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Raymond Hopp Award Finalists

Larry Taitel

Larry Taitel is president and co-owner of Convertech, a Wharton-based manufacturing company founded in 1978 by his parents to produce high-quality expanding air shafts and core chucks for other businesses in the converting industry, including OEMs, distributors and end users.

Growing up in the manufacturing industry, Taitel is dedicated to the business and the manufacturing industry at large, consistently doing whatever he can to better both. He and his employees are constantly collaborating to improve Convertech. Taitel is a strong advocate of education and often meets with students to teach them about the industry. Additionally, he is actively involved with the North Jersey Targeted Industry Partnership (TIP), whose goal is to develop entry level workers, increase qualified employees, and build manufacturing industry capacity. He regularly attends TIP’s quarterly meetings and leads its Evaluation/Industry Needs committee.

Jim Placa

Jim Placa is CEO of Davion Inc., North Brunswick, which he founded in 1987. Davion is one of the largest manufacturers of private-label personal care products in the US and Canada. Its clients are primarily major retail and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies, including Walmart, CVS, Walgreens and Kroger.

In addition to his devotion to his business and the industry as a member of the NJ Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) Made in NJ Program, the Private Label Manufacturers Association, and the Material Handling Society of New Jersey, Placa is known for his deep, often under-the-radar caring about his employees. He is a strong believer and supporter of continued education. In addition to general employee training programs, through Davion, he has financially supported several employees’ graduate degree studies, particularly in science, chemistry and management.

Lew Weiss
All Metals & Forge Group/ Manufacturing Talk Radio

Lew Weiss is president of All Metals & Forge Group (AM&FG) in Fairfield, a leading manufacturer of open die forgings and seamless roller rings. He is also host of the popular Manufacturing Talk Radio, a weekly one-hour program on manufacturing-related news and trends that are important to American manufacturers of all sizes.

Weiss launched Manufacturing Talk Radio in 2013. The program is available nationwide over the Internet, either live or as a podcast. Founded in 1972, AM&FG was one of the first companies in its industry to obtain an ISO Certificate of Registration. While quality is critical in the forging industry, AM&FG maintains one of the most stringent quality processes and standards in the industry to ensure that its customers receive the finest forged materials for their finish machining needs.


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