City of Phoenix’s very own local news channel, PHXTV, is running a television segment, Made In Phoenix, showcasing local manufacturing companies in the Valley. We were very fortunate to be asked to be the first company featured. Our Chief Executive Officer, Michele Clarke, shares with the News Reporter the Valley Forge & Bolt Mfg. Co. history, growth and the need for more skilled manufacturing employees. There is a hiring surge in the manufacturing industry. Check out our careers page or submit your resume to careers@vfbolts.com. Come work for one of the most rewarding industries, manufacturing. That’s not all – you’ll be working for the most innovative bolting companies around.


 


Every year manufacturers across the country celebrate Manufacturing Month. On Friday, October 5th, Valley Forge & Bolt Mfg. Co.  celebrated MFG Day as we welcomed students, teachers and the public into our bolt-making facility to showcase modern manufacturing technology and the lucrative careers this industry has to offer. Each group received an in-depth tour of engineering, advanced ERP System, large hot-headed forging, heat treat, roll threading, CNC machining and Load Verifying Technology departments.

As part of celebrating Manufacturing Month, Valley Forge & Bolt Mfg. Co. was featured on Fox 10 News in their MADE IN ARIZONA segment by reporter Christina Carilla. Watch the interview with our Chief Operating Officer, Bret Halley.

 



    

   

 


James Brooks joined Valley Forge earlier this year and has moved to Phoenix to head up our Engineering and Business Development areas.  An Engineering graduate from London U.K., James has lived and worked in the USA since 1995.  His expertise is in being solutions oriented leading companies in Aerospace, Powergen, Defense and Fastening, with over 10 years of experience in the critical bolting segment, working in operations, business development and global strategy.  We at Valley Forge are excited to have James on the team.

We recently spent some time with James and asked some important questions:

 

Why Valley Forge?

James: I have an opportunity to be a part of a company that is first in its field and is constantly innovating… that’s my kind of company, after all, who wants to follow when you can lead?

Valley Forge has reputation for service, quality and successful problem solving. It’s rare to find a fastener company with these qualities, coupled with in-house forging, heat treating and great vertical integration.

 

What is your plan?

James: The critical bolting world is changing.  For many years I have been involved heavily in educating several industries – in order to bring greater awareness to the benefits in safety, accuracy, reliability and maintainability through the adoption of bolted joint tension based tightening methods [versus torque].

Our future, and frankly our “today” in Engineering involves the support of existing Valley Forge technologies and the development of new products which continue to provide many industries with access to products which provide tension-based bolting advantages.

We have thousands of tension verifying bolts now installed worldwide, many of which are now coupled with our new generation of WiFi enabled remote tension sensors.

Significant efforts are being directed towards the expansion of our wireless bolt monitoring devices. We are working with a variety of wireless and internet communication technologies: all of which will provide an ability for bolted joints to be remotely monitored.

 

What Will Valley Forge Engineering look like going forward?”

James: Since the beginning of the year, we invested in growing our Engineering and Research Group.  With additional Electrical and Mechanical Bolting Specialists who are not only trained in design, but also problem solving. Our Engineers can help both from our Phoenix HQ and in the field. We will also have platforms on additional strategic international locations.


The month of October celebrates Manufacturing Month.  On Friday, October 6th, we celebrated MFG Day at Valley Forge.  We welcomed a variety of students and the public into the shop and had two tours of the facility.  Each group toured the VF shop and had the opportunity to explore and get an in depth view of our advanced ERP System, engineering, drafting and design, large hot-headed forging, heat treat, roll threading, CNC machining and Load Indicating Technology.  We also received a special visit from Todd Boppell, the COO of NAM (National Association of Manufacturers).  Todd helped us to communicate the reason for MFG Day across America, to help dispel the stigma of working in manufacturing.

ABC15 News reporter John Genovese stopped by, filmed one tour and did some great interviews in the shop.  VFB made the news program on Monday, October 9 with the story below.

 

By: John Genovese


PHOENIX – A Valley business is hoping to inspire the next generation of manufacturing workers.

“You can learn other skills and still be a valuable member of the community without having a college degree,” said Michele Clarke, CEO of Valley Forge & Bolt.

The company, which employs around 80 people and produces industrial fasteners that are shipped around the world, has been in the Phoenix-area since the 1970s.

“We make a quality product, and we stand by our product,” Clarke said.

Valley Forge is among thousands of manufacturing companies across the country offering tours this month to lure students and young people to the profession.

The National Association of Manufacturers estimates there are 500,000 open manufacturing positions in the U.S. By 2025; they anticipate an additional 3.5-million jobs will be available.

“Two-million of those are going to be unfilled if we don’t do something about the current skills gap that we have,” said NAM COO Todd Boppell.

Jose Molina, a student, was among those taking part in a tour at Valley Forge.

“There’s a lot more to it than meets the eye,” he said.

Clarke told ABC15 the business is now as much about technology as it is manual labor.
“The innovation that this country was created with can’t be lost,” she said.


Reprint courtesy of ABC15.  See more here.

  


Our very own Ron Clarke has received the distinguished honor of being recognized by the Industrial Fasteners Institute for the Soaring Eagle Technology Award for 2017.  He received his award at the latest IFI meeting in March.  Upon acceptance, Ron of course commended the entire team at Valley Forge for receiving this award, “It takes a team to receive this sort of recognition.  This award is for the entire company.”

We are extremely proud of our fearless leader for being such an innovator in the industry for over 4 decades.


“The IFI Soaring Eagle Technology Award recognizes individuals who have extensive experience in the industrial fastener industry who have made significant contributions to the technological advancement of the fastener industry.  Contributions may be through extensive work on fastener standards committees, the publication of widely acclaimed principles or documents and/or through the development of fastener related equipment products, or processes which have been widely acknowledged as advancements in fastener technology.”

As taken from www.indfast.org


Hedgerow Consulting is a British company representing Valley Forge & Bolt in Europe with Barry Thomas at the helm.  Barry serves as Valley Forge’s European Outlet and allows us to reach more customers across the pond and have more ability to solve bolting issues worldwide.

Barry has been bolting things together since 1972, when at 16 years old, he began a 5 year Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship – he has been in the Oil and Gas Industry since 1977, hence this is his 40th year of specific oil and gas industry experience. Since 1988 he has specialized in sales to oil, gas and petrochemical industries across the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors, specifically to senior levels of operators, and EPC companies at design, engineering and operational levels.  Whilst a large proportion and his experience is Oil and Gas he would be the first to say, “A bolted joint is a bolted joint whether metal to metal or with a gasket.”

In terms of Valley Forge’s patented load indicating fasteners, Barry’s experience in this specialty dates back to 1994.  Barry has travelled globally on behalf of Valley Forge, and over the last 20 years he has worked all seven continents from Brazil north to Alaska and south east to New South Wales, then north to Sakhalin Island. He certainly has some stories to tell, so much so his children refer to him as “Uncle Albert” after the famous character in the British comedy TV series “Only Fools and Horses” – though it’s unclear if Barry was on any ships when they sank?

Typical applications Barry has had involvement with are critical bolted joints whether mechanical, structural or pressure containment……

  • Static and or Rotating Equipment
  • Piping
  • Offshore Pedestal Cranes
  • Subsea
  • Wellheads
  • LNG

Barry does have considerable experience in other industries such as

  • Defence (Army and Navy)
  • PowerGeneration, Renewables, Conventional and Nuclear
  • Petrochemical
  • Bridges to Structures to Foundations and Monuments
  • Tower Cranes
  • Heavy Engineering to Marine to Paper and Pulp
  • Quarries to Civils to Mining
  • Railways to Flight Simulators

According to Barry, “load indicating bolting is an application rather than a commodity, therefore, we at Valley Forge pride ourselves in being both a bolt manufacturer and the technology leader.  By understanding what bolted joint problems our clients have, we can then understand how to solve the problem. Clients have problems we solve, BUT we need to know exactly what that problem is.  We also recognize a client’s need for us to be very adaptable.”  Successful solutions means clients improve their “Best Practice” and one immediate benefit of that is greater reliability which will free up man hours.