GW Plastics is proud to announce the graduation of our first Manufacturing Technology Leadership class. Designed for GW employees working full-time, GW selects associates who are motivated and interested in furthering their technical and leadership skills and career development to spend four years studying at Vermont Technical College in nearby Randolph Center, VT.

GW began this program in 2012 in partnership with Vermont Tech in response to the local and national skilled workforce shortage. Our objective is to offer this program to a select group of talented and motivated associates to support their career path aspirations and the technical needs of our company.

While working full-time at GW, participants enroll in two classes per year at Vermont Tech focused on a manufacturing technology and engineering course curriculum, culminating in a final project during their last semester. The projects are picked based on improvements needed in their areas of responsibility, and are mentored by a GW manager.

Leadership graduates were honored at a ceremony on December 21 by our senior management and Vermont Tech leaders. During their final presentations, each graduate highlighted the workplace problem they investigated, outlined the data they collected to analyze the problem and what solution they tested or have proposed, along with the financial impact of their solution. Over the six projects presented, GW Plastics could realize over $500,000 in annual savings due to the efficiencies gained by the students’ analyses and problem solving.


Graduates of the Manufacturing Technology Leadership program earned college credits that can be applied toward an Associate’s Degree in applied science in engineering technology at Vermont Tech. In addition to receiving college credit courses fully funded by GW, we awarded each graduate a bonus after each class and a 10% increase in their base compensation upon program graduation to recognize their commitment to improve their workplace skills.

A family affair - brothers Garrett and Joe Sargent are among graduates

A family affair – brothers Garrett and Joe Sargent are among graduates

“The students developed the analytical skills necessary to give them a broader understanding of how they can positively impact the company and their careers – we are bringing in tomorrow’s leaders and giving them the tools they need to truly grow,” says Cathy Tempesta, Director of Human Resources. “Only one participant had previously completed a college program towards a degree, so we are really bringing employees of all different paths, giving them about 75% of the college credits they need for an Associate’s Degree through this program, and then we will continue to help pay for their degree through our tuition assistance program. There is no better reward for our hardworking team members than a program like this.”

“A vital part of the program for GW is the leadership skills each of our associates gained in the process,” says Brenan Riehl, President and CEO. “The partnership with Vermont Tech helps our company become more competitive. Investing in our associates increases their skills, brings new ideas, and increases their productivity. We are very proud of our graduates.”


Join us in congratulating the following employees on their graduation: Michael Converse of Bethel, Andrew Green of Granville, Garrett Sargent of Randolph, Joseph Sargent of East Thetford, Maurice Simoneau of Graniteville, and Erik Valentine of West Lebanon.

A second class of Manufacturing Technology Leadership students began in 2015 and expects to graduate in 2019.