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(Wilkes-Barre, PA October 13, 2023) — The 2023 Manufacturing Best Practices Summit and Expo, the region’s largest manufacturing trade show and networking event, was held on October 13 at Mohegan Pennsylvania Convention Center in Wilkes-Barre Twp. Organized by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC), the event provided an opportunity for manufacturers from an 11-county region to join together to learn, listen, share, collaborate and forge new partnerships with other manufacturers.

“It’s part of our value proposition. Not every business is going to capitalize on all five of those things, but we present all five things so the ROI on today’s event is very positive for everyone involved,” said Eric Joseph Esoda, president and CEO, NEPIRC.

According to Esoda, today showed the way in which our regional manufacturers support one another as well as the way our community supports manufacturers. “It’s about manufacturers coming together to want to do business with each other, to share best practices with each other and approach the industry and economy with perspective and attitude of abundance and not scarcity, and that there’s enough for everyone to prosper.”

More than 100 manufacturers exhibited their products from robotics to safety apparel and equipment, to packaging, to printing and cybersecurity systems. This year’s expo was the largest in the event’s history, with nearly 600 registered attendees networking at the expo and attending the variety of educational breakout sessions held during the day. In addition, more than 70 high school students attended the expo to learn about careers in manufacturing.

“For the students, the goal of today was to introduce them to careers that are available in manufacturing. The more familiar they are with manufacturing, the more likely they are to pursue and follow through on that educational employment experience,” said Esoda.

Highlights of the expo included a keynote speech from Crayola COO Pete Ruggiero who shared his experiences leading Crayola through the last 26 years, including the supply chain challenges the company encountered during the Covid-19 pandemic. His keynote, Thriving Amidst Supply Chain Chaos, provided key insights to attendees on how Crayola diversified its business model through new product development, expanded further into international markets and integrated LEAN and Six Sigma into their operating processes.

Representative Matt Cartwright and Representative Dan Meuser, who were originally scheduled to address the attendees in person, sent pre-recorded video messages to welcome attendees to the event. Both were needed in Washington, D.C. to address national issues.

“We know how to make things in northeastern Pennsylvania. It’s in our DNA. We’ve been manufacturing since the discovery of anthracite coal, forging steel into a national railroad system and literally electrifying communities. In my view, even more growth for us depends on several key factors, like continued innovation in high tech education, capabilities to meet the high standards in aerospace, defense and cyberspace products. We also need accessible work environments and more diverse and inclusive higher practices,” said Cartwright.

Meuser’s comments also touted the importance and impact of Pennsylvania’s manufacturing across the state and nation. “Manufacturing plays such a significant role in the economic prosperity of our commonwealth. Not only do manufacturers employ more than 575,000 Pennsylvanians, but they contribute more than $166 billion dollars a year to our gross state product, representing the sixth largest industrial economy in the United States. We have a strategic opportunity geographically to become even more of a nationwide hub for manufacturing,” said Meuser.

One of the breakout sessions focused on the growing sector of women in manufacturing leadership roles. Dr. Christine Kiesinger, principal, CEK Communication Consultancy, served as moderator for the Women Leaders in Manufacturing panel discussion that included women leaders from manufacturers across the commonwealth, including Denise Truesdale, Pride Mobility Products Corp., Duryea; Pat Frances, Chaucer Press, Wilkes-Barre; Grace McGregor Kramer, McGregor Industries, Dunmore, Heidi McKenna, The Fredericks Company, Huntington Valley and Petra Mitchell, Catalyst Connection, Pittsburgh.


NEPIRC is a not-for-profit organization providing world-class technical, engineering, consultative, and training services to small and mid-sized manufacturers across an 11-county region of northeastern, northern and parts of central Pennsylvania. More information can be found at or via email to Eric Joseph Esoda at

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