Rep. Mitchell tours Vlasic in Imlay City
IMLAY CITY — Rep. Paul Mitchell has been back home in Lapeer County while Congress has been on an Easter recess. He returns to Washington on Tuesday, but not before he spent several days last week criss-crossing the 10th Congressional District that includes Lapeer, Sanilac, St. Clair and Huron counties to visit with constituents and area manufacturers.
On Thursday, Mitchell, R-Dryden Township, visited a Lapeer Industries plant on John Conley Drive in Lapeer before he had lunch at the Sanctuary at Maple Vista senior living facility in Imlay City before taking a tour of the sprawling Vlasic pickle plant, also in Imlay City. Vlasic Foods, located on Blacks Corners Roads, is owned by New Jerseyheadquartered Pinnacle Foods.
Imlay City and Lapeer County are fortunate that Vlasic still calls the community home. Its certainty was in question in 2012 when Pinnacle announced plans to consolidate pickle-plant operations. The local plant remains after the company decided to close a facility in Delaware.
In a conversation with Vlasic managers following the tour, Mitchell said a common theme he’s heard from plant managers and businesspeople is the challenge to find qualified employees. “One of the things I will take back is the need to have a conversation with community colleges and the business community to see if we can find a way to offer the training to provide the skills employers are looking for,” said Mitchell, who was joined on the tour by Imlay City Mayor Walt Bargen.
Mitchell joined was impressed by the scale of the Vlasic Foods plant in the volume of raw materials it consumes every day and annually, as well as the employee staffing it takes to run a two-shift facility that produces every Vlasic Pickle product enjoyed by customers across the United States and Canada.
“Very impressive. It’s an incredible operation here,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell was elected to Congress last November. Incumbent Candice Miller did not seek re-election. Mitchell serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Education and the Workforce Committee, and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.