Johnson Tours Trivium Packaging Plant

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – As the demand for sustainable containers grows, Trivium Packaging will need to expand its capacity in terms of its physical plant and employment, says plant manager Michael Wood.

Wood and other plant executives hosted U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-6, at the Trivium plant – formerly Exal Corp. – Thursday afternoon to highlight the need for additional workers to help the company meet demand for its products.

Trivium operates in the Performance Place industrial park near downtown. The company extrudes aluminum to manufacture packaging such as bottles and spray cans for the food, beverage and personal care products industries. Its customers include Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola and other Fortune Top 100 companies.

“Essentially, every store shelf in the United States has our packaging,” Wood said.

Johnson took a brief tour of the plant floor, which has 13 processing lines, Wood said. Metal slugs weighing approximately 34 grams are formed into containers and graphics are applied to them for customers. The plant produces approximately 1.2 million units per day.

The plant, which operates 24/7, maintained production throughout the pandemic, Wood said. Most of its approximately 300 employees have worked there for more than 15 years, and he expects to have about 40 openings this year.

Mechanical and printing skills are important for entry-level employees, Wood said. The company offers great wages, benefits and opportunity to “the younger generation,” he pointed out.

“We’re going to teach you. We’re going to take care of you. We’re going to challenge you,” he said.

Several companies could “learn a lesson” from the way Trivium and its management have “built a culture of taking care of their people,” Johnson said.

“There are companies that invest in the bottom line and there are companies that invest in their people,” Johnson said. “The companies that invest in their people, the bottom line follows.”

Although not presented with a specific task Thursday, Johnson acknowledged there are “lots of challenges” he could help Trivium resolve. Issues facing companies like Trivium include workforce shortages, inflation, the supply chain and access to raw materials. Tax code also changes could affect a company looking to pursue an expansion, the congressman said.

A lot of the problems related to the supply chain and inflation could be stopped if the United States stopped “putting so much cash into the system,” Johnson said. That devalues the dollar and drives inflation.

“But a big part of what’s driving inflation up is the cost of energy,” he continued. “We’re tamping down our ability to develop energy resources on public lands. We’re making it difficult to put pipelines in place here in America. And yet, we’re emboldening the Russians to build pipelines in Russia. When energy costs go up, think about what that does to an operation like this. A lot of energy goes into a manufacturing facility.”

In recent years, about $30 million has been spent upgrading Trivium Packaging and the plant manager said he anticipates similar spending in the next few years as it upgrades – and potentially expands – to meet demand.

“Our business is growing, People want sustainable packaging,” Wood said.

Pictured at top: Trivium Packaging plant manager Michael Wood takes U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson on a tour of the plant near downtown Youngstown.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.