Sen. Ben Cardin tours new Hy­drasearch fa­cil­ity

Record Observer - - News - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

STEVENSVILLE — In his of­fice in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin has a show­case to show some of the places he has vis­ited through­out Mary­land tour­ing fa­cil­i­ties and meet­ing em­ploy­ers who keep the state run­ning. And af­ter Tues­day, May 3, Cardin may have an­other photo to add to his col­lec­tion as he toured the new Hy­drasearch Co. fa­cil­ity in the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Busi­ness Park as part of his “Made in Mary­land” jobs tour.

From brew­eries and bak­eries to oys­ter farm­ers, high end win­dow cov­er­ing and glass prod­uct oper­a­tions to var­i­ous marine com­pa­nies, Cardin and his staff have trav­eled through­out the state to visit busi­nesses and ex­change ideas with them on how to grow small busi­ness in the state.

While at the Hy­drasearch fa­cil­ity, lo­cated at 203 Log Ca­noe Cir­cle in Stevensville, Cardin was guided through­out the new 60,000-square-foot build­ing to see what and how its fluid sys­tems and com­po­nents are man­u­fac­tured. Along the tour were Hy­drasearch of­fi­cials, County Com­mis­sion­ers Jack Wil­son and Robert Buckey and other county staff.

“Heavy com­mer­cial and mil­i­tary ves­sels and ve­hi­cles must be man­u­fac­tured to the most ex­act­ing stan­dards for pre­ci­sion and dura­bil­ity alike. You don’t amass a half-cen­tury of ac­com­plish­ments in this – or any – in­dus­try with­out find­ing ways to con­tin­u­ally stand up to daily rig­ors, so Hy­drasearch clearly un­der­stands what it takes to thrive in to­day’s in­no­va­tion econ­omy,” said Cardin. “I was par­tic­u­larly pleased to learn more about the many dif­fer­ent types of jobs the com­pany pro­vides, from ma­chin­ists and welders to drafts­men, sales­peo­ple and ac­coun­tants. Hy­drasearch is em­blem­atic of the range of highly skilled em­ploy­ees you find all across Mary­land, as well as the di­ver­sity of op­por­tu­ni­ties our work­force can find here.”

Af­ter com­plet­ing the tour, Cardin said, “This looks like a pretty tal­ented work­force, and I heard that you get peo­ple who are skilled and you train . ... You’ve got pretty highly tal­ented peo­ple here.”

Af­ter vis­it­ing the var­i­ous sta­tions through­out the op­er­a­tion, talk­ing with em­ploy­ees and see­ing first­hand the machin­ery in use, the group talked in a con­fer­ence room about ways the leg­is­la­ture could aid the busi­ness.

Frank Rosen­thal, pres­i­dent of Hy­drasearch, said one of the ma­jor ways to help is to sup­port ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams for ma­chin­ists and other skilled trade jobs. Though Rosen­thal said the com­pany of 53 em­ploy­ees has very low turnover, when an open­ing is avail­able it would be help­ful to put a skilled ma­chin­ist on the floor. But even though Hy­drasearch does most of its train­ing at the fa­cil­ity, Rosen­thal said it would be help­ful to find more peo­ple with the man­u­fac­tur­ing skills needed for the com­pany to con­tinue grow­ing, which it has goals of in­creas­ing its prof­its by 50 per­cent over the next three years and to add a third seg­ment to their mar­ket by the end of 2020.

“[Skilled ma­chin­ists] are hard to come by for a num­ber of rea­sons,” Rosen­thal said. “One: ge­o­graph­i­cally. But the other is ... every­body wants to go to col­lege and get a four-year de­gree and be­come an econ­o­mist or some­thing like that, and you know, there’s op­por­tu­ni­ties out there and a need for skilled trades.”

Cardin said he didn’t nec­es­sar­ily agree that every­body wanted to go to col­lege and thinks peo­ple still en­joyed do­ing the hands on jobs. But he did agree there is a pres­sure now that every­body should want to go to col­lege. He said while leg­is­la­tures are try­ing to make post-sec­on­dar y ed­u­ca­tion more af­ford­able, some peo­ple should be in the trade in­dus­tries not at a four-year univer­sity.

“Man­u­fac­tur­ing is crit­i­cally im­por­tant to Amer­ica,” Cardin said. “Crit­i­cally im­por­tant not only [to] na­tional se­cu­rity is­sues ... but it is im­por tant that we have those skills in that ca­pac­ity here in the United States if we’re go­ing to be able to lead the world in our econ­omy.

Cur­rently, 60 per­cent of Hy­drasearch prod­ucts are for de­fense con­tracts and the other 40 per­cent of its busi­ness is in com­mer­cial prod­ucts. Rosen­thal told the group there is a world in be­tween their cur­rent sec­tors of work boats, tug boats and fire boats that it is look­ing to make ac­qui­si­tions to get into that mar­ket.

Com­mis­sioner Jack Wil­son said him­self and Com­mis­sioner Robert Buckey are work­ing to get more work­force devel­op­ment at Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege for skilled trades, man­u­fac­tur­ing be­ing one of the ar­eas specif­i­cally.

An­other way Rosen­thal said Cardin and his col­leagues could aid in busi­ness is to align them­selves with com­pa­nies and or­ga­ni­za­tions that rep­re­sent and help man­u­fac­tur­ers. Two spe­cific sug­ges­tions were to have vot­ing align­ment with the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Man­u­fac­tur­ing and the Unite States Cham­ber of Com­merce.

Fol­low Mike Davis on Twit­ter: @ mike_k­ibay­times.

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

From left to right: Hy­drasearch Pres­i­dent Frank Rosen­thal, county com­mis­sioner Jack Wil­son, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, Hy­drasearch Vice Pres­i­dent of Sales and Mar­ket­ing Lee DeBaca, KRM Devel­op­ment Pres­i­dent Kate Gray, DVCC Vice Pres­i­dent Jo­han Trumpy and county com­mis­sioner Robert Buckey.

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