Students Tour RDAbbott and NovationSi to Learn About Rubber Industry

Students from various Summit County high schools in Ohio recently visited RDAbbott and NovationSi for a facilities tour and overview of careers in the rubber industry. On March 21st, RDAbbott’s Service Center in Barberton, Ohio, hosted twenty-one students from the Industrial Maintenance and Production for Employment (IMPE) program at Stow-Munroe Falls High School. David Helmick, IMPE technology instructor and transitional work experience (TWE) coordinator, also participated in the field trip.

The IMPE program prepares students to work in manufacturing and features a curriculum that includes safety training, part design, precision measurement, machine operation and maintenance, and an introduction to electricity, hydraulics, and pneumatics.

“The goal is to equip students with diverse manufacturing training and get them into the workforce,” says Helmick about this aspect of the school’s larger Career Technical Education (CTE) program. In addition to hands-on instruction and field trips, students closely observe – or “shadow” – manufacturing employees to learn about workplace roles and responsibilities.

The March 21st field trip began with a presentation by Erica Berg, Senior Human Resources Generalist, and Ariana Marich, Commercial Events Planner. They described the various industries RDAbbott and NovationSi serve, the types of positions that are available, and examples of career advancement. The students then separated into smaller groups for a more in-depth understanding of the following service areas: Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) Process Engineering and Pilot Lab, Quality Control/Color Lab, Manufacturing, and Shipping and Receiving.

Brian Swanton, NovationSi’s Director of Process Engineering, showed the students the machines in the LSR Process Engineering Lab and the Pilot Lab.

In the Quality Control/Color Lab, various elastomer technologists, pigment specialists, and machine operators described their roles and the equipment they use. NovationSi’s Production team described the mills, mixers, and extruders used in manufacturing.

Students then met with Maintenance Manager Mike Zuercher to get an overview of his diverse roles and responsibilities. Matthew Dugger, Warehousing and Shipping Manager for RDAbbott, provided a tour of the shipping and receiving warehouse.

On April 17th, three of the IMPE students who participated in the March 21st tour, returned for job shadowing with several RDAbbott and NovationSi team members. These students are expected to return for two more shadowing sessions later this month.

Ariana Marich later thanked all the participating employees, explaining “This morning wouldn’t have been a success without all of you and the knowledge you shared.”

About RDAbbott
RDAbbott is a materials science, engineering, and distribution company that’s been serving the rubber industry since 1948. We are staffed with rubber experts at every level; equipped with state-of-the-art, US-based laboratory and manufacturing facilities, and stocked with premium elastomer products in warehouses throughout North America. Our northeast Ohio facility is co-located with NovationSi, and features laboratories equipped for LSR processing, engineering, compounding, formulation development, color matching, and physical properties testing.

About NovationSi
NovationSi, headquartered in Barberton, Ohio, is manufacturing subsidiary of RDAbbott where applied curiosities become a reality. NovationSi specializes in custom LSR compounds; modifiers, additives, and colors for silicone; and highly specialized elastomer products. NovationSi’ elastomer technologists, compounders, and pigment specialists work closely with the RDAbbott’s materials scientists and application engineers to create fully customized elastomer solutions. To learn more, visit