Precision Plus is happy to introduce this summer’s group of interns. We look forward to working alongside this great group of students while giving them meaningful experiences and playing an active role in their hands-on education.
Precision Plus is happy to introduce this summer’s group of interns. We look forward to working alongside this great group of students while giving them meaningful experiences and playing an active role in their hands-on education.
Please join Precision Plus in welcoming our 2017 summer interns. We continue to have great success with our internship program, and we are excited to introduce to you this year’s outstanding group of individuals.
Justin Ferrari is a senior at Elkhorn Area High School (EAHS), and he has been with us this past year as a Youth Apprentice in machining. In July, he will be entering Gateway Technical College’s CNC High School Boot Camp program. Justin will return to Precision Plus in January for his mentorship in this program.
Tyler Daehn is a senior at EAHS and has been with us this past year as a Youth Apprentice in IT. He will continue in this capacity for the summer and has elected to pursue a second year apprenticeship with Precision Plus for the next school year.
Carson Filko is a senior at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. Carson is entering his fourth summer with us, and he will be working exclusively on projects led by our manufacturing engineer. Scheduled projects include incorporating our new Sawyer Robot onto our manufacturing floor and other process improvement projects.
Matt Dowell is a junior at UW-Platteville, pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. Matt is entering his fourth summer at Precision Plus, and along with Carson, will be exclusively working on projects led by our manufacturing engineer.
William Sanchez graduated from EAHS and spent the last year with Precision Plus as a Youth Apprentice. He will be joining us full time for the summer before he leaves for Blackhawk Technical College.
Alden Filko is a junior at MSOE, pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering. Alden is starting his fourth summer with us and will be working in the Miyano department. Although Alden is pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering, he says the hands-on experience at Precision Plus is very beneficial.
Rachel Hunter is a sophomore at MSOE, and she is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. Rachel is a Precision Plus scholarship recipient, and this is her first summer with us.
Max Rutowski is a sophomore at UW-Platteville, where he is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. This is Max’s first summer at Precision Plus. He is from the Greenfield, Wisconsin area, and he is excited to gain some quality machining experience.
Kathryn Lieffrig is a junior at Iowa State University, pursuing a degree in industrial engineering. Kathryn is spending her first summer at Precision Plus this year, and she is looking to gain valuable experience to bring back to the classroom.
Isaac Taylor is a senior at EAHS, and this is his first summer with us. He had such a positive experience taking the new machining and manufacturing classes at EAHS, and he is looking forward to expanding on what he has learned.
Jake Starr is a senior at East Troy High School. He spent the last year here as a Youth Apprentice in machining. He will be working full time in the CAM department, and plans to continue his second year as a Youth Apprentice next year.
We always look forward to the summer interns arriving, along with the fresh ideas and burst of energy they bring with them. From their experience, they will gain knowledge, develop skills, make connections, strengthen their resumes, and assess their interests and abilities.
Employers have much to gain from internship programs, as well. These programs are an excellent way for companies in our industry to accomplish tasks and projects that have been pushed aside for lack of time. Having interns at your place of business is also an ideal way to facilitate success in our industry, as we provide valuable training and mentorship for these students. We have learned over the years that good interns can turn out to be some of the best full time employees.
If your business is interested in learning more about youth apprenticeship and internship programs in Wisconsin, read more at https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/youthapprenticeship/ and http://wisconsinfastforward.com/pdf/icp_waw_wrapup_1702.pdf.
Mark Beilman, Director of Education & Training, and Barb Cates, HR Administrator, recently attended “Building Your Talent Pipeline Through Apprenticeship” at Blackhawk Technical College’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Milton, Wisconsin. The event included a presentation from Cindy Anderson & Tracy Jallah from the Wisconsin Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards.
Summer is coming to an end, and it is time for Precision Plus to say goodbye to our summer interns. Over the last few months, we have gotten to know these intelligent and talented students, as they received a real “hands-on” education. They now have the opportunity to apply what they have learned on the shop floor to what they are studying in school. Some interns will be returning to school, some will be graduating soon, and some will move onto other internships. No matter where they are headed, we feel fortunate that we were a part of their journey.
Mark Beilman, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus (PPI) recently visited three technical education classes at East Troy Middle School in East Troy, WI, at the request of Michael Mass, Technical Education Instructor.
Amanda Mudlaff is a freshman at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). Since 2014, she has served as a dedicated intern and an apprentice at Precision Plus (PPI) in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Her work is impeccable and her enthusiasm is contagious. She’s also an applied student who has earned a scholarship from PPI, with the possibility of it being renewed for the next three years. She will be back at Precision Plus for a short-term winter break internship when school is off.
Jordan Belanus, a senior at Elkhorn Area High School in Elkhorn, WI and Jake Sherwin, a senior at Big Foot High School in Walworth, WI, have joined Precision Plus’ Youth Apprentice Program.
Jordan Belanus began working as an Information Technology (IT) youth apprentice at Precision Plus (PPI) on November 9, 2015, reporting to Jeff Lemmermann, the company’s CIO and CFO. The IT apprenticeship adheres to the IT Skill Standards Checklist established by Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development.
Items on the checklist vary from soft skills such as communicating effectively and thinking critically, to job-specific skills such as upgrading an operating system or installing software. The checklist serves as a guideline to help the apprentice obtain designated competencies.
Jordan enjoys working on computers for friends and family, having developed an affinity for programming and networking. As an IT apprentice, he will also be putting those skills to work, performing back up operations, upgrading operating systems and installing software as needed. He will also assist to process employee IT help requests. As his internship progresses, Jordan should be able to perform certain tasks of his own volition, rather than being directed to do so.
In order to receive a certificate for his internship, Jordan must complete 450 total hours of work by August 2016. By state law, however, he cannot exceed 20 hours per week. He learned about PPI’s apprenticeship opportunity through his school’s career and technical education coordinator.
At Elkhorn Area High School, Jordan’s favorite subjects are algebra, physics and geometry. He plans to attend Gateway Technical College in the fall of 2016 and subsequently use its 2-plus-2 articulation agreements with the University of Wisconsin or with Milwaukee School of Engineering to continue his education in computer engineering.
In his spare time, Jordan enjoys playing video games, playing guitar, and practicing Tae Kwon Do, for which he holds a second-degree black belt.
The manufacturing apprenticeship follows the Skill Standards Checklist established by Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development for that purpose. The first part of the apprenticeship will include a general assessment of Jake’s math skills, micrometer and blueprint reading skills and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) interpretative skills.
After the first phase is completed, Jake will spend time with mentors from different departments to learn skills and applications from them first hand. Jake will be completing the core skills and machining unit of the Production Pathway of the Skill Standards Checklist. Mentors will sign off on the acquired competencies at the end of their mentoring.
The curriculum at PPI goes hand in hand, with Jake’s curriculum at Big Foot High School. Jake learned about the apprenticeship opportunity at Precision Plus when Mark Beilman spoke to his technical education class in September. Jake knows that he wants to work in the trades—most likely in construction—after his graduation. However, he enjoys the science and agriculture classes he is taking, as well as helping with his family’s farm. In addition, he works part-time at Heyer True Value Hardware Store in Walworth, Wisconsin, so he is keeping his options open. His apprenticeship will also require him to complete 450 hours by August 2016.
When time permits, Jake enjoys hunting and fishing, baseball, and playing bass guitar in a band.
Youth CNC Boot Camp Students
Two Gateway students, currently enrolled in Gateway Technical College (GTC)’s Elkhorn Campus Youth CNC Boot Camp have begun their job shadowing experience at Precision Plus, as part of their current semester requirements.
Monday through Friday, Elliot Salentine from East Troy High School and Cameron Bunne from Elkhorn High School attend high school in the morning, followed by classes and training at GTC from 12:30 until 4:30 in the afternoon. As they learn different processes and applications at school, a concurrent shadowing program lends them the opportunity to watch professionals performing those jobs. Each student spends one hour per week at PPI to meet those requirements.
Thus far, the students have shadowed Marty Baumgardner in the Quality Assurance Lab, Ryan Landreman and Brad Pearson on the Miyano platform, and Curtis Hibl in the CAM Department. The shadowing will continue on the Tornos platform, the Secondary Department, the Scheduling Department and, finally, the Shipping Department.
Elliot and Cameron will continue their high school/boot camp schedule until the spring semester begins on February 2, 2016. At that time, they will attend their high school classes in the mornings, but will participate in a mentoring program at Precision Plus in the afternoon, learning and working in different departments. The mentoring phase will end in May 2016. The students will receive high school and boot camp credits for their experience at the company.
Although the Youth CNC Boot Camp mentoring program is similar to the Youth Apprenticeship program already in place, possible modifications may be made based on the students’ incoming skill level.
Cameron and Elliot are members of the first Youth CNC Boot Camp to graduate from GTC’s Elkhorn Campus in Walworth County. The program had already been running successfully at GTC’s other two locations in Racine and Kenosha.
On Saturday, October 10, 2015, Brad Pearson attended Blackhawk Technical College’s Gala and Grand Opening of the school’s new “Advanced Manufacturing Training Center” in Milton, Wisconsin. He was there with his parents, Lori and Don Pearson, and Precision Plus’ Administrative Assistant Luann Dall and her husband Dan. Wisconsin’s Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch was the guest of honor at the function.
Brad is a straight A student at Blackhawk Technical College (BTC), where he is also the student representative for the CNC Technician Advisory Committee. In the afternoons, he drives from Milton to Precision Plus (PPI) in Elkhorn, where he works part-time.
On the night of the event, Lt. Governor Kleefisch approached Brad, and said, “I’ve heard about you and your story! Congratulations!”
As a youngster, Brad had always had an affinity for making things, building things, and working on things. He did well in school, and there was no question that after graduating from Elkhorn Area High School, he would probably enroll at U.W. Whitewater to pursue a business degree.
But for Brad, February 27, 2013, would prove to be a day filled with opportunities, as on that day, the First Manufacturing Career Panel would take place at Elkhorn Area High School (EAHS), organized by Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus and JoAnne Pella, CTE Coordinator at the school. Brad was one of nearly 180 students who came to the event to hear industry professionals talk about manufacturing and the highly rewarding careers available, especially for the younger generation.
Brad recalls, “I found Mike’s message amazing, and even thought I didn’t have a chance to meet him personally then, I talked with Mrs. Pella about my interest in meeting him. That request eventually resulted in youth apprenticeship at Precision Plus in the fall.”
Mike Reader recalls,
It must have been the spring of 2013, when Elkhorn High School CTE Coordinator JoAnne Pella sent me three candidates to interview for the Youth Apprenticeship program Precision Plus was about to launch.
Our directive to Mrs. Pella was clear: We were looking for the “best and brightest” of the next generation, including exceptional character and the willingness to commit to about 3 hours of daily time, starting at 6:30 am–which could be a difficult feat, taking into consideration high school schedules that are jam-packed with coursework, and extracurricular activities.
One of the candidates was a young man who although did not seem too enthusiastic during the initial interview, exuded with it the moment he stepped on the production floor. Yes, a light flickering in the eyes that proved we had now captured his attention. I replied to Mrs. Pella that while I had some early reservations about Brad, he had shown a lot of interest on the shop floor, and that we wanted to offer Brad the opportunity to work with us during his senior year.
Brad started out the 2013-2015 PPI Youth Apprenticeship with two other students—one also from EAHS, and the other from Lake Geneva High School. All three worked directly with Barry Butters, then Director of Education and Training, first covering all the basics in the classroom. This included basic blue print reading, understanding Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerances (GD&T), measurement equipment and techniques, and machine shop vocabulary—no, not the swear words, but the manufacturing lingo.
Each apprentice received clear instructions on how they would be introduced to all facets of manufacturing, and that while some activities would be extremely rewarding, others might challenge them with boredom through redundancy.
After completing classroom instruction, the apprentices worked in a variety of support roles, reinforcing what they had learned, while exercising both body and mind through hands-on activities. These included working in the Secondary Department, where parts receive additional processing; the Finishing Department, where parts are washed/polished; and the Quality Assurance Department, where parts are given a second inspection. Although sometimes tedious and/or boring, these experiences provide our apprentices with a foundation to draw from as they progressively move from basic platforms to much more complex responsibilities.
Once they had demonstrated an eye for detail and earned the confidence of their mentors, the apprentices were introduced to the Tornos Swiss-Screw machine platform, a mechanical machine used in the production of small, very close tolerance turned parts using custom-shaped cams mounted on a camshaft. Working on the machines helped the students understand the interaction between tools and material. Once confident on this platform, the apprentices moved through different CNC Swiss platforms, and eventually onto the Miyano CNC turret lathe machines, which can cost up to $600,000 when all tooled up. The students not only ran the machines, but also inspected them with different gauging equipment, made tooling offsets, and inserted changes.
We often refer to our apprenticeship program as “Karate Kid School,” as the apprentices must first learn all that it takes to get perfect product out the door for our customers. Some tasks may not be exciting, but every task is as important and it must be considered the most important task in the world. And every experience is a learning opportunity…even if just to learn why it is important to do it right the first time.
Over the course of the fall semester, Brad was learning quickly and embracing what manufacturing had to offer. He was particularly intrigued by the nuances and the challenges of the manufacturing process and the problem-solving skills required to bring the part from drawing to reality. “Just checking on a part’s tolerance,” mentions Brad, “requires problem-solving skills. If it’s off, I need to offset the problem by making the necessary adjustments.”
Brad was excited about manufacturing and regularly shared his excitement at home. However, there was obvious resistance from his parents, who did not believe manufacturing should be part of the options for Brad’s future.
However, at Mike Reader’s request, they agreed to come to the plant to see what Brad was learning as a youth apprentice. Brad’s parents and sister spent one and a half hours touring the plant, talking with Mike and Barry, observing the type of technology Brad was utilizing, and the skills and knowledge required to properly use the equipment. At the end of the tour, Brad’s parents understood what they saw was not “vintage” manufacturing, but 21st century technology, and have since become Brad’s greatest supporters in his decision to pursue a career in manufacturing.
Upon his high school graduation in the spring of 2014, Brad rolled into PPI’s summer internship program, where he continued his journey. “And it’s been a journey ever since,” reiterates Brad, “Precision Plus and manufacturing are very special to me. One day I may even want to have my own manufacturing business!”
As the beginning of the 2014-2015 academic year was approaching, Brad had to make a final decision as to his next step. He had three options: he could continue with his on-the-job training while working full time, he could enroll in a technical college to pursue a machining degree, or he could pursue a 4-year degree. “Barry and Mike took me around to different technical schools, but I fell in love with Blackhawk Technical College in Milton and with its state-of-the-art CNC training facilities.” And that was his final choice.
Between Brad, Barry and myself, we set a plan in place where Brad would take classes during the day and work about 4 hours in the evening to reinforce what he was learning in the classroom. We also had set up a reimbursement plan whereby we would refund him 100% for As, 50% for Bs and nothing for Cs. Some would say this is a tall order, but the goal is clear: We want to nurture the “best and brightest.” Average does not cut it these days.
Brad continued his school/work efforts through both the fall and spring semesters, and then brought his transcripts in for Barry and me to review. It was with great delight that we saw nothing but straight As in every class, both semesters. A check was drafted and presented to Brad for his full year tuition expenses. It was a great day for Precision Plus, Brad and his parents.
Brad is now in his third of the four-semester program and leading his class in all aspects. BTC and his instructors have done a great job furthering Brad’s education, while we reinforce and focus his energies on how both must go hand in hand. He is still considering his options for after graduation.
Brad is thoroughly enjoying his experience at Blackhawk Technical College, including being the liaison between his fellow students and the CNC Technician Advisory Committee, serving as a communication bridge between the two groups.
At Precision Plus, he currently operates a Miyano lathe and loves the process involved in solving problems. He thanks his mentors, Ryan Landreman, Sam Kirkland, Victor Moreno and Curt Hibl.
Whenever he can, Brad also shares his message with others as he promotes manufacturing as a career, and a not job. As a matter of fact, a year after he first heard Mike at EAHS, Brad talked about his manufacturing experience to 200 attendees at the Second Annual Manufacturing Career Panel. He has also talked to students at Delavan High School, has been to the Capitol, was interviewed by the Lake Geneva News, and by the office of Secretary Reggie Newson of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, just to name a few.
As far as the future is concerned, Brad will continue to look at all opportunities, but hone in on his own hope to make a difference and change the world. After all, he is a problem solver.
At Precision Plus, we are grateful for that snowy day in February of 2013, not only for Brad, but also for everyone who has shared in his enthusiasm for the industry ever since.
It is clear why so many people, including Lt. Governor Kleefisch, already know Brad Pearson, his story and his love for and commitment to manufacturing. And there is no question that given the opportunity to change the world, he will.
Once a year, Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) holds a career fair, which provides businesses a chance to meet qualified students face-to-face. In 2015, the fair took place on Friday, October 9th, at MSOE’s Kern Center. According to the organizers, the fair is “the perfect venue to gain exposure” for any company. MSOE is regarded as the fifth most innovative university in the Midwest, offering the twelfth best undergraduate engineering program in the U.S.
There is no wonder why more than 200 companies participate in the fair, looking to attract qualified individuals for internships or jobs. This is the second consecutive year for Precision Plus (PPI) to participate in the fair. Mark Beilman, Director of Education and Training for the company was at hand to talk to students about the company’s summer internship program, which provides practical experience and brings to life theories and processes learned in the classroom.
Four of Precision Plus’ 2015 summer interns (Britt Campbell, Carson Filko, Jessica Flock, and Amanda Mudlaff) are currently enrolled at MSOE. Some of PPI’s 2015 summer interns were featured in a video produced to celebrate Manufacturing Month by Wisconsin Manufacturing & Commerce. Precision Plus has also pledged two scholarships for incoming mechanical engineering freshman students who attend the school and participate in PPI’s summer internship program.
Last year’s MSOE Career Fair also presented an opportunity for Mike Reader, Jr., pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at MSOE, who after a four-year summer intern at Precision Plus looked for a chance to gain broader industry experience with a different company. In the summer of 2014, he and other PPI interns had taken a tour of Spring Grove, IL based Scot Forge, a company that is regarded as the industry leader in open die forging and rolled ring forging. Their products, quite the opposite of what he had experienced at PPI, are parts that could weigh as little as 100 pounds, or as much as 150,000 pounds—a considerable departure from Swiss precision machining.
Mike applied for a summer internship with Scot Forge as well as for a scholarship/internship opportunity. After several interviews, he was awarded one of eight 2015-2016 Peter I. Georgeson scholarships, and a 2015 summer internship.
At Scot Forge, Mike interned with a self-sufficient team consisting of a project group, an engineering group, a maintenance department, and a machine repair department where he spent most of his time. There, he worked with several different team members on a variety of assignments: from learning how to MIG weld, to welding new structures, working on big gearboxes, large servo motors, and transmissions, to realigning heads on turrets, working on the electrical cabinets of different machines, as well as on cooling systems with pumps, and much more.
Mike’s goal was to get hands-on floor experience, to observe successes and failures, but especially how failures can be reversed. Mike credits the ingenuity of his team members, typically with a farming or construction background, who always found a way to get things done.
Mike enjoyed interning at Scot Forge, an employee-owned company, where employees look to each other for solutions and take ownership of their work. He returned to MSOE in the fall.
In his spare time, Mike loves learning about cars and engines, and is currently fascinated with his 2004 VW Passat W8 motor—the way it’s configured, how the cylinders are arranged, and what makes it perform the way it does.
Mike will be graduating from MSOE in the spring of 2016, and his goals and aspirations are to enjoy what he is doing, while applying schooling and skills, and having fun along the way.
Several of Elkhorn, WI’s Precision Plus’s summer college or college-bound interns were recently interviewed to get their take on working at a 21st century high tech manufacturing facility. The video was produced by Wisconsin Manufacturing & Commerce, Wisconsin’s Chamber of Commerce, to celebrate Wisconsin Manufacturing Month.
Here are some of the comments from the interns:
Precision Plus is proud to have both internship and apprenticeship programs that connect millennials with manufacturing, providing hands-on experience that is bound to contribute to their future and the future of our country.