“What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®” Announces 2024 Lehigh Valley Awards

“What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®” Announces 2024 Lehigh Valley Awards
Online Votes Tally 274,867 and over 1,200 People Attended the
Event, Broadcast Live on WFMZ

Contact: Kim Plyler

 LEHIGH VALLEY, PA – MARCH 27, 2024 The Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) is proud to announce the award recipients for the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing® Lehigh Valley Student Video Contest awards, which featured 30 middle schools and manufacturers from Carbon, Lehigh, and Northampton counties. The ceremony was broadcast live on WFMZ, thanks to generous contributions from Air Products, Workforce Board Lehigh Valley, and WFMZ in partnership with Manufacturers Resource Center. Lehigh University’s Stabler Convocation and Events Center hosted the show and over 1,200 people attended the event, held Tuesday, March 26, 2024.

Over a three-day voting period, the contest, which featured two-minute videos produced by each student team, received 274,867 votes. The video with the most votes received the “Viewers Choice Award.” Student videos were also reviewed by a panel of judges for awards in 11 other categories, including Outstanding Videography and Outstanding Creativity. Four winning teams in the region will represent the Lehigh Valley at the annual statewide competition in May.

Preceding the main program, culinary arts programs from Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School, Career Institute of Technology, and Lehigh Career & Technical Institute hosted a dessert reception and Cupcake Competition, judged by Carlo’s Bakery and Northampton Community College Hartzell Hall. Water and candy were provided by Nestlé Waters and Just Born Quality Confections.

Photo of Karen Buck“As we reflect back over the last 11 years of What’s So Cool in the Lehigh Valley, it’s gratifying to see the growing talent and excitement of the students through their videos, as well as the enthusiasm from the community through voting and attendance,” said Karen Buck, Director, Workforce Initiatives at MRC. “This was a great contest year, and the hard work of the students, teachers and manufacturers is really evident. Being able to broadcast the awards event live, from a larger venue here at Lehigh University allows us to amplify the students’ efforts, as well as increase our impact in raising awareness about manufacturing career opportunities.”

The 2024 video contest award winners are:

  1. Outstanding Overall Program: Nazareth Area Middle School – KB Systems Inc.
  2. Outstanding Editing: Broughal Middle School – Weaver Popcorn Manufacturing
  3. Outstanding Creativity: LMMS – JULABO USA
  4. Outstanding Cool: East Hills Middle School – Freshpet, Inc.
  5. Outstanding Team Spirit: Saucon Valley Middle School – Human Active Technology
  6. Outstanding Educational Value: Wind Gap Middle School – ABEC
  7. Outstanding Videography: Bangor Area Middle School – C.F. Martin & Co., Inc.
  8. Viewers Choice: Northampton Area Middle School – Follett Products, LLC
  9. Outstanding Outreach Plan: Southern Lehigh Middle School – Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.
  10. Outstanding Career Pathway: Northeast Middle School – Bosch Rexroth Corporation
  11. Best Career & Technical Education Story: Lehighton Area Middle School – B.T.M. Incorporated
  12. Outstanding Brand Placement: South Mountain Middle School – Stanley Black & Decker

Visit WhatsSoCool.org for more information and resources. Follow us on social media @wscmlv.

This year’s educational media resources, GoPro Camera kits, professional media training, materials, and project costs were funded and made possible by the following:

Leadership Sponsors: Air Products, Lehigh University, and Workforce Board Lehigh Valley

Event Sponsors: ATAS International, Lutron Electronics Co., Inc., and PPL Electric Utilities

Platinum Sponsors: ABEC, BlueTriton Brands, B. Braun Medical Inc., CliftonLarsonAllen, Crayola, Embassy Bank, Follett Products LLC, Pocono Counties Workforce Development Area, Solar Technology Inc., Stanley Black & Decker, and Univest Financial

Networking Sponsor: Banyan Partners

Gold Sponsors: Aerotek, eMedia Works, EmpowerStar Enterprises, Fulton Bank, Gross McGinley, LLP, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, Lehigh Valley Plastics, M&T Bank, Mack Trucks, Miller-Keystone Blood Center, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., PNC, Precision Roll Grinders, Sahl Communications, Inc., Sharp Packaging, and Victaulic

Silver Sponsors: Allied Personnel, Bosch Rexroth Corporation, C.F. Martin & Co., Dynalene, Eastern Surfaces, FMI, Fromm Electric, HindlePower, HMK Insurance, JULABO USA, Just Born Quality Confections, Kitchen Magic, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Lehigh County, Northampton Community College, Penn State University Lehigh Valley Campus, Piramal Critical Care, Prototek, and PSECU

Bronze Sponsors: Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School, Carbon Career & Technical Institute, Carbon Chamber & Economic Development Corporation, Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit, Career Institute of Technology, County of Northampton, DaVinci Science Center, Lehigh Career & Technical Institute, and National Museum of Industrial History

Media Sponsors: 99.9 The Hawk, Adams Outdoor Advertising, Lehigh Valley Business Journal, WDIY, and WFMZ 69 News

Cupcake Competitors: Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School, Career Institute of Technology, and Lehigh Career & Technical Institute

Cupcake Judges: Carlo’s Bakery and Northampton Community College Hartzell Hall

Visit WhatsSoCool.org for more information and resources and follow on social media @wscmlv.

About “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®”
What's So Cool logo in purple and orangeDeveloped by Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC), the WSCM program is a video-based educational tool that increases awareness of career paths and technology in manufacturing through “peer marketing” (kids telling kids what’s so cool about manufacturing jobs). The contest is showcased on the What’s So Cool Website and shared nationally through the Manufacturing Institute and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership platforms. The Lehigh Valley contest has expanded across the Commonwealth and the country. The “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” comprehensive manufacturing video library was created by MRC and WSCM PA in 2020 and funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (PADCED). The interactive library of the who’s who in Pennsylvania manufacturing, garnered from the yearly regional contests, is intended to serve as an educational resource for anyone curious about manufacturing in Pennsylvania. The library can be accessed through the

WhatsSoCool.org website and contains 1128 student videos featuring over 600 Pennsylvania manufacturers.

This contest allows students to connect with local manufacturers, document their experiences, and present them in an educational and “cool” way. The contest was created to generate excitement that draws students towards manufacturing career paths, and CTC and STEM education. Original funding for “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” was furnished by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (PADCED).

About Manufacturers Resource Center: For 35 years, the Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) has helped small and mid-sized manufacturers become more competitive, adopt lean and agile processes, strategically grow their companies, and invest more effectively in their existing human capital. MRC is a nonprofit organization partially funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s NIST-MEP program and the State of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development. MRC is dedicated to creating jobs and economic opportunities in eastern Pennsylvania’s Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties. Learn more at www.mrcpa.org.

Kim I Plyler, CEO
+1 484-554-5582

Contact Us

Contact Us

Don’t see what you are looking for or have a question? MRC can help. Contact us today!

Training and Certifications

MRC provides far more than certifications and funding assistance. We offer job creators access to specialized coaching, mentorship and a variety of business and marketing assistance normally outside the reach of most manufacturers.


No matter what’s happening with your business, MRC has probably seen it. We know the problems that keep CEOs up at night, and we know how to help solve them. Our staff has more than 100 years of combined experience working side-by-side with business owners to evaluate, strategize, discover and implement solutions that address both strategic growth needs and organizational transformation.

Training & Events Calendar

MRC breaks down the barriers that prohibit manufacturers from realizing their full potential. Our proven tactics and methods can help nearly any company at nearly any stage of its evolution. Whatever the hurdle – going green, becoming lean, entering new markets, rebranding the company – MRC can help you clear it.

Workforce Initiatives

Developing Future Workforce with programs like: What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®, PA Dream Team, the Inside Manufacturing Series, and Manufacturing Day.


Through our partnerships, we are able to bring the horsepower of the best-in-breed experts to you. Imagine having access to the second-largest technology institute in the world, a corps of ex-Toyota executives trained under the best Lean practitioners in the world or world-renowned business strategy groups. MRC makes it possible.

About Us

For over 30 years, Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) has helped small and mid-sized manufacturers become more competitive, adopt lean and agile processes, strategically grow their companies and invest more effectively in their existing human capital.

My Account

Ready to complete your event registration? Need to confirm the date of a previous registration? Find all these details here or call us at (610) 628-4640 for additional assistance.