Resources for Manufacturers During COVID-19 Crisis

How manufacturers can navigate the flood of messages and operate in these uncertain times.

MERS Coronavirus Particles“MERS Coronavirus Particles” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Governor Wolf has allowed manufacturers to continue operating here in Pennsylvania, which is a relief as many of us are integral parts of supply chains around the world. Here at Electro Soft, we have been practicing “social distancing” and smart cleaning measures around high-touch areas of the business. My company, in particular, has not yet had a disruption in supply from our distributors, so we are able to continue manufacturing electronics assemblies for our industrial and military clients.

“Look For the Helpers”
– Fred Rogers

What I have found as a new owner is the overwhelming flood of inbound messages and information from multiple sources. Every company has emailed a letter detailing their position on the virus and what they are doing, all in an effort to reassure its stakeholders. Every email and social media post emphasizes washing one’s hands. There is a race to provide thought leadership, yet not one person has been able to fully comprehend what we are going through and how best to move forward.

I remember reading a quote from Mr. Rogers that spoke to the fact that as a boy when everything around him seemed scary his mother told him to, “look for the helpers.” And that is what I thought I would do. Below, I have distilled a list of organizations that I feel have truly been helpers during this scary time of uncertainty. I hope they will be of use to you.


There is a lot of misinformation being spread. I found it best to go to solid sources for facts, not conjecture.

Montgomery County Business Resource
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)

CREATE A PLAN has some great tools/templates available. No need to reinvent the wheel.

Emergency Response Plan
Business Continuity Plan
OSHA COVID-19 Workplace Plan
Templates for Businesses That Remain Open


In my immediate area, I am associated with my county’s workforce development board as well as manufacturing industry professionals. We have been consistently sharing information and ideas since the pandemic started.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Manufacturing Alliance (SEPMA)
Manufacturing Alliance of Bucks and Montgomery Counties – I reached out to my fellow manufacturers to find temporary help to handle our new surge in business. Within 24-hours I had a highly-qualified, highly-recommended employee.


SBA Loan
Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund
IRS Tax Relief
Industrial Development Authority – Below-market interest rate loans
Facebook Grant – Not many details at this time. May be for other types of businesses.


PA Office of Unemployment Compensation
One Digital – Human Resource questions

If you know of any others, please let us know. I will do my best to update as the list of helpers grows.

Ling Retires After 26 Years at Electro Soft

Electro Soft Founder Jim Wallace with Ling on the day of her retirement.

The company recently celebrated the retirement of one of our best and longest employed staff members, Ling. A senior member of the cable assembly department, Ling was known for her attention to detail and her ability to assemble the most complicated cable assemblies for military and industrial clients.

Ling was known for keeping meticulous notes and making sure that she was clear on all instructions in order to meet the client’s needs. Sometimes, on the backs of drawings, you could see her notations in Chinese.

Ling kept neat and meticulous notes

Even her workstation was spotless.

Ling’s Workstation

Everyone was sad to see her go, but we were happy that she could spend her retirement spending time with her grandchildren. We wish Ling the best of luck in the future and to enjoy all that life has for her.

NEW Automated Optical Inspection at Electro Soft

New technology at Electro Soft

Manufacturing is constantly evolving. In order to stay competitive in a tight labor market manufacturers must look to technology to help maintain a cost advantage over its competition.

Electro Soft has added additional technology to the printed circuit board division. This Nordson Automated Optical Inspection machine will help increase throughput when it comes to inspection . According to Nordson, “AOI PCB systems are essential in PCB production because they perform fast, repeatable, and accurate inspections, find and identify defects before in-circuit or final testing, reduce production costs and improve quality.”

Our hope is that we can increase the high level of quality that we have been offering our customers and decrease our turn time on projects.

Electro Soft Executive Vice President Honored at Penn State Program

Karla Trotman, our executive vice president here at Electro Soft, Inc., was honored by Penn State University’s Smeal College of Business during its annual Alumni Society Board Awards Program on March 24.

electro soft Inc. Karla Trotman

Karla Trotman is pictured here with Jamie Campbell, Assistant Dean of Diversity Enhancement Programs at the Smeal College of Business.

Karla, who holds a master’s degree in business administration from Drexel University and a bachelor’s degree in business logistics from Penn State, was presented with the Alumni Diversity Award, which “recognizes a graduate who has demonstrated a commitment to the college’s goal of being a diverse and mutually supportive community that provides a climate of sensitivity, open-mindedness, and respect.” She was among four alumni and two students recognized at the 2017 Awards Program and Hammond Society Dinner at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.

Karla got her start at Electro Soft, Inc., back when she’d help her father, company founder Jim Wallace, by cutting wires in the family garage. Since then, she says, “I’ve worked at every building we’ve ever had.”

While she’s always worked at Electro Soft in some capacity, after graduating from Penn State in 1998, she further honed her business acumen by working at other companies, too.  At Ikea and The Gap, she held positions such as supply chain specialist and distribution supervisor.  “I was able to take that education and use it here as far as purchasing, supply chain, looking at ways to cut costs,” she says. “My passion has always been business.”

Electro Soft was founded in 1986 and is based in Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania. It’s one of the largest independent contract manufacturers for Circuit Boards and Wire Harnesses in its market area.

Penn State’s Smeal College of Business was founded in 1953. One Alumni Diversity Award is given each year. Nominations for the award are solicited from Smeal faculty, staff, student organizations, and current members of the Smeal Alumni Society.



Electronics Component Christmas Tree

Our office Christmas tree is up!  Last year we started adding electronics components to the tree to celebrate the work that we do.  This year we added even more – Bourns potentiometers, Weidmuller parts, hardware, Amp/Tyco lugs, 3M ribbon cable, Alpha wire and more.  The goal was to recycle and reuse parts in our stock, putting them to a better use, Christmas!

Recycled Electronics Components

Cable Assemblies



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