SWISS TURNED COMPONENTS | (262) 743-1700

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. 

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.

Does Political Action Make a Difference?

Michael Reader

On December 1 and 2, 2015, seven representatives from member companies of the Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) flew into Washington, DC to meet with congressional representatives, senators and committee staff to discuss the impact that inaction on the part of the U.S. Congress has had on the industry.

Education Update for December 2015

Michael Reader

East Troy Middle School Visits

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.

Welcome Ed Flores, CNC Operator

Michael Reader

Ed Flores joined Precision Plus (PPI) in November as a CNC Operator in the Miyano CNC turret lathe platform of the company’s Production Department.  He reports to Sam Kirkland, the Miyano Platform Supervisor.  Ed comes to PPI with five years’ CNC experience and in the near future, looks forward to continuing his education in pursuit of an associate’s degree in CNC technology.

How To Attract, Develop and Retain Our Future Workforce?

Michael Reader

On November 19, 2015, twenty-two Walworth County manufacturing business leaders held a roundtable meeting to discuss the possible creation of a manufacturing council dedicated to encourage, sustain and grow the manufacturing industry in Wisconsin’s Walworth County. According to a recent survey, the manufacturing sector provided 13.3% of all jobs in the county for the year 2013.

The breakfast meeting took place at Precision Plus (PPI) of Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Coffee, juice, water and light breakfast snacks were provided by First Business Bank.

Precision Plus Education Update for November of 2015

Michael Reader

For Mark Beilman, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus (PPI) in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, no two days are alike. Under the umbrella of his title, there is a wealth of responsibilities that include, among others,

  • Day-to-day management of PPI’s apprenticeship, mentoring and summer internship programs
  • Community and education outreach that communicates and brings awareness to careers in manufacturing
  • Participation in industry and commerce events to exchange ideas and knowledge with colleagues
  • Assisting in career development at any stage of the process

In November 2015, Mark Beilman represented Precision Plus at two career development events.

On November 4th, Beilman was a panelist at the Beloit Memorial High School Career Panel. Other panelists were Clint Wallisch of Corporate Contractors, Inc., Stephanie Leuder and Brandon Flexsenfar of Fairbanks Morse Engine, Vance Wilmovsky and Cory Brown of Scot Forge, and Joe Schwengels of JP Cullen.

The hour-long event was attended by about 70 students, and was organized by Lindsay Healless, Career Advocate for the school. Each panelist had the opportunity to introduce himself or herself, and give a short presentation about employability skills typically required by their companies.

The panelists spoke about the importance to “doing something you love.” Beilman added, “Never settle for second best.” Several panelists also discussed the benefits of “following one’s own passion” when determining what career to pursue, and let that be the guide to a choice of school and/or position that can nurture their passion. Following, students asked questions of the panelists, mostly about suggested educational paths.

Among the students, there was a variety of career aspirations, from becoming skilled tradesmen to becoming engineers. The panelists discussed options such as attending a 4-year school, getting a 2-year associates degree, or going into the skilled trades as an apprentice.

The panelists also reiterated the importance of developing employability skills—from showing up to work on time every day, to passing a drug test, writing a coherent resume, looking at the potential employer in the eye when speaking with them, doing their best in all their classes, and declaring their desire to succeed within the organization as a positive team member.

Career panels such as the one presented by Beloit Memorial High School open career possibilities for students, who can listen to and interact with employers and learn about the education and skills required to work at their type of businesses.

On November 12th and 13th, Mark Beilman participated in one-on-one employment mock interviews with two Occupations Program students at Elkhorn Area High School (EAHS).

Tristyn Nichols and Alexis Parise, both seniors at EAHS, practiced their skills for the mock interviews conducted by Beilman. Each took approximately 30 minutes, and was followed by a 15-minute immediate feedback session, not only assessing the interview, but also suggesting ways to improve their employability skills.


Both students were well prepared with resumes and cover letters. Tristyn was “interviewing” for a sales position at Polaris Snowmobiles, while Alexis was “interviewing” at a horse stable to work as a vet technician, horse groomer and animal care provider. Both asked pertinent questions and responded to questions posed by Beilman such as,

  • Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
  • What is your biggest accomplishment?
  • What is your biggest regret?
  • Explain a time when someone told you about correcting your behavior – what was the situation and how did you react?

For students looking for a summer job or a full-time job after school, Mark Beilman has the following recommendation: “Prepare and be yourself: you are selling yourself to the company as well as your skills. Be energetic and enthusiastic.”

For more information about these programs or other education and training initiatives and events, please contact Mark Beilman via email, or by phone at 262.743.1700.

 

Precision Plus Welcomes Two Youth Apprentices and Two Gateway Youth CNC Boot Camp Students

Michael Reader

Youth Apprentices

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.

Jake Sherwin began his manufacturing apprenticeship with PPI on November 2, 2015. He reports to Mark Beilman, Director of Education and Training.

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.

For more information about Precision Plus’ apprenticeship and mentoring programs, please contact Mark Beilman via email or by calling 262-743-1700.

 

FABTECH 2015 Highlights: The Show, GTC Student Wins Welding Competition, Customer/Partners Attending the Show Visit Precision Plus

Michael Reader

Representatives from companies from around the world come together once a year to attend FABTECH, North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing exposition, to see everything from the most basic metalworking machines to fringe of technology equipment, products and services.

In 2015, the event was held over four days (November 9-12) at Chicago’s McCormick Place, spread over 700,000 square feet, and welcomed over 40,000 attendees from more than 90 countries.

FABTECH was first held in Cleveland, Ohio in 1981 to showcase advances in technology. Over the years, it forged partnerships with five key trade associations: FMA (Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International), SME (formerly the Society of Manufacturing Engineers), AWS (American Welding Society), PMA (Precision Metalforming Association), and CCAI (Chemical Coaters Association International), resulting in a show that brings together buyers and sellers, and features the latest. FABTECH also offers industry-targeted education.

The show appeals to a vast audience representing the varied and diverse makeup of the manufacturing industry—from the smallest job shop to the largest Fortune 500 manufacturing—as both (and everyone in between) are looking for innovating solutions that could increase their competitive edge.

Live demonstrations, educational sessions, networking and even welding competitions take place over the 4-day event. This year, special event presentations were on point with technology trends and featured programs on additive manufacturing/3D printing, security risks, women in manufacturing, the significance of teamwork within successful organizations.

An always-favorite event is the welding competition, where talented welders compete for the “Best Welder in America” title. The participants were graded on speed and quality, while they demonstrated their skill by making a single-pass SMAW weld with an E7018 on low-carbon steel. First place and $2,500 were awarded to Aaron Oetken, a self-employed welder/fabricator from Iowa. Andrew Miller, a welding engineer at Caterpillar received $500.00 and the third place in the competition. It is worth noting, however, that the second place winner and recipient of $1,000.00 was Tommy Ruge, a student at Gateway Technical College (GTC) in Racine, Wisconsin. Congratulations to Tom, his instructors, and GTC.

Representatives from Precision Plus typically attend FABTECH, as do some of their customer/partners. This year, management team members from a distinguished customer/partner located in Costa Rica, paid a visit to Precision Plus in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, after the show.

On this occasion, the representatives from the company gave a presentation to the entire Precision Plus Team on their company and products. They also discussed the culture they have developed with their employees, their customers and their supply chain partners from whom they require parts that have tolerances as close as +/- 0.0002”, confirming that the final product is not just a mere object, but the result of creative solutions that are obtained through collaboration and dedicated relationships.

In 2016, FABTECH is scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 16-18, providing, once again a powerfully aligned hands-on, face-to-face business growth experience, featuring North America’s largest collaboration of technology, equipment and knowledge in the metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing industries.

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