Precision Plus Attends Small Business Listening Session with Congressman Paul Ryan on March 20, 2014

Michael Reader

Congressman Paul Ryan listened to residents and answered constituent questions during a listening session for small business owners at the Monte Carlo in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Meetings like this help Paul stay in touch with those he represents in Washington while better understanding their needs and concerns as he drafts and votes on legislation in Congress. Barry Butters the Director of Education and Training attended the session.

Paul Ryan serves As the Congressman for Wisconsin’s 1st District.

Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker Proclaims March 10-15, 2014 “Celebration of STEM Education Week”

Michael Reader

Education and manufacturing leaders throughout the State of Wisconsin, understand the importance that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) have on the future success of education.

Project Lead The Way Wisconsin (PLTW) is STEM-driven, state-wide organization, whose vision is “to ignite the spark of American ingenuity, creativity, and imagination within all our students.”  Their mission statement reads:  “PLTW’s mission is to ensure that America succeeds in the increasingly high-tech and high-skill global economy, by partnering with middle schools and high schools to prepare students to become the most innovative and productive in the world.”

Incessant work by PLTW leaders has put this organization at the forefront of education efforts.  Many internship and apprenticeship programs (including Precision Plus’) require that prospective interns and apprentices have taken, at minimum, the PLTW’s course entitled “Introduction to Engineering Design.”

Barry Butters, Director of Education & Training at Precision Plus, adds: “We find that students who have gone through the class, come prepared for the internship experience, having learned problem-solving skills, and having had hands-on training on the Inventor 3D CAD Software program.”

Precision Plus is an active supporter of PLTW, and was recognized  for their education intiatives during  PLTW’s latest conference.  Precision Plus congratulates all who participate in this movement on a well-deserved proclamation!

On March 14, 2014, Precision Plus will participate at the Capitol’s Rotunda in Madison alongside PLTW educators and students.

Veterans Are Key to Our Country’s Future Success

Michael Reader

1918. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice between the Allied Nations and Germany came into effect, ending WWI. Exactly a year later, President Wilson proclaimed that November 11th should be proclaimed as “Veterans Day” from that day on.

In reality, counting from the Revolutionary War that spanned from 1775 to 1783, there have been more than one hundred wars in which the U.S. has been involved, meaning that there have been more than 100 wars from which there are veterans.

Precision Plus has always been aware of the sacrifice veterans have made for our country. Not too long ago, VetsRoll came to our attention. VetsRoll is an organization that sprouted in South Beloit, IL, with the sole mission to “provide safe ground transportation and an enjoyable experience for WWI, Korean War veterans, and all the Rosies from the ‘Rosie the Riveter’ movement” to visit the Washington, DC memorials and tributes for their service. We are losing veterans of that era at the rate of 900 to 1000 a day. VetsRoll hopes to provide these veterans with that opportunity. We, at Precision Plus, support their mission.

Decades ago, most veterans were able to incorporate back into the workforce. However, in recent years, a ‘knowledge validity shift’ has positioned many veterans in work limbo. Volunteering for their country at 18, many have not had a chance to receive a college degree. In addition, many ‘hands-on’ veterans who have worked on processes and equipment have the skills, but not the diploma that would put a stamp on their knowledge tract.

Last year, Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus, had the honor of meeting veteran Hernán Luis y Prado, who is making a difference in this arena. Hernán is the founder of “Workshops for Warriors,” an organization that helps returning veterans return to civilian life with valuable skills so needed in today’s market. Workshops for Warriors — a San Diego-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to training, certifying, and placing veterans in manufacturing careers.
“I had the privilege to tour the Workshops for Warriors facility, and meet the many men and women who have given everything for our country,” said Reader, “but who are striving to learn new technical skills in order to integrate back into the community, and make a difference.” We also support their cause.

Closer to home, we are proud that one out of three of the most recent hires at Precision Plus are U.S. Veterans. Their focus and discipline has played an integral part in their success.  Join us in recognizing:

• Anthony Anzalone , Army
• Michael Brown, Marines
• Angel Cabrera , Army
• John Espinoza, Marines
• Dave Lee, Marines
• Adam Rosseland, Army
• Neil Fleischhacker, Army
• Jim Hagar, Army
• Kevin Wilson, Navy

All the above Precision Plus family members have many character traits in common, including the honor to have served our country. Fortunately, we are blessed to have them as part of the Precision Plus Team!

Over the years, actor Gary Sinise has become a spokesperson for veterans. Recently, as an active supporter of “Get Skills to Work,” an organization that hopes to match 100,000 veterans with high skilled jobs by 2015, he supports the training of veterans to help close the current manufacturing skills gap.

At Precision Plus, we appreciate our veterans, their service for our country, and encourage and support their involvement in manufacturing. Their commitment to our country is beyond boundaries.

Beloit Memorial High School in Wisconsin at the Forefront of Technical Education

Michael Reader

On January 28, 2014, Barry Butters, Precision Plus’ Director of Education and Community Outreach and Mike Reader, President, presented a monetary contribution to Beloit Memorial High School’s Project Lead The Way (PLTW)’s Leader Tammy Spoerk, who teaches engineering and STEM classes at the school.

Both Mike Reader and Barry Butters were highly impressed with the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program and Curriculum at Beloit Memorial High School, which has been under the tutelage of Ryan Rewey, Director of Career & Technical Education, since June of 2013.

Following a facility tour on January 7th, Barry Butters commended BMHS for their vision.  Mike Reader added, “Barry and I have toured a lot of educational facilities, high schools, tech colleges, universities, and this is—by far—the best (CNC) training facility we have seen, hands down.”

The video below features Precision Plus’ presentation, and a detailed recap of BMSH’s Career and Technical Education program’s endeavors to the school’s Board of Directors.

Click here to see a short version of Mike Reader’s and Barry Butters’ presentation.

Precision Plus is proud to support the efforts of Beloit Memorial High School’s teachers and students.

Community Involvement is One of Precision Plus’s Pillars of Business Strength

Michael Reader

By Barry Butters

As a company, Precision Plus maintains multiple metrics to measure our progress. These metrics are generally comparisons of where we are today compared to where we were last year, last month, and perhaps even yesterday. As anyone who sets goals knows, it’s the process of always chasing the elusive next level that leads us forward. However, when the dust settles and there is that moment of clarity for the big picture, one asks, “Is there more to life than business?” The Reader family, who has owned Precision Plus Inc. since 1988, keeps that big picture in focus and has generously supported the local community and organizations that serve, protect and care for us in times of need.

“Contributing positively to our community and environment” is one tenant of the pillar of Integrity that Precision Plus has built into its business vision. The company gifts monies to a number of organizations that serve and protect: Elkhorn Fire Department, the National Fire Safety Council, and the Sharon American Legion. Adding to that list, Mike Reader is leading a campaign through the PMPA to support a group called “Workshop for Warriors,” which is a non-profit organization dedicated to training, certifying, and placing veterans in manufacturing careers.

Support from Precision Plus extends especially deep into the education community, adding financial support to its ongoing efforts to educate the area’s best and brightest students on careers in manufacturing. Among the organizations that have received this support:

  • The 4-H of Walworth County
  • The E-TECH Club of Elkhorn Area High School, a group of high school and middle school students who participate in First Robotics and promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiatives in the younger grades.
  • Beloit Memorial High School’s group, similar to E-TECH that is involved in establishing a local FIRST Robotics Community in the Beloit School District
  • Wisconsin Project Lead the Way (PLTW) –  Precision Plus was a lead sponsor for the PLTW State Teachers Conference held in Pewaukee on December 9th. At the conference, Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch addressed the state’s PLTW teachers who are working in conjunction with the PLTW program through the Milwaukee School of Engineering to stimulate interest in careers in engineering in Wisconsin’s youth.

The Readers have also supported organizations that advance the treatment, prevention and search for a cure to cancer related illness. They generously support U.W Carbone Cancer Center and the H Foundation,  as well as the MCGMO Golf Outing for cancer prevention.

What is clear from these efforts is that Precision Plus pays attention to more than just its own bottom line. The Reader Family, the company, and its employees are committed to improving the metrics of the community.


Precision Plus Spotlighted During the Project Lead The Way’s Wisconsin Professional Development Conference

Michael Reader

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is much more than a slogan to companies involved in trying to find new talent.  It exemplifies one of the premier programs in providing educational curricular programs to schools across the United States with over 5,000 schools nationwide participating in the movement.

PLTW’s focus is on science is on STEM–technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM education is at the heart of today’s high-tech, high-skill global economy.  In a typical year, over 3,000 high-school and middle-school teachers and counselors are trained through the PLTW programs, and PLTW-Wisconsin ranks second among all states, with over 60 new Wisconsin schools joining PLTW in 2013.

Precision Plus helped sponsor the 2013 PLTW – Wisconsin Professional Development Conference held at the Country Springs Hotel and Convention Center on December 9th & 10th .  President Mike Reader, and Director of Education and Outreach, Barry Butters were in attendance for the opening night dinner and keynote speech by Lieutenant Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch.

Not only did Mike and Barry find themselves at the same dinner table as the Lt. Governor and Milwaukee School of Engineering President, Dr. Hermann Viets, but were both deeply humbled to hear the Precision Plus name prominently mentioned in the keynote address, with reference to setting the foundations for economic development in our State.

Specifically, Lt. Governor Kleefisch referred to the ongoing efforts of Precision Plus in helping with education and training efforts throughout the community.  Internships, participation in the Wisconsin Aerospace Consortium, activities for Wisconsin Manufacturing Day, and an active role with local school programs have all helped to put the company at the forefront of developing the next generation of manufacturers.

Precision Plus supports  PLTW Wisconsin and works with the organization to bring STEM to the front burner. The Lt. Governor’s comments reiterated the values for which Precision Plus stands.  Two of our pillars of business are ‘Integrity and Empowerment.’ Being a valuable member of the community is one of the values of our ‘Pillar of Integrity.’  Providing training opportunities to our current and future employees, fuels our ‘Pillar of Empowerment.’

In as much as we are thankful for the recognition, we know that our efforts to bring manufacturing back to the United States are just at the beginning stages.

The M7 Continue to Drive Economic Growth Through Its ‘Choose Milwaukee’ Initiatives

Michael Reader

Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha Counties came together in 2005 in order to create a regional cooperative economic development platform with the sole mission to attract, retain and grow diverse business and talent in southeastern Wisconsin.  This initiative is known as  Milwaukee7’s ‘Choose Milwaukee‘.

In the 8 years since its launch, this collaborative initiative has been credited with bringing 10,000 jobs to the region with over $500 million in payroll and over $700 million in capital investment. According to Milwaukee Business News, “The M7 has also leveraged millions of dollars in federal earmarks, state assistance and other municipal investments for business projects.”

This year’s Milwaukee7 Council meeting took place on November 5, 2013, at the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) and featured the following keynote speakers on current initiatives:

  • Paul Byrne of Modine Manufacturing who spoke about exports;
  •  Julia Taylor of the Greater Milwaukee Committee whose subject was ingenuity and entrepreneurship;
  • David Mitchell of Monarch Corp., who spoke about manufacturing career awareness and training programs; and
  • Giacomo Fallucca of Palermo Villa and FaB Milwaukee, who promoted food and beverage manufacturing.

The M7 has published a detailed program outlining the topics covered during the council meeting.   Their next meeting is scheduled for February 2014 in Racine County.

The H Foundation and the Goombay Bash – Committed to a Cure for Cancer

Michael Reader

On Saturday, August 11th, around 1,200 people dressed to the nines–Caribbean style—and ready to party will come together at Navy Pier in Chicago not only to have a great time, but also to make a difference.

The Goombay Bash, as this function is called, is a fundraising event of The H Foundation.  The foundation was started in 2001 by a few friends with entrepreneurial spirit who decided that, with some ingenuity, they could make a difference in the fight against cancer.  They chose the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University in Chicago (Cancer Center) to be the engine of their catalyst mission.

According to the H Foundation, “In just eleven years we have raised over $4 Million, donating nearly every dollar raised to the Cancer Center.  These funds are used as “seed money” for basic science cancer research projects which then compete for additional government or private funding. As a result, our donation has literally turned into nearly $30 Million of research dollars towards finding a cure.” In 2011 alone, the H Foundation raised over $575,000, a figure that is hoped to be surpassed in 2012.

A testament of how this “seed money” leads to additional millions of research dollars from government or private funding, is the case of the Cancer Center’s research in the emerging area of Oncofertility. In the fall of 2011, the Feinberg School was awarded a $21 million grant from the National Institute of Health to help women preserve their fertility while treated for cancer.  A basic science research project started with “seed money” turned into a fruitful project with potentially amazing results.

Precision Plus is proud to support fundraising efforts that make a difference, such as those which benefit Northwest Memorial Hospital in Chicago and University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Click here to make a difference.  It’s time to find a cure…



The H Foundation event on Saturday, August 11th at Navy Pier raised close to $500,000. Thank you to the 850 attendees that dug deep to make this happen, all to benefit basic research at The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

Pier 290: Good Food for Good People in Williams Bay, Wisconsin

Michael Reader

Wisconsin craftsmanship takes on a new challenge!

The Gage family has been serving the Lake Geneva boating community for three generations and now embark on another venture, Pier 290.  With excursion boats based at the Riviera Docks in downtown Lake Geneva, boat service/sales in Williams Bay and Hwy. 50, and pier service around the lake, Bill and Rachel Gage set their sights on further complementing the boater experience.
Their vision was to remake the Williams Bay operations into more than just boating and fuel, but expanding into dining, refreshments and a comfortable place to unwind.

The vision must have been long in the making as the trove of memorabilia and repurposed pieces is impressive to the visitor.  One foot through the door and your eyes are overwhelmed with the woodwork and creative use of old propellers and other pieces.  Bill had salvaged many of these over the years, including classic woodwork from several of the old Lake Geneva mansions as the wrecking ball threatened to turn them into splinters.

Also salvaged before being torn down was butternut paneling from the “Reader House” at Lake Lawn Lodge in Delavan, and hand-hewn beams from one of the lodges.  The master wood craftsmen with Gage Marine’s wood boat restoration team were challenged to bring all these old pieces of hardwood back to life, doing a fantastic job.
Another opportunity presented itself last year when a storm knocked down several old Black Walnut trees in the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy in Williams Bay.  Always an opportunistic looking to turn lemons into lemonade, Bill saw this as flooring materials for the new restaurant.  Here again, the Gage woodworking team set about transforming logs into flooring planks.  Not the typical work for the skilled team of classic mahogany boat refinishers, but very successful nonetheless.

So check out Pier 290 and all the other great things Gage Marine has going on in Williams Bay and watch this great video by Bill Gage where he talks about his vision.


Walworth County, WI and Gateway Technical College: Light Years Ahead in Addressing Impending U.S. Manufacturing Needs

Michael Reader

Recently, we received this invitation from Debbie Davidson, Vice President, Workforce & Economic Development Division at Gateway College:

“Dear Walworth County Manufacturer,

Due to the increased need for skilled manufacturing employees, Gateway Technical College, Walworth County Job Center and the Walworth County Economic Development Alliance (WCEDA), invite you to attend a planning meeting on July 26th at Gateway’s Elkhorn Campus (400 County Road H, Elkhorn, WI, South Building, Room 112) from 7:30am to 9:00am.

At this meeting we will discuss a variety of options to provide you with skilled technicians including:

  • Developing curriculum to meet your needs;
  • Offering  training at the Elkhorn Campus and/or at your facility;
  • Modifying and/or developing   boot camps in manufacturing-related skills;
  • Implementing an “Earn-and-Learn” model which would allow students to work for you while attending classes providing an opportunity for on-the-job  skill application;
  • Scheduling classes such as, Applied Math, Blueprint Reading, Safety, Gauging and Inspection, Measurement, Communication, Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt and more;
  • Identifying funding models to support new and unique training models.

Please join us and be part of the conversation. The meeting is free. However, we ask that you make a reservation for our planning purposes. Please contact Debbie Davidson at 262-564-3422 or email no later than July 20, 2012 to reserve your spot. We look forward to working with you to meet your hiring needs.  If you are unable to attend, please consider sending a designee from your company. Feel free to share this invite with others throughout Walworth County.

Debbie Davidson
Vice President, Workforce & Economic Development Division

Gateway Technical College

3520-30th Avenue
Kenosha, WI  53144
Office: 262-564-3422
Cell: 262-914-0154

We’re planning to be there.  Are you?

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