BATAVIA TWP., Ohio - When Pat Hanselsman, II, graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2009, he spent six months trying to find a job that matched his marketing degree skills.
"It was very scary," he said Tuesday. "Not a whole lot of places were hiring. It was hard to get an interview anywhere."
Finally, Hanselman got his foot in the door at Milacron's Batavia Township plant. However, it took another six months before he found out he'd been hired as a Buyer/Planner.
He's the third generation of his family to work for the noted manufacturing company. His grandfather formerly worked for Milacron and his father is a current employee.
"I was very excited – very excited to be a part of Milacron," he said. "I mean, they've got a great company culture."
Hanselman was among 120 employees hired by Milacron's injection holding and extrusion machine plants in Batavia Township and Mt. Orab in 2011.
Manufacturers small and large have been slowly adding jobs the past few years. It's one of the indicators economists cite in saying the economy is slowly rebounding.
World-Wide Plastics President Dave Lawrence said the extra employees were needed because business grew 50 percent last year.
"We anticipated growth, but we didn't anticipate as much as we were able to achieve," he said.
Lawrence said orders for the first half of 2012 appear strong as well and business is already being booked for the second half of the year.
That means more employees will be needed.
"We anticipate another 20 percent or so growth," he said. "If we hit our numbers in the remainder of the year, we could add another 70 to 90 positions."
In fact, the firm has dozens of openings right now for machinists, welders and skilled assemblers plus other jobs.
Milacron is one of the most recognizable manufacturing names around the world. However, three years ago it sought bankruptcy protection to reorganize.
Now, they sky's the limit.
"When we went through some challenging times, we got back to our roots," said Lawrence. "We decided we were an American manufacturing company. We invested heavily in our plant and equipment."
The firm is one of the world's largest producers of machinery and tooling for the plastics industry. It makes the machines that make common consumer items like automobile bumpers, milk containers and cell phone cases.
"We believe there is a recovery," Lawrence added. "We're in the unique position of being the last remaining U.S. manufacturer in our business. We're proud of that. We make cost-competitive products. We provide good technology. We're investing in research and development to provide even more technology."
Those words are music to the ears of new hires like Pat Hanselman, II.
"A lot of guys and gals make a career out of this place and they devote their life to it," he said. "It's neat – very neat – to see Milacron opening its doors to the next generation."