2017 Fluid Power Action Challenge

Precision Plus

The National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) recently held their 10th Annual Fluid Power Action Challenge at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). Through the Fluid Power Challenge, NFPA and MSOE hope to encourage students to select more mathematics and science courses in their high school curricula and to keep their options open for technology-based post-secondary studies. The Fluid Power Challenge consists of a Workshop Day and a Challenge Day.

Welcoming Foxconn to Wisconsin

Precision Plus

Overlooking Fortaleza Hall at S.C. Johnson headquarters.

Last Friday, November 10th, S.C. Johnson CEO Fisk Johnson and the S.C. Johnson team hosted the historic signing of the Foxconn Technology Group contract, bringing a projected $10 billion investment, 20 million + square feet, and up to 13,000 high tech jobs to southeastern Wisconsin. 

Manufacturing Month Wrap-Up

Precision Plus

For the past several years, October has been proclaimed Manufacturing Month by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). To help promote their mission to change the outdated perceptions of American Manufacturing, NAM has encouraged manufactures all over the country to open their doors, hosting tours and events for community members of all ages. While it is targeted as the first Friday in October, we like to say, “Every day is Manufacturing Day for Precision Plus.”

Veterans Day 2017

Precision Plus

This Saturday, November 11th, we recognize Veterans Day. Precision Plus is proud to employ veterans and support veteran organizations to thank them for their dedication to the values of honor, courage, and commitment. We are proud of and thank the following team members for their service:

Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin

Precision Plus

The Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin contest has become one of the most fun things about Manufacturing Month in Wisconsin. This year’s contest garnered nearly 200,000 votes — more than 10 times as many votes than WMC’s inaugural coolest thing contest, which crowned Harley-Davidson’s Milwaukee Eight Engine the winner last year.

GTC and Precision Plus at AACC Briefing in Washington, D.C.

Precision Plus

It’s been a busy month as we recognize Manufacturing Month during October. Last week’s theme for Manufacturing Month was High-Tech Manufacturing. Our high-tech industry has changed – and is still changing – by leaps and bounds in the last 20 to 40 years. Still, business owners find the demand for skilled workers in our industry is on the rise. We also continue to fight that outdated perception of the dark, dirty factory. While we modernize our facilities, discover innovative processes, and create new positions, we also depend on our partnerships with local educators to help us find and instruct the talent that will become the next generation of manufacturers.

Manufacturing Month: Women in Manufacturing

Precision Plus

Earlier this year, Girl Scouts of the USA introduced several new badges related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. Girl Scouts now have the opportunity to earn badges by creating algorithms, designing robots and racecars, trying their hand at engineering, and more. It’s one of the Girl Scout organization’s biggest badge rollouts in years, and it should prove to be an instrumental program that encourages girls to learn new skills and encourage their interest in STEM and careers in manufacturing.

Precision Plus’ Annual MFG Day Open House 2017

Precision Plus

In celebration of Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) 2017, Precision Plus invites the community to attend an open house on Saturday, October 7th, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This is a day to celebrate our industry, showcase modern manufacturing in action, promote career opportunities, and inspire the next generation of manufacturing professionals.

Checking in with EAHS SkillsUSA Team

Precision Plus

From left to right: Anthony Alagna, Nick Flock, Mike Reader, Cade Fink, Jack Flitcroft, Fred Ganter and Mark Beilman

This past spring, Mr. Fred Ganter of Elkhorn Area High School (EAHS), along with some of his SkillsUSA team members, made a presentation to Precision Plus requesting support to help them attend and compete at the National SkillsUSA competition June 19-23, in Louisville, Kentucky. Mike Reader committed to helping the team, and this week the group of high school seniors returned to accept the check, report back on the competition, and discuss their post-graduation goals. Also, to show their gratitude, the students presented Precision Plus with a branded cornhole game set they made in the recently upgraded EAHS Technical Education Department. 

Celebrating Our Workers on Labor Day 2017

Precision Plus

Summer – where has it gone, and how did I miss it?

It seems to me like we just celebrated Memorial Day, honoring our service men and woman. Now we are staring down at Labor Day, which confirms summer is officially over where I come from. Our interns have either left already, depending upon where they go to school, or will depart by the end of this week. We are sad to see them go after a great few months, but we wish them the best. Summer seems to go by in a blink of the eye. I hope you took the time during the warmer months to rest and relax and enjoy some fun with your loved ones. As we know all too well in the Midwest, WINTER IS COMING. While winter was fun as a kid, I do not enjoy it nearly as much in my adult years. Let’s hope fall sticks around long enough in between.

Labor Day is our holiday to celebrate all the working folks that contribute to the strength and well-being of our country. It’s even more important these days to not take these workers for granted, as the challenge grows for our industry to find enough skilled machinists, machine tool operators, or quality personnel. Perhaps this is partly due to our industry needing much more exciting and inspiring job titles. Applications Engineer and Production Technician sound so much better. We will continue in our journey to inspire the next generation and change the perception of what it really means to be part of advanced manufacturing.

The news of the possible locating of the much sought after Foxconn Technology Group $10 billion investment here in Southeastern Wisconsin and the approximately 13,000 jobs to be filled only sends shivers down my spine. Where will all these skilled and semi-skilled workers come from? Surely, Gateway Technical College and the team there will be working aggressively to train the prospective candidates, but where again will they come from? And what will this do for all the manufacturing businesses competing for the limited supply of employable candidates? The answer, my friends, is this: it will be a very competitive market for talent. This is simple Economics 101. Refer to the Supply and Demand curves below. The additional workforce/labor demands will shift D1 to D2 and drive wage inflation, giving the typical worker something to celebrate.


Parents, now is the time to talk with your children about career choices, as well as the costs to acquire the necessary education/skills and the benefits/rewards each career choice offers. I would be fairly certain that most trades offer some of the best ROI scenarios out there, and it will be that way for years to come. Look at all the unfilled positions in manufacturing, and then add in the unfilled positions in the construction trades such as electricians, carpenters, plumbers, HVAC, concrete finishers and so on. The skills gap can be felt in all those trades, and you can guess what happens when Foxconn ramps up. The same is true for auto mechanics. This vocational field also suffers from a lack of interested candidates, and this will only drive up wages there, as well. What will it take to inspire this next generation to explore and pursue the trades?

Here is what I do know.  There are many educational opportunities through area high schools, technical colleges, and even some universities, but even the best programs are suffering from lack of interest and enrollment. I have seen this firsthand, and I hear more of the same across other parts of the state. It is unfortunate that so many have labored to develop programs as the investments may fall victim to a lack of interest. The demand for talent is so high, and we really need for these programs to work. How do we ensure that success?

Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 7th as the Precision Plus team will again be hosting our Manufacturing Day Open House from 9:00am to 1:00pm. All are welcome, especially students, parents, and our educators. We would also like to encourage our elected officials to attend, so they can see what today’s advanced manufacturing looks like in Southeast Wisconsin. We had a great turn out last year, but we want to make it so much better. This year we have added the Job Fair and an opportunity to talk one on one with our team about what a manufacturing career could look like for you. Also back by popular demand will be the fun car collection, as we celebrate all things mechanical and the rewards that come from a manufacturing career. There will be food and refreshments, so this is a program the entire family can enjoy.

As we celebrate over the three-day weekend, make a point of thanking a machinist, a welder, and the other trades men and women for all the great things they make for us every day. Without them, we have no cars, airplanes, or oh my gosh, cell phones. (Note: I think they all come from overseas, but here too is an industry we need to reestablish in America once again). Let me start by thanking our entire team here at Precision Plus that help our customer/partners make some of the coolest stuff on the planet. Without you and your efforts and dedication, we could not make it happen. Spend Monday with family and friends, enjoy the good weather before it fades away, and I look forward to seeing you all next Tuesday.



Mike Reader, President

Precision Plus

P.S. Be sure to stop in at the Walworth County Fair. It is a great way to celebrate our agricultural heritage and all the good that comes from it.


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