LEBANON, Ohio — Kerrie Roberts is candid about what prompted her to apply for a job at Advics Manufacturing in Lebanon.
“I had just finished my associate's degree in corrections," she said. "I needed a job.”
That was 30 years ago. She describes Advics at that time as just a small company in the middle of a cornfield.
"We’ve gotten much bigger. We are now one of the largest employers in Warren County,” said Roberts, who now works as a caliper plant manufacturing manager. She was able to take advantage of the company's tuition reimbursement program to continue her education and gain her bachelor's degree in business.
Now, Advics Manufacturing is looking for more than 100 new employees, like Roberts. The location in Lebanon is the North American headquarters for the company, with global headquarters in Japan. In Lebanon, the company makes front brake disc calipers, electronic stability control units and electronic parking brakes for automakers like Toyota, Ford and Chrysler. However, to keep up with production, they need to fill open positions for entry-level production operators.
“They operate in our assembly departments, our machining departments, plating as well as pre-assembly,” said Scarlett Sawyers, human resources specialist. “A lot of people start from here and can grow.”
Roberts is one of those people: She said there have been a lot of changes as she moved up the ladder since arriving in 1990.
“I was definitely a woman in a man’s world for a while. There are a lot more of us now in leadership roles,” she said.
Every Wednesday for the last several months, Advics has held open interviews from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at their location at 1650 Kingsview Drive. They are trying to fill the unusually high number of vacant positions in the manufacturing company, which Sawyers said is normally around 50 openings. Some of the openings are due to attrition, but others are because some job seekers are hesitant to work in a manufacturing setting during a pandemic.
“I can understand because, especially with the rising cases of COVID, people were kind of leery about going out and finding a new job,” said Sawyers. “We do have the temperature checkpoints at every entrance. So, it is required before you report to work that you must check your temperature.”
She said the company also follows other COVID safety protocols such as questionnaire screenings, requiring masks, social distancing and utilizing single entrance and exit patterns.
Sawyers said they have seen some added interest in openings, but she anticipates it could take a couple of months to make the needed hires. Applicants don't need previous experience. The starting pay is just over $17 per hour.
Job applicants don't even have to get out of their cars when they arrive for the interview: The application and screening interviews can be done while sitting behind the wheel.
Meanwhile, Roberts said there's something that keeps her and her co-workers at the manufacturing facility.
“Our product saves lives and we all take it very seriously every day,” she said.