Shared from the 2/7/2019 Mon Valley Independent eEdition

World Kitchen outlines upgrade plans

Charleroi council heard from several plant and county officials during an agenda meeting Wednesday.

Charleroi council and Corelle Brands are hoping to continue a decades long tradition and partnership as the company plans to begin a $16 million facility upgrade this year.

During an agenda meeting Wednesday, Kerry Fox of the Redevelopment Authority of Washington County, Corelle Plant Manager John Lackovic and Human Resources Manager Donald Good outlined the project, which was announced in November after the World Kitchen facility received the Governor’s Award for Safety Excellence.

Supported in part by a $2.5 million grant from the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, the upgrades will help the company retain the existing 350 jobs at the plant and position the facility — which has produced Pyrex glassware for the past 70 years — for future growth and sustainability.

Lackovic explained to council that the plant’s furnaces are up for a rebuild this year.

But the multi-million dollar project is not only to rebuild, it will also modernize the facility, he said.

After the furnace is taken down, a new front end will be constructed for improved glass conditioning and wind control, which will increase quality and productivity.

Additionally, the project will replace two forming machines with a new state-of-the-art technology.

The glass delivery system will also be getting a new controls update, which is also top of the line, Lackovic said.

“All of this will give us a competitive advantage,” he said. “We are incorporating technologies that will allow the new furnace to last longer, which means we will have to put less money into the furnace, and will give us more opportunities in the future for other equipment in the plant.

“This is really vital to our business strategy going forward and we are really excited about it.”

Councilman Larry Celaschi thanked company representatives for continuing to improve something he is personally passionate about. “Corning is near and dear to my heart,” Celaschi said. “My grandfather was a glassblower there for over 50 years, so thank you for your commitment to Charleroi and providing family-sustaining jobs in the Mon Valley.”

Likewise, Lackovic said he feels a personal connection to the Valley, as he previously worked for U.S. Steel and currently works for Corelle.

“I think the Mon Valley has the best workforce around,” he said. “I love working with the people here and working in the Valley. It is actually a pleasure to represent the people and to be able to do projects like this.”

Good said the company is thankful to have stakeholders like the borough and surrounding community businesses who are supportive.

“If we are successful, they get to be successful,” Good said.

He referenced support from the town in 2015 when the company celebrated it’s 100th anniversary and borough council agreed to temporarily change Charleroi’s name for 90 days.

“That was phenomenal support from this council and we would like to keep that tradition going,” Good said. “We are blessed to be in Charleroi.”

Headquartered in Rosemont, Ill., Corelle Brands LLC and its affiliates manufacture and market products worldwide through a portfolio of well-recognized and respected brands, including the Pyrex, Corelle, Corning-Ware, Snapware, Chicago Cutlery and Olfa trademarks.

In total, Corelle Brands and its affiliates employ approximately 3,000 people and have major manufacturing and distribution operations in North America and the Asia-Pacific region.

Work on upgrades is expected to begin sometime this year.

(Watch our video from the council meeting on our website at www.

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