Sen. Ben Cardin tours new Hydrasearch facility
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.
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.