Lieberman touts plant as model

By Scott Whipple
Staff Writer

New Britian - Sen. Joseph Lieberman told Peter Paul Electronics employees the work they are doing "is probably larger than you realize," and that their company is a model for competing in the global marketplace.

"If we pool our resources, our innovation and our willingness to work hard, this country will be full of opportunities for future generations," he said.

The state's junior senator was in town Monday to tour a manufacturing plant that will benefit from the $500,000 federal grant to Central Connecticut State University's Institute of Technology and Business Development. The grant was reported last Thursday in the Herald.

Peter Paul Electronics on John Downey Drive manufactures solenoid valves for a variety of applications. It boasts a workforce of 125 and sells to Japan and China.

Company President Paul Mangiafico presented Lieberman with a Peter Paul Electronics T-shirt.

Lieberman told him he would wear it proudly and "bring a little of your Kaizen attitude back to the United States Senate."

Peter Paul used Kaizen and lean manufacturing methods to streamline operations and stay competitive in the global marketplace.

(Kaizen is a Japanese term that means continuous improvement: "Kai" means continuous; "zen" means improvement. Lean is a customer-driven, waste reduction manufacturing approach that improves workforce efficiency.)

During his plant tour, Lieberman stopped to talk with Mark Mangiafico.

Peter Paul's chief engineer told the senator that business was doing so well that it "spawned" a lean approach to get products out the door faster.

CCSU President Jack Miller said he was grateful to Lieberman and other members of the Connecticut delegation for working to support ITBD and its ongoing projects. Miller noted that one of the many Senate committes Lieberman serves on in is Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

"This partnership is an excellent example of the kind of work that can be done when the university, private industry, the state and federal government work together on a project," Miller said. "At Central, 94 percent of our students are from the state of Connecticut; our graduates stay in Connecticut and build the economy of this state."

Calling the $500,000 federal funding "critically important" to manufacturing, Miller cited the loss in sales this industry sector has suffered in the state. Central's president credited Rick Mullins, ITBD's managing director and his staff for their hard work. He also thanked Bernard Sweeney, district director of the Small Business Association in Hartford, for SBA's involvement.

Scott Whipple can be reached at swipple@newbritainherald.com or by calling (860-225-4601, ext 224.