The Small Manufacturers Association (SMA) relocated its headquarters this month to Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC). The Association's executive director, Cyndi Zoldy, who joined the organization last November, now operates from NVCC Technology Hall, which also houses the newly built Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center and the College's engineering programs and labs. The SMA, which meets monthly from September to May, has about 130 members in the state. Membership is open to all manufacturers in Connecticut who have 500 or fewer employees and who manufacture a product with a SIC code between 2000-3999. The organization:
- Promotes the best interest of manufacturers in Connecticut
- Addresses problems common to all manufacturers
- Helps manufacturers improve productivity
- Assists manufacturers in evaluating new markets for their products
- Stimulates cooperative actions among manufacturers
- Provides access to resources aimed to assisting manufacturers
"This is a win-win for both organizations," said Zoldy. "Having a home base here and engaging with students regularly will reinforce the connection between employers and job training, which is a critical undertaking of the SMA right now."
Per the agreement, the College will supply SMA with a furnished, technologically-equipped office and access to conference rooms and other campus resources during college hours. SMA will in turn help inform manufacturing and engineering programs, and the executive director will assist with internship and job placement for students.
Coming off of the success of its inaugural semester, the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center will particularly benefit from the presence of the SMA on campus, according to NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D.
"We are pleased with student outcomes to date," said President De Filippis, "and this opportunity to partner with the SMA will ensure that our programs continue to respond to industry needs and that our students are given job shadowing and employment opportunities. This is a good thing for our students and for the communities we serve."
Zoldy took the helm at the SMA after selling her Watertown business after 12 years. Her manufacturing experience includes accountant positions at ABS Pumps, Inc. of Meriden and B/E Aerospace, Inc. formally of Litchfield. She holds a BS in Finance from Post University.
In November 2011, President De Filippis convened a group of community and industry leaders to advocate funding for the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center. At the same time, a Manufacturing Advisory Council (MAC) was established to advise curriculum and reinforce connections between training and local workforce needs.
As a result of this partnership, the idea to relocate SMA to NVCC was brought forward in November 2012 by MAC member Douglas Johnson, secretary/treasurer of SMA and VP of Operations at The Marion Manufacturing Company, as a way to close the circle between the College, SMA and local manufacturers.
"Preparing a manufacturing workforce is central to all of our institutional missions," said Johnson. "In a way this has been the year of education for SMA. We envision the best and brightest coming out of Naugatuck Valley. Having SMA on campus makes sense for everyone."