Bruce & Merrilees, VEC go Penguin hunting for engineering talent

NECA-IBEW Electricians contractors Bruce & Merrilees and VEC know what they want in their workforce, and they both recognize those desired characteristics abound in the Mahoning Valley.

Both electrical contractors exhibited at a Youngstown State University career fair this week in search of new talent to fill engineering, IT and other positions.

New Castle, Pa., based Bruce & Merrilees, a third-generation family company with approximately 250 employees, was looking specifically for civil engineers and an intern for its safety department.

“There is so much opportunity in this area right now,” said Joe Smaldino, talent manager for Bruce & Merrilees. “We’re participating because we have a lot of YSU graduates at Bruce & Merrilees, and we’re always impressed with the student talent here.

BM ysu fair

Joe Smaldino from Bruce & Merrilees said at the YSU career fair that there’s both talent and opportunity in the Mahoning Valley.

“Some kids are being told they need to go away to school or move out of the area for a job, but we don’t see it that way. It’s just as good here, if not better, for young people because not only do we have career opportunities, but we have the family and cultural connections that many of us want to maintain.”

VEC, of Girard, has a host of openings published on its website, and company HR representatives Tricia Ferry and Lisa Durbin spoke to student candidates who stopped by its exhibit about the company’s culture and emphasis on values.

VEC ysu fair

Tricia Ferry (left) and Lisa Durbin from Girard construction firm VEC said their company leads with its core values when recruiting students because they want the candidates to feel a connection to who they want to work for.

“We like to support YSU, and between this event and the STEM career fair in the fall we get a chance to meet lots of great students,” Ferry said. “When we’re at events like this we promote our company’s core values – faith, family, community – because we want students who can identify with us as someone they’d like to work with.

The YSU event drew more than 100 exhibitors and expected to attract 500 students.