Restek Shows South Hills Students an ESOP in Action

Photo of South Hills School of Business & Technology students and faculty visiting Restek.

Students and faculty from South Hills School of Business & Technology pose for a group shot in front of the Restek Wizard during a field trip to the company on July 24.

On July 24, Mike Shuey, an international customer service supervisor at Restek, hosted about 30 students from South Hills School of Business & Technology to help educate them on employee stock ownership plans (ESOP) by showing them one in action at Restek.

Shuey kicked off the day with a tour of the state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and testing labs. He then introduced Kevin McPhillips, executive director at Pennsylvania Center for Employee Ownership, a statewide nonprofit that educates business owners and employees about the benefits of ESOP—of which Restek is a founding member.

McPhillips described a “silver tsunami” approaching the economy as many baby-boomer business owners retire and make decisions about what to do with their businesses. McPhillips explained the benefits of setting up an employee ownership plan as part of that succession. “Restek is a poster child for turning your company into an ESOP and how great for business that can be,” he said.

South Hills students Katey Hall and Jessi Hall, who are sisters-in-law, particularly enjoyed the ESOP presentation. “We want to start a social media firm in the area and we think creating an ESOP would be a nice thing for our future employees,” Katey said.

Following a lively question and answer session, senior R&D manager Chris English took the students on a tour of the applications laboratory where Restek chemists develop solutions to tough analytical problems. Next, Scott Grossman, a content development specialist, gave a presentation titled “Restek in the Wild: Examples of Our Products in Use,” about the involvement of the company’s products in testing water quality following a chemical spill in the Elk River near Charleston, WV.

Michael Gates, program coordinator for business administration at South Hills, said it was the fourth time he brought his students to Restek since Shuey first invited them in 2003. “I enjoy bringing students to Restek because they are introduced to a little bit of everything—from manufacturing, to customer service, to marketing. This company does it all,” he said.

Restek Employees Go the Extra Mile—Literally

As Jimmy Johnson said, “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” That “little extra” is what Restek’s Wellness team is recognizing in their new Extraordinary Feats spotlight.

Mike Wittrig (R&D Manager) and Gary Stidsen (Business Manager) are the first to be recognized. Mike just checked off one of his bucket list items by bicycling across the state of Pennsylvania in one day—a ride of 213.87 miles and approximately 10,000 feet of climbing! Gary completed a virtual bike ride across the U.S. from Portland, OR, to Portland, ME, aided by the state-of-the-art cycling room in Restek’s brand-new fitness center. Thank you, Mike and Gary, for inspiring us to “Live well. Work well.”

The Extraordinary Feats spotlight is just one of many wellness incentives and events organized for employee-owners by Restek, a leader in Centre County employee wellness programs.

Kari Leah, Restek wellness coach and Extraordinary Feats coordinator said, “People inspire me on a daily basis and I hope that, by sharing Mike and Gary’s feats, others will be inspired as well. I think it is important to celebrate other’s achievements.”

The wellness team will be on the lookout for other employees to recognize, but fellow employees can also make recommendations for the Extraordinary Feats spotlight. The team hopes to feature someone in this spotlight several times per year.

Restek Wellness started in the late 1980s with a universal weight machine and a punching bag in an empty corner of their manufacturing building. Restek Wellness now boasts a team of fulltime wellness coaches, a brand-new 17,000-square-foot fitness center and gymnasium, a paved walking path, a sand volleyball court, and numerous exercise classes.

Restek’s founder, Paul Silvis, had a vision that happy, healthy employees would be more productive and successful, making the company more successful, too. Restek continues to live the success Paul envisioned, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Restek Wellness team and their programs.

To learn more about Restek Corporation, visit www.restek.com

Restek Helps Make Fourth of July Fun for the Family

Restek employee-owners serve cake at the Central PA 4thFest

Each year, dozens of employees volunteer to serve more than 1,440 pieces of American Flag cake

It starts with 240 pounds of cake mix and 145 pounds of icing—those are the first ingredients to a successful Fourth of July.

Since 2001, employees at Restek have served up an American flag cake, 12-feet long and nearly six-feet wide, to attendees of Central PA 4thFest—a daylong, family-oriented, patriotic birthday party held July 4 on the campus of The Pennsylvania State University.

Each year, the GIANT store on North Atherton Street donates the cake to the festival after spending eight hours baking and decorating it. It takes about eight Restek volunteers to load the cake and deliver it to the event where it is cut into more than 1,440 slices and served by 20 more Restek volunteers.

“It’s a family affair—many Restek employees bring their families to help,” Bradley Pike, Digital Marketing Manager at Restek, said.

Pike, along with Pam Decker, Senior Graphic Designer at Restek, have been part of the volunteer effort from Restek for more than a decade and both serve on the festival’s board of directors and as committee chairs.

“When Restek first started getting involved, it was apparent the employees really enjoyed it so we wanted to do more,” Decker said. “Now, we have dozens of volunteers helping each year.”

Karl Libhart, executive director of 4thFest, said organizations like Restek play a vital role in putting on the event, which the Travel Channel called “one of the best fireworks displays in the world.”

“Fourth Fest is 100 percent run by volunteers and Restek has been a huge help in ensuring the event is a success every year,” he said.

This year’s event will welcome the return of roller derby in the parking lot, chainsaw carvers, a BMX stunt show, and music from up-and-coming country artist Adley Stump.

Fourth Fest leadership doesn’t stop with Pike and Decker; several fellow Restek employees hold leadership roles in the organization, too. Wendy Krall, Brian Yangula, Titus Morehead, and AJ Saclyn all help to coordinate key parts of the event from the flag cake to the kids’ crafts to the merchandising.

“It’s great to have fresh people bring in fresh ideas each year,” Pike said. “We have a leadership tenet here, so stepping up is part of Restek’s DNA.”

Preparations for next year will begin almost as soon as the event ends.

Pike said one of the most rewarding experiences of putting on the event was the additional level of preparation when country music star Craig Morgan performed in 2015.

“It was a whole other level of preparation that year,” he said. “But, I remember watching the concert with several other 4thFest volunteers and thinking—wow, the community did this.”

To learn more about Restek Corporation, visit www.restek.com

Restek Graduates its 23rd Leadership Centre County Enrollee

Becky Wittrig, Restek’s Director of Global Sales,
and recent LCC graduate

Congratulations to Becky Wittrig, Restek’s Director of Global Sales, who recently graduated with the 25th anniversary class of Leadership Centre County (LCC). Becky is Restek’s 23rd employee to graduate from the program.

LCC is a community leadership development program that has been active in Centre County since 1992, but is one of more than 1,000 similar programs across the country. With the graduation of this year’s class, LCC has a total of 877 alumni donating more than 98,000 hours of their time per year at a value exceeding $2.3 million.

Restek LCC graduates hold leadership or key volunteer positions in a variety of nonprofit organizations in the local community and beyond, in addition to their full-time jobs. This aligns with Restek’s True North philosophy that began with Restek’s founder and servant leader, Paul Silvis—to support the local communities in which we operate and make our community a better place to raise our children.

Restek is one of only six sponsors to receive the Gold Eagle Award—LCC’s highest level of recognition for sponsors

Restek has been a sponsor of LCC since the start. Our commitment to the program has been recognized by LCC with the Gold Eagle Award—their highest level of recognition for sponsors. Restek is one of only six sponsors to receive the award.

Mike Wittrig, R&D manager, will represent Restek for the 2018 LCC class.

For more information on LCC go to www.leadershipcentrecounty.org

www.restek.com

Restek’s Commitment to the Community and the Environment Includes Orange Vests and Work Gloves

On an unseasonably chilly day in May, a team of eight Restek employees left together to do something the company has been doing twice a year since 2009—highway cleanup duty.

Restek employee-owners are all smiles after cleaning up our Adopt A Highway, two-mile section of Route 144.

For eight years, Restek employees have maintained a two-mile section of Route 144 running from Axemann to the Bellefonte Borough line as part of the PA Adopt A Highway program. Restek employees say it is a particularly important stretch of road because Logan Branch Creek—a Class A wild trout stream—runs along it.

“Keeping the area clean of litter helps keep the stream clean and productive, and we have a good time while we are doing it. Employees get to know each other a little better, and when we are done, we have lunch together,” Jim Richards, the cleanup crew organizer and calibration coordinator at Restek, said.

Seven employees joined Richards in the May cleanup, including his youngest son, Jacob Richards, who was recently hired at Restek. The other employee-volunteers were Mike Goss, Christina Hill, Jerry Johnston, Kendra Jozefick, Jessica Resides, and Brian Yangula.

As part of the program, employees can participate during the workday each spring and fall in support of the company’s environmental efforts and community service.

And it appears to be helping—Richards said the cleanup was lighter than most years.

“I would like to thank the many volunteers, past and present, that we have here at Restek that take the time to pick up someone else’s trash twice a year,” he said. “It doesn’t come with any kind of recognition or compensation, but it has its reward in serving the community.”

To learn more about Restek Corporation, visit www.restek.com

Restek Employee-Owners Stay Active and Healthy with Corporate Olympics

And the global chromatography company officially opens a new fitness center and gym for its 350+ employees and their families

On June 1, Restek held the opening ceremonies for its corporate Olympics, a month-long competition that encourages employees to have fun, engage in friendly competition, and take ownership of their health—all in the spirit of the Wellness Team’s motto: “Live well. Work well.”

Beautiful sunny skies greeted three separate waves of runners at the 2017 Restek Plus1 5K.

The kickoff festivities were followed the next day by Restek’s 15th annual Plus1 5K. This year, the company even invited its health and wellness partners to join the race—almost 200 runners and walkers participated in total!—and after, employees visited with them to learn about available benefits and ask questions about services.

“The Restek Olympics are a great way for employees to take a break from their everyday jobs and have some fun with their coworkers. It is also a way to interact with coworkers you may not otherwise and have the opportunity to do so in a relaxed, ‘nonworking’ atmosphere,” Mike Perlozzo, the wellness coordinator at Restek, said.

A fun game of volleyball at Restek’s annual corporate Olympics (2015).

Throughout the month, teams of employees will compete in five events: volleyball, basketball, bean bag toss, pong, and a fitness challenge. Teams are each comprised of people from at least five different departments to allow stronger bonds to form throughout the organization.

But the Restek Olympics and Plus1 5K are just a few of many wellness events organized for employees and their families each year by the company, which is a leader in Centre County employee wellness programs. As a result, Restek and its employee-owners enjoy greater energy, productivity, healthy stress management, improved quality of life, and, over time, a reduction of more significant life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.

A variety of equipment options are available in Restek’s new fitness center.

Restek is also celebrating the official opening of its brand-new 17,000-square-foot gymnasium, called Founder’s Point. Last month, they installed the finishing touch—a custom-painted basketball floor.

“This space will allow employees and their families to enjoy a number of different activities such as basketball, soccer, and volleyball. There were a number of groups setting up times to use the space for soccer and basketball just minutes after we officially opened it. The response has been great, and the space will get a lot of use,” Perlozzo said.

The 17,000-square-foot-gymnasium offers indoor space for basketball, soccer, volleyball, and more.

Restek founder Paul Silvis started Restek Wellness in the late 1980s in an empty corner of their original building. They had only a universal weight machine and punching bag. By 2004, Restek hired its first full-time wellness coordinator, and in 2005 the official Restek Wellness Program was born. Silvis started Restek with a vision that happy, healthy employees will be more productive, be more successful, and help make the company more successful. Ever since, Restek has lived the success he envisioned, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Restek Wellness team.

To learn more about Restek Corporation, visit www.restek.com

 

 

Restek Inspires Future Scientists at STEM Fair

Teaching the concepts of chromatography to elementary and middle school students in Central Pennsylvania is another way Restek connects with and gives back to the community.

An auditorium full of middle schoolers may seem like a tough audience for teaching new scientific concepts, but in Restek’s experience, they are quite attentive and engaged. So, employees at Restek love taking the opportunity to share their knowledge with area youth.

“I could go through a slide show presentation, but something tells me you wouldn’t be that interested in it. So, I’m going to get you involved and teach you through action,” Scott Grossman, a content development specialist at Restek, told an auditorium of more than 200 students in April.

For years, teams at Restek have presented a variety of interactive performances to elementary and middle school students about chromatography. This past April, Grossman, with his colleagues Samantha Harter, Fang-Yun Lo, and Titus Morehead, visited Park Forest Middle School to present during the school’s STEM Fair. The annual event encourages student involvement and future careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

“We keep inviting Restek back because their presentation is high quality and they do a good job at communicating what they do at an appropriate level for the students,” Mike Bierly, an eighth-grade science teacher at Park Forest, said.

This year’s presentation teaches chromatography by comparing it to a party. The presenters invite dozens of students on stage to create a party atmosphere that will function like a chromatography column’s stationary phase. Then, other students pass through the party—some having been instructed offstage to interact extensively with other partygoers, while others were instructed to interact very little and “elute” quickly, ignoring the party and passing straight to the food table. As students reach the food table, “peaks” in an illustrative chromatogram are generated. Grossman explains that analyzing these different types of partygoers is very similar to how chemists use chromatography to analyze the contents of liquid and gas samples—compounds interact with the column’s stationary phase to different degrees, allowing them to be separated and, ultimately, identified.

“It’s fun to see the students engage and start to understand the concepts,” said Harter, a process engineer at Restek.

Lori Dundon, a Restek marketing communications manager, kick-started Restek’s engagement with local elementary and middle schools in Central Pennsylvania years ago when her kids were attending Park Forest Middle School.

“I wanted my kids to understand what I do for work,” she said.

Grossman took on the challenge of developing a presentation and has since offered it, and others, to many local schools and thousands of future scientists.

“It’s like I always tell the students—it doesn’t matter what you end up doing in your career, you need to be a good communicator,” he said.

To learn more about Restek Corporation, visit www.restek.com

Being the County’s Top Business Group of Blood Donors is Not Enough for Restek Employees

Restek donors roll up their sleeves every 8 weeks and donate more blood than any other local business, but organizers have their sights set on bigger goals.

Restek’s Mark DePlato is often first in line to donate. In his life, he’s given more than 8 gallons!

On March 13, 2017, when Winter Storm Stella was about to dump more than a foot of snow on Central Pennsylvania, Restek feared they would be forced to cancel their blood drive the following day.

However, in close collaboration with the Red Cross, Restek was able to reschedule the event just two days later—and employees rallied to collect 25 units, which can save as many as 75 lives.

“I never should have panicked because I work with exceptional people who do exceptional things every day,” said AJ Saclyn, a Sales Territory Manager at Restek and the company’s Blood Drive Coordinator.

Every two months for the last 16 years, Restek has held a blood drive with the American Red Cross, with an average of 30 people donating each time. That translates to 180 units per year, making Restek the top business blood drive sponsor in Centre County.

In recognition of this achievement, the Mid Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Red Cross awarded Restek with its Business Partnership Award this year.

“This was a no brainer for me; they are truly amazing,” said Laura Merritt, Donor Recruitment Representative for the Greater Alleghenies Blood Region of the American Red Cross. “They’re my number one business in terms of blood drives and collections in this area. The donors are so loyal—they always pull together and have a great drive.”

Carrie Sprout, a Product Manager at Restek, first brought the Red Cross to Restek for a blood drive in 2001. Saclyn took over the program two years ago with ambitions to grow the program even more.

When Saclyn turned 55 last year, he encouraged 55 donors—nearly twice the regular amount of a Restek blood drive—to step up and roll up their sleeves. This year, in honor of winning the Business Partnership Award, the bar was raised to 60 donors for Restek’s May 17th blood drive, and again, employees and their families rose to the challenge. Over a month before the scheduled date, 64 potential donors have filled every scheduled slot!

Interested in getting more information or signing up for a future blood drive at Restek’s Bellefonte, PA, campus? E-mail GiveBlood@restek.com To learn more about Restek Corporation, visit www.restek.com and to learn about American Red Cross, visit www.redcross.org

Restek’s Joe Konschnik Named ILI Board Chairman and Receives ACIL Preston Millar Award

During ACIL’s last annual meeting in St. Louis, Restek Business Development Manager for Food & Agriculture, Joe Konschnik, was named Chairman of the Independent Laboratory Institute’s (ILI) Board of Directors. The previous ILI Chairman, Jim Kuhn, was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors for ACIL (American Council of Independent Laboratories) and chose Joe to replace him on the ILI Board.

ILI is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3), scientific educational organization established in 1992 by ACIL; multidisciplined and member-driven, ILI serves the laboratory testing community by offering valuable training and education, administering PT programs, and helping the ACIL community to implement new technologies and methods to advance the testing industry.

Over the past four years, Joe has worked with Mr. Kuhn, in conjunction with Richard Bright (ACIL COO) and Milton Bush (ACIL CEO), to revitalize the ILI Board. “Joe has been instrumental in the success of many initiatives taken on by the ILI Board and various sections of ACIL, so when it came time to find a successor to the ILI Chair position, it was an easy decision to appoint Joe,” commented Kuhn.

Joe also received ACIL’s prestigious Preston Millar award for his service to the Food Sciences Section of ACIL. Jeffrey Abels, chairman of ACIL’s Food Science Section, presented the award noting, “Joe Konschnik has been an integral part of the Section’s efforts to work with FDA in a positive and professional manner to develop new methods for food analysis. Joe has brought ACIL and FDA together in ways that have enhanced our relationship with the Agency and set us in a positive and productive direction for the future.”

For more information about ACIL, visit www.acil.org  Information specifically on the ILI can be found at www.acil.org/?page=685  And Restek’s latest Food Safety solutions can be found at www.restek.com/food-safety

Restek and Skills of Central PA Offer Career Training to High Schoolers with Disabilities

This preemployment program helps students learn skills and explore options so they can find rewarding work after graduation.

Curtis Clouser and Maren Dotoli at Restek’s Founder’s Point fitness facility.

Curtis Clouser loves his job at Restek — the chromatography supplies manufacturer in Bellefonte, PA.

For a half day, three days a week, he leaves Bellefonte High School, where he is a senior, to help keep Restek’s employee wellness center clean and tidy by wiping down all the equipment, cleaning the windows and mirrors, and folding towels. For a young man with disabilities, an opportunity like this is incredibly important for getting a job and helping support himself after graduation.

Curtis is the third student to cycle through Restek from this new preemployment program offered through Skills of Central PA, a nonprofit pioneer in developing comprehensive, community-based programs and services for people with disabilities.

Mike Perlozzo, the wellness coordinator at Restek, said the program is a win-win.

“The program benefits both parties because with him cleaning, we can focus on other things we have to get done during the day,” he said.
Maren Dotoli, a job coach for Skills who works with Curtis when he goes to Restek, said he loves having the responsibility.

“He loves having a job and making money and talks about having a pizza party when he’s finished,” she said. “It’s great to see that enthusiasm and it’s honestly the best part of my job.”

Currently, Skills works with eight students with disabilities from Centre County thanks to a grant from the state’s Office of Vocational Rehab (OVR). The students are paid for 90 hours of work at one location and then transferred to another location to maximize exposure to available options. Elizabeth Koch, a manager at Skills, said any time you can get high school students with disabilities out into the real world, they can better identify what kind of work they prefer to do and are good at.

“Our primary goal is to improve the lives of people with special needs by focusing on their abilities,” she said. “And with this program, we get to see what their skills are so we can help place them in a job they will love after they graduate.”

While Restek and Skills have only been working on this program for a little more than three months, their relationship goes back decades. For more than 20 years, Restek has relied on a partnership with Skills’ industry services warehouse, where adults with disabilities assist with the final assembly of many Restek products.

To learn more about Skills of Central PA, visit http://www.skillsofcentralpa.org