By next spring, one of the region’s main resources for manufacturers could have a new CEO.
Jack Pfunder, 71, president and CEO of Manufacturers Resource Center in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, said he plans to retire next year when he hits a 14-year milestone with the organization.
Pfunder said MRC’s board, mostly comprised of CEOs in the manufacturing field, has started conducting a search, with the goal of having a new president and CEO by April.
“We hope to have someone local,” Pfunder said. “We want someone who knows the community.”
While he knows some CEOs who have expressed interest, he said he did not have anyone specific in mind.
“I still think I’ve got the best job in the Valley,” Pfunder said. “I enjoy it. My job is to help manufacturing companies be more competitive.”
His nonprofit organization helps manufacturers by providing training, education and knowledge-sharing opportunities, among other initiatives.
Running a manufacturing company is not the easiest job in the world, said Pfunder, who has served in that capacity at various companies during his nearly 50-year career in manufacturing. Having been a CEO of a manufacturing company is helpful in relating to companies that rely on MRC, he added.
Pfunder said he particularly enjoyed the growth of the “What’s So Cool about Manufacturing?” video contest. His organization led that program to massive growth over the past five years – it is now done across the state – and helped pull the curtain back on the outdated image of manufacturing jobs, with the help of many sponsors and several other organizations.
He began at MRC in 2005 when the organization had 23 people, although the Great Recession forced staff cutbacks.
Today, MRC has 14 employees, and Pfunder is optimistic about its future.
“We have a lot of efficient people, we’ve got great experience here,” he said. “We will have our best year yet in terms of efficiencies.”