2018-08-09 / Local & State

Gov. Wolf Tours JLG

By Cassidy Pittman
STAFF WRITER


Pictured, left to right: John Eichelberger, JLG Sr. Human Resource Business Manager Kristine Mong, JLG COO Andrew Tacelosky, Gov. Tom Wolf, JLG Sr. Director of Operations Andrew Baney, JLG Sr. Director of Product Training Rick Smith, JLG plant manager Corey Wilson. Pictured, left to right: John Eichelberger, JLG Sr. Human Resource Business Manager Kristine Mong, JLG COO Andrew Tacelosky, Gov. Tom Wolf, JLG Sr. Director of Operations Andrew Baney, JLG Sr. Director of Product Training Rick Smith, JLG plant manager Corey Wilson. Gov. Tom Wolf made his first visit to JLG Industries in Mc- Connellsburg along with Sen. John Eichelberger and Bonnie Mellott- Keefer from Rep. Jesse Topper’s office Monday morning to tour its facilities and be introduced their new virtual reality training simulator that is to increase both skills and safety for trainees.

According to Rick Smith, JLG’s training director, the software now used to decrease training accidents started with a PC base simulator and evolved from that to iPad capability, and then finally to virtual reality. It is networked so that the training can take place anywhere in the world and be used by any employee.


Gov. Tom Wolf trying out JLG's virtual reality training during his first ever tour of JLG industries in McConnellsburg. Gov. Tom Wolf trying out JLG's virtual reality training during his first ever tour of JLG industries in McConnellsburg. The VR training measures how much time is used to achieve certain tasks. Because the risk of falling is removed, Smith explained that it takes an average first-time user eight minutes to bring the VR simulator of a JLG 800S boom fully up, then down. With each training completed, the operator will be able to cut their simulation time in half, going from eight minutes, to four, and eventually two to three minutes per exercise in a safe manner.

The training simulator’s lead programmer, Janee Molchen, works consistently with developers and testers of the technology to further the new technology. Along with the VR training of the 800S, which is one of JLG’s boom lifts, they will also have completed a simulator for their scissor lifts that will be ready in a few weeks. After that they plan to extend to the 1850 Ultra Boom as well as the articulated lifts. Smith and Molchen expressed their excitement over the new technology and are already looking into new measurements that will make the training as realistic as possible.

Gov. Wolf tried on the VR training glasses, and took the simulator for a test drive that he called ‘very realistic’.

JLG, a company that was founded in Fulton County in 1969 and later purchased by OshKosh Corp. in 2006, is now the world’s leading manufacturer of access equipment and creator of the tallest lift in the world at 185 feet. It is also the largest employer in the county.

With its 21 locations in the United States alone, JLG and OshKosh consistently looks for ways to improve safety measures for their employees. According to JLG COO Andrew Tacelosky, their motto is “We want our employees to be able to come home in the same condition they arrived to work in.”

Currently, approximately 25 percent of JLG’s workforce is automated, and the company hopes to move forward with more robotics managed by human employees in the future. During a press conference with Gov. Wolf and COO Tacelosky, Gov. Wolf said that he had high hopes for economic development provided by JLG. COO Tecelosky agreed and spoke of consistently evolving JLG’s comprehensive training, education, apprenticeships for employees for the betterment of their skills as well as the community morale.

The visit stemmed from the Manufacturing PA initiative Gov. Wolf launched in 2017. According to his press release, the initiative supports Pennsylvania’s manufacturing community through strategic partnerships while emphasizing job training to career pathways. Since the launch, the initiative has awarded $8.6 million in funding to industrial resource centers, educational institutions, and other manufacturing partners across the commonwealth. This includes a total of more than $1 million awarded to nine organizations across the commonwealth to develop new, innovative training programs to help more than 350 unemployed and underemployed individuals, as well as those with barriers, to get the skills they need to gain employment in the manufacturing sector.

“Since day one I have been committed to strengthening Pennsylvania manufacturing, and today’s tour helps reinforce the fact that we’re on the right path for manufacturing prosperity in Pennsylvania,” said Gov. Wolf. “I’m proud that Pennsylvania is home to manufacturers like this that are committed to investing in their employees and their local communities.”

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