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2015 Manufacturing Career Panel To Be Held on February 18 at Elkhorn Area High School

Michael Reader

The third annual Manufacturing Career Panel will be held on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at Elkhorn Area High School. In partnership with Elkhorn Area H.S., Precision Plus will lead a panel of manufacturing experts who will talk to an audience of over 200 students from area high schools about bright and challenging manufacturing career possibilities. The event will take place from 1:00 to 2:35 p.m.

This year, four manufacturing industry leaders will participate as panelists, with Mike Reader of Precision Plus as  Master of Ceremonies. All four panelists have demonstrated their tenacious spirit to succeed and will share their experiences and insights with the students.

Dawn Tabat, Chief Operations Officer – Generac. Ms. Tabat, currently oversees manufacturing, logistics, global supply chain, quality, safety, information services and human resources. She began her career at Generac with a summer job on the assembly line. Tabat credits her corporate success to welcoming and making the best of opportunities as they presented themselves—a trait, which she strives to pay forward. With 2013 revenues of $1.5B, Generac Power Systems is a manufacturer of backup power generation products for residential, light commercial and industrial markets.

Geoff Martin, Principal and Senior Leader – GE Healthcare Partners; Service Line Leader for GE’s Hospital of the Future Solution. Mr. Martin leads implementation teams who provide transformational solutions for organizational redesign and governance enhancement of healthcare institutions. GE’s Solutions focuses on increasing access, decreasing costs, and improving quality in healthcare through a combination of consulting and technology.

Dennis Giesler, General Manager- Parker Hannifin’s Quick Coupling Division. Mr. Giesler has led the Quick Coupling Division—the world’s largest manufacturer of quick couplings–since 2008. The company also produces hydraulic and pneumatic couplings in a variety of sizes, materials, and end configurations to accommodate a broad spectrum of design requirements as well as offering hydraulic swivels, check valves and state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment.

Rick Lofy, Lean Six Sigma Instructor at Gateway Technical College, and Coordinator, CNC Summer Youth Boot Camp held at IMET Center in Sturtevant, Wisconsin. Mr. Lofy will explain the boot camp program, and the benefits for students with regard to  skills and knowledge,  and work experience.  Additionally, he will address the boot camp’s expectations and hours.

Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus  Mr. Reader who has presented on our first two panels and is the chief organizer of the event. He along with Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus, have dedicated themselves to bringing the world of manufacturing to students of area schools through field trips, job shadows, internships, youth apprenticeships, and informational panels.

This event attracts high-caliber students who are up for the challenge offered in today’s high-tech manufacturing arena. Fourteen high schools have been invited to participate:

  • Badger High School (Lake Geneva, WI)
  • Beloit Memorial High School (Beloit, WI)
  • Big Foot High School (Walworth, WI)
  • Burlington High School (Burlington, WI)
  • Delavan Darien High School (Delavan, WI)
  • East Troy High School (East Troy, WI)
  • Faith Christian School (Williams Bay, WI)
  • Richmond Burton High School (Richmond, IL)
  • Union Grove High School (Union Grove, WI)
  • Waterford High School (Waterford, WI)
  • Westosha Central High School (Salem, WI)
  • Whitewater High School (Whitewater, WI)
  • Williams Bay High School (Williams Bay, WI)
  • Wilmot High School (Wilmot, WI)

For more information about the event, please contact Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus via phone or email.

Manufacturing helps to drive Wisconsin’s economy as a top contributor to the state’s real GDP ($50 billion in total output in 2013) and by employing16 percent (465,000) of the state’s workforce. While manufacturing was hit by the recent recession, it is making a fast-paced recovery. Reports indicate that the sector has recovered at least half of its jobs initially lost in the downturn, with the latest economic forecasts predicting continued employment growth and recovery into 2016. Manufacturing is expected to add nearly 19,000 jobs by 2020 (Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin).  Many of these jobs will require skills to support the technologically evolving and lean operations of manufacturing companies.

Manufacturing in Wisconsin will continue to be a prime source of employment as we have more workers in this career field than any other state. In addition, the manufacturing sector provides some of the best-paying non-managerial jobs, particularly for those with less than a 4-year college degree.

To view recaps of previous events, please click on the year: 20132014

Precision Plus of Elkhorn, WI Hires Ten Interns During Summer 2013

Michael Reader

Precision Plus’s Efforts to Fill the Skills Gap:  First Installment.
By Barry Butters

Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus is attempting to do his part to fill the skills gap in the manufacturing industry. He explains that there is no shortage of work and that Precision Plus is ready to commit to expansion. However, he adds, “One of the greatest impediments to our expansion project is the lack of a large enough work force with the skills necessary to meet the new demands of  CNC machining.”

As a result, Mike Reader has felt a sense of urgency to act and take steps to become part of the solution.  Reader’s involvement stems from a personal goal to help local, state, national and global communities understand the manufacturing industry as a whole and its employment opportunities.

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Committed to the movement, Mike Reader and Precision Plus have begun to put the gears in motion:

Late in 2012, Mike invited twenty-four area administrators, guidance counselors and educators to tour Precision Plus and to discuss the manufacturing opportunities available for high school graduates in the area.

Following that meeting and together with Elkhorn Area High School, Mike organized a career panel comprised of manufacturing professionals.  Panelists included Dan Murphy, Regional Sales Manager at Rem Sales, LLC, Darlene Miller, President and CEO of Permac Industries and Vice President of Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA), John Murphy, President of Morris Midwest, LLC, Olaf Tessarzyk, Managing Partner of ZPS America, LLC, and himself. In spite of a severe winter snow storm, 180 students from three area high schools (Geneva Badger, Williams Bay and Elkhorn) attended the event.  For one and a half hours on February 27, 2013, the panelists and students engaged in a genuine discussion about the state of the industry and the possibilities manufacturing has available for young people finishing high school.

The career panel meeting stimulated a great deal of interest from students which led to Precision Plus’ hiring of ten summer interns, who joined Precision Plus on June 10, 2013.

Three of the interns were college students pursuing engineering majors:  Markus Gudel, attending University of Wisconsin—Platteville, and Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Charlie Dall and Mike Reader, Jr.  Four of the interns were graduating high school seniors, who would begin their undergraduate engineering schooling in the fall:  Bob Dall and Brad Killen who would attend University of Wisconsin–Madison, Martin Korsholm, who would attend Purdue University,  and Jon Stopple, who would attend University of Wisconsin–Platteville.  The other three interns were high school students from Richmond Burton H.S. and Elkhorn Area H.S., Ryan Reader, Carson Filko and Jordan Barr.

The interns came to Precision Plus with high-achieving academic records and outstanding characters. The goal was to immerse them in the real operations of the precision CNC machining industry, as they rotated through each department and the four machining platforms.  They learned to help with set-ups and operated the machines doing off-sets and verifying the components were within tolerances.  The interns also participated in three outings as they toured the  Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) machining facilities, the SC Johnson Integrated Manufacturing and Engineering Technology (iMET) Center in Sturtevant, and the Snap-on Tools facility in Kenosha.

At the end of the internship, it was obvious that these interns took away more than just hand-on experience, but an understanding of the value of manufacturing, committing to become ambassadors for the manufacturing industry.

Precision Plus looks forward to the next crop of interns who will continue to help forging the future of the industry.