Help Wanted: Innovar Systems Seeks Engineers

NORTH JACKSON, Ohio – Scott Yakubek of Innovar Systems Limited in North Jackson needs to hire electrical and software engineers, along with staff for the machine, panel and assembly shops. 

The vice president of digitalization at Innovar says a new college graduate could start at $60,000 as an electrical or software engineer, but experienced engineers could make $80,000 to $90,000.

Some work is field-based and employees might work 10- to 12-hour shifts six or seven days a week.

Office manager Kim Hoffman says Innovar provides health insurance with a 401(k) retirement plan, plus vision and dental plans.

Still, finding employees is an issue for the company, like many others around the country.

Innovar provides software and hardware that provides manufacturers process control under the registered brand Enforcer Smart Manufacturing. The company uses websites such as LinkedIn and Indeed to seek new employees. It also is in talks with Youngstown State University regarding an internship program.

Yakubek says the company typically has one intern per department. Before the pandemic, Innovar would set up a booth at job fairs at YSU and the University of Akron. With the pandemic, the events were held virtually.

“Getting back into the in-person meetings will be so much better,” Yakubek says.

Innovar has more than 2,000 projects in its portfolio, according to its website. Its systems are deployed in manufacturing industries such as automotive, aerospace, food, medical, metals and pharmaceutical.

The company is seeking more self-motivated employees.

“Our other engineers, they’ll help and they might mentor a little bit but they can’t do the work,” Yakubek says. “We’ve had some employees come in and need their hand held the whole way. That just doesn’t fit very well.”

Mechanical engineers handle design, detail machine parts and may do some sales concepts, while electrical and software engineers work on a variety of projects. But the main task for all is to write control codes – writing software in PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) or an embedded environment.

“For the most part, it’s intense engineering. So they’re working on the problem,” Yakubek says.

Innovar works for major circuit breaker manufacturers such as Siemens, Eaton and Square D, says the company’s president, John Frano. Degrees and high GPAs are important for younger employees but getting experienced workers is important, he says.

Frano, who employs 40 at the North Jackson site, says he wants a mixture of older and younger workers.

“We do work globally for a lot of big companies. So the expectation is that our engineers not only have a really good work ethic, but that they’re extremely talented,” Frano says.

“We’re not just trying to fill positions. We’re trying to fill positions with very qualified people,” he says.

Pictured: John Frano, Paul Graff and Scott Yakubek show Innovar Systems Limited’s Enforcer Smart Manufacturing machine that tests circuit breaker switches.