Chuck Gregory

Manufacturing is dead in Western Pennsylvania, right?

Not if you ask Chuck Gregory, president of Sony Technology Center-Pittsburgh.

Plenty of manufacturing jobs have moved out of the region, but that doesn’t mean modern manufacturing is impossible in what once was one of the world’s major manufacturing centers.

Gregory and his team have attracted millions of dollars in investment to the plant to build some of Sony Corp.’s most advanced TV products.

At the plant, skilled workers — 2,700 permanent and as many as 1,700 temporaries during peak periods — turn out large-screen plasma and LCD TVs and spend millions of dollars locally on components and materials.

Because the plant relies heavily on a large force of skilled labor, Gregory has been a vocal supporter of vocational education programs to train workers and of improved regional transportation systems to provide workers with the means to travel to available jobs. The company provides support for ongoing cooperative efforts with local schools by bringing in interns and students to perform manufacturing projects.

In manufacturing, says Gregory, you have to remain uncomfortable to avoid letting down your guard and losing a step to the competition. Perhaps other industries would do well by doing the same.

How to reach: Sony Inc,