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Third Annual Manufacturing Career Panel at Elkhorn Area High School on February 18, 2015, Draws a Large Crowd of Students

Michael Reader

For the third year in a row, Precision Plus in partnership with Elkhorn Area High School, presented a Manufacturing Career Panel to more than a hundred high school students from several area schools.

The event, which took place on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at Elkhorn Area High School was organized to explain to students what 21st century advanced manufacturing is and how it has changed over the last decades, to dispel old manufacturing myths, to talk about manufacturing career opportunities, and exciting educational opportunities available for students in the area.

The program was moderated by Mike Reader, President and Owner of Precision Plus, and by Barry Butters, the company’s Director of Education and Training. A shout-out was given to JoAnne Pella, Career Advisor of Elkhorn Area High School, for her contribution and dedication to make the panels possible.

The panelists were distinguished industry leaders Dennis Giesler, General Manager of Parker-Hannifin Quick Coupling Division, Dawn Tabat, COO of Generac, Geoff Martin, Principal and Senior Leader of GE Healthcare Partners, and Rick Lofy, Lean Six Sigma Instructor at Gateway Technical College. Click here to see their expanded bios.

All four panelists drew from their own experiences in manufacturing, sharing the broad spectrum of opportunities that exist within the industry at all levels. They all spoke about the next generation of advanced manufacturing professionals, and how they are looking at that generation, which included the students present, to carry the future. All speakers agreed that we live in an exciting time, when things are changing faster today than in the history of the world. And that these fast, dynamic, changing times require problem-solving, creative-thinking individuals who can move with the changes and have the ability to rapidly adapt and progress through collaboration and continuous improvement. Success now and in the future, they concluded, will be driven by the purpose, culture and passion of those individuals and companies who are committed to make a difference.

Second Annual Manufacturing Career Panel To Be Held on February 26, 2014 at Elkhorn Area High School in Elkhorn, Wisconsin

Michael Reader


Elkhorn Area High School
in Partnership with Precision Plus,
Hosts The Second Annual Manufacturing Career Panel
Wednesday, February 26 – 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Elkhorn Area High School Auditorium

Did you know…

  •  The highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the United States lies within a 90-mile radius of the city of Waukesha?
  • By the year 2020, there will be 123 million openings in manufacturing in the country with only 50 million people ready to fill those jobs and that currently, there are 1000’s of job openings in our own region?
  • The manufacturing industry pays a sustaining wage that is 20% higher than most other industries?
  • Manufacturers are getting behind training programs to help ensure they will have the skilled workforce they will need for the future?

The time to get the word out to young people about these facts and the awesome career opportunities and rewards that the manufacturing industry has to offer is now!

Please plan to join Elkhorn Area High School in partnership with Precision Plus, for the 2nd Annual Manufacturing Careers Panel comprised of industry experts who will share the opportunities and rewards a career in manufacturing has to offer.  Panelists will also lay out career paths for students or community members interested in engineering or manufacturing careers with an opportunity for the audience to ask questions at the end of the presentations.

The panel will take place on Wednesday, February 26, 2014, in the Elkhorn Area High School Auditorium from 1:00 p.m. until 2:30 p.m.

This year, we are pleased to welcome the following manufacturing experts:

  • Ms. Mary Isbister, President of GenMet, a metal fabricating business located in Mequon, WI
  • Mr. Hanan Fishman, President of PartMaker, Inc., a computer-aided manufacturing software developer
  • Mr. Brian White, President of GE’s Waukesha Gas Engines, manufacturer of natural gas engines, located in Waukesha, WI
  • Mr. Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus,  manufacturer of precision turned components, located in Elkhorn, WI

Mary Isbister is president of GenMet Corp., a 75-employee metal fabricating company located in Mequon, Wisconsin.  She, along with her husband purchased the business in 1999. Since that time, GenMet has quadrupled its revenue.  In addition, the business has become ISO Certified, undergone a lean transformation, and been awarded ‘Fabricator of the Year’ by the National Fabricators and Manufacturers Association.

Ms. Isbister’s civil service includes being named in 2010 to the U.S. Manufacturing Council, which reports to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, where she currently serves as the Council’s Vice Chair.  She has been reappointed to serve an additional two-year term as a member of this advisory council.  In 2013, Ms. Isbister was appointed by Governor Walker as Chair of Wisconsin’s Council for Workforce Investment reporting to the Secretary of the Department of Workforce Development.

Ms. Isbister’s current civic participation includes service as a member of the Boards of Directors for a variety of non-profit organizations including:

  • Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Chair)
  • WUWM Community Advisory Board (Chair)
  • MMAC’s Council of Small Business Executives (Chair)
  • MMAC (Director)
  • M-7 Executive Partner (Small Business Representative)
  • FMA Precision Sheet Metal Council (Director)

In 2013 Ms. Isbister received the following awards:

  • An inaugural recipient of the Manufacturing Institute’s STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Award
  • The Milwaukee Business Journal’s Women of Influence Award

Mr. Hanan Fishman is the President of PartMaker, Inc., a division of Delcam Advanced Manufacturing Solutions, the world’s largest specialist in computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software development.  PartMaker, Inc. pioneered the field of CAM software for Turn-Mills and Swiss-type lathes with its patented ‘Visual Programming Approach’ for programming multi-axis lathes with live tooling. It assures quicker learning and easier use. It makes an extensive use of pictures to help the user describe tools, part features, and machining data. Synchronization of tools working on multiple spindles is achieved by a few mouse clicks

Mr. Fishman is the co-author of two U.S. patents dealing with the subject of automating the programming of multi-axis CNC machines.  He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Brian White is president of GE’s Waukesha Gas Engines, part of GE Distributed Power, a world-leading provider of power generation, energy delivery and water processing technologies serving all areas of the energy industry, including wind, solar, biogas, alternative fuels, natural gas and nuclear energy.

In 2010, White joined Waukesha Gas Engines, which specializes in the design and manufacture of natural gas engines to drive compressors, generators, pumps, and other equipment. Previously, he was vice president of reengineering for Dresser, Waukesha’s parent company. At Dresser, he led the transition to a ‘lean thinking enterprise’ culture, established a strategic global sourcing and logistics group to drive cost savings, oversaw facilities consolidations, led a worldwide Oracle implementation, and introduced a goal deployment process.

He began his career as an apprentice at Caterpillar Tractor Co.  Later at Sperry Sun UK, he moved up from a design engineer to program manager through a series of successively responsible positions, ultimately being named vice president of manufacturing for Sperry Sun Drilling Services.

Mr. White has a bachelor’s of science in electrical and electronics engineering from Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK.

Mr. Michael Reader, President/Owner Precision Plus has spent the last 18 years working to advance the family-owned and operated business, which specializes in precision turned metal components.  Serving a diversified customer based–from aerospace to music instrument manufacturers and from Fortune 100 companies to small businesses–has allowed the company to experience tremendous growth over the years.  Reinvestment in people, training, and state-of-the-art equipment are all part of the foundation driving success for Precision Plus and their 60-team members.

Precision Plus understands an organization is only as good as their people. Facing an imminent shortage of highly skilled manufacturing professionals, Precision Plus became proactive in the efforts to attract the next generation of skilled machinists, engineers and support staff. Starting in the fall of 2012, Michael hosted faculty from the Elkhorn Area High School for plant tours and conversations regarding critical skills needed for today’s advanced manufacturing.  This led to a career panel presentation involving approximately 180 students in February of 2013, and then to 10 internships over the summer.  Precision Plus has continued its internship program throughout the school year and is preparing for the Second Annual Manufacturing Career Panel EAHS.

While deeply invested in workforce development efforts, Michael is also very active with the industry trade association PMPA (Precision Machined Products Association), where he is a former board member and currently sits on several different committees to advance the industry and association membership.