Innovative Modernization Center makes impact

Manufacturing companies face a host of diverse, complex and often sticky problems they can’t always untangle on their own.

Many others simply need the resources that can help them become more efficient, competitive and profitable.

For 30 years, the Innovative Manufacturers’ Center has been a key component in helping industries throughout a 12-county region.

“We work with manufacturing companies,” Dan Manetta, IMC executive director, said. “That is our focus.”

The IMC brings the knowledge and resources to a company, utilizing both in-house staff and partnering with outside experts.

Located at 1127 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, it is one of the state’s seven Industrial Resource Centers and 51 National Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers leveraging private investment to drive manufacturing growth.

Training, marketing, web design, technology scouting, environmental and safety compliance, sales development and business planning are among the areas of expertise offered by IMC.

Manetta said small to mid sized companies ranging from 10 to 250 employees represent the bulk of the IMC client base.

“What we are really known for is continuous improvement,” he said.

Many other companies seek IMC out for assistance in quality control and environmental issues and technology improvements.

The list of businesses working with IMC include relatively new companies to more established ones.

“Once we have a relationship with a company, it almost never goes away,” Manetta said.

The length of time IMC works with any particular company varies.

A misconception of the IMC is that it is a government agency, according to Lauri Moon, manager of training and outreach.

Rather, it can be defined as a public-private partnership that operates with its own revenues as well as state and federal dollars.

A board of directors comprised of representative from manufacturing, economic development and education provide the IMC with guidance and strategic planning.

Over the years, the IMC has developed strong relationships with such partners as Pennsylvania College of Technology, which it often turns to for expertise and resources.

Manetta and Moon agreed that the IMC plays an important role in the region.

“It’s nice to know you have an impact with helping companies and retaining jobs for people,” Moon said.

Many people, she said, would be surprised of the diversity of companies they help.

Manetta noted the overall impact of reaching out to a single business.

“When you help a company add jobs, there is a multiplier effect,” he said.

During 2017 alone, sales revenues of those companies assisted by IMC increased by $7.4 million, according to IMC figures.

In addition, a total of 109 jobs were created and 215 jobs retained during the year.

Companies realized cost savings of $3.8 million and investment savings of $686,500 in 2017.

“The number of companies we are reaching is growing,” Manetta said.