Sophomore and junior algebra and chemistry students from Wheatland Chili High School recently visited the CooperVision manufacturing facility in Scottsville as part of the Monroe County Small Business Week initiative.
Students toured the manufacturing floor and engaged in a panel discussion with CooperVision employees. They learned how contact lenses are manufactured and the type of skills necessary to work in a manufacturing environment.
“To be an effective team member, you need to do three things: be a leader with a vision, be a problem-solver, be present,” said Garret Kokx, senior process engineer. “That means put away your phone and really engage with your teammates. Do those things and you’ll make a big difference for the company lucky enough to hire you.”
CooperVision staff discussed growing fields in manufacturing, including robotics, automation and controls engineering, plus alternatives to four-year college, such as trade schools, apprenticeships and online learning.
Toni Zeiser, senior manager of human resources, commented on the number of female students participating in the tour.
“Manufacturing is still largely a male-dominated field, so it’s wonderful to see so many ladies interested in math and science,” she said.
Other skills CooperVision staff emphasized were networking, listening and being respectful.
“Communication is everything,” said Kristin Lenzi, learning and development supervisor. “Knowledge is important, but you need to communicate with your teammates and build those relationships.”
The panel discussion ended with a comment by Tresia O’Shea, director of compliance quality assurance.
“If you understand each other’s strengths, you’ll realize you’re smarter when you all work together,” she said.