Last Thursday, the Pittsburgh Technology Counsil’s onRAMP onLINE peer community for manufacturers featured Kurt Lesker IV, President and CEO of the Kurt J. Lesker Company. Kurt discussed how his company has been preparing for and dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic since January when their factory in China was affected.

Kurt shared some best practices with the peer group on what has worked for them. Communication has been key. From holding frequent management meetings on Microsoft Teams to sending out weekly updates to employees, they discuss their challenges but also celebrate the successes of their employees. Employee culture is what defines them as a great place to work.

Safety is key for employees of the Kurt J. Lesker Company. Their employees work from home when possible, but essential employees in the manufacturing facility have been reconfigured to ensure optimum safety. Numerous precautions to keep their employees safe have been implemented. These include the increase of the number of work shifts, the addition of 15-minute gaps between shifts, the increase of cleaning by professional crews and staff education, and the organization of employee into pods to easily track contact in the unfortunate event of an outbreak.

The way that sales and marketing is done has also changed. As most trade shows have been either canceled or postponed, they are creating ways to host their own trade shows for their numerous product lines. Their VP of Manufacturing has also been doing virtual tours of their facility for their customers and prospects. These times call for creative solutions.

Kurt also talked about some of the challenges that they are facing as a company and exchanged ideas and best practices with the onRAMP onLINE peer community. As we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers are facing unique challenges. The Pittsburgh Technology Council is serving the leaders of our region’s manufacturing firms through its newly launched peer discussion group. OnRAMP onLINE serves as a companion to the recently launched OnRAMP magazine, produced by the Pittsburgh Technology Council and Catalyst Connection.

Want to join us for a future call held on Thursday mornings? We have limited this group to leaders (or designates) from our manufacturing, robotics and related industries to keep our discussions relevant to the industry’s needs. Contact Monica Takacs at for more information.