PHS, UVCC students tour local manufacturers


By Matt Clevenger

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PIQUA — Students from the Upper Valley Career Center (UVCC) and Piqua High School toured several local manufacturing facilities this week, during the Piqua Chamber of Commerce’s Manufacturing Days event Tuesday, Oct. 17 through Thursday, Oct. 19.

Over 700 students toured local manufacturing facilities including Winans Coffee and Chocolate, French Oil Mill Machinery Company, Scott Steel, Miami Valley Steel, Evenflo, IDC Spring, Crane Pumps and Systems, IDC Spring and Crayex.

A group of 15 UVCC students toured Winans Coffee and Chocolate on Wednesday, Oct. 18, including the company’s chocolate production facility and coffee roastery.

“They’re here to learn about the manufacturing side of what we do here,” production manager Shari Grimes said. “It’s more about how we actually produce the chocolate; the machinery and what it takes to make chocolate, the different types of tools and machines.”

Students saw demonstrations, talked to employees and received free samples of Winans chocolate, then visited the company’s coffee roastery where they were able to see green coffee beans being roasted and flavored.

The Manufacturing Days event was sponsored by the Piqua Chamber of Commerce, with help from community partners Piqua High School, Upper Valley Career Center, Fastlane-MEP, the University of Dayton Research institute, Edison State Community College, the city of Piqua and the West-Central Ohio Manufacturing Partnership.

This was Winans’ first year hosting tours for Piqua’s Manufacturing Days event.

“We were super excited about it,” Grimes said. “We take part in the annual Manufacturing Day with Graham Schools.”

“We have kind of stepped back from public tours,” she said, “but we do take on schools, and I work with some home-schooled groups; that type of thing will fall into their science curriculum.”

Winans also hires locally as much as possible, Grimes said.

“We do try to hire locally,” she said. “I search within the community for people who are interested, because Winans is all about the community.”

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