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John William’s Return 2 NWPA Story

Author: Jamie Heinrich

John Williams of Erie, Pennsylvania never wanted to leave the northwestern PA region. However, the lack of job opportunities in manufacturing drove Williams and his family away in 2013. Now, they’re back in the city and are ecstatic about their reunion.

Williams grew up in Erie County, a graduate of General McLane High School, then continued his education at Penn State Behrend where he graduated with a degree in Plastics Engineering Technology. He never really intended to leave Erie. However, in 2013, amidst uncertainties at the consulting firm he had been working at and with a young family at home, he found himself looking to expand his horizons.

“I learned really quickly that my skill set was extremely valuable; it’s just that there weren’t any companies in Erie at the time that required my skill set,” Williams said. Then he packed his family up and moved to the other corner of the state, accepting a position running a technology center for Sabic in Exton PA.

“We never really wanted to leave here (Erie), we did because of the job. It was one of those things where you just did it because you had to.”  Lancaster County was “quite nice” and the weather in the area was much nicer than in Erie. His salary provided for Williams’ family, and his wife Megan was able to fulfill her dream of becoming a stay-at-home mother. Their daughter Maddy began to grow up, his youngest Rose was born, yet they had no support system in that area. They found themselves back home in Erie often visiting family and friends. “It was always a struggle for the oldest (Maddy) to leave once we came back.” Labor Day weekend 2018, changed things for the family. They had been visiting Erie as usual when Williams drove by Plastikos, Inc.

“I was at my parent’s house and was searching on the internet and was wondering how the team was doing here. And I noticed they were expanding into [the] medical market.” After digging deeper, Williams found that Plastikos, Inc. was hiring for a job that was perfect for his specialty.  “I was pretty shocked if I’m quite honest.” He spoke with his wife and submitted an application at Plastikos. 

On Oct. 21, Williams started his new position at Plastikos, Inc. He now hopes to be able to train others at the company through new training programs. “My goal is to build my team’s strength by providing them with the same kind of training that I received, but we are doing it internally here.” 

It took some time to settle back into Erie county. Since returning the Williams family has lived in two houses in one year. The first was a small farm in Edinboro that he sold after the winter, then the Williams family moved into their Fairview home where they intend to stay for a while. Maddy has settled into Fairview School District and is loving her new school, Megan is still a stay-at-home mom and Rose just turned five. 

Williams doesn’t intend to take Erie for granted, the city is great for the Williams family, with all of the amenities that the city has to offer. Williams described how his family does not want to take it for granted. Look for him having morning breakfasts on the Pennisula, taking advantage of having local chocolatiers such as Stefanelli’s and Romolo’s nearby and enjoying town niches like pepperoni balls.

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