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Tried and True: Century-Old Manufacturer Knows Importance of Investing in Employee Development


Ward Manufacturing (Ward) is a leading manufacturer of piping components used in thousands of installations worldwide. While rarely seen by the typical resident or visitor, their products provide water, gas and other necessities to upscale homes, commercial developments, institutional buildings, public utilities and even world-recognized landmarks and American icons such as New York City’s Freedom Tower. Founded in Blossburg, Pennsylvania, in 1924, the company initially produced a small line of cast iron steam and drainage fittings, along with plugs and bushings. Ward opened a highly automated foundry in 1955 to keep up with demand and, while this facility has transformed over the decades through continued improvement and reinvestment, it continues to produce fittings using the fastest and most current automated molding equipment.

Building on nearly a century of quality manufacturing, using only the best, most durable materials and advanced technology and techniques, Ward has become a fixture in the global pipe fittings industry. Its products are made from 100% recycled raw material and meet or exceed rigorous industry standards, including ANSI, ASTEM International, NSF and federal specifications. Ward also supports green building, with products that meet LEED standards. It is easy to see that Ward is committed to its customers and continually invests in its facilities, product development and people.

The Challenge

In late 2021, Ward identified a group of “rising star” employees that the company wanted to further develop in the skills of project management. Having prior knowledge of NEPIRC’s high-caliber project management certificate program from employees who had previously completed the training, Ward contracted with NEPIRC, part of the Pennsylvania MEP and the MEP National Network™, to host this 10-session program.

I think the services offered by NEPIRC are exceptional. NEPIRC’s in-person and virtual training programs have tremendously helped manufacturers train staff over the past few years.
— Ron Kemp, Director of Manufacturing

MEP's Role

NEPIRC partnered with Ward to facilitate its project management certificate program for employees with high growth potential within the company. During the 10-session program, NEPIRC’s instructor covered the basics of project management, such as learning the proper terminology, creating project charters, defining project scope, developing the project plan, understanding work breakdown structures using MS Project and leading and communicating with project teams. Participants were also divided into groups of four and required to complete a project using the project management skills taught during the training. On the last day of the program, each group presented their projects to the class and instructor. Not only did the participants further develop their project management skills, but this training also served as a great team building experience.
Created July 20, 2023