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Precision Plus Welcomes Two Youth Apprentices and Two Gateway Youth CNC Boot Camp Students

Michael Reader

Youth Apprentices

Jordan Belanus, a senior at Elkhorn Area High School in Elkhorn, WI and Jake Sherwin, a senior at Big Foot High School in Walworth, WI, have joined Precision Plus’ Youth Apprentice Program.

Jordan Belanus began working as an Information Technology (IT) youth apprentice at Precision Plus (PPI) on November 9, 2015, reporting to Jeff Lemmermann, the company’s CIO and CFO. The IT apprenticeship adheres to the IT Skill Standards Checklist established by Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development.

Items on the checklist vary from soft skills such as communicating effectively and thinking critically, to job-specific skills such as upgrading an operating system or installing software. The checklist serves as a guideline to help the apprentice obtain designated competencies.

Jordan enjoys working on computers for friends and family, having developed an affinity for programming and networking. As an IT apprentice, he will also be putting those skills to work, performing back up operations, upgrading operating systems and installing software as needed. He will also assist to process employee IT help requests. As his internship progresses, Jordan should be able to perform certain tasks of his own volition, rather than being directed to do so.

In order to receive a certificate for his internship, Jordan must complete 450 total hours of work by August 2016. By state law, however, he cannot exceed 20 hours per week. He learned about PPI’s apprenticeship opportunity through his school’s career and technical education coordinator.

At Elkhorn Area High School, Jordan’s favorite subjects are algebra, physics and geometry. He plans to attend Gateway Technical College in the fall of 2016 and subsequently use its 2-plus-2 articulation agreements with the University of Wisconsin or with Milwaukee School of Engineering to continue his education in computer engineering.

In his spare time, Jordan enjoys playing video games, playing guitar, and practicing Tae Kwon Do, for which he holds a second-degree black belt.

Jake Sherwin began his manufacturing apprenticeship with PPI on November 2, 2015. He reports to Mark Beilman, Director of Education and Training.

The manufacturing apprenticeship follows the Skill Standards Checklist established by Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development for that purpose. The first part of the apprenticeship will include a general assessment of Jake’s math skills, micrometer and blueprint reading skills and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) interpretative skills.

After the first phase is completed, Jake will spend time with mentors from different departments to learn skills and applications from them first hand. Jake will be completing the core skills and machining unit of the Production Pathway of the Skill Standards Checklist.   Mentors will sign off on the acquired competencies at the end of their mentoring.

The curriculum at PPI goes hand in hand, with Jake’s curriculum at Big Foot High School. Jake learned about the apprenticeship opportunity at Precision Plus when Mark Beilman spoke to his technical education class in September. Jake knows that he wants to work in the trades—most likely in construction—after his graduation. However, he enjoys the science and agriculture classes he is taking, as well as helping with his family’s farm. In addition, he works part-time at Heyer True Value Hardware Store in Walworth, Wisconsin, so he is keeping his options open. His apprenticeship will also require him to complete 450 hours by August 2016.

When time permits, Jake enjoys hunting and fishing, baseball, and playing bass guitar in a band.

 

Youth CNC Boot Camp Students

Two Gateway students, currently enrolled in Gateway Technical College (GTC)’s Elkhorn Campus Youth CNC Boot Camp have begun their job shadowing experience at Precision Plus, as part of their current semester requirements.

Monday through Friday, Elliot Salentine from East Troy High School and Cameron Bunne from Elkhorn High School attend high school in the morning, followed by classes and training at GTC from 12:30 until 4:30 in the afternoon. As they learn different processes and applications at school, a concurrent shadowing program lends them the opportunity to watch professionals performing those jobs. Each student spends one hour per week at PPI to meet those requirements.

Thus far, the students have shadowed Marty Baumgardner in the Quality Assurance Lab, Ryan Landreman and Brad Pearson on the Miyano platform, and Curtis Hibl in the CAM Department. The shadowing will continue on the Tornos platform, the Secondary Department, the Scheduling Department and, finally, the Shipping Department.

Elliot and Cameron will continue their high school/boot camp schedule until the spring semester begins on February 2, 2016. At that time, they will attend their high school classes in the mornings, but will participate in a mentoring program at Precision Plus in the afternoon, learning and working in different departments. The mentoring phase will end in May 2016. The students will receive high school and boot camp credits for their experience at the company.

Although the Youth CNC Boot Camp mentoring program is similar to the Youth Apprenticeship program already in place, possible modifications may be made based on the students’ incoming skill level.

Cameron and Elliot are members of the first Youth CNC Boot Camp to graduate from GTC’s Elkhorn Campus in Walworth County. The program had already been running successfully at GTC’s other two locations in Racine and Kenosha.

For more information about Precision Plus’ apprenticeship and mentoring programs, please contact Mark Beilman via email or by calling 262-743-1700.

 

Precision Plus Conducts Customer Survey, Gets Interesting Results

Michael Reader

Precision Plus (PPI) of Elkhorn, Wisconsin recently conducted its first formal customer survey to gauge overall performance, while measuring various aspects of the company’s services. The survey was initiated this past August, resulting in fifty-four responses, primarily from customers serviced within the last fifteen months.

There were six primary questions asked:

  • Q1 Compared to your other business partners, how does Precision Plus rate when considering responsiveness to your needs?
  • Q2 Compared to your other business partners, how does Precision Plus rate when considering the quality of the items produced?
  • Q3 Compared to your other business partners, how does Precision Plus rate when considering the delivery?
  • Q4 Compared to your other business partners, how does Precision Plus rate when it comes to customer service?
  • Q5 What is your overall view of Precision Plus?
  • Q6 What is your primary role at your company?

When asked to compare Precision Plus to other business partners in the area of customer service, 72% rated PPI as “Among the Best,” followed by a 22% rating the company as “Above Average,” which totaled to 94% of customers expressing receiving exceptional customer service. Many commented further, pointing out the extra actions that earned the high grading: “Precision Plus understands what good customer service is. We feel like our business is highly valued. They have very high credibility. Precision Plus does not over-promote themselves; they deliver. Good corporate citizens.”

When asked questions about quality, responsiveness, and product delivery, the results were equally as glowing. Not one respondent rated Precision Plus as “Below Average” or “Among the Worst.” Looking at component quality, 94% of the responses were “Among the Best” (61%) or “Above Average” (33%). When asked to give a simple favorable or unfavorable rating on their overall view of Precision Plus, all 54 participants selected the “favorable” response.

“We were extremely proud of the ratings our employees earned,” noted Jeff Lemmermann, Chief Information and Financial Officer. “There were sixteen individuals who took the time to add additional comments, and those comments really praised the extra efforts the PPI team made to help them succeed.”

Precision Plus is looking to surveys like this to gain feedback from the marketplace on what keeps customers coming back. On the flip side, PPI is also looking for suggestions on how their products and services can be improved.

Lemmermann adds, “Even the comments with improvement suggestions, had a compliment. Furthermore, it was a pleasure to share these results with our employees to let them know how our customers notice their efforts.”

The survey also gave the respondents an option to be contacted for more feedback at a later day. Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus followed up on those calls.

Click here for a PDF of the survey results.

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.

Cloud-Based Storage and Retrieval: An Article by Jeff Lemmermann

Michael Reader

Jeff Lemmermann, CFO and CIO of Precision Plus has recently published an article in the 2015 spring issue of “CPA2b Magazine,” a quarterly publication by the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

The article entitled” Cloud-Based Storage and Retrieval, Do the Opportunities Outweigh the Risks” delves into the rewards and the risks of storing data in “the cloud.” Lemmermann also shares valuable tips for asking the right questions to help make the right decisions when assessing and securing a provider.

Click to read the full article, and/or download a PDF.

Precision Plus is an Active Member of the Communities in Which We Live and Operate

Michael Reader

Precision Plus of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, operates on a focused vision based on four pillars: integrity, empowerment, innovation and respect. That is a principle that we apply both internally and externally. We believe that the communities in which we live and operate are an integral part of our operation, and that our participation is a testament to our commitment.

Our officers and directors believe it is important to lead by example. The following represents our involvement with our local and professional communities during September.

Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training is now serving on the Education Committee for the Waukesha Business Alliance. He is part of a subcommittee that is working to update the Education Policy Statement.

Butters is also serving as the Secretary for the Elkhorn Economic Development Alliance (EEDA). The EEDA is forming as an LLC with Memorandum of Understandings with the City of Elkhorn and the Walworth County Economic Development Alliance (WCEDA). The group will be the first response team working with businesses relocating to our community.

Bill Wells, Director of Sales and Engineering and Mike Reader, President and CEO, are both part of the committee that is organizing the next Precision Machine Technology Show (PTMS) promoted by both Gardner Business Media and the PMPA. The show is scheduled for April 21-23 in Columbus, Ohio.

Jeff Lemmermann, CFO and CIO, presented on the subject of securing municipal information before the Illinois Municipal League of Chicago on September 20, during their 2014 annual conference at the Chicago Hilton.

Mike Reader, President and CEO, accepted an invitation by Frank Habib, Vice President of Development at Milwaukee School of Engineering  (MSOE) to join their Corporate Board of Directors.

 

Bill Wells, Director of Sales and Engineering, coordinated a golf outing for the Wisconsin Chapter of the PMPA. The event took place at Lake Lawn Resort and was attended by eighty-eight business professionals.

The Municipal Clerks & Treasurers Insititute Features Precision Plus’s Jeff Lemmermann As One of Their Instructors

Michael Reader

The Municipal Clerks & Treasurers Institute  educational program at UWGB from took place from July 13, 2014 through July 18, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

As part of this year’s program, Precision Plus’s CFO and CTO Jeff Lemmermann presented a 3-hour “Cyber Security” class. The program is held annually and consists of 33-34 hours of classroom instruction per year for a total of 100 hours of programming over a three year period. Local government officials completing the three-year program sequence earn all of the educational points needed for the education portion of the WCMC, CMTW, and CPFA certificates.

Jeff Lemmermann, CFO and CIO at Precision Plus To Speak at Two Upcoming Conferences

Michael Reader

Jeff Lemmermann, CFO and CIO at Precision Plus has been invited to speak at two conferences. 

On Monday, April 7th at INFOSEC WORLD in Orlando, Florida, Lemmermann will examine four famous information technology breach incidents to point out the missed signs, how the breach was ultimately discovered, the damage from the breach, and the lessons that can be learned to avoid similar attacks.  The presentation entitled “Autopsy Report: Famous IT Security Breaches; What Were the Signs and How They Could Have Been Prevented,” will take place from 11:15 a.m. until 12:15 p.m.

On Wednesday, May 21, 2014, Lemmermann will address attendees of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, during their 68th Annual Conference, which will take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Lemmermann’s presentation will be from 2:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. and it is entitled, “Security Your Information Assets.”