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A Note from Mike Reader

Michael Reader

It is hard to believe summer, as we know it, is coming to a close: students are returning to school and Labor Day is right around the corner.  It has gone by quickly, but has left us with much to reflect upon as we head into the next season.

As time passes, it creates new opportunities for ideas to blossom into reality, and for changes to take place. I want to share with you some of the most significant events time brought through Precision Plus over the summer.

Change of the Guard

Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training, who joined our team 25 months ago, has chosen to return to the education field. As a career educator, and very accomplished one at that, he set out to learn everything he could about manufacturing from “Day One,” as he walked in the front door.

His energy and willingness to help anyone with a question quickly showed –even the most skeptical–why we had brought Barry on board.  His engagement with people spanned from those already in the building, to those outside unaware of the wonderful career opportunities in today’s manufacturing environment.

Barry immersed himself in learning all facets of what we do in order to help us improve and to share the story with students, educators and parents.  Like everything else Barry had set to do in his life, he excelled while making a positive impact on everyone he interacted with.

Sadly for me and the Precision Plus Team, Barry has transitioned back into public education to continue his passion for working with young adults.  Our loss, is Beloit Memorial High School’s gain, where Barry will be back in the classroom teaching advanced math and other Project Lead The Way (PLTW) classes.

Goodbye is too permanent a word, so I say farewell my good friend.  May your journey continue to influence the next generation of leaders, problem solvers and difference makers.  You will be missed, but never forgotten. I truly hope we will find a way to continue the work started with you, even if in a smaller scale.  Big shoes to fill.

Into them, however, steps another difference maker.  Mark Beilman, former Tech Ed instructor from East Troy High School, joined our team on August 3rd, to take the reins from Barry and lead our education and training efforts.   Mark brings a balanced background, with experience in manufacturing as well as education, which has helped him hit the ground running, as he explains in his introductory letter.  Please join me in giving Mark a warm welcome.

Customer/Employee Surveys

Our quest to be a better vendor/partner, community members and employer is an ongoing effort.  This summer, we have been working with the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater and the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center to learn more about ourselves through how our customers and employees perceive us.

To accomplish this, we have conducted both customer and employee surveys.  Let me personally thank all of you who participated, and please know all your comments are important to me, including those that point out our flaws, as they clearly represent opportunities for improvement.

Internally, we have started conversations to address each of these and we are working aggressively to do better as we build upon all the positives already in place.  You will likely see a few additional short surveys in the months to come and I thank you in advance for your honest feedback.

Gateway Technical College Elkhorn Manufacturing Center

Our partnership with Gateway Technical College (GTC) continues to grow and evolve.  Together with Mark Beilman, we were given a private tour of the Elkhorn Campus Manufacturing Lab, following the arrival of four brand new Haas SL-10 lathes and one Tsugami S205 Swiss-type CNC lathe fitted with a high pressure coolant pump and a MTA tracer magazine barfeeding system.

Many thanks go to Dr. Bryan Albrecht of GTC for listening to the business community and embracing the opportunity to be a leader in Southeast Wisconsin technical education.

Our heartfelt appreciation must also go out to the equipment manufacturer partners that stepped up with VERY generous donations to make this dream come true.  Brad Morris of the Morris Group and Jamie Schwarz of CNC Indexing & Feeding Technologies both offered state-of- the-art equipment at a substantial discount.

Furthermore, I am thrilled to announce that PartMaker Software and GTC have forged a long-term agreement to provide computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software for the students in the Manufacturing Lab.  Hanan Fishman, President of Delcam/PartMaker deserves a big “Thank you!” for making this happen.  Only with the support of industry leaders like Brad, Jamie and Hanan, could the Manufacturing Lab become a reality.

Mecco Laser Marking System

In the meantime, Precision Plus continues to invest in technologies to add value for our customers/partners, the latest addition being a laser marking system by Mecco.  It is a 20-watt fiber laser with a 110 x 110 mm field fitted with a rotary stage and powered z-axis to enable us to mark around round parts.  Paul McDonough has completed the installation validation and it is “open for business.”  An article about Paul and the Mecco Laser Marking System is available for you to read HERE.

Solar Array

As of August 7th, our solar array became functional, and continues to generate energy–even on cloudy days. Our appreciation goes to Neil Fleischhacker for coordinating this project as well as other green initiatives. Recent statistics and a video of the installation are available HERE.

2015-2016 Apprentices

Precision Plus will soon welcome our 2015-2016 apprentices, and we are diligently planning a fall schedule that includes school visits, career and technical education committee meetings, MFG Day celebrations, and much more.

I look forward to continue to update you on Precision Plus

-Mike

Mark Beilman Joins Precision Plus as Its Director of Education and Training

Michael Reader

On August 3, 2015, Precision Plus (PPI) of Elkhorn, Wisconsin welcomed Mark Beilman as its new Director of Education and Training, to carry on the position first held by Barry Butters.

Beilman’s first job after graduating from the University of Wisconsin at Platteville was with Miniature Precision Components of Walworth, WI, where he served as a research and development engineer for seven years. From 2005 until 2012, he worked at Mukwonago High School as a technical education teacher, and prior to joining Precision Plus he taught technical education at East Troy High School.

When I first started contemplating a career change out of teaching in public education, I wanted to find a job that still included some interaction with young people, but within manufacturing; something I was missing since my days working at MPC, an injection molding company based in Walworth, WI.

I knew I had found that when Barry approached me and discussed this position.  I had worked closely with Barry while I was a teacher at East Troy, placing Youth Apprentice Amanda Mudlaff at Precision Plus  Barry told me how his job was a rewarding mix of working with young people and getting the word out about manufacturing.  He was right. It has been great so far!

As Mike has said, I have big shoes to fill but believe I am up for the challenge.  This challenge has been made easier by all the wonderful people who work at Precision Plus, how they have made me feel welcome, and helped me when I have questions.  It sure has been a whirlwind first three weeks: from sifting through files, learning the Swiss machining process, to meeting interesting people such as Bob Klockars, President of Walworth State Bank, or visiting Gateway’s new manufacturing facility. 

So far my experiences have exceeded my expectations.  I am excited to get our new group of youth apprentices started in the fall and to keep spreading the word about the benefits of a manufacturing career.

-Mark

Mark Beilman and his wife of 14 years, are originally from Madison, but have lived in Walworth County since 1998 and consider it their home. The have two sons, Raymond (10 years old) and John (6 years old). Beilman coaches U8 soccer in Williams Bay.

The Beilmans recently bought a “new” boat (a 1978 Yar-Craft), and are excited to get out fishing and boating as much as they can as the summer winds down. They have a cabin up north, in Superior, WI, where they enjoy spending time in the summer months.

When time permits, Mark enjoys working with antique cars. He is the proud owner of a 1964 Ford 250 and a 1955 T-Bird.

Mark Beilman can be reached by phone or email.

Firm Makes Precision Parts, Builds Talent – Precision Plus in the News

Michael Reader

This is a reprint of an article authored by Chris Schultz, which first appeared in the Lake Geneva News on July 21, 2015

Firm makes precision parts, builds talent

POINTING THE WAY, Barry Butters, education coordinator at Precision Plus, Elkhorn, leads Reggie Newson, right, secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, on a tour of the Precision Plus work floor during Newson’s visit to the plant on July 15.

July 21, 2015 | 10:23 AM

ELKHORN — Reggie Newson, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development secretary, said he was impressed with Precision Plus, 840 Koopman Lane.

Newson paid a visit to the company on July 15. It was his first time at Precision Plus

The relatively small, privately-owned firm is a modern facility with state-of-the-art machinery that specializes in precision-turned metal components for a variety of uses, from cuff links to military ordnance.

But more importantly, the company is manufacturing talent, Newson said.

Three years ago, Mike Reader, president and CEO of Precision Plus started a training program that brought in high school and college students from Wisconsin and Illinois, teaching them the basics of precision engineering and manufacturing, and giving them real-life experience on the work floor.

Reader also hired Barry Butters, a former teacher and school administrator in Elkhorn and Williams Bay, as the company’s education services coordinator.

Precision Plus has done well, fitting into its niche of shaping metal pieces to precise tolerances.

The company recently more than doubled its floorspace, going from about 45,000-square-feet to more than 100,000-square-feet.

It is also installing 100 kilowatt solar panels on the roof.

“It’s the largest industrial solar array in Walworth County,” Reader said. The array will feed sun-created electrical power into the building’s main panel and excess will go out on the grid. Reader said he’s working with the local utility so his company can earn credits for the electricity it creates.

But the company’s self-proclaimed mission of reaching out to students interested in manufacturing and enrolling them in the company’s apprentice training program has attracted interest from educators and business owners across the state.

In 2014, the company added a new education center with eight precision computer learning stations where, without wasting a single piece of metal, students can see how a part is cut and shaved and shaped by one of the company’s computer numeric control (CNC) lathes.

Autodesk Inc., San Rafael, California, makes the software for the virtual machining simulation.

The company donated $100,000 in computer software to Precision Plus for the education center.

Butters has said that the CNC machines, which operate in three dimensions, are smart. The human operators have to be smarter.

For its efforts, Precision Plus also won the 2014 State Superintendent Business Friends of Education Award.

Newson said he wished he had “50 or so” other manufacturing employers with him on the tour. “They are having a challenging time finding talented individuals to fill their positions,” he said.

Precision Plus has developed a strong relationship with Elkhorn Area High School, and JoAnne Pella, the school’s career and technical education coordinator.

KEEPING HER EYES on the job, Amanda Mudlaff, an apprentice at Precision Plus, is an East Troy High School graduate and student at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Photo by Chris Schultz/Regional News.

The company and school coordinate an annual Manufacturing Careers Panel at Elkhorn High School, where leading manufacturers are invited in to talk with students interested in the business of making things.

Reader said Precision Plus is also collaborating with Scott Forge in Illinois in the apprentice training program.

Reader said he is now trying to create an intern exchange program with Swiss precision manufacturers.

Precision Plus has 16 high school and college students in the apprentice program now.

Newson said he was impressed with the knowledge and self-confidence of the students who are participating in Precision Plus’ program

“This is the model,” Newson said during a sit down talk with students in the Precision Plus apprenticeship program.

About three years ago, manufacturers around the state were complaining that schools were not producing enough talent to fit their needs, said Reader. And he decided about that time “it’s time to stop whining about it, and get involved.”

Reader said he’s still reaching out to educators to get them involved in getting information to students about the futures in manufacturing.

And, he said, he wants to convince other companies that training future engineers is in their own best interests, even if the engineers they train don’t wind up working for them.

He described the progress as “slow but sure.”

“This is a long-term project,” Reader said. “This is years in the making.”

The best salespersons may be the apprentices themselves.

Newson said he became interested in Precision Plus after meeting student Kyle Gorst at a Project Lead the Way conference at Elkhorn High School last year, where Gorst gave a speech and presentation about his apprenticeship at Precision Plus

Newson said he was so impressed with Gorst’s presentation about the Precision Plus program that he decided to visit. Among the students he met at Precision Plus were Amanda Mudlaff, an East Troy High School graduate, now attending Milwaukee School of Engineering, while gaining practical experience working on projects at Precision Plus

She was the recipient of a $5,000 scholarship to MSOE.

Brittany Campbell, a Badger High School graduate who races in the Midwest small car racing circuit has an interest in automotive design.

She’s been in the program for two years and is now in her sophomore year at MSOE.

Ryan Reader, Mike’s son, is also in the program.

Brad Pearson, now at Blackhawk Technical College, said his parents at first weren’t happy with his decision to go into manufacturing.

Many still think manufacturing in terms of the “3Ds,” Pierson said. That is, dumb, dirty and dangerous work.

He said his parents’ concerns weren’t allayed until Reader and Butters took them on a guided tour of the well-lit, atmosphere-controlled Precision Parts plant.

“We had to convince mom and dad, no doubt,” Butters said.

Newson said he was impressed with the level of proficiency the students were demonstrating on the production floor.

“You are very talented and you’re doing it. You’re running the machines.” Newson told the students.

Newson said that the Wall Street Journal did a study and found that students with work and intern experience, even those with mediocre grades, were far more likely to be hired by manufacturing companies than students without experience, even those with the high grades.

Newson said there are hundreds of companies now with programs similar to Precision Plus, “but we want thousands.”

He said there are now 3,000 students who are part of the state’s youth Apprenticeship program, an increase from 2,500 just a few years ago. Many of the Youth Apprentice programs are coordinated through the state’s Cooperative Education Service Agency (CESA) districts.

“Youth Apprenticeship is one of our big programs we want to promote,” Newson said.

Before leaving, Newson asked what he could do. Reader said it was important that the state get the word out about the apprenticeship programs to other manufacturers in the state.

“They haven’t seen it, they haven’t heard about it and they can’t figure it out for themselves.” Reader said.

“I want to see this everywhere,” Reader added. “Help us get that message out.”

How to Keep Students Awake in Class – Precision Plus in the News

Michael Reader

This is a reprint of an article authored by Susan Pohorski, which first appeared on Wisconsin Technical College System’s website.

How to keep students awake in class

By Susan Pohorski

It’s an age-old problem that has challenged teachers forever. How do you keep students awake and engaged in a classroom setting?

Several Elkhorn High School students took on this problem as the capstone project for their Engineering Design Development class. The students conducted research, designed prototype products and tested the products until they felt they had a viable answer.Their product is a pen that vibrates when the user has been inactive for a certain time period. Nod off and your pen will wake you.

A new way of teaching and learning
Hundreds of Wisconsin high schools and middle schools from Appleton to Winneconne are using an activity, project, and problem-based curriculum developed by Project Lead the Way (PLTW) to help students develop skills they need for success in post-secondary education and beyond.  As a result, students rarely fall a sleep during class.

Since 2009, Elkhorn Area School District (EASD) has implemented PLTW curriculum throughout all levels to teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Courses cover biomedical science, computer science and engineering concepts. EASD is one of only two districts in the country where every student has access to PLTW curriculum.

“PLTW courses are very engaging and reach students with different learning styles,” commented Jason Tadlock, superintendent of the EASD. “Kids see the relevance of math and science in real life.”

Second grade students engineer a device for planting seeds. Fourth graders create vehicles and put them through crash testing. In fifth grade, the students learn to build and operate robots.

“We hear consistent feedback from employers who look for PLTW students because of their academic and teamwork skills,” Tadlock added.

Business partners with schools
The district also has a unique partnership with a major employer in the area. In 2012 Precision Plus invited 24 area educators to tour their facilities to discuss the career possibilities available for high school graduates. The school district also hosts an annual Manufacturing Career Panel discussion for students sponsored by Precision Plus Representatives of Elkhorn area employers discuss the state of industry and the possibilities manufacturing offers. This year Mike Reader, president of Precision Plus, moderated the discussion.

Students who toured local manufacturing facilities asked if they could have internships with the companies.

“We had 10 student interns the first year,” said Barry Butters, director of education and training for Precision Plus, who was hired to coordinate and grow the program. He teaches some of the PLTW engineering courses, including the one mentioned above.

“Mike Reader is a true visionary,” Butters explained. “He saw the need to develop a talent pipeline and engage the schools.”

With the partnership of Precision Plus and a grant from the Kern Foundation, teachers from the Elkhorn Area School District attended PLTW training.

Work skills, life skills
“Project Lead the Way makes better thinkers and problem solvers,” Butters adds. “When young students understand they can make things and solve problems, they will go far in life.”Chris Trottier, principal of Elkhorn High School enthusiastically supports the new style of learning for his students.“Kids develop skills to enter the workforce,” he said. “Like problem solving and critical thinking.”Tadlock points out that students in these classes learn to take risks and learn from their mistakes. “Kids come out ahead when they can overcome trials. That skill carries over into the world of work,” he continued.Does your school use project-, activity- and problem-based curriculum? Employers want job candidates who are thinkers and problem solvers.“Challenge businesses to get involved,” Butters urged parents. “Schools cannot do it alone with the fiscal constraints they are under.”

Read the original article HERE.

Precision Plus Intern Amanda Mudlaff Receives a $5,000 Scholarship to MSOE

Michael Reader

Amanda Mudlaff, who has served both as an intern and an apprentice at Precision Plus, received a $5,000 Scholarship to Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE).

Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training presented the scholarship to Amanda during the Class of 2015 Senior Awards at East Troy High School, which took place on Sunday, June 7th.

The Precision Plus Team congratulates Amanda on her achievement.

Barry Butters of Precision Plus Speaks at the June 2, 2015 Milwaukee7 Council Meeting About Talent and Workforce Development for the Area

Michael Reader

The Milwaukee7 represents Milwaukee, Kenosha, Racine, Washington, Ozaukee, Waukesha, and Walworth Counties.  The aim of the Milwaukee7 is to compete globally in an innovation economy through the unification of this region. Aiding the growth, expansion, and attraction of export driver industries and emerging business sectors, as well as strengthening this region’s ability to innovate, are the key goals of this organization.”

Walworth County hosted a Milwaukee7 Council Meeting on June 2, 2015 at the Riviera Ballroom in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The agenda included presentations by local business leaders to address initiatives already in place to promote regional export of goods and services, as well talent development and acquisition.

Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus spoke to the group about the company’s talent procurement initiatives. He used some of the slides from Precision Plus’ “13-Step Playbook for Workforce Development” presentation to show examples of how companies can engage their communities for this purpose. He also made reference to Mike Reader, president of the company, as a true visionary on workforce development issues.

Butters invited companies with similar interests in workforce development to reach out to Precision Plus to share and collaborate on solutions, and was commended for delivering an engaging presentation with a great overview on the ways companies can fill their future talent pipeline, and the willingness to help out and promote engagement and partnership.

Contact Barry Butters via email or by phone.

 

A Complete Day for Three Elkhorn Middle School PLTW Students and Their Teacher

Michael Reader

Alex Hutson has been a teacher in the Elkhorn Area School District in Wisconsin. “This is my fifteenth year teaching in Elkhorn and I have enjoyed being in Elkhorn very much. My wife and I live here in town and we have three of our own kids in the Elkhorn schools,” he states.

Mr. Hutson, as he is known to his students, is also a science and technology buff, always learning something new and putting that knowledge into practice. Personally, he likes to sail and build with LEGO bricks. At school, he is involved in the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Launch Curriculum for elementary school children and is an adviser for the Elkhorn Technology and Engineering Club (E-TEC) which has groups both in the middle school and high school. He leads the Automation and Robotics Class, which currently focuses on robotics, but is looking to expand into computers and general electronics.

On April 22, 2015, he accompanied three outstanding 6th grade students from Elkhorn Area Middle School–Wendy Remeeus, Gwen Nicholas and Lesly Rodriguez–to receive a special commendation from Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. On their way back to the school, he and the students made a special stop at Precision Plus to go through a tour of the facility.

This is what happened:

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Precision Plus welcomes students and teachers to tour our facility. To schedule a tour, please contact Barry Butters via email or by phone.

Precision Plus Continues On Its Manufacturing Pilgrimage, Leaving No Classroom Unturned

Michael Reader

On May 15, 2015, Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training, representing Precision Plus of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, visited three 4th grade classes at Tibbits Elementary School in the Elkhorn Area School District. Earlier in the year, Butters visited second and third graders to create excitement about manufacturing…or making things from scratch, as the school had recently embarked in Project Lead The Way’s (PLTW) Launch Program for young elementary school students.


However, being with the 4th graders allowed Butters to take the excitement to the next level. “This allowed me to use the Inventor software to probe the students understanding of two dimensional shapes and what happens when the shapes are extruded to a third dimension,” he said, “as when a circle extruded becomes a cylinder.”

Following the presentation, students were able to pick up and explore some of the parts made by Precision Plus, with a better understanding of the process from beginning to end.


Precision Plus thanks the Tibbits Elementary School students and their teachers for their time and attention, and shares their kind thank you notes.

Barry Butters of Precision Plus Speaks at the 2015 PMPA National Technical Conference in Columbus, OH

Michael Reader

Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus in Elkhorn, WI spoke to a wide audience during the 2015 Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) National Technical Conference, which took place on April 19-21, 2015, in Columbus, OH. His presentation centered on Precision Plus’ active plan to help close the skills gap in manufacturing.

PMPA’s 54th Annual National Technical Conference focused on technical innovation, quality advancements and shop management, offering attendees a variety of seminars on subjects needed to meet today’s precision manufacturing challenges.

In addition to Butters, six other members of the Precision Plus Team attended the conference: Mike Brown, John McConville and Sam Kirkland, Machinists, Terry Mumper, Engineer,  Dale Wittlieff, Director of Quality and Continuous Improvement, and  Bill Wells, Sales and Engineering Manager.

On Monday, April 20th, during a session entitled, “How to Deal with the Skilled Training Issue,” Butters shared Precision Plus’ “13-Step Playbook for Workforce Development,” currently used by the company, in an effort to close the manufacturing skills gap.

In his presentation, Butters talked about Precision Plus, its plan to double its capacity, and the absence of qualified employees to operate machines that do the work that used to be done by people in the past. He also addressed the overall perception of manufacturing based on “what it was then,” and the lack of information of “what it is now.” Whereas in the past, a high school student who may not be doing great in school would have been a prime candidate to go into manufacturing, today’s industry requires individuals who have high technical and math skills as well as strong soft skills.

In a 2012 News Magazine 60 Minutes interview, Professor Peter Cappelli of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, stated that even as late as a generation ago, manufacturing companies had training and apprenticeship programs in place, but over the last few decades that responsibility shifted primarily to technical colleges. As technology advanced, the curricula offered by technical colleges drifted away from the actual skills needed for professionals in manufacturing. Cappelli suggested that manufacturers needed to be involved in the training of prospective employees in one way or another.

After listening to this segment, Mike Reader, president of Precision Plus decided to get involved. “What’s the return on investment on doing nothing?” Reader asked.

Butters used Precision Plus’ “13-Step Playbook for Workforce Development” slideshow presentation to showcase the initiatives taken by Mike Reader and Precision Plus over the last two and a half years to get involved and become a catalyst. These efforts included hiring Butters, an educator, to help deploy the playbook. In 2013, Reader had organized a Manufacturing Career Panel at a local high school, which was attended by more than one hundred area students. When students asked about internship availability, Reader knew something had to be done.

Today, Precision Plus offers a summer internship program for young people typically becoming mechanical engineers, as well as a school-year apprenticeship program for students interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing.

Both programs expose students to all aspects of manufacturing and have been designed on a rotating department basis. In addition, students go on tours and attend tradeshows, among other activities. Parent involvement is key, as they must tour the facility before their child is accepted into either program.

In addition, Precision Plus is involved with local schools at all levels, from elementary through college. The company is a member of several career and technical education (CTE) committees, has brought more than 90 teachers, counselors and career coaches through the facility, and has welcomed students on field trips. In addition, Barry Butters has traveled to schools and has addressed students at all levels. Precision Plus also offers a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering design and development (EDD) class, taught by Butters in the Precision Plus classroom to local high school students.

Having community support is crucial, so the public at large is regularly invited to tour the plant and learn about today’s manufacturing. Precision Plus has also reached out to vendors and customers to help enrich the experience, and has brought manufacturing industry awareness to local, state and national legislators, having had high ranking public officials across party lines tour the plant and engage in conversation, in an effort to find common ground and talk about workforce issues.

Butters information was well received and followed by many favorable comments, as per this letter from Monte Guitar, PMPA’s director of technical programs.

For more information on this presentation, please contact Barry Butters via phone or email.

A Day in the Life of Precision Plus Apprentice Amanda Mudlaff

Michael Reader

So, what does it take to be a Precision Plus apprentice?

This is Amanda’s story.

Amanda Mudlaff is your typical high school senior, involved in sports—track and field, including pole vaulting, cheerleading, dancing…and homework.  Her extracurricular activities include being an FFA member, a wrestling manager, a multi-cultural club member, and a youth cheerleading coach. She is also a member of the National Honor Society.

Amanda also loves everything marine related. She practically grew up “living” on boats during her summers in Wisconsin, enjoying water sports, boating, and helping take care of her family’s Sea Ray 250 SLX. In fact, her passion for the marine field has inspired her to pursue a degree in marine engineering.

When her junior year shop teacher at East Troy High School mentioned a summer internship opportunity at Precision Plus, Amanda jumped at the opportunity. Not knowing what to expect, she was impressed with the process, as it required filling out an application, going to a formal interview, and having to wait about a week to get a reply. She was accepted into the program, along with 18 other interns, selected from dozens of applications.

The paid summer internship was held from June 15 through the last week of August of 2014, and it required interns to work 40 hours per week. The program included classroom time to learn and design with Autodesk Inventor CAD and PartMaker CAM software, as well as plant, machinery and business processes observation, and hands-on learning on tools and equipment.

When in the summer of 2014, Precision Plus announced their 2014-2015 Apprenticeship Program, Amanda turned in her application again and was subsequently accepted as one of six apprentices. The program expects active participation at both the company and their respective high schools, and the apprentices must adhere to a number of academic standards.

Monday through Friday, Amanda arrives at Precision Plus at 6am and primarily works in the Quality Lab, where she counts the components for a particular order, inspects the finish and checks all dimensions against order specs. She inspects parts visually for chips and she also uses equipment such as calipers, micrometers, oasis, comparators, and gauges to help streamline the process, making sure to record all discrepancies and accept or reject the components. She compares the inspection process with that of an active investigation, where no stone remains unturned.

At 9am, Amanda leaves the plant to go to class, and tend to all of her extracurricular activities.

This fall, Amanda will begin a new chapter in her life as a freshman at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where she will pursue marine engineering as a career. Amanda is also a recipient of one of two $5,000 Precision Plus MSOE merit scholarships.

For more information about Precision Plus’ Summer Internship and School-Year Apprenticeship Programs, please contact Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training via phone or email.

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