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The Virginia Manufacturer - Focusing on Manufacturing Issues of Today and Tomorrow

Virginia Manufacturer's Association

In This Issue

Upcoming VMA Events
MSI Workforce Symposium
August 8, 2019
9AM - 5:00PM
Liberty University

Title Sponsor: MTM

17th Annual Virginia Environmental Health and Safety Conference (VEHS)

September 18 -19
Hilton Hotel & Spa
12042 West Broad St.
Richmond, VA

Exhibitor Tables - SOLD OUT!

Virginia Competitiveness Forum 
2nd Annual VMA STEP Ahead Award Recognition Luncheon

November 19
Williamsburg Lodge Conference Center
310 S England St.
Williamsburg, VA

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VOLUME 7 | Edition 9 | July 2019
Letter from the President & CEO

Dear Members:

Health insurance costs continue to rise double-digits per year and the small group insurance market is nearly unaffordable.   Members have cited the cost of health insurance as one of their top 10 concerns for over a decade. The good news is that after two years of preparation, VMA Insurance Services has created its own group benefits program that includes medical insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, disability insurance (LT/ST), consumer benefits insurance (accident/critical illness), flexible spending account administration (FSA), and health savings account administration (HSA).
The VMA  Board of Directors has selected McGriff Insurance Services (formerly BB&T) as our broker, Benefits First as our third-party administrator, and Anthem as our carrier. VMA also will have two licensed agents on staff.  VMA Insurance Services has secured initial rates and now must secure 1,500 lives committed to a December enrollment by September 30.  The rates are highly competitive, good for 13 months, and there are possible adjustment credits for those that switch to the VMA group benefits program in December.  Ongoing operations of the VMA group benefits plan will be governed by our newly formed service corporation - 1st Shift Inc. and ERISA compliant  These are just a few of the unique elements of the VMA Insurance Services' group benefits program.

Initial rate comparisons have saved some member companies as much as 30%.  The VMA Insurance Services team also includes over a dozen trained professionals across the Commonwealth utilizing some of the best enrollment technology in the industry.  This is the best opportunity for manufacturers to better control health insurance costs and provide better coverage for employees in decades.  We have until September 30 to get letters of intent for 1,500 lives to participate in the VMA Insurance Services' group benefits plan.  To schedule an appointment to compare rates and coverage, click here or contact

In closing, the VMA is committed to improving manufacturing competitiveness. I encourage you to let the VMA Insurance Services team compare your rates and coverage with our group benefits program.  This is the single largest organizational investment the association has made since the formation of its  Manufacturing Skills Institute and we want it to be just as successful.  The VMA Insurance Services team is ready to help you now.  


Brett A. Vassey
President & CEO

VMA Hosts U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross

On July 24, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross joined Lorraine Wagner, Vice President of Operations, VMA, and invited guests for a tour of STIHL Inc., Virginia Beach.  The Secretary also had an opportunity to participate in the 8th annual STIHL Manufacturing Technology Summer Camp (MTSC).  At this year's camp, students designed and created two different types of fans using STIHL components.  On the final day, teams put their manufacturing skills to the test and competed for a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship. 


This year's summer camp theme was "FANatics for Innovation."  The camp received 61 applications and only 36 students were accepted.  More than one-third of this year's participants were female.  This is the Manufacturing Skills Institute's flagship Advanced Technology Camp.  To learn more about these camps and the one-day STEM Career Adventure,  click here or contact mgordon@vamanufacturers.com.  

After the tour, VMA hosted a roundtable with Secretary Ross and industry executives.  Topics of discussion included international trade and the USMCA, workforce initiatives such as the White House's Pledge to America's Workers , the VMA's Women in MFG Leadership Program, and the Maritime Industrial Base Ecosystem (MIBE). Secretary Ross was particularly complimentary of the VMA's Manufacturing Skills Institute.

Guests that signed the  Pledge to America's Workers contributed to the manufacturing sector's commitment to providing training opportunities to 1,186,000 workers over the next five years.  

Pictured left to right: Kimberly Noonan, VMA; Patty Baisden, QMT Windchimes; Valerie Harriell, Volvo Penta; Guenter Weissenseel, IMS Gear; Jamie Baisden, QMT Windchimes; Brett Vassey, VMA; U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ross; Herman Shelanskil, NNS/MIBE; Sidney Harrison, ITAC; Lorraine Wagner, STIHL; Ian Ginger, VMA; Cort Reiser, Liebherr; Vincent Tophoff, Eska

STEP Out and Celebrate VA Women

Join the VMA on November 19 at the Williamsburg Lodge Conference Center, Williamsburg VA, for the 2019 STEP Ahead Award recognition luncheon to recognize Virginia women who have been nominated for the STEP Ahead Award.  The luncheon will take place in conjunction with the Virginia Competitiveness Forum. 

This year's Keynote Speaker is Kristin Cavallo, CEO, The Martin Agency - the ad agency for Geico and creator of the Great OREO Cookie Quest 

Celebrate women in manufacturing and support our goal of building the next generation of leaders that will assure the competitiveness of Virginia's 6,000 manufacturers. 


Save on Parts Cleaning & Industrial Waste Removal

The VMA is the proud partner of Heritage Crystal Clean, the 2nd largest parts cleaning and industrial wastes services provider in the United States.  Crystal Clean guarantees to lower your environmental compliance cost.  All VMA member companies are eligible to participate in this Crystal Clean discount program.

Some of the amazing benefits include:
  • Minimum of 25% discount on all services
  • Larger volume discounts available
  • No set-up installation fee
  • No waste profile fees
For program details or to request a quote, contact Ian Ginger at IGinger@vamanufacturers.com.

Manufacturing Day - October 4
Mark your calendars for Manufacturing Day 2019 on Friday, Oct. 4!  We encourage manufacturers to open their doors to students, parents, and educators  to showcase what modern manufacturing is all about.  Be sure to register your event and check out the host toolkit available at www.mfgday.com.  Our goal is to have 100 events across the Commonwealth during the October 4 week.

MSI Workforce Solution Symposium - August 8
August 8, 2019
9AM - 5PM
Liberty University School of Business
Lynchburg, Virginia

It's the final days to register for this year's MSI Workforce Solution Symposium.  The innovative format and location is designed to get industry, academia and NGOs out of their silos and collaborate to close the workforce skills gap.  Register today for this event!

Get SHRM Credits for Attending .  The Lynchburg Regional SHRM Chapter will be on-site to help HR professionals, hiring managers and front-line supervisors to sign up to earn extra professional development credits towards their SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP recertification for qualifying activities at the MSI Symposium. 

Title Sponsor: 

Liberty University - School of Business

Signature Sponsors:
Appalachian Power
Church & Dwight
Community College Workforce Alliance