Clocking In Podcast

Voices of NC Manufacturing, your host Phil Mintz, Director of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP). We will be interviewing some of the manufacturers who have made North Carolina manufacturing the powerhouse it is today.


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E-26: Economic Check-Up with Dr. Walden

Dr. Michael Walden

Dr. Walden is a retired William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and extension economist at North Carolina State University and a member of the graduate economics faculty with The Poole College of Management. His Ph.D. degree is from Cornell University and he has been at N.C. State since 1978. He has also been a Visiting Professor at Duke University. View Show Notes.

E-25: Providing A Beneficial Thread For A Dependable Workforce

Service Thread

According to a recent Gartner study of employees from across the U.S., only 13 percent of employees are largely satisfied with their work experiences. Additionally, nearly half (46 percent of employees) are largely dissatisfied with their work experiences. With the current labor crisis, many organizations are scrambling to find ways to appeal to the modern American workforce. On this episode of “Clocking In”, we speak with a manufacturer who invests in their employees and attracts talent in an unconventional way. View Show Notes.

E-24: Medical Stockings with a Higher Standard

Elastic Therapy, Inc.

It may come as no surprise that a state with a rich textile history also has deep roots in the hosiery industry. According to IBIS World, North Carolina leads the nation in the state with the most hosiery manufacturing mills with 64 mills as of 2021. On this episode of Clocking In, we’re sitting down with a hosiery manufacturer in Randolph county that is paving the way in compression wear. View Show Notes.

E-23: Textiles Continues to Evolve as a Powerful NC Industry

NC State University Wilson College of Textiles

What does the healthcare, fashion, defense and advanced material industry have in common? They all utilize textiles as a way to invent. Long gone are the days where the word “textile” exclusively refers to woven fabric. Heart valves, cells and organs and vein grafts are now being created with the use of textiles. Institutions like the NC State University Wilson College of Textiles use cutting-edge technologies to discover innovative uses for textiles. View Show Notes.

E-22: Turning Students into Project Engineers of the Future

North Carolina A&T State University

Industrial engineers are professional problem solvers. Their role in manufacturing is to find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. In this episode of Clocking In, we sit down with a North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership partner working to connect promising industrial engineering students with NC manufacturers. View Show Notes.

E-21: Manufacturing is the Family Business

Tropical Foods

Family businesses are great. They can help transfer family values, grow leaders, strengthen inter-generational bonds and they’re also a large part of the American economy. According to the Family Business Alliance, family enterprises employ 63% of the U.S. workforce. In addition, 75% of all new jobs are generated by family businesses. In this episode of Clocking In, we’re highlighting a second-generation family business that shows no signs of slowing down. View Show Notes.

E-20: Navigating Opportunities Between Furniture and Protective Gowns

Custom Contract Furnishings

According to AARP, the leisure and hospitality industry was the hardest hit by the pandemic. Our guest, whose business has been focused on supplying a booming hospitality industry, saw three months’ worth of orders dry up—virtually—overnight in March 2020. In this episode, we speak with a leader from Custom Contract Furnishings about how they discovered how to utilize their talents and technology to create a competitive protective gown solution for the healthcare industry. View Show Notes.

E-19: Engineering the Tissue Industry With Technology

Cardinal Tissue

The pandemic caused a sudden surge in hoarding. As a result of people buying tissue in bulk and manufacturers not being able to keep up with the demand, toilet paper became one of the many products that was hard to find during the pandemic. Today I’m talking to a North Carolina tissue manufacturer that rose to the challenge to get tissue back on grocery store shelves. View Show Notes.

E-18: Award Winning Distillery Lends a Hand

Southern Distilling Company

Baking flour, paper towels, bicycles and canning jars. What do all these things have in common? They were all scarce at one point during the pandemic. Another item that was really hard to find on market shelves early in the pandemic and came recommended as a means to slow down the spread of COVID-19 was hand sanitizer. In this interview, I talk to one of the hundreds of distilleries who answered the call to assist with the extreme hand sanitizer shortage of 2020. View Show Notes.

E-17: Industrial Solutions Lab Helps Manufacturers Solve for Solutions

UNC Charlotte Industrial Solutions Lab

No one likes to waste time, especially manufacturers. If there is a more efficient and faster way to conduct operations, manufacturers want in. This is why the Industrial Solutions Lab at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte works hand-in-hand with NC manufacturers to create processes that make them more productive. View Show Notes.

E-16: Precision Prototyping


Imagine you manufacture a product advertised to help install doorknobs. Customers order the product, but there’s a major problem. It doesn’t work. Embarrassingly, you recall the product and your organization’s customer loyalty suffers. You do a deep dive and track all your product’s defects back to the fact you missed steps in the prototyping and testing process. View Show Notes.

E-15: Checking the Pulse of the Economy with Dr. Walden

Dr. Michael Walden

The pandemic has done a number on our economy. The shut down necessary to stem the spread of COVID-19 caused the economy to recede and led to massive layoffs. To dissect the status of the economy, the manufacturing industry and the possible track to recovery, we’re talking to someone we had on the podcast a year ago under different circumstances—economist Dr. Michael Walden. View Show Notes.

E-14: Revving Up Manufacturing Solutions

Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions

Automotive racing is a lot like manufacturing. The team with the best crew, finest parts and most skilled driver often has a competitive advantage. Just like the manufacturer with the best workforce, equipment and leadership has a one-up on their competition. No one knows this better than a manufacturing company that was created to initially support a world-class race engine company that would compete at the highest levels of the motorsports industry, Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions. View Show Notes.

E-13: Switching On Manufacturing

Electroswitch Electronic Products

In business, flexibility is a strength, especially in times of uncertainty. The range of standard and custom products our next guest can design and produce has helped his company find their way through the pandemic. We talk with a manufacturer who takes pride in its product line’s versatility and quality. View Show Notes.

E-12: Molding The Future of Manufacturing

Core Technology Molding Corporation

The pandemic has brought an abrupt end to the last 10 years of business and economic growth in the United States, resulting in many manufacturers suffering short and long-term damage. In spite of the situation, we talk with a North Carolina manufacturer that has found opportunities in the face of this adversity. View Show Notes.

E-11: The Job Manufacturer

NC State’s Office of External Affairs, Partnerships and Economic Development

Jobs are the foundation of any thriving economy. When people have jobs, they get paid. When they get paid, they spend money. When they spend money, it bolsters the economy. This is precisely why organizations like NC State’s Office of External Affairs, Partnerships and Economic Development (EAPED) are so vital. View Show Notes.

E-10: Cultivating Solutions

Mertek Solutions

According to Gallup, 70% of Americans view the American Dream as personally achievable. Our next Clocking In guest was a farm boy from Iowa who worked his way through the manufacturing industry and created a prosperous business in which he’s proud to go to every day. He is a manifestation of that dream, showing it is achievable to anyone. View Show Notes.

E-09: North Carolina Business in the Era of COVID-19

Business North Carolina (BNC)

According to North Carolina’s Small Business and Technology Development Center, there are 179,773 employer businesses in North Carolina. 98.1% of them are small businesses. As of March 24, 2020, many of those businesses were deemed “non-essential” and had to temporarily close to limit the spread of COVID-19. This has resulted in mass layoffs and some businesses are facing the threat of having to permanently close their doors. View Show Notes.

E-08: Fetching Designs

2 Hounds Design

There are almost 90 million dogs currently owned in the US. As dogs have become a more integral part of American life, their owners have sought more quality and variety in their little friend’s accessories. View Show Notes.

E-07: A North Carolina “Basement” Success Story


Pressure control technologies are an integral part of many products and industries. They assist in supplying important operations with the appropriate amount of fluid or gas. Our next guest’s valves and regulators have been dubbed gold standard within pressure control technology manufacturing. View Show Notes.

E-06: Taking Aerospace Manufacturing To New Heights

VX Aerospace

Dynamic composites are extremely useful in the advancement of the aerospace industry. The use of composites can reduce the weight of aerospace vehicles up to 20 to 50%. They have a high thermal stability and are resistant to fatigue and corrosion. With the ever growing demand within the industry for something state-of-the-art, it is vital that aerospace manufacturers be both adaptable and innovative. View Show Notes.

E-05: Going With The Flow

Hoffer Flow Controls

Measurements make a difference. The wrong measurement of fluids could make or break a product or operation. In your home, a flow meter determines the difference between a $50 water bill and a $250 water bill. In the aerospace industry, a flow meter determines whether a space shuttle receives enough rocket fuel to launch into outer space. View Show Notes.

E-04: Stepping Outside The Box

Package Craft

Virtually every item we receive comes in a package… whether it’s a brand new computer, clothes you ordered online or food you bought last minute for dinner. Probably most of us put little or no thought into where the packaging is actually manufactured and how it’s made. View Show Notes.

E-Special-03: Clocking In With The Partners Of NCMEP

E-S-03A: Economic Development Partnership Of North Carolina (EDPNC)

E-S-03B: Manufacturing Solutions Center (MSC)

E-S-03C: Polymers Center Of Excellence (PCE)

E-S-03D: North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS)

E-S-03E: Industry Expansion Solutions (IES)

E-03: Cashion Fishing Rods Angling To Improve Your Fishing Game

Cashion Fishing Rods

The economy was rough after Matthew Cashion graduated from Virginia Tech in 2009. With a doctorate in chemistry and concentration in advanced materials science, he was having no luck finding full-time employment. View Show Notes.

E-02: Tri-County Industries Fosters Strong Work Discipline, Sense Of Worth And Inclusion

Tri-County Industries

Tri-County Industries is a unique blend of private enterprise, government funding and local volunteers working together since 1966. Its philosophy of rehabilitation is to help people develop a strong work discipline and a sense of self-worth while obtaining hands-on job experience in a realistic work environment. View Show Notes.

E-Special-01: The State Of The North Carolina Economy For Manufacturing

Dr. Michael Walden

When people talk about the general economy and the economics surrounding the manufacturing industry, we may get lost in all the technical and jargon-riddled analysis. We want answers, that’s why I sat down with the guy who has the scoop, N.C. State University economist Dr. Michael Walden. View Show Notes.

E-01: Not Your Grandmother’s Formica Laminate!

ATI Laminates

ATI Laminates is a family owned and operated manufacturing facility located in Greensboro, North Carolina. They are maniacally focused on developing innovative surfaces for the hospitality, retail, healthcare and institutional markets. View Show Notes.