Happy Thanksgiving From Precision Plus

Precision Plus

It is hard to believe that we have just celebrated Veterans Day, and we now have Thanksgiving in our sights this week. This is one of my favorite holidays, for it brings back wonderful memories of my childhood. The cool crisp air outside, working up an appetite by splitting firewood for the day, and the smells emanating from the kitchen which fueled the anticipation of another masterpiece meal from Mom. It has always been far more about that meal itself; it was the comfort of being together with those closest in an unhurried, warm, and safe environment. Oh, those were the days. Yes, we were young, but it was also a different time, without the inundation of 24 hour news filled with terrible things occurring around the world. Ignorance is bliss – there is no truer statement. 

Home of the Free, Because of the Brave

Precision Plus

On Veterans Day, November 11, 2016, we honor all Americans who served to protect our country. Precision Plus is proud to employ veterans and support veteran organizations for their spirit and unwavering commitment to our great nation. We are proud of and thank the following team members for their service:

Shedding Some Light on Our LED Upgrade

Precision Plus

Precision Plus has steadily been making progress on the upgrade to the new LED light fixtures. Between his many other duties, Facilities Manager Neil Fleischhacker has been working on the installation. As of last week, he had installed 24 new LED fixtures and removed 46 metal halide and eight fluorescent fixtures.

Manufacturing Month Wrap-Up

Precision Plus

Where has the time gone? It seems like summer was just yesterday, and the students were headed back to class. It has been a whirlwind couple of months since the summer interns returned to school, and we have settled back into life without some very promising young adults and future manufacturing all stars. However, that does not mean we let up on our efforts to make a difference. I’ll do my best to summarize the events without getting too long winded.

IMTS 2016, held September 12th-18th at McCormick Place in Chicago, was a gem of a trade show. Mark Beilman, Director of Education & Training, helped take students and educators from five area high schools to the show over three days, filling a 55-passenger coach bus each day and logging 14-15 hour days.  Gateway Technical College also hosted two coaches of their own for their students and educators. While these were very long days for all involved, the reward was seeing the wide eyes of the participants, as they walked into and about the massive display of advanced manufacturing equipment and tooling. This show only occurs every other year so for those that missed it, start planning for Sept. 2018.

On October 2nd, the Elkhorn Area School District hosted their Open House to showcase the $20+ million renovations and upgrades. Specifically, I was interested in seeing what they had done with the high school’s Tech Ed wing, and I must say I was blown away. The commitment from the community, school leadership and staff is amazing. In my opinion, this is the first big step forward in the manufacturing renaissance within the local school district. The staff and students are pumped up about the investments in the technical fields, and we are excited to help show them an alternative, and rewarding, career path.  This could also be a perfect lead into the Gateway Technical College manufacturing program right here on the Elkhorn campus.

The seventh annual BizTimes Next Generation Manufacturing Summit was held at the Quad Graphics headquarters on October 6th. I was honored to be included on the panel that shared insight into the future of Wisconsin manufacturers, including both the threats and the opportunities that we all need to recognize and address. Given the very competitive environment for skilled trades, it was important to network with other manufacturers in hopes that, together, we can solve the skills gap we are faced with today.

Precision Plus held its own Open House on Saturday, October 8th, hosting over 70 members of the community in celebration of Manufacturing Day and Manufacturing Month. Inviting the community into our manufacturing facility was an opportunity to educate the public that the antiquated stereotype of our industry being dark, dirty, and dangerous is not valid. Our guests toured ten different clean and brightly-lit work stations where our expert team members demonstrated the skills required and the satisfaction they get from making really cool stuff. Next year, we may offer a virtual tour for those who cannot make it here themselves.

Five Precision Plus team members, myself included, attended the Henning Industrial Software User Conference October 9th – 12th.  We had the opportunity to learn how we can better utilize our software tools so that we may serve our customers and partners more effectively. This was a beneficial networking event where fellow manufacturers can share best practices.

Returning from the software conference on a west coast “red-eye” flight left very little time for rest before hosting 20 technical college educators from around the state to review the state of CNC machining, and what the future technology and skills requirements will be. Held October 13th, this was the first time the annual Wisconsin Technical College CNC State Meeting was held inside a manufacturing facility where attendees could tour, see, and speak directly with manufacturing professionals about their journey. The afternoon session moved to the Gateway Technical College, Elkhorn Campus where they toured the RPM Manufacturing Center and continued the discussion about how we, tech schools and manufacturers, can attract the best and brightest of the next generation. We must change the perception that technical education and working in a trade are second-tier choices. If that didn’t keep us busy enough, it was day two of our ISO audit, in addition to hosting one of our top customers/partners for a tour and business development discussions.

The Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) Scholarship Luncheon was held October 17th. I joined our four scholarship award recipients for lunch and presentations at MSOE. Amanda Mudlaff (2nd year), Brittany Campbell (3rd year), Carson Filko (3rd year) and Justin Pawlowski (2nd year) are great students and a pleasure to have working with us in the summer. Supporting them in their education and career exploration is important to us, and we look forward to helping them discover their passion and pursue their dreams, whether it be with Precision Plus or somewhere else.

The PMPA Annual meeting was held in hurricane-ravaged Hilton Head Island on October 21-25th. The conference kicked off with the preview of our trade association’s first video promoting manufacturing careers to students, educators, and parents. This video features our team making a critical component for a professional camera head used to capture very small, high speed objects like baseballs, golf balls, and such over long distances.  The video was shot at Precision Plus over two days, using 4k technology, featuring our team and technology. The public release will happen in the next few weeks and is currently on hold while Major League Baseball works out the legal matters of the licensing agreement for their footage. Stay tuned for the public release, and we hope you all can help us push this message out to every school, student, educator, and parent.  As for the conference and its speakers, it was good to hear from ITR Economics co-founder Brian Beaulieu, with an engaging insight to his economic projection for the next few years. I would love to share with all of you some of his material in my next note.

As we wrap up October, I can honestly say that I am happy to get back to the business of running a business. The very busy schedule of September and October tested my stamina but never my resolve to make a difference. Every engagement was meaningful, rewarding and, I hope, valuable to all that participated.

I could not be as engaged in these outside activities without a great team and family to help serve our partners and support each other. I am very grateful for them, and I look forward to returning to drive our business to even greater successes.

Now for the elephant in the room, known as the upcoming election. There are definitely tough choices all around, and all I can say is get out and vote. Many have gone before us to give us this right to elect our representatives, so let us not waste their sacrifices. I do wish we could get back to the principles of honest, and even spirited, debate of the issues, not the people. The personal attacks against one another are divisive, counter-productive, and have driven good people out of politics. Many that are well qualified to serve no longer wish to engage in this current state of chaos. Please let us find a way back to respectful debate of the issues at hand. We have much to address, and need to do so now, before it gets worse.




Michael J. Reader, President

Precision Plus, Inc.


Voting for Our Future: Career and Technical Education Referendums

Precision Plus

On November 8, voters in the Cherokee Trail High School district in Aurora, Colorado, will be voting on a potential $250 million bond, much of it earmarked for new career and innovation technology initiatives throughout the district. Back in 2012, voters had approved a $125 million bond question which led to major upgrades for this school’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) fabrication laboratory, affectionately known as the “Fab Lab.” The facility is very popular with students wanting to take advantage of 3D printers, precision mills, and laser engravers. The hands-on learning is helping a lot of students realize career aspirations while still in high school. The community is seeing the positive things that have happened since the 2012 vote, and many are eager to see that continue.

Investing in the Future Workforce – EAHS Technical Education

Precision Plus

In the spring of 2015, the community of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, was asked to vote on a school referendum to the tune of $20,420,000.  This was a serious decision for voters in the midst of much economic uncertainty, but the community responded with 62.8% of the votes in favor of the school investment that would update the infrastructure, most notably, the reinvestment in the Technical Education wing of the high school building.

Project Lead The Way State Conference

Precision Plus

The Wisconsin Project Lead The Way (PLTW) State Conference is a little over four weeks away. The event takes place November 15th and 16th at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. The mission of PLTW is “Preparing students for the global economy.”

Precision Plus Manufacturing Day Open House

Precision Plus

Precision Plus’ Manufacturing Day Open House 2016 was a huge success! On Saturday, October 8, nearly 70 guests came to visit and tour the facility. Visitors were greeted by a Parker Subsea Stab ROV connection which fits onto an oil well that sits on the bottom of the ocean and is used to transfer oil to the rigs. This is a truly remarkable engineering feat, and it was made with many Precision Plus parts. Guests then toured various departments of the plant with Precision Plus team members detailing their job responsibilities. It was a great way to learn up close how engineering is intertwined with the production departments to manufacture world class components for customers all over the world.

Welcome Precision Plus 2016-2017 Youth Apprentices and Interns

Precision Plus

Fall has arrived, and with it comes Precision Plus’s new crop of youth apprentices and interns. This is our fourth year sponsoring youth apprentices from local high schools, including three students from Elkhorn Area High School (EAHS) and two from East Troy High School (ETHS). We also have an intern from the new CNC program at Gateway Technical College’s (GTC) Elkhorn campus. We are very excited to have these new faces in the building, as they learn the details of manufacturing at Precision Plus. Please join us in welcoming the next generation of manufacturing professionals from Walworth County.

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