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Security Awareness Training in Place at Precision Plus

Michael Reader

By Jeff Lemmermann
Chief Information Officer, Precision Plus

In the headlines every day:
Computer hackers breach company, steal data. 

Even with technology’s constant advances and savvy IT professionals dedicated to prevent cyber attacks from happening, the “bad guys” seem to always find a way around technology and stay one step ahead of everyone else, compromising the personal information of many.

Most of the large data breaches nowadays are the result of social engineering.  Just one or two users fooled into clicking on something or giving up some bit of information can circumvent just about any protection.  So the goal has to be to let the users know about the threats and how to avoid them.

Criminals are on the lurk for the perfect opportunity to hack, often capitalizing from the launch of a new feature, such as the recent Facebook Messenger payment service, and the lack of knowledge by those attempting to use it. Often, subscribers receive a “phishing” email, which prompts them to enter personal information, user credentials, passwords, or to click on a potentially dangerous link.

One of the most important steps companies can take to combat cyber crime is to empower their employees with criminal tactic awareness tools, as well as information and updates on new threats and cyber criminal trends.

To accomplish these initiatives, Precision Plus’ Security Awareness Training Program uses a combination of live learning sessions, online classes, email notices on emerging threats, and a dedicated user tool which tests the users’ ability to identify fake emails. Our Security Awareness Training Program is an ongoing effort, offering a variety of training points and methods to suit the spectrum of user needs and learning preferences.

The education sessions, for example, which are conducted several times per year, consist of 30 to 40-minute conferences, focusing on the latest threats, online tools for protection, and programs that can be installed at home to help protect personal information.

Through implementing programs such as these, Precision Plus, hopes to give our employees the tools and knowledge that will help them make the right decisions when facing a doubtful cyber situation. There is no substitute for a knowledgeable user to prevent an information security incident.

Precision Plus of Elkhorn, Wisconsin Presents Gateway Technical College with a Check for $50,000

Michael Reader

On April 16, 2015, Mike Reader, President and Owner of Precision Plus of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, presented a check in the amount of $50,000 to the Gateway Technical College Board. This contribution follows the announcement of a new manufacturing center that will be built and developed at the school’s Elkhorn Campus.

Mike Reader writes:

On behalf of our 65 dedicated manufacturing professionals here at Precision Plus, I was delighted to present a gift to the board members of Gateway Technical College.  Our check for $50,000 will go towards securing additional equipment/materials to enhance the students’ experience and better prepare them for their careers ahead.  In addition to the monetary support, this gesture serves merely as a starting point for a long-term partnership, as we also look forward to assisting with technical support, materials, mentoring and work experience opportunities.

Gateway Technical College has several campuses throughout the counties which it serves–Kenosha, Racine and Walworth—offering general curriculum studies, as well as targeted programs to address specific local industry needs.

For many decades, Southeast Wisconsin has been known for housing a cluster of Swiss precision manufacturers. Unfortunately, a training facility to address these specific needs was not available until now. I am pleased to announce that through the joint efforts of the Gateway leadership team and the engaged business community, Gateway Technical College will house a state-of-the-art training facility in its Elkhorn Campus.

It will unfold as a two-step solution starting in the fall of 2015 with new curriculum, equipment and instruction, followed by new brick/mortar and more equipment within a year.

 This new advanced manufacturing training lab will house state-of-the-art turning and milling equipment from strategic partner Haas Automation, coupled with a Tsugami S205 Swiss-type (sliding headstock) machine, compliments of the Morris Group and Morris Midwest.  It will be fitted with a Tracer 6’ magazine bar-feeding system from CNC Indexing & Feeding, along with a 1,000 PSI high-pressure pump to replicate real scenarios which the students are bound to also experience once in a real career track.

Joining me during the presentation also were Wall Mulvaney, John Holt and Dave Kramer, representing Haas Automation and the Gene Haas Foundation.  In addition to the equipment support, they also presented the Board with a check for $10,000 to fund ten-$1,000 student scholarships for those choosing to pursue a career in technical education focused on machining at Gateway Technical College.

 

Precision Plus Featured in Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Article

Michael Reader

On January 20, 2015, Precision Plus was featured by PLTW in an article entitled, “PLTW Spotlight: PLTW Wisconsin State Leadership Team.”

The article, which appeared on the PLTW Blog, outlines the accomplishments achieved over the last ten years thanks to the partnership forged between Wisconsin educators and Project Lead The Way, which can now boast that “nearly 400 Wisconsin schools have implemented PLTW’s project and problem-based K-12 STEM programs.”

In the article, Jason Tadlock, superintendent of the Elkhorn Area School District and a member of the PLTW Wisconsin State Leadership Team, points to  the impressive success of “hands-on programs” on students at all levels.

Tadlock also talks about the direct correlation between manufacturers involvement and the overall success of the program. Precision Plus is cited for offering “numerous opportunities to PLTW students, including apprenticeships, career fairs, and even on-site PLTW capstone course instruction in the Precision Plus classroom.”

PLTW is the nation’s leading science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) solution in over 6,500 schools across the U.S.

Click here to read the complete article.

Precision Plus Visits Gateway Technical College, Racine Campus

Michael Reader

This year’s visits to Wisconsin technical colleges, finished with a tour of Gateway Technical College’s Racine Campus. This time however, the visit had an added point of interest, as Precision Plus Apprentice Caitlin Sanders and her father accompanied Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training on the tour.

Caitlin is a senior at Big Foot High School in Walworth, and is planning to take several CNC courses at the Racine facility during the spring semester. The Racine Campus offers a solid CNC training curriculum that includes boot camps and specialized certifications.

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Located in Historic Downtown Racine, Wisconsin, the Racine Campus is a beautifully landscaped facility set on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Gateway has a rich and proud heritage in local and national career training education. Original state legislation established adult and technical education in 1911. As the first technical school in Wisconsin—the nation’s first publicly supported technical institution—Racine Continuation School began that same year in downtown Racine as the name predecessor to Gateway Technical College. See Gateway history at gtc.edu/history.

Precision Plus thanks Rich Shouse, one of the newest members of the technical education department at the Racine Campus, who gave Butters and the Sanderses a tour of the facility and the CNC Department.

Students Not Equipped with the Necessary Skills To Succeed in the Workplace – A Report from the Next New World Conference

Michael Reader

In a recent article, journalist Katrina Schwartz reported on a panel discussion at a Next New World Conference, as well as on a challenge called by employers to educators to make school relevant to students’ lives.

In June of 2014, New York Times columnist and multi-time Pulitzer Price recipient Tom Friedman hosted a Next New World Conference session in San Francisco, where panelists were asked whether they thought “the American education system can better prepare students to meet the evolving challenges of the 21st century economy.” All panelists agreed that the current U.S. system could not, needing a major overhaul.

Thomas Friedman, Richard Miller and Tony Wagner discuss education at the Next New World Conference in San Francisco. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Panelist Tony Wagner, expert in residence at Harvard’s Innovation Lab, commented: “The problem is not to get incrementally better with our current education system. The problem is to reimagine it.” He called for an education system make-over to teach content to students that connects them with real world skills in an authentic way. He further suggested that content knowledge is gained through interesting and engaging hands-on experience.

In Schwartz’s words, “That’s why Wagner half-jokingly advocated for “Dream Directors” in schools, whose job it would be to help students identify their dreams and scaffold tasks to help students obtain the skills needed for that dream. Over time, attention to the needs of individuals would transform the content and delivery methods in schools.”

Another of the panelists was Richard Miller, president and professor at Olin College, an engineering university in Needham, MA. Olin has identified the skills gap and has put a new educational model in place. “Olin is essentially a ‘maker’ university,” as its student body is made up of “strong problem solvers and people who know how to make things.”

“Students are the power tools of change in education,” Miller said. “They are the most ignored and they have the most at stake. When students are given free range to design, make and innovate they can be very powerful examples of what a great education can produce.”

Read Katrina Schwartz entire article here.

Building a Nation of Makers: Six Ideas to Accelerate the Innovative Capacity of Manufacturing Small and Medium Enterprises, or SMEs

Michael Reader

In their Executive Summary, the members of the Milstein Commission on New Manufacturing proposes the following actionable ideas to accelerate the pace of America’s small- and medium-sized manufacturers:

  • Talent Investment Loans to Expand Human Capital
  • Upside-Down Degrees to Connect Classroom Learning with On-the-Job Learning
  • A Skills Census to Build a More Efficient Skilled Labor Force
  • A National Supply Chain Initiative to Fully Map America’s Manufacturing Ecosystems
  • Up-Skilling High School Students with Expanded Technology an Engineering Certification Programs
  • A “Big Trends-Small Firms” initiative to Diffuse the Latest Technologies to Manufacturing SMEs

–Find a detailed explanation of these ideas can be put into action at the end of this post

“By almost any measure, the American Dream is in peril, and it has been for some time…” With these opening remarks, Gerald Baliles, Director and CEO of the Miller Center of the University of Virginia and former governor of the State, began a news conference at the National Press Club on June 13, 2014 to release a report by the Miller Center’s Milstein Symposium: Ideas for a New American Century.

This was the first commission of a multi-year initiative by the Milstein Symposium whose goal is “To find and implement practical nonpartisan solutions to pressing economic concerns in the areas that include manufacturing, entrepreneurship, education, and infrastructure.” Its laser-focused vision is “To determine the next steps our nation must take to continue to vitality of the American Dream in the 21st century, and most importantly, to find the way to put those steps into place.”

Twelve eminent thought leaders convened to draft six practical, nonpartisan and actionable ideas to foster the growth of manufacturing SMEs.

Howard Milstein, a philanthropist and entrepreneur, remarked that with “changes in technology, logistics and global economic conditions,” the U.S. can experience a manufacturing renaissance. However, as a nation, we have to have “the fortitude to make the right decisions now” for it to happen.

Here are the six ideas that were proposed by the members of the Milstein Commission on New Manufacturing aimed to accelerate the pace of innovation for America’s small- and medium-sized manufacturers, as they appeared on their Executive Summary:

Click to see a larger image.

VIEW THE FULL REPORT
WATCH A REPLAY OF THE NEWS CONFERENCE

Precision Plus’ Barry Butters Is Certified to Teach Project Lead The Way’s Engineering Design and Development Capstone Course to High School Students

Michael Reader

Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus spent two full weeks at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) in June to complete intensive training to enable him to teach the course ‘Engineering Design and Development’ (EDD) to high school students. The course is a capstone course of the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) curriculum.

As per the description of the capstone course on PLTW’s website, “Engineering Design and Development (EDD) gives students the opportunity to work in teams to solve problems of their own choosing.  Under the guidance of a community mentor, teams employ all the skills and knowledge gained through previous coursework to brainstorm, research, construct and test  a model in real-life situations (or simulations); document their designs; and present and defend the designs to a panel of experts.”

Butters participation was sponsored by the Elkhorn Area School District. Beginning in fall 2014, he will be teaching Elkhorn Area H.S. students as well, as other students from local school districts, the EDD Course at Precision Plus’ classroom.

The instructors’ training at Milwaukee School of Engineering teamed up the participants to go through a simulation of the EDD program, which they will be teaching during the school year. Butters collaborated with Phil Winegar, Technology and Engineering Instructor at Menomonie High School, and Brent Siler, Technology and Engineering Instructor at Middleton High School.

The mission for the teams in the training course was to come up with a problem, a solution, develop three design models to implement the solution, and, after choosing one, present their project to a panel of engineers.

Butter’s team pursued a solution for preventing young children from chocking on food. The team focused on the development of a consumer device that would check the softness of food. It was not so much about having a working solution to the problem in two weeks, but rather about understanding how to approach the entire engineering process to come up with a solution.

After a great deal of brainstorming and a decision matrix, three possible prototype solutions–a spring-loaded plunger, a collapsible knife, and an elastic cutter–were printed on a MakerBot 3D printer.

Next, the team selected one potential solution and the solution was tested through experimentation. In the image to the left, butters tests the selected model for its ability to detect the softness of food consistency.

Finally, the results of their entire project and engineering  process were presented to a panel of engineers for scrutiny and recommendations. Pictured on the image to the right are Butters and his teammates Phil Winegar and Brent Siler.

Upon completion of the course, Butters and all the other participants received certificates from PLTW Master Teachers Sharon Tomski and Denise Kimblern, PLTW Affiliate Director Steve Salter, and MSOE V.P. of Academics, Dr. Frederick Berry.

All the training course graduates were looking forward to teaching this program in the fall.

Precision Plus of Elkhorn, Wisconsin Receives Business Friends of Education Award from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Michael Reader

On April 11, 2014, Mike Reader of Precision Plus , Inc. along with Amy Robinson of Country View Veterinary Clinic in Oregon, Denny Horn and Lisa Thompson of Cummins Emissions Solutions in Mineral Point, Eric Isbister of GenMet in Mequon, Lakeshore Health Care Alliance in Sheboygan, Mark Kaiser of NEW Manufacturing Alliance in Green Bay, Dr. Eileen Ahearn, Mary Mussey, and Richard Murphy of Project SEARCH in Madison, and  Chuck Jerrick of WESTconsin Credit Union in Hudson, received the Business Friends of Education Award from Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.  This award recognizes the power of businesses that go beyond the call to help students graduate and be well prepared for future educational and career endeavors.

The awards were announced by Tony Evers, State Superintendent and were presented by Deputy State Superintendent Mike Thompson, during the annual Wisconsin Association for Career and Technical Education Professional Development Conference in Middleton.  Mike Reader and other award recipients also participated in a panel discussion following the celebratory breakfast.

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“The collaborative partnerships fostered between industry and education play a key role in preparing Wisconsin students for the future,” said Evers. “These supportive relationships make a difference in student’s lives and strengthen our communities for years to come.”

Precision Plus is humbled to have received such honorable award.

 

Click here for a PDF of the official news release.

Precision Plus Inc. Visits Waukesha County Technical College’s CNC Facility

Michael Reader

Bob Novak, Associate Dean of Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) invited Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus to tour their machining labs, which took place on Tuesday, March 22, 2014.

The school offers five areas of specialty as part of the General Manufacturing Degree Program:

  • Automation Systems
  • CNC
  • Industrial Maintenance
  • Tool and Die
  • Welding

During the first year, all students take general courses, followed by a second year of career-specifc courses determining their specialization.

WCTC is a first class school offering a wide variety of machining degree opportunities.  Dean Novak added, “We firmly believe in a machining program that is well grounded in basics metal cutting before the introduction to CNC machining.” Their facility and curriculum attest to that.

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.

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