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N E W S   R E L E A S E


Oct. 16, 2013






Renee Dallman, JCC Senior Communications Specialist


Betsy Overkamp-Smith, APR, WJCC Director of PR & Engagement


JCC businesses welcome students for Manufacturing Day


Ball Corp.
Printpack Tour

On Oct. 4, students from Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools (WJCC) visited Walmart Import Distribution Center, Ball Corporation and Printpack, Inc. in James City County to celebrate Manufacturing Day. 


Students were able to see first-hand how advanced technology has changed manufacturing and to learn about the skills needed to qualify for high-paying and fulfilling careers in the industry. “If our local students want to stay or come back to the area, it’s important for them to know the career opportunities we have to offer,” Donald Kahler, Plant Manager with Printpack, Inc. said. 


Manufacturing Day is an initiative of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) designed to reach out to schools to foster an interest in manufacturing careers and to help to develop science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs.


Wagner Ramsey, Plant Manager with Ball Corporation, looks for employees with a STEM background, “Manufacturing includes many disciplines, including engineering and information technology. I hope their visit gives them a more detailed perspective after seeing our operation.” 


In addition, WJCC is the first public school system in North America to sign up for the AME “Adopt A School” program. This effort allows local governments and local businesses to assist schools in providing opportunities for students, which in turn creates career-ready graduates for local businesses.


Guidance counselors, teachers and School Board members accompanied the students on the tour. Tom Nuckols, a Technology and Engineering teacher at Jamestown High School shared, “I find it interesting that there are these major manufacturing/distribution companies neatly hidden in the area and many folks don’t know that they are there. I will definitely use what I learned about these local opportunities during the career portions of my class.”  Suzanne Hart, Lead Counselor at Lafayette High School, was also pleasantly surprised by the tour, “There is a range of opportunities for people at all levels of education and industries with such cutting edge technology and/or science are right here in James City County.”


Manufacturing Day was coordinated locally by Kathryn Sipes with the County’s Economic Development Office in collaboration with Glenn Marshall with AME. Sipes worked with business owners and with Helen Manns, WJCC Coordinator for Career Readiness & 21st Century Learning and Anne Neve, Coordinator for School Counseling.


“We loved having the schools come in and see what our more than 500 associates do each and every day. I hope the students have a better understanding about what goes into keeping the shelves stocked in Walmart stores up and down the east coast. There are great career opportunities here,” Dale Stone, Operations Manager with Walmart Import Distribution Center #6088 said.


Ruth Larson, Chair of the WJCC School Board agreed, “Manufacturing Day provided a benefit to everyone who was involved. WJCC students and teachers had an opportunity to learn about what is being made in our community, and the businesses that we visited had an opportunity to talk with our students and learn about their needs.” Larson continued, “These visits started conversations and made connections that I believe will help our students better understand that there are great career options right here in our community.”

For more information on the “Adopt A School” or future MFG Day activities, email Marshall at or visit



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