Catalyst Connection Celebrates Industry 4.0 – A Bright Future at Annual Reception

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Allison Moux, 412.918.4252

PITTSBURGH, February 21, 2019 — Catalyst Connection, which has been helping regional manufacturers grow their businesses for over 30 years, celebrated the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing Video Contest at its annual meeting Wednesday night. The program focused on the future of manufacturing related to Industry 4.0 and getting students out of the classroom and into the manufacturing field. The event, held at Heinz Field, attracted more than 650 people, including manufacturers, industry leaders, students, teachers and parents.

“We are working to accelerate the pace of advanced manufacturing technology adoption, and build a world class advanced manufacturing workforce,” said Petra Mitchell, Catalyst president and CEO. “Together, these efforts, focused on Industry 4.0, are creating a bright future and are helping to position the Greater Pittsburgh region as one of the Top Innovation Cities in the World.”

For the video content, 20 manufacturing companies were paired with 20 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 34,000 votes over a five-day period.

A panel of young professionals shared their experiences related to their manufacturing careers. The panel included:

  • Stephen Gerba is a Mechanical Engineer Intern at DMI Companies and a student at California University of Pennsylvania. Stephen participated in several programs in high school where he learned about manufacturing and engineering including: BotsIQ, VEX robotics and Science Olympiad.
  • Andre Swain is a Machinist at RE2 Robotics. Andre manufactures high quality parts. Andre has worked at RE2robotics for 8 years where he operates manual and CNC machines. Andre obtained certifications from New Century Careers’ M2K program and has taken classes from the University of Pittsburgh’s Manufacturing Assistance Center (MAC). Andre helps Sci-tech High School for the BOTSIQ competition by manufacturing parts and participated in a panel discussion at MAC’s manufacturing day.
  • Emily Thurston is the Director of Sales at Pressure Chemical Co. Emily previously worked as a Technical Sales Representative at Pressure Chemical. Emily received a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering.
  • Rachel Wilkin is the Marketing Specialist at Universal Electric Corporation (UEC). Rachel’s responsibilities involve closely liaising with product managers and sales teams to establish global marketing plans for product launches, market diversification and lead generation. She holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s in Professional Writing from Carnegie Mellon University, and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration from Waynesburg University.

Companies and school districts who participated in the contest included: 5 Generation Bakers (Allegheny County), Aero Tech Designs (Allegheny County), All-Clad Metalcrafters (Washington County), Arieca/Velocity (Allegheny County), Belleflex Technologies (Armstrong County), Cleaveland/Price (Westmoreland County), Dawar Technologies (Allegheny County), DMI Companies (Washington County), Farm Jenny LLC/Panacea (Butler County),  Giffin Interiors & Fixture (Allegheny County), Jennison Corporation (Allegheny County), MECCO Marking and Traceability (Butler County), Natrona Bottling Company (Allegheny County), Oberg Industries (Butler County), PBM Valve (Westmoreland County), Penn United Technologies (Butler County), Prion Manufacturing (Allegheny County), Rapid TPC (Allegheny County), Schroeder Industries (Allegheny County), Seegrid (Allegheny County)

Award winners included:

Best Manufacturing Message

1st Place – Moon School District with Seegrid Corporation

2nd Place – Canon-McMillan School District with All-Clad Metalcrafters

Outstanding Creativity

1st Place – Norwin School District with Cleaveland Price

2nd Place – Burrell School District with Natrona Bottling Company

Viewer’s Choice

1st Place – Burgettstown School District with Prion Manufacturing

2nd Place – Elizabeth Forward School District with DMI Companies

Best Promotion

Winner – Elizabeth Forward School District with DMI Companies

Exceptional Videography

1st Place – South Fayette School District with Giffin Interiors

2nd Place – Freeport School District with Belleflex Technologies

Rookie School Award
Winner – Cornell with Aero Tech Designs

In 2018, Catalyst Connection worked with 215companies and reached hundreds of firms with its numerous programs and services. Catalyst clients have reported more than $254 million in revenue from improvement initiatives with more than 1,240 permanentjobs created or retained.


Catalyst Connection is an economic development organization dedicated to helping small manufacturers improve their competitive performance.  Advisors, consultants and instructors offer training, consulting and administer financial programs that can provide funding for equipment, machinery or capital improvements.A nonprofit 501 (c)3 firm, the organization has supported southwestern Pennsylvania manufacturers for 30 years.  For more information, call 1-888-887-7472 or go to

Media interested in camera-ready images of the event should contact Allison Moux, Marketing Manager,

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