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Top Seven Reasons to Work in Manufacturing

Here at American Phoenix, we feel an immense sense of pride for the work that is accomplished in our plants each day. We believe that manufacturing jobs are excellent opportunities to gain unique skills and knowledge about things that benefit your local economy and society as a whole. Check out this list of intriguing benefits that come along with working in the manufacturing industry.


“Performing manual labor with your hands is one of the most incredibly satisfying and positive things you can do.” 

Nick Offerman

Manufacturing careers typically offer continued opportunities for growth and development in constantly innovating sectors. They also often provide incredible benefits for those who perform them. Individuals who work in the industry consistently help support the economy as well as their local communities.

Here are some of our favorite reasons why we think manufacturing jobs are the best.

Supporting the Economy

According to a Deloitte study, approximately eighty percent of Americans believe that the manufacturing industry is critical to maintaining the country’s “economic prosperity, the standard of living, and national security.” These types of companies often provide the highest number of jobs and produce essential goods, encouraging the circulation of capital.

Gaining Niche Knowledge

Working in a manufacturing plant provides you with the opportunity to get an inside look into industries that others may not know much about. For example, staff members at API have a unique knowledge base related to rubber production and the creation of tires that most people use but are likely unfamiliar with how they are made.

Growing Your Career

While most individuals begin their manufacturing careers as rookies in the field, these types of jobs often provide excellent opportunities for growth. Many companies prefer to promote from within, which means that you would likely be able to advance into higher roles and learn more about specific departments or positions you are interested in.

Meeting Diverse Individuals

Another beauty of manufacturing jobs is that they are often an open opportunity for individuals from a variety of backgrounds. You may become friends with a coworker that shares similar interests as you or connect with someone interesting with who you may otherwise never have crossed paths.

Producing Essential Goods

Without the individuals who work in manufacturing plants, we would not have all of the goods we use each day. These types of laborers can often feel a rewarding sense of pride knowing that they help to make various essentials that are used by the majority of people in their community.

Seeing Tangible Results

In a manufacturing job, you are actively participating in the creation of products and materials each day. Because of this, it is often encouraging to be able to actually see the work that has been done and have a physical representation of your labor over time.

Keeping Yourself Active

Much of the work performed in these types of positions involve manual labor. Instead of sitting stationary at a desk all day, you are able to keep your body moving to help you stay physically fit and healthy.

At American Phoenix, Inc. we greatly appreciate the hard work and dedication our team puts forth each day to keep our plants running. If trying out a manufacturing job sounds like it could be the right fit for you, check out our careers page for current open opportunities.

For more articles From the Plant, check out our blog.


The Beauty Behind Blue-Collar Work

While blue-collar jobs may not always seem the most glamorous, they are the basis of what keeps life as we know it running each day. Check out this article to read about why working as a manual laborer can be an incredibly advantageous career path for dedicated individuals.


People with dirty jobs are happier than you think. As a group, they are the happiest people I know… These are balanced people who do unthinkable work. They have this amazing sort of symmetry to their life.” – Mike Rowe, Host of Discovery’s “Dirty Jobs”

While the thought of performing manual labor each day does not always appeal to everyone, blue-collar jobs provide excellent benefits to those who do them. This specific group of workers helps to keep our society running, leading them to feel a unique sense of pride and fulfillment while enhancing their mental and physical health. Could this type of work be a good fit for you?

Learning to Become a Pro

One advantage to blue-collar jobs is that learning a trade is often less expensive and time-consuming than getting an advanced degree. This benefit allows workers to quickly get started with their profession, earn an income and develop their unique skills.

In many industries, tradespeople can learn as they go while on the job and receive training directly from experienced professionals. Getting hands-on experience from the beginning often gives individuals a deeper understanding and appreciation of the process.

As a tradesperson continues in their position, they tend to keep learning and enhancing their skills. This may lead them to be able to take on larger, more complicated projects that are of interest to them. With time, they will become increasingly more capable and confident in their abilities and eventually be able to pass on their knowledge to others.

Solving Everyday Problems

Most blue-collar jobs stem from everyday needs within our society. Construction workers building homes and businesses. Electricians and plumbers fixing our appliances. The employees at American Phoenix help forge the rubber that creates the tires that keep our vehicles moving. The importance of these individuals’ trade is built right into the critical infrastructure of our society.

Because of the nature of these jobs, there will always be a need for someone to do them. Manual laborers in these types of positions are essential to sustain life as we know it each day. This means that they can typically feel high confidence about their job security as an essential worker.

Similarly, individuals who perform blue-collar work can feel significantly prideful about what they do because of the impact it has. In these types of jobs, it is often easy to physically see the work that has been accomplished each day and know that each moment spent on the job helped to complete a task crucial to daily life functions.

Strengthening Mental and Physical Health

There are also added health benefits that blue-collar jobs provide for those who perform them. When completing hands-on tasks, laborers often spend a lot of time moving around and getting functional exercise in the process. This can help to enhance physical strength and endurance.

Additionally, many manual laborers report lower levels of stress and anxiety than office jobs. This is an incredible benefit because it helps to reduce the chances of mental burnout that sometimes result from working in white-collar positions.

Blue-collar workers also tend to have a higher degree of job satisfaction. Because they can recognize their work as meaningful and often see results right away, they are likely to feel more fulfilled in their day-to-day lives.

Here at American Phoenix, Inc., we have an immense sense of pride in the quality work we do every day. If you are interested in a fulfilling position where you are able to consistently learn and grow, check out our current job opportunities.


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History of Manufacturing in Eau Claire

While API is currently one of the largest employers in Eau Claire and custom rubber mixing plants in America, the area has a long history of manufacturing spanning over a century before its founding. Check out this article to learn more about what products and companies came first.

According to the City of Eau Claire Economic Development Division, “Manufacturing employs about 10,000 people in Eau Claire and the sector contains some of the area’s largest employers.

American Phoenix, Inc. is proud to be one such employer that strives to honor the history of Eau Claire manufacturing in the work we do each day. To do this, we’ve taken a look back at how the area’s major industries evolved over time.

Sawdust City

In the second half of the 19th century, settlers arrived in the Eau Claire, Wisconsin area and started working in local sawmills as the lumber industry began to boom. The first mill was erected in 1846 and, after being destroyed by a flood and subsequently rebuilt, eventually became the host of Eau Claire Lumber company.

By 1890 there were more than 75 sawmills and factories in operation in the area, leading it to become the largest lumber-producing center in the world. This earned Eau Claire the nickname “Sawdust City”, which remained until the early 20th century when the lumber industry began to decrease.

The Rise of Rubber

As lumber production declined, the rubber industry started to gain traction. In 1916, Raymond Gillette founded Gillette Safety Tire Company in Eau Claire, which became a major manufacturer of automobile and bicycle tires alongside other rubber products. The company soon became the largest industrial employer in the city and one of the world’s leading producers of automobile tires.

A series of acquisitions took place in the following years, and the plant eventually became Uniroyal, Inc. (formerly U.S. Rubber) for approximately fifty years. It was then bought by Michelin in 1990, only to shut down just two years later and subsequently be purchased and renamed Banbury Place. Then, in 1992, American Phoenix, Inc. was founded, taking over a large manufacturing section of the property as well as the area’s tire production. Currently, the Eau Claire branch of API is one of the largest custom rubber mixing plants in America.

Diversifying Production

Today, Eau Claire hosts numerous other types of manufacturing companies such as Silver Spring Foods, the world’s largest grower and producer of horseradish; Nestle USA, which locally produces infant formula and a variety of nutritional products; Lippert, which manufactures and engineers highly-quality components for the RV, marine and automotive industries; Phillips Medisize, a medical device development company; Veritas Steel, a leading bridge fabricator.

Due to its well-diversified economy and growing population, it is likely that Eau Claire will continue to be a hotspot for a variety of manufacturers as demand in certain industries increases. Currently, 20% of businesses in the area are part of the manufacturing industry cluster.

If you’d like to be part of the manufacturing history of Eau Claire, visit our careers page to see our available opportunities.

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API Employee Spotlight: Josh J.

Josh has been on the team here at API for over five years so far. He credits this to a variety of factors, including a fascination with the rubber-making process, a variety of coworker personalities, and the pride that comes with taking on the challenge of working in the industry.

We sat down with a few of our outstanding employees at American Phoenix, Inc. to talk to them about their experiences here. In this edition we hear from Josh, an Inventory Control Specialist whose fascination with the rubber-making process has encouraged him to stay on our team for over five years so far.

New Challenges Everyday

Josh knows that working in the rubber industry is a unique job, and that’s what he likes about it. “I learn something new everyday. I like the challenges… It takes a certain person to be able to do [the work that we do].” The equipment utilized in the plant is not something most people have exposure to, and it takes a motivated individual to be able to take on the task. If you’re willing to keep learning about the rubber-making process, you’ll be able to get an in-depth knowledge about where the product comes from and where it goes.

A Job for Everybody

One of Josh’s favorite parts about working at API is the variety of personalities of all the individuals within the company. He says that you often get to know people who are different from those you might usually interact with. And, “what’s great about this place [is that] there’s a job for every type of personality here.” Whether you pride yourself on your strength, technical knowledge, or independence, you’re likely to find a position that caters to your individual skills.

Rubber-Maker Pride

When it comes to the type of work that is performed at API, Josh believes that they can feel good about it. Sometimes the work can be hard, the machines intimidating, the environment less-than-sparkling-clean, and the industry and processes a challenge to learn, but you get out what you put into it. When a great-quality product is sent through the door it is considered a job-well-done. He says that “there’s a pride here at American Phoenix… I think all the workers here feel that pride.”

Josh’s final piece of advice to someone who wants to be successful at API: “Ask a lot of questions and really pay attention to your surroundings… If you work really hard you’re gonna get rewarded.”

If a position at American Phoenix, Inc. sounds like the right fit for you, visit our careers page to see how you can join our team today.

To learn more about rubber-making and the pride that comes with working in the industry, check out our blog.

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API Employee Spotlight: Fawnna

Fawnna has been a dedicated team member here at API for over eight years. She loves the people she works with, the judgement-free environment, and the rewards she sees from each day’s hard work.

We sat down with a few of our outstanding employees at American Phoenix, Inc. to talk to them about their experiences here. In this edition, we hear from Fawnna, a Control Room Operator whose love for the people on her team at API has kept her going for over eight years.

Love the People

If there’s one thing that tops Fawnna’s list of why she keeps coming back to work at API each day, it’s the people. She cannot sing enough praises about the meaningful connections employees build with each other to provide support. “I love the people I work with. The management [is] easy to communicate with, and the people are just great.” Fawnna even inspired her brother, Josh, and nephew, Alex, to join the team and now gets to work alongside some of her family.

No Judgement Zone

Because the people she works with are so wonderful, Fawnna feels very comfortable coming to work each day and being able to be herself. From management down, she knows that she can talk about anything without judgement. She credits her position at API with helping her to continue growing in both her personal and professional life. “This place helped me build up from the bottom… I could come [in] without having any judgement or [being] looked down upon.”

Making it Right

Fawnna believes strongly in the value of hard work and is committed to putting her best foot forward in what she does each day. “I like competition and I want it to be right. So I work at making it that way.” She is a big proponent of following paths that will lead you towards your goals and is confident that API has helped her with that along the way. These ideas are often shared with her brother and nephew, who she encourages to constantly continue learning and growing.

Fawnna’s final piece of advice to someone who wants to be successful at API: “It’s easy. Show up, work hard, and just be yourself.”

If a position at American Phoenix, Inc. sounds like the right fit for you, visit our careers page to see how you can join our team today.

To learn more about rubber-making and the pride that comes with working in the industry, check out our blog.

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5 Quick Facts About the Rubber Manufacturing Industry

With so many common uses, you’d think most people would know a little bit more about rubber. If you don’t, that’s okay, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite quick facts about the industry just for you!

Rubber is used in more products than you may even realize. Aside from tires, there are also gloves, cookware, shoes, hoses, floor mats, and much, much more. Here at American Phoenix, we are pretty passionate about the stuff and love to share what we know. Here are a few facts about the rubber industry that may just surprise you.

Rubber Grows in Trees

Hevea brasiliensis (otherwise known as the Pará rubber tree) is a flowering plant native to South America that is the primary source of natural rubber. Similar to the process of gathering maple sap, the bark of these trees produces latex which can be collected through tapping.

Supply is Based on Plant Growth Cycle

After a rubber tree is first planted, it can take approximately five to six years for it to begin producing latex, and up to ten to reach a consistently high level. While the tree may be able to continue producing latex for up to thirty years, it is important to remember that the supply of natural rubber materials is, in fact, left mostly up to nature.

Higher Demand for Natural Rubber

Aside from tires, natural rubber is often preferred over synthetic due to its higher quality. Industrial Rubber Goods notes that “natural rubber is the preferred choice when making surgical gloves and drapes, contraceptives, shoe soles, nipples on baby bottles, rubber bands, [and] even carpet backing.”

Multi-Step Process

During manufacturing, rubber goes through an extensive process that turns it from its natural sticky and brittle form to be much more durable and useful. The main steps include masticating (being pressed by mechanical rollers), mixing in additional chemicals, calendaring (squishing into shape) or extrusion (squeezed through specially-shaped holes), and vulcanization (cooking with added sulfur).

Rubber can be Recycled

As a more eco-friendly solution to discarding material scaps, old rubber products (such as tires) can be recycled and reclaimed for new purposes. One popular use involves creating low-impact flooring for hospital floors, playgrounds, and athletic fields.

Did you learn something new today? We hope so! If you’d like to learn even more in-depth facts about the rubber industry, check out our careers page to join our knowledgeable team.