Hobbs, who was not available Friday for comment, has held various senior leadership roles with manufacturers in Pennsylvania and beyond. He most recently was senior director of U.S. operations at SWM International in Alpharetta, Ga. He previously was general manager of the Diamonex Products Division of Morgan Technical Ceramics in Allentown.
Founded in 1988 as a subsidiary of Lehigh University, MRC is one of seven Industrial Resource Centers statewide. Its territory takes in the Lehigh Valley and Carbon, Berks and Schuylkill counties.
MRC years earlier moved off Lehigh’s Goodman Campus to Hanover Office Plaza on Marcon Boulevard in Hanover Township, Lehigh County. The new headquarters will be more centrally located, according to Pfunder, who became the second CEO 14 years ago, replacing Edith Ritter.
Pfunder, 71, said he plans to stay on through August and then will fill a board position that Ritter will vacate with her retirement in September.
Manufacturing ranks second, at $7.4 billion — or 18.4 percent ? of the Lehigh Valley’s overall $40.1 billion gross domestic product. GDP. And annual average wages across all manufacturing occupations is nearly $39,000, according to the latest talent supply study by the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp.
Besides helping manufacturers improve their operations with training opportunties and other programs, MRC has under Pfunder set as a priority recruiting the next generation of machinists, welders and others involved in manufacturing. Pfunder helped launch a school-based, student-video program “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?”
“We’re retiring and we have not done a good job filling the void, because manufacturing has changed so much,” he said.
MRC’s revenue comes from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and its training and other programs.
Manufacturers Resource Center is at 7200A Windsor Drive, Upper Macungie Township, near Interstate 78 and Route 100. Its telephone number remains the same: 610-628-4640.