Raymond welder wins gold for 2nd consecutive year in global Toyota competition
The Raymond Corporation proudly announced that Jordan Taft, a welder at Raymond’s Greene, New York, facility, has won gold in the welding category of the international Toyota Material Handling Group (TMHG) Skills Competition and Chris Vrba, a welder at Raymond’s Muscatine, Iowa, facility, placed sixth among global contenders. Competitors from other members of the Toyota Industries family of companies based in China, France, Italy, Sweden and the United States were in attendance.
Taft’s win is a testament to Raymond’s centurylong reputation of dedication to honoring continuous improvement and prioritizing the professional development of its employees. The end-to-end solutions provider maintains a constant focus on delivering the utmost quality and works for continuous improvement in every aspect of its business, including ensuring employees have the tools to be successful in developing their skill sets.
“The Raymond Corporation heartily congratulates Jordan Taft on this prestigious achievement. The passion and dedication our welders such as Jordan Taft bring to the craft is inspiring and is a testament to the empowering culture we strive to cultivate at Raymond,” said Mike Field, president and CEO of The Raymond Corporation. “For an industry that touches almost everything, there will always be a need for skilled workers who provide essential services to help keep the supply chain moving. Our skilled team members are a major part of what has helped Raymond be a leader in the material handling industry for the past 100 years.”
The competition consists of welding a steel pressure vessel, which required performing tack welding, executing semiautomatic welding and finishing the vessel’s surface.
“It was an honor to represent Raymond in the competition and secure the gold,” Taft said. “I’m proud to work for a company that values the skilled trades, such as welding, and provides opportunities for skills advancement.”
Raymond’s internal welding competition began in 2015 with the goal of helping promote friendly competition and enhancing skills and knowledge among Raymond’s welding teams. Since then, Raymond welders have earned invitations to compete in the TMHG Skills Competition.
In the Assembly category of the global TMHG Skills Competition, assembler Jessica Vargus represented Raymond’s Muscatine facility and assembler Tom Morrison represented Raymond’s Greene facility. Vargus and Morrison performed well in the competition, taking fourth and fifth place, respectively.
“At Raymond, we are committed to providing opportunities for professional growth and career development,” said Tony Topencik, vice president of operations, quality, and environmental health and safety at The Raymond Corporation. “I am profoundly impressed by Raymond’s welders, who have consistently excelled in the TMHG Skills Competition. Jordan, Chris, Jessica, Tom and previous Raymond participants in the TMHG Skills Competition embody the unwavering dedication to enhancing their skills and motivating others within our organization to strive for continuous improvement and development. We are so proud of the performances from all the competitors proudly representing Raymond on this global stage.”
Taft has been invited back to Japan in March 2024 to compete against other gold-winning welders in the international Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO) Welding Skills Competition.