which is concerned with public and independent institutions of higher education, private occupational schools, post‑secondary education, job training institutions and programs, apprenticeship training programs, and adult job training programs.
He was joined by Robert Weissenberg of Shelton, Anderson Cole of Redding, Justin Hart of West Haven, and Dino Sollenne of Stratford. The students each expressed how they were highly motivated to visit and learn about possible career opportunities at Sonics, which has been a Connecticut-based supplier of ultrasonic systems for liquid processing and plastics/metal welding for more than 50 years.
In a roundtable discussion with the students and Sonics staff — including Special Projects Coordinator Kathryn Wolf, Sonics staffers Dan Bleggi, and Stephen Dodd, and Marketing Communications Manager Carolyn Bown — Senator Haskell voiced his commitment to making sure Connecticut businesses have the skilled workforce they need, with the requisite 21st century high-tech skills.
The HCC Advanced Manufacturing Program aims to provide graduates who have developed core skills in computer-aided engineering and design as well as shop math, blueprint reading, manual machining, CNC Technology, and Lean Manufacturing.
Company President Lauren Soloff welcomed the senator and students as part of Sonics’ long tradition of fostering education and innovation at their manufacturing facility.
She remarked, “Ultrasonic technology is a very specialized field that is not very well known, so it is always a pleasure to introduce students to its unique power and versatility as they continue with on-the-job training or expand their skill sets.”
The visit continued with a talk and presentation on Sonics by Engineering Manager Jeff Meyer and Welding Group Sales Manager Brian Gourley who explained some of the company’s products, and the fundamentals of how the ultrasonic welding system works. Mr Meyer related that while Sonics & Materials is a unique global leader in manufacturing, the company has the heart of a family business thanks to the constant presence of its founder.
Almost on cue, founder and CEO Robert Soloff surprised the students as he walked into the session to share some observations and field a few questions from them.
Mr Soloff related that while he was among a class of 6,000 high school boys pursuing machining training at Brooklyn Tech in New York, he believes that students really begin their education once they enter the workforce.
“You have to get out into the real cruel world and just learn,” he said. Mr Soloff then quizzed each of the visiting students on their short-term aspirations.
Mr Sollenne said his goal was to advance into a career where he could continue learning about his trade, while Mr Weissenberg said within a year he planned to be working as an entry level machinist.
Mr Cole said he envisioned himself taking “baby steps into a much broader technical world.
“I never found something that clicked in school until I started looking at how things worked,” he added, which led him to explore the manufacturing training at HCC.
Mr Hart, on the other hand, thought he might advance into an engineering program, but it was the hands-on aspect of manufacturing that piqued his interest in attending HCC. He said one of the other major interests is being a “maker” — programming and creating things on a 3D printer.
As the senator and students toured Sonics’ facility, they engaged in discussions with personnel about various machining and assembly processes for Sonics’ product lines. There were also in-depth conversations regarding workforce availability in the state manufacturing trades and the vocational skills required.
Sonics participates in the State of CT Department of Labor apprenticeship program as a sponsor, recently welcoming three new apprentices to their plant, and also offers a tuition reimbursement program.
At the cutting edge of ultrasonic technology for the past half-century, the company has expanded its role as an industry pioneer, acquiring a total of 22 patents (plus seven pending) for advanced innovations, continuing the work started by Mr Soloff.
In 1969, he was awarded the original patent for the ultrasonic method of welding thermoplastic parts, a groundbreaking technique that is now used universally across many market sectors, including the automotive, medical device, and electronics fields.
Sonics, which is ISO 9001 certified, designs and builds a complete line of ultrasonic processors as well as hand-held, bench-top, and semi-automated welding systems for plastics and metal bonding.
Research institutions, scientific labs, universities, chemists, engineers, and scientists across the globe use our processors for a multitude of applications. Automotive, industrial, medical, packaging, toy, appliance, consumer, and synthetic textile manufacturers use Sonics’ standard or customized equipment to weld the full spectrum of commodity and engineering materials.
Currently employing a total of 75 people at its corporate headquarters in Newtown, Sonics also has a worldwide network of distributors and representatives.
Learn more at sonics.com.