SWISS TURNED COMPONENTS | (262) 743-1700

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.

Precision Plus of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, Welcomes 2015 Summer Interns

Michael Reader

Precision Plus welcomes its 2015 interns, a group of outstanding young inviduals. During their internship, they rotate responsibilities through different departments and platforms, as well as learn about the operation from different angles, to maximize their exposure to the business.

The internship concludes in the fall, when the students begin a new academic year. Pursuing an array of degrees, the interns share one common core goal: To learn, hands-on, how and why things work, while contributing to the company with a thirst for knowledge, dedication, and tenacity.  Scroll to see them in action and read their bios.

From left to right: Kyle Gorst, Amanda Mudlaff, Jake Ruemmele, Matt Dowel, Sergey Klyukvin, Caitlyn Sanders, Troy Steinfest, Brad Killen, Jessica Flock, Carson Filko, Brad Pearson, Britt Campbell, Bob Dall, Alden Filko, Ryan Reader . Not pictured: Tristan Steiner.

PRECISION PLUS 2015 SUMMER INTERNS IN ACTION

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PRECISION PLUS 2015 SUMMER INTERN BIOS

Britt Campbell is a graduate of Badger High School and is currently enrolled at Milwaukee School of Engineering as a sophomore, pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. Britt is an avid car racer and belongs to the Society of Automotive Engineers, Formula Hybrid. She has been racing for a number of years. Britt feels her internship has given her a more realistic perspective on actual career goals and has given her the opportunity to explore different options to seek after graduating from college. Her favorite platform at Precision Plus is the Quality Lab.

Bob Dall will begin his third year at University of Wisconsin, Madison this fall, pursuing a degree in industrial engineering. He is a graduate of Elkhorn Area High School, where he was also involved in wrestling, golf and cross-country. In college, he belongs to the Institute for Industrial Engineers, and he is a member of the EUClue Club. He continues to play golf recreationally and enjoys boating as well. Bob felt that working in a manufacturing plant would help him gain real life experience he could apply in his industrial engineering studies and career. During his internship, he particularly enjoys working with the Tornos CAM machines.

Matt Dowell will be a freshman at University of Wisconsin, Platteville, seeking a degree in mechanical engineering. He is a graduate of Wilmot Union High School, where he was very involved with the Key Club and the SkillsUSA Program. He has always been interested in learning how things are made. Understandably, his favorite pastime is woodworking. That interest was what drove him to apply for the internship with Precision Plus, where the Tsugami platform is his favorite. Matt feels the internship is giving him a better understanding of how everything works together.

Alden Filko will begin his senior year at Richmond-Burton Community High School in the fall. Although he still has some time to make a decision about his college studies, he is leaning towards Milwaukee School of Engineering to pursue a degree in biomolecular engineering. Currently, he is in the school’s math team and the marching band. His favorite platform at Precision Plus is the Miyano, and what he enjoys most is understanding the process, which confirms that engineering is what he wants to do. In his time off, Alden enjoys hunting, fishing and riding ATVs.

Carson Filko will begin his second year at Milwaukee School of Engineering in the fall, where he is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. He is a graduate of Richmond-Burton Community High School, and was a member of the math team and marching band. Carson has always enjoyed “fixing things” and home projects. Working at Precision Plus has given him the opportunity to observe a smaller company in action, as well as be able to assess the possible careers available within manufacturing requiring his projected degree. In addition, Carson believes the company has given him a great foundation for his future career. The Miyano platform is his favorite.

Jessica Flock will be entering Milwaukee School of Engineering in the fall as a freshman, pursuing a degree in computer engineering. She is a graduate of Elkhorn Area High School, where her extracurricular activities included band, musicals, robotics, E-TEC, NHS, and pep band. Jessica enjoys every aspect of music and IT. She thanks Precision Plus for giving her  the opportunity that allows her to be exposed to a larger IT network and its operation. She enjoys learning how the individual machines interact, how they  are managed, and what happens when there are problems and solutions are needed to keep up with production. Jessica feels the internship will give her an advantage not only in college, but also in her future career.

Kyle Gorst will begin his first year at Gateway Technical College this fall, looking to become certified as a CNC production technician. He is a graduate of Elkhorn Area High School where he was a member of both the swim and golf teams. Kyle has always been fascinated by manufacturing, and knew that he wanted to pursue a high-tech career in the industry, so he sought both an apprenticeship and an internship with Precision Plus, where he likes working on the Miyano platform. In his spare time, Kyle enjoys hunting, fishing, football, and college basketball.

Brad Killen will be a junior at University of Wisconsin, Madison in the fall, where he is seeking a degree in computer engineering. He graduated from Elkhorn Area High School where he was also a member of the basketball and golf teams. Working at Precision Plus has given him a broad exposure to the engineering field and has reaffirmed his interest in engineering. Brad enjoys giving back to the community by working with the City of Madison Youth Basketball Camps.

Sergey Klyukvin is currently enrolled at University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he will begin his sophomore year in civil engineering studies in the fall. Sergey is a graduate of Williams Bay High School, where he was involved in intramural basketball. In addition to basketball, he enjoys water sports and spending time at the lake. His goal at Precision Plus is to get shop experience, and he thoroughly enjoys working in the Quality Assurance Department.

Amanda Mudlaff will be a freshman at Milwaukee School of Engineering in the fall, pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. She is a graduate of East Troy High School, where she kept a very busy schedule tending to her extracurricular activities–cheer-leading, dance, track and field, FFA and NHS–while being an apprentice at Precision Plus and keeping up with her regular studies. Amanda wanted to work with Precision Plus because of her interest in the engineering field and the jumpstart it would give her in her career. Her favorite activity is to set-up a Tsugami 5-axis machine. In her leisure time, Amanda enjoys boating, tubing, wake boarding, wake surfing and swimming.

Brad Pearson is a second year student at Blackhawk Technical College, pursuing a degree as a CNC manufacturing/machining technician. He is a graduate of Elkhorn Area High School, where he also played sports. Brad always had an affinity to engineering and “making things.” His exposure to an internship at Precision Plus helped him to clarify his career intentions. His favorite platforms at Precision Plus are the Miyano and the Tsugami. In his spare time, Brad enjoys hunting, fishing, and sports, especially baseball.

Jake Ruemmele will begin his senior year at University of Wisconsin, Platteville in the fall, where he is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. He is a graduate of Elkhorn Area High School, where he was involved with the swim club. He is also an active member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Last year, during his internship, Jake enjoyed working on the Miyano platform, but his year, he appreciates the opportunity given to him to learn the quoting process. He feels that working at Precision Plus has allowed him to experience “real world” applications of mechanical engineering in a business/industry-oriented environment, something he thoroughly values. Also, it has made him more aware of the crucial role of mechanical engineers in the manufacturing industry. In his free time, Jake enjoys swimming, disc golf, and video games.

Ryan Reader will be a freshman at McHenry County Community College in the fall, from where he is seeking to receive an associate in arts degree. He is a graduate of Richmond-Burton Community High School. At Precision Plus, Ryan finds working on the Miyano platform most interesting, and looks forward to applying principles and processes to his future endeavors. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys video gaming.

Tristan Steiner will be attending University of Wisconsin, Madison, as a freshman in the fall. He is seeking a degree in electrical engineering. Tristan is a graduate of Badger High School, where he was involved with intramural sports and several student organizations. Tristan applied for an internship at Precision Plus because he wanted to gain work experience and learn more about the manufacturing process. Working at the company has helped him to decide on which discipline of engineering he wants to pursue in college.  At Precision Plus, he most enjoys working in the Quality Assurance Department. During his time off he loves playing sports.

Troy Steinfest will attend University of Wisconsin, Platteville as a freshman in the fall, where he will be pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. He is a graduate of Elkhorn Area High School, where his extracurricular activities included involvement with student organizations and golf. Golf continues to be one of his favorite pastimes, as well as fishing, hiking and hunting. Working at Precision Plus has given him an opportunity to have experience in the manufacturing industry–something he feels will help him with his career. At the company, he particularly enjoyed all aspects of material handling.

 

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.”

Precision Plus Welcomes Students to Its 2014-2015 Apprenticeship Program

Michael Reader

Five apprentices have joined Precision Plus 2014-2015 Apprenticeship Program.   We are so excited to have you on board!

Jake Brown – Jake is a junior at Elkhorn High School. He participates in the E-Tech Robotics Club and enjoys working on computers. Jake plans to work in the engineering field.

 

 

Jayce Newman – Jayce is a senior at Elkhorn High School. He has participated in baseball at school. Jayce has taken a Project Lead the Way course every year. He enjoys putting together car audio systems.

 

 

Caitlin Sanders – Caitlin is a senior at Big Foot High School. She participated in softball and volleyball until she tore her ACL. She is also involved in FFA.  She enjoys working on engines and welding.

 

 

Kyle Gorst – Kyle is a senior at Elkhorn High School. Kyle likes to fish and hunt. He participates in the swim and golf teams at school. He is an accomplished swimmer, making it to the State Swim Meet last year. He also enjoys country music.

 

 

Amanda Mudlaff – Amanda is a senior at East Troy High School. Amanda is the Captain of her Cheer and Pom Teams and participates in the Track and Field Team. She is a FFA member, Wrestling Manager, Multi-Cultural Club Member, and a Youth Cheerleading Coach. Amanda is also a National Honor Society member.

LAST MINUTE NEWS!     Jessica Flock (Sr., Elkhorn HS) has joined Precision Plus as an intern for school year 2014-2015.  Welcome!  More details to come!

Introducing the 2014 Precision Plus Summer Interns

Michael Reader

Precision Plus is pleased to announce the selection of these nine young individuals to participate in the company’s 2014 Summer Internship Program. The nine were selected from nearly 40 applications submitted by bright and talented students.

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Riley Bruce – Riley is a 2014 graduate from Elkhorn High School. He plans on attending a four-year university for Engineering. Riley was on the Soccer Team, Mathletes, and the E-Tech Club. He also supports the Youth Soccer Program as a volunteer.

Matt Dowell – Matt is a junior at Wilmot High School. Matt participates in the Key Club and in the Skills USA competitions. This year, he and his Skills USA team have qualified for the Skills USA National Competition in Kansas City on Monday, June 23rd through Saturday June 28th.

Alden Filko – Alden is a junior at Richmond Burton High School. Alden participates on the Math Team, Future Problem Solvers and (WYSE) Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering. He also participates in the Marching Band and is a member of the Cross Country Team.

Sergey Klyukvin – Sergey is a 2014 graduate from Williams Bay High School. He plans on attending U.W. Madison in the fall. Sergey has participated on the Basketball Team, Math Team, History Club, Spanish Club, and in Student Government.

Amanda Mudlaff – Amanda is a junior at East Troy High School. She is the Captain of her Cheer and Poms Teams and she is also on the Track and Field Team. She is a FFA member, Wrestling Manager, Multi-Cultural Club Member, and a Youth Cheerleading Coach. Amanda is also a National Honor Society member.

Jake Ruemmele – Jake is a 2012 graduate from Elkhorn High School. He has just finished his sophomore year at U.W. Platteville. Jake is an accomplished swimmer. He was the Captain of the High School Team and was 1st Team All Conference. He is also a member of the U.W. Platteville Swim Club. He is a member of the National Honor Society and a Member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.

Augie Scott – Augie is a 2014 graduate from Woodstock High School. He plans on attending Purdue University upon his return from a German Work Exchange Program this fall. He participated on the Football, Basketball, and Baseball Teams. He participated in the Key Club, Peer Mentoring, and Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering. Augie is also a member on the National Honor Society and German Honor Society.

Troy Steinfest – Troy is a junior at Elkhorn High School. Troy is on the Football and Golf Teams and serves on Student Council. He also participates on the Math and Academic teams. Troy is also a member of the National Honor Society. He will be attending Badger Boys State Leadership program from June 16th through the 20th.

Tristan Steiner – Tristan is a junior at Lake Geneva Badger High School. He participates on the Football, Wrestling and Track Teams. He is a member of the Academic Bowl Team and the French Club. Tristan also serves on the Badger Academic Leadership Council.

Welcome to all!

Britt Campbell, Brad Pearson and Don Newman Join Precision Plus’ 2013-2014 Internship Program

Michael Reader

2013-2014 Precision Plus’s interns: Britt Campbell, Brad Pearson and Don Newman.

Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus continues to push forward the company’s efforts to make an impact on the manufacturing skills gap epidemic.

The success achieved during the pilot internship program launched during the summer of 2013 has resulted in the establishment of a formal internship program for the 2013-2014 school year.  Three high school seniors, Britt Campbell (Badger H.S.), as well as Brad Pearson and Don Newman (Elkhorn Area H.S.) have been awarded this year’s internships.

Intern Britt Campbell tests a component with OASIS equipment.

Britt Campbell, a senior at Lake Geneva Badger, starts her day at 6:30 a.m. and works until 9:00 a.m.  Britt plans to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at Milwaukee School of Engineering or at Purdue University.  Britt’s interest in the engineering field stems from her racing background.  Britt began racing go-karts and now races a Mazda Miata.

Intern Britt Campbell Races a Mazda Miata at Road America in Elkhart Lake

She is a licensed novice wheel-to-wheel racer in the Midwestern Council of Sports Car Clubs (MCSCC) in the Sports Car Club of Rockford (SCCR), currently working towards her full competition license.  You can read more about Britt’s racing on her Facebook page and contact her there to become a sponsor.

Intern Don Newman using the Earth-Chain spinner micro-deburring station

Interns Brad Pearson and Don Newman are seniors at Elkhorn High School.  They are part of an apprenticeship program, which is overseen by Joanne Pella, Career and Technical Education Instructor/Coordinator at the school.  The program is run in conjunction with Blackhawk Technical College.

The students start at 6:30 a.m. at Precision Plus Inc. and then head to school at 10:00 a.m., earning credit from school as well as being paid by Precision Plus for the work performed.  Brad and Don are considering attending a technical college or a four-year college to pursue a degree in CNC machining or engineering.

The Internship Program at Precision Plus begins with classroom time, where interns receive instruction on blueprint reading, how to use measuring tools and general procedures.  The interns then are rotated through the various operations and machining platforms.

The goal of the internship program is to immerse the students in the precision manufacturing industry so they can gain an initial understanding of the entire manufacturing process.

Precision Plus is looking to hire interns for the summer of 2014 as well as for the 2014-2015 academic year.  For more information, please contact Barry Butters, Director of Education & Training at (262) 743-1700, or email him at buttersb@preplus.com.

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.