A Team You Can Count On

Leonhardt Manufacturing
Written by Pauline Müller

In the ever-evolving world of manufacturing, not all metal tubing parts are created equal. Leonhardt Manufacturing, a prominent player in the industry, stands out as a testament to the power of innovation and the importance of workforce development. Leonhardt Manufacturing has consistently demonstrated its mastery of metal tube bending and manufacturing, earning a reputation for excellence.

Leonhardt Manufacturing’s journey began with a vision to create high-quality metal products. The company serves a diverse range of industries, including indoor and outdoor furniture for hotel groups and restaurant chains, playground equipment, electric vehicles, and motorcycle parts. At its heart, the company’s success hinges on its expertise in metal tube bending and manufacturing, a complex and specialized field that demands unwavering dedication to innovation.

The company’s commitment to innovation is a driving force behind its longevity and continued success. Leonhardt Manufacturing has consistently embraced cutting-edge technologies and approaches to remain at the forefront of the industry. With a focus on precision and quality, the company has integrated advanced bending and welding technology into its operations.

While innovation is essential, Leonhardt Manufacturing recognizes that its workforce is the bedrock upon which its success is built. To maintain its leadership position, the company invests heavily in workforce development, ensuring that a new generation of skilled tradespeople is well-prepared to meet the evolving demands of the industry and drive innovation forward.

To achieve this task, the company collaborates with its local Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, which contributes to Leonhardt’s paid training programs by offering classes attended by its 18 apprentices. These programs include high-end training in mechatronics; a four-year robotic welding course; two-year quality technician training; a five-year program for tool and die fabrication; and more.

In addition, the company collaborates with the Hanover, Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce on its workforce development initiatives. The company also works with local school faculties to raise awareness of the secure, well-paid futures people can build for themselves within these trades.

At home in a 95,000-square-foot facility in Hanover, Leonhardt Manufacturing has been in business for more than 50 years, at present serving clients largely east of the Mississippi. Next year will see the company welcoming new European customers, an event eagerly anticipated by the team at Leonhardt. With a team of around 102 keeping the company at the top of its game, its leadership says it could not be prouder of the daily professionalism and innovation this team brings to its work.

“We are a very strong team. We all support the core purpose of the company in terms of development and growing people in the trades,” says owner Craig Aiello, with genuine admiration for how the team drives the company’s tenets of continuous improvement, teamwork, and individual responsibility to learn and grow.

And to ensure that it employs only the best talent and people whose goals match its own, the company’s process of identifying the best-aligned individuals to hire is analytical and value-oriented.

The apprentice selection process is thorough, allowing prospective apprentices to job shadow before entering formal training. This provides them with a basic comprehension of each discipline and establishes a frame of reference to work from, ensuring that they feel a real commitment to the line of work they choose for themselves.

This is followed by an application process before training starts. “It’s very important to align the students’ interests; it is not just about giving people technical skills. With us, training in the trades is about the whole person,” says owner Craig Aiello.

Once the students complete a set number of training hours, a salary increase marks the achievement and brings students into line with professional earning scales. The support they enjoy does not end there, either. During the first 12 months, students benefit from additional training such as life coaching, guiding them in setting and achieving goals—personal as well as financial. Providing solid training in financial management skills like budgeting and planning, these programs are an invaluable launch pad as they set students up with invaluable life skills and crucial knowledge.

Aiello shares the success story of an impressive young man he is especially proud of. Joining the company and defying all the odds stacked against him, the young man traveled to Ohio to train in robotics, earning the highest marks in his class. With the support of a sterling supervisor committed to providing him with the guidance he needed to shine, he achieved what seemed, at first, impossible.

“This is our way of giving back to the community—helping these individuals gain skills. And then, if we don’t have a spot for them, they can get a job at another firm in search of talent,” Aiello adds.

In addition to its human resources, advanced technology rounds out the company’s offering. It recently invested in four state-of-the-art robotic welding modules to further support its training initiatives and continuous evolution, alongside improving its changeover speeds and increasing productivity.

The introduction of robotic welding modules has not only enhanced the consistency of the welding process but has also ignited enthusiasm among the workforce. “It has added consistency to our welding process. And the students are more excited to run a robot than hand-weld. It gets a lot of them excited,” says Dustin Lippy, Engineering Manager at Leonhardt Manufacturing. This enthusiasm is a testament to the company’s commitment to keeping its workforce engaged and motivated through technological advancements.

But it is not only on the training and technology front that the company has taken big strides. Leonhardt recently received Women in Manufacturing’s Pennsylvania Chapter status, an achievement everyone is proud of. “It’s been an awesome experience. Our workforce was fewer than eight percent women in the company before 2020. We’re up to around 36 percent now,” says Jennifer Dutko, Supply Chain Manager, of Leonhardt’s positive shift in female representation.

Furthermore, a focus on generating opportunities for professional development, continuing education, networking, and other beneficial activities has enabled women in the company to step up and honor one of its core values, namely taking personal responsibility. Dutko also recounts a surprising amount of interest from students of all genders at an industry expo the team attended not long ago.

Indeed, the company goes all out to ensure that all its staff members feel valued and invested in. Additional training is available to everyone, not just recruits and trainees. “Our leadership really makes you feel like you matter and that what you do makes a difference. We all care about each other and promote that teamwork core value,” Dutko says.

Lippy confirms the considerable level of investment the company has made in his career. “There are not many places where you can go and feel the team spirit like you do here,” he says.

Looking to the future, the company’s commitment to innovation remains unwavering. Its ability to adapt quickly and its focus on emerging markets, such as the electric vehicle sector, position it as a forward-thinking industry leader. Craig Aiello shares the company’s vision, stating, “How transportation will be happening in the future is our focus—from electric motorcycles to flying vehicles.”

In addition, the company is investing generously in data collection software, machine learning, additional sensors, and other leading technology to support its increasingly modern fabrication outfit. This commitment to staying at the technological forefront ensures that the company continues to deliver exceptional value to its customers.

As Leonhardt Manufacturing continues to innovate and invest in its workforce, it sets an inspiring example for the manufacturing sector, proving that excellence is not a destination but a continuous journey of growth and progress.

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