Safariland sees success after relocating acquisition to Jacksonville

Courtesy of the Jacksonville Business Journal

For Safariland’s Jacksonville manufacturing site, focusing more on making military products was a big change.

After acquiring Mustang Survival in 2013 and manufacturing that line in West Virginia, they found it was a difficult, remote location to get to, especially with added military personnel from different branches frequenting the facility to test and inspect products.

Jacksonville was just the opposite. There was already infrastructure in place from the company’s headquarters, so no brick-and-mortar expansion was necessary. Throughout 10 months, Safariland shifted forensics and firearms productions from their Jacksonville headquarters to their facility on Faye Road where they already manufacture holsters and moved in the Mustang Survival line to the freed up space.

Now, $1.9 million and 108 new jobs later the Mustang Survival line–consisting of personal flotation devices, dry suits and gravity suits–is running at 85 percent efficiency six months after its installation.

But getting everything running has been a process, said Blake Brown, vice president of manufacturing for Safariland. Dealing more with the military has been a lot to get used to: the products are more specialized and they’re designed as a “joint effort” between the military and Safariland.

“Just learning how to manage in a military contract world, it’s not the norm for us,” Brown said. “Not that we don’t do military products, but doing it like this is different. This is heavy gauge military contract business is what this is.”

Safariland Helmets

Staffing the new line in Jacksonville also proved to be a challenge at first. When they moved the Mustang Survival line out of West Virginia, Safariland offered 70 employees relocation, said PJ Wilson, supervisor of Safariland’s human resources. Of those 70, only eight chose to relocate to Jacksonville which meant to staff the new line in Jacksonville, more people would need to be hired and some workers from other parts of the factory would need to be retrained on the Mustang Survival line.

Wilson said each person who needed to be trained would cost the company $10,000 to $12,000 per person. But with help from grants from CareerSource Northeast Florida and the city, they were able to offset some of the costs of training.

“You bring someone off the street, it takes six months to train,” Brown said. “If you bring someone who’s been sewing for 20 years over [to the Mustang Survival line], it’s harder sewing but they’re accustomed to industrial sewing so they got used to it quicker.”

Part of the extra cost in training stems from the difficulty and complexity of manufacturing the dry suits and gravity suits. Brown said the gravity suits are “the most complicated product we have to build.”

Fighter pilots wear gravity suits, which have air pumped into the legs of the suit when the pilot hits G-force speeds to pump the blood that rushes into their legs back into the brain to keep them from passing out.

The dry suit production required “a specialized skill that we did not have,” Brown said. Dry suits are used by mainly the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard and keep its user dry and warm in the event they go into the water, especially in colder waters.

“It’s not a product you want to fail on you,” Brown said. “In the North Atlantic, you don’t want any leaks, the cold water will cause your blood to do weird things. It’ll shut your system down.”

The dry suits are sealed with hot tape to ensure no leaks occur and the product is tested until they show they don’t have any leaks. Safariland brought in help from their British Columbia plant, where Mustang Survival production is based, to help train and refine the skills of those sealing the suits to maximize their efficiency down the line.

Adapting to new changes in the company, however, is something those at Safariland are accustomed to doing. Brown said the company expands primarily by acquisition of similar, smaller companies and with every acquisition, there’s a “plateau” period where the company needs to “stabilize” and figure out the logistics of their new acquisitions.

But it won’t be too long before more acquisitions come along, Brown said. And when they do, it’s possible Jacksonville may be the place for them.

“We do have another lot next door [to the Jacksonville corporate headquarters], so we do have expandable space, and we do have a little more land over at the operation at Faye Road,” Brown said. “So we have some room in Jacksonville, so we will see what happens.”



Caterpillar could move 800 production jobs from Aurora plant

Caterpillar Inc. announced Wednesday it is considering moving as many as 800 production jobs from its Aurora, Illinois-area plant to facilities in Decatur, Illinois and North Little Rock, Arkansas.

If completed, the move would put an end to manufacturing operations at the suburban Chicago plant, which is actually located in Montgomery despite its Aurora name.

Production of large wheel loaders and compactors would shift to downstate Decatur and medium-wheel loaders to North Little Rock.

The Peoria, Illinois-based heavy equipment maker has struggled in recent years, beat up by tough emerging market conditions, drops in commodity prices, and unfavorable foreign exchange rates. All of those headwinds have combined to sap demand for Caterpillar’s products, forcing the company to lay off thousands of workers domestically and overseas.

“Faced with lower demand, we continue to evaluate our global manufacturing capacity,” Denise Johnson, Caterpillar’s resource industries group president, said in a news release. “We must use our existing space in the most efficient way possible while maintaining the ability to meet demand when it returns.”

Local officials expressed concern over the possible loss of jobs and offered to work with Caterpillar on the issue, the Aurora Beacon-News reported.

“We want to engage them as much as we can,” Aurora Mayor Robert O’Connor told the Beacon-News. “We value the jobs, and the presence the company has had in the community all these years.”


Improve Processes and Efficiencies as a Production Manager


A production manager typically works in a manufacturing or industrial setting, directing internal processes and ensuring the successful completion of a project. This professional might bring products to market or assemble tools and machinery for industrial use. Whatever the project’s goal, a production manager takes responsibility for each resource and process.

What Is a Production Manager?


From vehicles and consumer electronics to garments and energy production, nearly all industries need production managers to direct a plant’s or facility’s projects. The production manager oversees each project from start to completion and makes changes to meet budgetary restrictions and respond to the employer’s needs. As a production manager, you might perform the following duties:

  • Find ways to source materials less expensively.
  • Decide when and how to use equipment and machinery.
  • Allocate human resources to specific tasks based on skill level and project demand.
  • Hire and terminate employees.
  • Train newly hired employees for specific tasks.
  • Ensure each employee knows and respects the company’s safety protocols.
  • Develop budgets for each project, often with feedback from senior management.
  • Communicate and negotiate with vendors.
  • Ensure quality control at every stage of production.
  • Create and execute production schedules.
  • Set and meet production targets.
  • Create cost-control rules to reduce overall spending.
  • Meet regulatory guidelines, such as those created by OSHA.
  • Monitor product quality and make adjustments as needed.
  • Collaborate with marketing, advertising, and purchasing staff to meet production targets.

Work Environment

Production managers might work part of the time in offices, but they also spend much time on the floor in the manufacturing plant or industrial facility. These managers monitor their employees’ output and check production rates based on established targets. In the office, they might focus on other administrative tasks. In addition, production managers also call vendors, clients, suppliers, and other third parties to arrange meetings and negotiate terms for service.

While working on the floor or in a production area, production managers have to follow the same guidelines that their employees follow. For instance, manufacturing plants often create somewhat dangerous conditions, so management staff must wear hard hats, safety glasses, and other gear to protect themselves and set a positive example for their employees.

In most facilities, the production manager maintains an office next to the plant or facility floor. This location can reduce transit time and allows the manager to respond to emergency situations quickly. The work can prove stressful, especially when working under tight deadlines, and production managers must realize that they’re responsible for their employees’ safety.

Depending on the facility, the work environment can prove hot, humid, and dangerous. In chemical plants, for example, production managers must protect themselves from exposure to harmful substances. Staying hydrated and taking breaks can help managers and other staff members deal with hot work environments.


Most production managers work full-time, regular business hours. However, during peak production periods or when facing deadlines, they might have to work overtime or take administrative work home to complete. Additionally, manufacturing facilities often stay open long after regular business hours, so management team members occasionally must work swing shifts and weekends to make sure they don’t fall behind.

Additionally, if something goes wrong on the production floor, the manager must respond, especially during overnight hours. Setbacks such as machinery breakdowns and emergencies, including worker injuries, need immediate attention. In some cases, however, companies hire production managers and production assistants, in which case the manager can sometimes delegate after-hours tasks.

What Qualifications Are Required to Become a Production Manager?


The education requirements for production managers vary from one company to another. Smaller manufacturers and industrial companies might hire managers with bachelor’s degrees or significant industry experience, while bigger companies often look for professionals with master’s degrees and more work experience. Most companies don’t specify a specific type of degree, but you might get a job faster if you focus on specific concentrations, such as the following:

  • Business administration
  • Production and operations management
  • Industrial design
  • Industrial engineering
  • Business management

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree can help you secure more high-level jobs. Additionally, some schools now offer degrees in specific types of production management, such as fashion, agriculture, and electronics.

You might receive on-the-job training to learn about your employer’s specific production goals. Training helps you acclimate to the workplace and gain process or product knowledge.


Few production managers start their careers with a management title. They often work as assistants, buyers, materials clerks, or production area specialists before they get promoted. Advanced education can speed up this process and earn you a management job after graduation, but you might have to start with a smaller company, fewer employees, and less autonomy.

What does a production manager do to get hired quickly? You can broaden your job search to include companies in niche markets and use your online network to find out about opportunities that haven’t been advertised publicly. If you’ve recently graduated from school, consider using your alma mater’s career services office to help you look for job openings.


You’ll need several skills to succeed as a production manager, whether you’re applying to a new employer or seeking a promotion from within your current company. Each employer will look for different skill sets, but employers who hire production managers share expectations in many areas. To increase your chances of getting hired, focus on learning the following skills:

  • Budgeting: You’ll prepare, analyze, and oversee the budget for each project.
  • Communication: Your great ideas won’t matter unless you can help other people understand them. Additionally, you have to give clear orders to your staff.
  • Problem-solving: When a problem occurs on the production floor, you must find a solution quickly to make sure your production stays on time and on budget.
  • Product and process knowledge: Your in-depth understanding of manufacturing quality standards, regulatory requirements, and other information will help you manage production more efficiently.
  • Negotiation: To stay on budget, you’ll negotiate with vendors, clients, and other third parties.
  • Time management: If you can’t meet deadlines and manage staff effectively, you’ll fall behind on deliverables.
  • Information technology: You’ll need a working knowledge of product management software.
  • Flexibility: You must make quick decisions and adapt to changes on the production floor.
  • Motivation: Inspiring your staff to meet production targets and improve their output quality can improve your performance.
  • Presentation: The best production managers deliver clean, inspiring presentations on suggested changes to the production team and production processes.
  • Math: If you can perform complex mathematical equations, you might excel more rapidly in this career.
  • Attention to detail: Whether you’re walking the production floor or reviewing proposals in your office, you must spot potential problems and areas for improvement, even with the smallest details.

Salary Expectations

How much does a production manager make? According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), industrial production managers can expect to earn about $93,940. Certain industries, such as chemical and transportation equipment manufacturing, offer greater salary potential, and the top 10 percent of product managers earn about $162,240. If you’re starting out in this career, your salary might begin at around $56,640.

Since production management is highly results-based, your employer might create a bonus structure to inspire you to meet specific benchmarks. A bonus can increase your take-home pay, although employers often offer a lower base salary when they give bonuses.

Job Outlook for Production Managers

Projected Growth

The BLS expects careers in production management to decline by 4 percent between 2014 and 2024. Manufacturing processes and equipment have become far more advanced and efficient, which decreases the need for management professionals on the production floor. Reshoring, the process of moving manufacturing and industrial initiatives back to the United States from foreign countries, could help curtail this decline, and you might garner more job opportunities if you have significant experience or advanced education.

Career Trajectory

You can apply for a job as a production manager as soon as you graduate from college or a trade school. However, you might have to work up to this position by proving your skills and abilities in a role with less responsibility. For example, if you’re a foreman on the production floor or if you take a job as a production assistant, you can fully learn the requirements of the job and apply for a promotion later.

You’ll gain supervisory experience as a production manager, which can create new advancement opportunities. The most successful professionals in this field can become chief operating officers (COOs), an advancement which leads to greater job security and salary potential.

A career in production management could create financial security and a sense of accomplishment. While you might face declining job opportunities depending on your location and other factors, many manufacturers and other industrial employers will still need production managers to staff their facilities. If you have the necessary skills and education, start searching for your next job in production management today.

Grace Electronics Will Relocate Manufacturing to Jacksonville

(Courtesy of the Jacksonville Business Journal)

New York-based Grace Electronics plans to relocate its main manufacturing operation and corporate headquarters to Jacksonville’s Cecil Commerce Center, according to city legislation filed Wednesday.

The company opened a satellite office at the center two years ago and currently leases 1,500 square feet. The expansion plan could see the aerospace manufacturing company expand its footprint at the city owned center by 10,146 square feet.

The company lists Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems among its clients.

The three-year lease would be for $6 per square foot on the 10,146 square feet they would occupy in Building 905 at Cecil Commerce Center for a total of $63,276 per year.

Grace Electronics plans to apply for a qualified target industry incentive that would grant the company a $5,000 tax rebate per job that it creates from the expansion project. The number of jobs created by the relocation would be 25, according to city legislation.

The city’s would be responsible 20 percent of the QTI incentives or $1,000 per job up to a total of $25,000.

Job Opportunity: Gerdau – Electrical Maintenance Mechanic- GER01984

LocationJacksonville, FL
About Us
Gerdau is the leading company in the production of long steel in the Americas and one of the major suppliers of specialty long steel in the world. With more than 45,000 employees, Gerdau has an installed capacity of more than 25 million metric tons of steel and it is the largest recycler in Latin America, and around the world, it transforms millions of metric tons of scrap into steel every year. Gerdau Long Steel North America is a leader in mini-mill steel production and steel recycling in North America, with an annual manufacturing capacity of approximately 10 million metric tons of mill finished steel products. Through a vertically integrated network of mini-mills, scrap recycling facilities and downstream operations, the company serves customers throughout the U.S. and Canada, offering a diverse and balanced product mix of merchant steel, rebar, structural shapes, fabricated steel, flat rolled steel and wire rod. Gerdau Special Steel North America is an engineered bar producer headquartered in Jackson, Michigan with world-class steel manufacturing mills in Jackson, Michigan, Monroe Michigan, and Fort Smith, Arkansas, and metal processing facilities in Huntington, Indiana, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, Lansing, Michigan, Canton, Ohio, and North Vernon, Indiana. With engineered steel bar producing capabilities in North America, Europe, Brazil, and soon to be India, the Gerdau Special Steel group is the largest supplier of SBQ engineered steel bars to the global automotive and heavy truck industries.
Job Description
Job Summary: Perform maintenance and repair operations necessary to keep plant, equipment, machinery, and tools in good operating condition; working in the many diversified capacities required in maintenance.
Duties & Responsibilities
Primary Duties and Responsibilities: 1. Work involves a wide range of methods and procedures on a variety of moderately complex work and routine duties, requiring considerable care to adequately and properly dismantle, repair, lubricate, reassemble, or otherwise work on general maintenance in varied capacities at basic level of such occupations as machine repairer, electrician, pipefitter, plumber, millwright, welder, and burner, electronic technicaine. 2. Start, observe, operate, or otherwise activate equipment to detect or verify malfunction or correction of same. 3. Inspect, adjust, clean, or lubricate equipment as preventive maintenance. 4. Tear down, replace, install, and assemble simple equipment, parts, components, and accessories. 5. Assist higher skilled employees on more complicated work and work as part of team on heavy work of large projects. 6. Adjust equipment or systems mechanisms. 7. Operate fork-lifts, Bobcat, manlift, and cranes as needed or required. Additional Responsibilities: 1. Maintain inventory stock and records. 2. Submit work orders as needed. Detect and report faulty material, environmental hazards, and/or improper operation of plant equipment or machinery; refer questionable and unusual matters to proper supervision. Maintain work area and equipment in a clear and orderly fashion. Follow all safety regulations and practices. The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required of personnel so classified.
The Individual
Requires technical knowledge and training generally applicable in the particular field of heavy industrial machine repair or closely related specialized occupation. Ability to work with equipment specifications and precision measuring instruments. Over 2 years up to and including 3 years. Electrical experience/knowledge is strongly preferred.
Salary & Benefits
Gerdau offers excellent benefits that start the FIRST DAY OF EMPLOYMENT! Medical and Prescription Dental Vision Health & Dependent Care (Flexible Spending Account) 401K Basic Life/Accidental Life Insurance Health Advocate Services Employee Assistance Program Tuition Reimbursement Program
Application Process
Gerdau believes in equal employment opportunity related to all employees and applicants for employment. It is the policy of Gerdau that there will be no discrimination against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, citizenship, marital status, sex, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, veteran status, disability, or other legally protected status. All applicants must be legally eligible to immediately work in the country of hire without current or future sponsorship.
If you are vision-impaired or have some other disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to applying for employment at Gerdau, please contact our Talent Acquisition Team at (866) 788-2798 or

Attention LINCS Participants. Supply Chain Management Job Fair

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 • 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

FSCJ Advanced Technology Center, Room T140

401 West State Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202

• Meet employers with open positions in Supply Chain Management

• Bring your resume and dress for success

• Come prepared to participate in brief interviews and to apply online

• Highlight your earned Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP)industry certifications:

Customer Service
Operations Supply Chain
Management Principles
Warehousing Operations
Transportation Operations
Demand Planning
Inventory Management
Supply Management and Procurement
Manufacturing and Service Operations
For questions, please email or (904) 633-8109

6 Tips for a Manufacturing Job Resume

There’s a lot of great resume advice out there, but a lot of it is tailored for your standard office job. Yet over half a million jobs in Illinois (and over 12 million in the U.S. as a whole) are in the manufacturing sector, which makes up about 9 percent of available jobs. That doesn’t include other non-office jobs like construction and transportation. In comparison, business and professional services comprise about 15 percent of the workforce in Illinois (source).

What that means is that there are a lot of jobs available where the typical resume advice might not be all that helpful. Manufacturing employers are often hiring in large numbers; they want to know what you can do and figure it out quickly. Your resume needs to be readable and highlight your qualifications clearly and quickly.

Here are several tips that are helpful for any resume but especially for a manufacturing or labor position.

1. List previous jobs in chronological order starting with the most recent.
A recruiter should be able to take a quick glance at your employment history and get a pretty clear idea about where your experience is. How far back your job history goes is debatable, but a good rule of thumb is that you should include everything recent and relevant. You should include everything within the last five years. If you worked for six months at a movie theater in high school ten years ago, leave it out. If you worked in a factory fifteen years ago for several years that gave you some foundational experience, leave it in. Be prepared to explain any big gaps in employment history.

2. Provide accurate dates.
If you’re not sure when you worked at a particular company, call your previous employer and get the dates right. Your recruiter may call them anyway to verify what your resume says. If the information you provide isn’t accurate, it could indicate that you’re either dishonest or incompetent.

3. Demonstrate where and when you acquired certain skills.
You can list whatever you want in your qualifications list, but your assertions don’t hold much weight unless you can back them up in your employment history or education. Describe very specifically in your history where you learned skills and for how long you practiced them.

4. Use clear, consistent document formatting.
If you’re in manufacturing, putting together a clean document may not be your strength. But submitting a resume with hard-to-read and inconsistent formatting isn’t going to help you. There are many easy-to-use resume templates available online that you can download and customize.

5. Only use a cover letter for highly specialized positions.
You may have heard that you need to submit a cover letter with your resume, but it’s really only necessary for some select jobs. Usually the employer will request it. If you’re not sure whether or not you should include one, call ahead and ask. If you do need to submit one, use it as an opportunity to display your personality and make and argument for why you’re a good fit for the position. It should go beyond what your resume already says.

6. Don’t say, “references available on request.”
This phrase is out of date and an unnecessary waste of space. Either include references or don’t. If you don’t include them, the employer will ask for them if they want them.


Anheuser-Busch sends over 250K cans of water to flood victims

Residents of Louisiana will soon be drinking ice-cold cans from Anheuser-Busch, but they won’t be alcoholic.

Anheuser-Busch is sending more than 250,000 cans of emergency water to Louisiana flood victims.

The death toll from historic flooding rose to 11 on Tuesday. Floodwaters have damaged more than 40,000 homes and continue to overwhelm Baton Rouge and much of southern Louisiana.

The first of five truckloads of emergency drinking water will arrive in Baton Rouge today, according to Anheuser-Busch.

The cans of water are in direct response to a call from the Red Cross for drinking water in communities hit by devastating floods.

In the last few months, the company sent 100,000 cans of water to firefighters and victims of the wildfires in California and 100,000 to victims of flooding in West Virginia.

“Throughout the year we periodically pause production at our brewery to can drinking water so we are ready to help communities in times of disaster,” said Sarah Schilling, Sr. Brewmaster of Anheuser-Busch’s Cartersville brewery, said in a statement.

The Baton Rouge donations bring the companies water donations to more than 1 million cans thisyear, according to the statement.


KLS Martin Group Locates 3D Printing Operation in Jacksonville

KLS Martin Group has chosen Jacksonville for its first U.S. manufacturing operation. The company is a global leader in innovative surgical technology and this facility will be focused on 3D printing. KLS Martin Group will invest $5 million in this project and create at least 25 highly skilled jobs.

The firm also has a sales company, KLS Martin LP, which has been in Jacksonville since 1993 and serves as the North American arm of the business’ global network.

The Jacksonville City Council approved this deal earlier this year as Project Arnica.

Job Opportunity: Warehouse Selector, PM, High Velocity

Company: Publix

Position Title: Warehouse Selector, PM, High Velocity – Jacksonville

Job Description 

preferred qualification, current Jacksonville Distribution associate • selecting products ordered by retail stores and • assisting in other duties as assigned.Required Qualifications• be at least 18 years old or at least 19 years old for positions in Alabama • be able to work nights • be able to work weekends, holidays, and extended periods of time • pass a Physical Agility Test (before his or her start date in the position) • successfully complete a Work Attitude Survey (WAS2) • obtain certification in pallet truck and forklift operations (on or before his or her start date in the position) • be able to lift a minimum of 60 pounds • be able to stand and do repetitive work for long periods of time • be able to bend, stoop, and twist • be able to operate a pallet truck or forklift without any part of his or her body exposed outside of the operator compartment • be able to select, lift, and carry product of varying weights • be able to stack product of varying weights • be able to work under strict time requirements • be able to read, write, and identify and verify numbers • be able to interpret, understand, and follow instructions • have the ability to work well with others and be a team member • show enthusiasm, initiative, and pride in work and • show commitment to Publix’s mission.Work EnvironmentTemperatures could exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time.Preferred Qualifications• current Jacksonville Distribution associate.Hours of Work 4:00 pm – 12:30 am, Rotating Days Frequency of Pay Weekly Minimum Base Pay 3.68 Maximum Base Pay 17.10 Potential Annual Base Pay Efficiency based pay.Year End BonusTo reward associates for their contributions to the company for the calendar year, Publix provides a Holiday Bonus in December. In the first year of continuous employment the bonus is equal to 15 hours of pay, and in the second year of continuous employment the bonus is equal to one week’s pay if associate remains employed through issue date of the bonus check. In subsequent years, the bonus is equal to two weeks’ pay.

Other Compensation Information• This position is paid under Standards Indexed Pay (SIP) guidelines.  SIP is a flexible pay system in which associates pay will change weekly depending how efficiently they work that week.  Selectors who successfully complete the training period will receive $17.10 per hour for 100% of standard.

•  A $.50 per hour night differential is paid to associates regularly scheduled to work any hours between midnight and 3:00 a.m.Benefits Information▪ Employee stock ownership plan that contributes Publix stock to associates each year at no cost ▪ An opportunity to purchase additional shares of our privately-held stock ▪ 401(k) retirement savings plan ▪ Group health plan (with prescription benefits) ▪ Group dental plan ▪ Group vision plan ▪ Sick pay ▪ Long-term disability insurance ▪ Company-paid life insurance (with accidental death & dismemberment benefits) ▪ Tuition reimbursement ▪ Vacation pay ▪ Free hot lunches (buffet-style) at facilities with a cafeteria ▪ Paycheck direct deposit ▪ Credit union ▪ Access to over 50 discount offers including discounts on computer, vehicle and wireless purchases ▪ 6 paid holidays (Associates can exchange the following holidays with their manager’s approval) New Years Day Memorial Day Fourth of July Labor Day

 Address: 19786 W. Beaver St^Hg9Noo8tFkP6bvsMZVPHrPCnsk5ESqtjCjcb_slp_rhc_iG5EsvHbgv8tNbnNOl/9gN/ywQz