CRESSONA, Pa. — Hydro’s manufacturing plant on Pottsville Street in Cressona is hard to miss.
Senior Director of Operations Mike Hammer said it has a long history of serving the community and the country.
"The facility was built by the government back in 1940 to support and win World War II," Hammer said. "So it’s been operating for 80 plus years."
The facility has been part of a new fight, against the coronavirus.
The company makes parts for ventilators and is considered essential.
Hydro is the largest producer of aluminum extrusions in the western hemisphere.
They’re components found in almost every vehicle on the road.
Now, the company is making a big investment in the Cressona plant, its largest facility.
"We were awarded another $48 million for us to be able to invest in the facilities," Hammer said. "We’re going to replace one of the assets that helped us win World War II and also is going to help us continue to win business."
Hydro is bringing in a new 3,000-ton press machine, a major upgrade.
Hammer said it will help keep his staff of more than 1,100 employed.
"The investment we are making right now, a lot of folks ask me, ‘how many jobs are you going to create?’ It’s not about job creation, it’s about saving and retaining the jobs that are out there," he said.
The manufacturing industry has not been immune to the ongoing labor crisis in the United States.
Hydro is still looking to fill more than 100 positions at the Cressona plant.
"Really great high-paying manufacturing jobs," Hammer added. "So if you want to work, you’ll easily make more working here than you will collecting unemployment, including the stimulus."
Hammer hopes to add to his team and keep upgrading so the facility can make it another 80 years.