Eric Morrissey joined Cardinal Glass as an entry-level employee at one of the manufacturer’s Wisconsin facilities in 2004, three years after he graduated from high school.
He’s climbed the company ladder in the years since, earning the titles of supervisor, production planning manager and, most recently, plant superintendent at an expansive new mid-valley facility operated by Cardinal LG — an Archbald-based subsidiary of Minnesota-based Cardinal Glass. Cardinal LG produces laminated glass used in doors and windows for residential and some commercial markets.
“I’m living proof,” Morrissey said of the opportunity for growth the company offers, noting he started where other “floor employees” start. “I worked really hard to get to where I’m at. I had the right mindset. I think the job is what you make of it ... if you can see the potential in what Cardinal does.”
After acquiring Northeast Laminated Glass Corp. and its 64,000-square-foot production facility on Alberigi Drive in Jessup in 2014, Cardinal LG moved all of its operations earlier this year to a new, 208,000-sqare-foot facility at the end of Lakeview Drive in neighboring Archbald. Overall production has tripled since the acquisition and is up about 30 percent since the move, plant manager Joe Michaels said.
One of the laminated glass manufacturer’s biggest clients is its parent company, Cardinal Glass, so much of its growth since 2014 has been organic, Michaels said. A humming economy hasn’t hurt either, and the company’s growth has fueled an increase in job opportunities locally.
Since 2014, Cardinal LG’s Mid valley workforce has expanded from around 30 to about 130, with management looking to bring on between 35 and 40 additional employees by the end of the year and between 30 and 50 more in 2019.
On a recent rainy afternoon, many of those employees manned their respective stations inside the brightly lit workspace. Near the south end of the facility, where the raw materials come in, floor workers cut large pieces of glass down to custom sizes. Others fed glass through the lamination process. Across from several titanic autoclaves, a large machine scanned each product for imperfections.
“With manufacturing in general we’re in a people business as much as we are in a glass business,” Michaels said. “I couldn’t be more proud of our employees over the last year, because we moved from the facility down the hill and we did not stop service.”
Amid its success, one of Cardinal LG’s goals is to become more involved and better known in the community. That includes filling the open entry-level positions with competent local hires, including young people looking to enter the workforce out of high school. The company recently partnered with the Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County, is in talks with Johnson College about internship opportunities and hopes to partner with local high schools to offer seniors and juniors tours of the facility, Michaels said.
A cooperative education agreement between the CTC and Cardinal LG allows some students to spend their afternoons at the facility working on the company’s equipment and machines with Cardinal’s maintenance team, all while drawing a pay check, CTC Cooperative Education Coordinator Matthew Zampetti said.
The CTC and Cardinal see potential in a diversified occupation program as well, which will allow applicable 18-year-old students to participate in the glass manufacturing process. Michaels described the program as a win-win.
“The student gets paid and we can get some work done,” he said, adding that he hopes some of the students turn into full-time hires.
People interested in applying for a job with Cardinal LG should call 570-489-6421, or stop by the facility to fill out an application.
“We are hiring and we are trying to be the employer of choice in our community,” Morrissey said. “Cardinal’s invested in this. We’re not going anywhere. We don’t plan on going anywhere. We’re in it for the long haul, and anybody who wants to make a long career out of this is welcome.”