Catalyst Connection Celebrates 30 Years Supporting Manufacturing at Annual Reception

Catalyst Connection, which has been helping regional manufacturers grow their businesses for 30 years, celebrated the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing Video Contest at its annual meeting Wednesday night. The program focused on getting students out of the classroom and into the manufacturing field. The event, held at Heinz Field, 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

Viewer’s 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.