Catalyst Connection in Pittsburgh celebrated 30 years of helping regional manufacturers grow their businesses and winners of the 2018 Pittsburgh Central What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? student video contest during the agency’s annual meeting at Heinz Field. The event attracted more than 750 people, including manufacturers, industry leaders, students, teachers and parents.

“The focus of our video contest was to get young people connected around the concept of what makes manufacturing cool,” said Petra Mitchell, Catalyst President and CEO. “This contest gave students a ‘hands-on’ experience into the world of manufacturing, showing them how important manufacturing is to nearly everyone, everywhere.”

For the video content, 20 manufacturing companies were paired with 19 Pittsburgh-area middle schools who were encouraged to interview employees and go behind the scenes to learn about the manufacturing industry. Each team submitted its video to Catalyst, and voting took place on The contest yielded more than 46,000 votes over a five-day period.

Howie Choset, CTO of the Advanced Robotics in Manufacturing (ARM) Institute was the Keynote Speaker for the evening. He shared how robotics are impacting the world in many ways including health care, disaster recovery and advanced manufacturing.

Manufacturing companies who participated in the contest include: Ace Wire Spring (Allegheny County), Adams Manufacturing (Beaver County), Advantech (Washington County), Aero Tech Designs & Keystone Oaks (Allegheny County), Auma Actuators (Allegheny County), Berner International (Lawrence County), Butler Technologies (Butler County), c3controls (Beaver County), Cannon Boilerworks (Westmoreland County), Cleaveland/Price (Westmoreland County), Haemonetics (Allegheny County), Homer Laughlin China Company (Hancock County, WV), Intervala LLC (Allegheny County), Jennison Corporation (Allegheny County), L&S Machine Company (Westmoreland County), Parker Hannifin Corporation (Westmoreland County), PBM Valve (Westmoreland County), Quality Mould (Westmoreland County), Schroeder Industries (Allegheny County), and Uncle Charley’s Sausage (Butler County).

Award winners included:

Best Manufacturing Message
1st Place – Butler School District with Butler Technologies
2nd Place – South Fayette School District with Auma Actuators

Most Creative
1st Place – Burrell School District with Cannon Boiler Works
2nd Place – Beaver School District with c3controls

Viewers Choice
1st Place – Butler School District with Butler Technologies
2nd Place – Burgettstown School District with Advantech

Best Marketing Plan
1st Place – Oak Glen School District with Homer Laughlin China Company
2nd Place – Mt. Lebanon School District with Jennison Manufacturing

Bonus Video on Community Impact
Winner – Norwin School District with Parker Hannifin

In 2017, Catalyst Connection completed projects with 153 companies and reached hundreds of firms with its numerous programs and services. Catalyst clients have reported more than $128 million in revenue from improvement initiatives with more than 1,164 permanent jobs created or retained. Regionally, manufacturing produces as much as $12.2 billion in annual revenue and it is the second-fastest growing industry behind mining and natural resources. Regionally, manufacturing employs more than 93,000 people with an average wage over $54,000 – 13 percent higher than the average Pittsburgh wage.

About What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?
The annual What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? video contests excite students to explore cool manufacturing careers and produce profiles of companies throughout Pennsylvania. Judges in each regional contest bestow a variety of awards, and each contest features an online vote at for its Viewers Choice Award.

Created by the Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) in Allentown, PA in 2013, the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? contests draw entries from nearly 200 teams across Pennsylvania. The teams of students and teacher coaches receive camera equipment, software, and professional guidance as they learn to script, record, and edit their video stories. The contest’s objective is to change students’ perceptions about manufacturing careers.

The What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? contests are supported regionally by their sponsors and partners. There are 12 contests held in Pennsylvania during the 2017-2018 school year. These contests involve students from 39 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties – a combined area that represents more than 9 million of the state’s 12.7 million residents. The contest format also has been adopted by groups in 11 additional states.
News Story Contact
Scott Dietz, Catalyst Connection
Pittsburgh, PA, 412.918.4227
Photo from the Catalyst Connection