Currier Plastics Inc. employees have been working to get the new plastics lab at Cayuga Community College up and running. But they didn't expect the college to name it in honor of Raymond Currier, the company's founder.
“When they asked if they could name the lab in honor of my father, we were surprised,” said John Currier, his son and president of Auburn, N.Y.-based Currier Plastics.
He's sure his late father would appreciate the honor. Currier's father was a World War II fighter pilot who learned to be a draftsman under the GI Bill, worked at Auburn Plastics Inc. and started Currier when he was 59 years old.
Cayuga Community College held a grand opening of the 3,000-square-foot lab in Auburn on Jan. 7 as part of the college's new Advanced Manufacturing Institute. About 150 people attended the event.
John Currier said the idea for the program grew out a conversation with Carla DeShaw, dean of community education and workforce development at the school. Currier told DeShaw how he had to travel out of state to recruit qualified workers.
The school applied for funding in 2013 and then turned back to the company for help. The custom molder played a big role in helping build the lab. It sent over engineers and other workers to help set it up and build the curriculum. Currier employees Sriraj Patel and Dustin Dreese now teach, while four others are taking classes.
Currier said that it was a group effort — other companies pitched in as well. Currier also offered up an injection molding machine that was rebuilt as well as secondary equipment. Its suppliers also have either loaned or donated equipment.
The lab has two injection molding machines, robotics and other modern equipment.
Cayuga CC also recently received State University of New York System and state education approval for its first plastics technology and degree option program.
“The strong relationships and support between local plastic manufacturers and the college distinguish the AMI program offerings from other colleges in New York State. We are delighted with the continued support of the Currier family and industry partners for their contributions to this project,” said CCC President Brian Durant in a statement.