How Protolabs is Leading the Way in Digital Manufacturing

“Digital” may not be a word you associate with manufacturing. But for employees at modern manufacturing companies like Protolabs, it’s the core of their business.

Protolabs is a digital manufacturing company, using modern technology (like 3D printing) to manufacture prototypes and production parts that help people solve problems. That means, at Protolabs, technical skills and a passion for digital innovation are in high-demand.

“Because we are a high-tech manufacturer, we are hiring as many technical staffers as we can,” Protolabs Vice President of Human Resources Renee Conklin said earlier this year. Protolabs has hired nearly 2,000 new employees over the past five years – and they still need more.

They’ve hired employees like Meredith McLinn, who studied physics and computer science in college and now works as a Protolabs software developer.

“It feels nice to know I’m helping foster innovation,” McLinn said in a recent profile of her career. “We’re solving engineering problems in a way that no one else has.” One of her projects at Protolabs? A device that enables blind people to see with their tongue.

Modern manufacturers like Protolabs are increasingly relying on digital and technical innovation such as 3-D printing, artificial intelligence, big data and computer-aided design, and the industry is in need for curious, imaginative thinkers.

“We must show these workers the digital transformation that manufacturing is undergoing and the personally and financially rewarding careers that it’s creating as a result,” Protolabs CEO Vicki Holt wrote at the NAM last year.

Protolabs’ story is what the 2019 State of Manufacturing Tour is all about: creators are wanted in modern manufacturing.

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