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Seegrid's business is booming, hiring 20-30 this year; Castle Co-Packers expands

Seegrid’s CEO Anthony Horbal can’t say enough about the company’s accelerating trajectory and commitment to Pittsburgh.
“In talking with friends in business, my observation is that the economy is far better in the U.S. than the media would lead us to believe,” says Horbal. “From Seegrid’s perspective, we have sold more machines this year than in the last two to three years combined.”
Horbal has been named CEO of the company, a developer and manufacturer of industrial forklifts; Scott Friedman, formerly CEO, has assumed the title of president. The company expects to add 20 to 30 people this year, bringing the total company to between 90 and 100 people. Seegrid is looking to hire electrical, mechanical and software engineers and plans to expand its sales force. Truck drivers are also in demand.
Driving growth is a partnership with Raymond Corp., a subsidiary of Toyota, and another European partner, two of the largest manufacturers worldwide of industrial trucks, tractors, forklifts and pallet jacks, machinery that is used indoors, often in warehouse settings.
The company also hopes to establish a presence in Asia and possibly China, but more hiring needs to take place first, Horbal says.  The company will be shipping to three continents out of Pittsburgh. 
Founded in 2003, Seegrid’s robotic technology was developed by Dr. Hans Moravec, a professor at CMU, considered a godfather of artificial intelligence.  The company remains committed to Pittsburgh.  
“The point is we have to do more to invest in ourselves globally here,” says Horbal. “We have to feed the fires that are burning in the local economy and keep the jobs here.”
The biggest challenge is finding enough good workers, he adds. It’s a systemic issue that goes back to how we educate students. To address this, Seegrid is supporting STEM (science, math, technology and engineering) curriculums in schools and has begun offering a scholarship to students pursuing an education in robotics.
In other business growth, Castle Co-Packers has purchased the former Le-Nature’s plant in Latrobe. The 230,000-square-foot, seven-acre property will be the company’s second beverage bottling plant. It recently expanded a similar-sized plant in New Kensington, said Brian Dworkin, president of Castle Co-Packers.
Castle Co-Packers, at 122 people, will add 10 to 15 new staff to Latrobe. The New Kensington plant will began making vintage sodas, including Boylan Birch Beer.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Anthony Horbal, Seegrid; Brian Dworkin, Castle Co-Packers 
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