By MAGGIE MCMURRAY
Moapa Valley Progress
A large group of Moapa Valley High School students were treated to a day outside the classroom last week and a chance to learn more about potential careers in the manufacturing industry.
The event was part of a nationwide celebration of National Manufacturing Day, which gives people the opportunity to tour manufacturing facilities and learn about the great job opportunities these sometimes overlooked fields can provide.
The event has been growing in size and gaining popularity over the years. This year was the second year Moapa Valley students have participateed. Officials and businesses all across Clark County worked together through Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance to coordinate efforts to get CCSD kids county-wide into manufacturing facilities to learn about careers there.
Through the combined efforts of Mesquite Regional Business, Mesquite Works, the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce, and the College of Southern Nevada, students from Moapa Valley, Virgin Valley, and Beaver Dam, AZ were offered the chance to tour Mesquite manufacturing plants Primex and Loadtec and learn more about what goods are manufactured there.
Loadtec manufactures custom-made load banks that regulate electrical currents. Primex is a distributor of plastic products such as medical equipment, car bumpers, hot tub liners, ice chest liners, and so forth.
About 40 Moapa Valley career and technical education (CTE)students accepted the invitation to come and tour the facilities.
The tour of Loadtec was conducted by company owner Dave Ballweg. Ballweg was formerly based in California, but fell in love with the Mesquite area and moved his company to southern Nevada.
Ballweg showed students the different steps and components used to make each product. Because each load bank is custom-made, the facility also builds custom-made trailers to deliver the products. Ballweg talked to the students about the effort and dedication that goes into making entrepreneurial ideas take flight and become successful.
The tour of Primex was led by Plant Manager Doug Navarro. He showed students how the plant was becoming more technologically advanced all the time. Students were impressed by the large lumber yard outside where the company builds custom crates to ship their products. This ensures that they arrive safely wherever they were headed across the globe.
Both companies stressed that jobs in manufacturing were great opportunities for kids straight out of high school as well as those with college educations.
“We host these kids because we want the community to see what we have to offer job-wise and career-wise,” said Josh White, a manager at Primex. “We have programs that train them on-site, which saves them trade school tuition, as well as a college-reimbursement program. ”
In addition to the tours, the students spent time at the Mesquite CSN campus learning about programs the college has to help them get certified in many areas of manufacturing.
The kids enjoyed the day and were pleased with what they learned.
“As I looked at the individual jobs, I realized they were something I could do,” said MVHS student Kiara Key. “So I was really encouraged by that. I was excited to find that there are good jobs out there that can support a family and have benefits, but are still local.”
“Neither Loadtec nor Primex do business locally,” said Jeff Powell of the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce. “But both are major players across the United States and globally. It is amazing to me that just down the road we have these two top-notch companies who are willing to open their doors and make a difference in the community.
Mesquite Regional Business director Rachel Dahl agreed, saying, “We really appreciate Primex, Loadtec, and CSN for being willing to help with this event. I feel grateful there are so many people in this community willing to help and support our students.”