SWISS TURNED COMPONENTS | (262) 743-1700

Precision Plus Education Update for November of 2015

Michael Reader

For Mark Beilman, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus (PPI) in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, no two days are alike. Under the umbrella of his title, there is a wealth of responsibilities that include, among others,

  • Day-to-day management of PPI’s apprenticeship, mentoring and summer internship programs
  • Community and education outreach that communicates and brings awareness to careers in manufacturing
  • Participation in industry and commerce events to exchange ideas and knowledge with colleagues
  • Assisting in career development at any stage of the process

In November 2015, Mark Beilman represented Precision Plus at two career development events.

On November 4th, Beilman was a panelist at the Beloit Memorial High School Career Panel. Other panelists were Clint Wallisch of Corporate Contractors, Inc., Stephanie Leuder and Brandon Flexsenfar of Fairbanks Morse Engine, Vance Wilmovsky and Cory Brown of Scot Forge, and Joe Schwengels of JP Cullen.

The hour-long event was attended by about 70 students, and was organized by Lindsay Healless, Career Advocate for the school. Each panelist had the opportunity to introduce himself or herself, and give a short presentation about employability skills typically required by their companies.

The panelists spoke about the importance to “doing something you love.” Beilman added, “Never settle for second best.” Several panelists also discussed the benefits of “following one’s own passion” when determining what career to pursue, and let that be the guide to a choice of school and/or position that can nurture their passion. Following, students asked questions of the panelists, mostly about suggested educational paths.

Among the students, there was a variety of career aspirations, from becoming skilled tradesmen to becoming engineers. The panelists discussed options such as attending a 4-year school, getting a 2-year associates degree, or going into the skilled trades as an apprentice.

The panelists also reiterated the importance of developing employability skills—from showing up to work on time every day, to passing a drug test, writing a coherent resume, looking at the potential employer in the eye when speaking with them, doing their best in all their classes, and declaring their desire to succeed within the organization as a positive team member.

Career panels such as the one presented by Beloit Memorial High School open career possibilities for students, who can listen to and interact with employers and learn about the education and skills required to work at their type of businesses.

On November 12th and 13th, Mark Beilman participated in one-on-one employment mock interviews with two Occupations Program students at Elkhorn Area High School (EAHS).

Tristyn Nichols and Alexis Parise, both seniors at EAHS, practiced their skills for the mock interviews conducted by Beilman. Each took approximately 30 minutes, and was followed by a 15-minute immediate feedback session, not only assessing the interview, but also suggesting ways to improve their employability skills.


Both students were well prepared with resumes and cover letters. Tristyn was “interviewing” for a sales position at Polaris Snowmobiles, while Alexis was “interviewing” at a horse stable to work as a vet technician, horse groomer and animal care provider. Both asked pertinent questions and responded to questions posed by Beilman such as,

  • Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
  • What is your biggest accomplishment?
  • What is your biggest regret?
  • Explain a time when someone told you about correcting your behavior – what was the situation and how did you react?

For students looking for a summer job or a full-time job after school, Mark Beilman has the following recommendation: “Prepare and be yourself: you are selling yourself to the company as well as your skills. Be energetic and enthusiastic.”

For more information about these programs or other education and training initiatives and events, please contact Mark Beilman via email, or by phone at 262.743.1700.

 

Precision Plus Participates at MSOE’s 2015 Career Fair, and Shares Intern Success Stories

Michael Reader

Once a year, Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) holds a career fair, which provides businesses a chance to meet qualified students face-to-face. In 2015, the fair took place on Friday, October 9th, at MSOE’s Kern Center. According to the organizers, the fair is “the perfect venue to gain exposure” for any company. MSOE is regarded as the fifth most innovative university in the Midwest, offering the twelfth best undergraduate engineering program in the U.S.

There is no wonder why more than 200 companies participate in the fair, looking to attract qualified individuals for internships or jobs. This is the second consecutive year for Precision Plus (PPI) to participate in the fair. Mark Beilman, Director of Education and Training for the company was at hand to talk to students about the company’s summer internship program, which provides practical experience and brings to life theories and processes learned in the classroom.

Four of Precision Plus’ 2015 summer interns (Britt Campbell, Carson Filko, Jessica Flock, and Amanda Mudlaff) are currently enrolled at MSOE. Some of PPI’s 2015 summer interns were featured in a video produced to celebrate Manufacturing Month by Wisconsin Manufacturing & Commerce. Precision Plus has also pledged two scholarships for incoming mechanical engineering freshman students who attend the school and participate in PPI’s summer internship program.

Mike Reader, Jr.’s Internship Story at Scot Forge

Last year’s MSOE Career Fair also presented an opportunity for Mike Reader, Jr., pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at MSOE, who after a four-year summer intern at Precision Plus looked for a chance to gain broader industry experience with a different company. In the summer of 2014, he and other PPI interns had taken a tour of Spring Grove, IL based Scot Forge, a company that is regarded as the industry leader in open die forging and rolled ring forging. Their products, quite the opposite of what he had experienced at PPI, are parts that could weigh as little as 100 pounds, or as much as 150,000 pounds—a considerable departure from Swiss precision machining.

Mike applied for a summer internship with Scot Forge as well as for a scholarship/internship opportunity. After several interviews, he was awarded one of eight 2015-2016 Peter I. Georgeson scholarships, and a 2015 summer internship.

At Scot Forge, Mike interned with a self-sufficient team consisting of a project group, an engineering group, a maintenance department, and a machine repair department where he spent most of his time. There, he worked with several different team members on a variety of assignments: from learning how to MIG weld, to welding new structures, working on big gearboxes, large servo motors, and transmissions, to realigning heads on turrets, working on the electrical cabinets of different machines, as well as on cooling systems with pumps, and much more.

Mike’s goal was to get hands-on floor experience, to observe successes and failures, but especially how failures can be reversed. Mike credits the ingenuity of his team members, typically with a farming or construction background, who always found a way to get things done.

Mike enjoyed interning at Scot Forge, an employee-owned company, where employees look to each other for solutions and take ownership of their work. He returned to MSOE in the fall.

In his spare time, Mike loves learning about cars and engines, and is currently fascinated with his 2004 VW Passat W8 motor—the way it’s configured, how the cylinders are arranged, and what makes it perform the way it does.

Mike will be graduating from MSOE in the spring of 2016, and his goals and aspirations are to enjoy what he is doing, while applying schooling and skills, and having fun along the way.

Precision Plus’ Barry Butters Continues His Visits to Area Schools to Bring Manufacturing to the Front of the Class

Michael Reader

In November and December of 2014, Precision Plus’ Director of Education and Training Barry Butters continued on his mission to visit area schools to bring attention to the viability of manufacturing as a career option for today’s youth.

On November 3, 2014, Butters joined forces with Zach Ford from Scot Forge to make a presentation to a group of students at Richmond Burton High School in Illinois. Although Scot Forge and Precision Plus are on opposite ends of the spectrum with regard to the size of the parts they manufacture, both companies seek similar traits in future employees. Both Ford and Butters reiterated the importance for students to master soft skills–such as having a positive work attitude and respecting punctuality, as well as focusing their studies on STEM and pre-engineering courses that would contribute to their technical preparedness for jobs in manufacturing.

Butters also visited the Arrow Academy on November 11th, Burlington High School on December 2nd, and Westosha Central High School on December 9th, making presentations to their individual technical education classes. During his presentations, Butters delivered the same soft skills and STEM-focused classes’ message. Additionally, he explained the nature of the precision metal turning industry and demonstrated the CAD/CAM software used at Precision Plus to design parts and program CNC machines. Butters was happy to learn about Westosha Central High School’s plans to remodel their entire technical education facility beginning this summer.

Butters also participated in mock interviews at Elkhorn Area High School for Mrs. Joanne Pella’s Business Occupations class. “I give honest feedback to the students concerning their appearance and application materials from a manufacturing employer’s perspective. Often I am just reiterating what Mrs. Pella has already told them about the interviewing process, but having someone from outside the school repeat it, reinforces the message.” Several students have responded by sending letters of appreciation to Barry Butters.

Precision Plus invites any individual or group interested in learning more about the manufacturing industry to contact Barry Butters or Mike Reader or call 262-743-1700. We can set up informational tours of the facility and/or travel to speak to any group about the manufacturing industry. Precision Plus welcomes your comments and questions.

Precision Plus 2014 Summer Interns Headed Back to School

Michael Reader

The second year of Precision Plus’ Summer Internship Programs comes to an end, as the 18 interns head back to their respective high schools (East Troy, Badger, Elkhorn Area, Richmond and Wilmot) and colleges (U.W. Madison, U.W. Platteville, Milwaukee School of Engineering).

Although the internship program includes classroom time, the students spent most of their time on the floor, observing and learning from seasoned professionals and putting their new knowledge to work—hands-on.

Featured below are a few of Precision Plus summer interns in action.

 [pb_slideshow group=”7″]

The end of the summer internship program was highlighted by field trips to several area manufacturing facilities as well as to the new iMET Center.

On August 8, 2014, the students and Precision Plus’ Director of Education and Training Barry Butters toured the iMET (SC Johnson Integrated Manufacturing and Engineering Technology) Center– within Gateway Technical College– located in Sturtevant, WI . The iMET Center is a state of the art training facility. It also houses a FAB lab. “Fab labs are a global network of local labs, enabling invention by providing access for individuals to tools for digital fabrication, to make almost anything.” The students found the 3D scanner and 3D printers of particular interest.

On August 13, 2014, a trip was coordinated to visit the Haas Factory Outlet Open House, located in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

The students saw the latest generation of Haas machines. Of particular interest were the vertical mills, as Precision Plus does not use this type of machine. The students were amazed at how fast the mill could change tools. Haas has worldwide reputation as a technology leader in CNC machining.

The students also enjoyed seeing Kurt Busch’s Haas NASCAR #41 up close prior to performing in the Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14 following IMTS 2014.

On August 22, 2014, the interns were given a tour of MacLean-Fogg in Whitewater, WI by Randy Race, Director of Engineering. The company was founded in 2012 by merging two successful and complementary plastic injection molding businesses: Engineered Plastics Corp. in Menomonee Falls, WI and MacLean-Fogg’s Polymer Technologies in Whitewater. Their experience in practical plastics design, tooling, processing, and engineered materials is extensive and it is well known throughout the world.

The students learned all about plastic injection molding machines and about how automation has been a key player in the running of these machines.

But the field trip that left most interns awe-struck was the Spring Grove, IL tour of the Scot Forge facility. The tour was arranged through Zach Ford who is Scot Forge’s Technical Education Liaison.  While at Precision Plus, we sometimes have to use tweezers to hold our parts to measure them, Scot Forge manufactures things that have to be crawled inside of to measure. The sheer size difference was amazing to the students, and it gave them a much wider understanding of the variables in manufacturing.

We wish all of our interns success in their studies, and look forward to keeping up with their achievements.  In college, or college bound are:

  • Michael Reader MSOE (Jr.) and 4-year summer intern
  • Carson Filko MSOE (Fr) and 3-year summer intern
  • Britt Campbell MSOE (Fr.) 1-year Youth Apprentice/summer intern
  • Hunter Parks MSOE (Fr.), 1-year Youth Apprentice/summer intern
  • Riley Bruce MSOE (Fr.) 1-year summer intern
  • Kyle Poplar MSOE (Sr.) 1-year summer intern
  • Jon Stopple, UW-Platteville (So.) 2nd year intern
  • Bob Dall, UW-Madison (So.) 2nd year intern
  • Brad Killen, UW-Madison (So.) 2nd year intern
  • Jake Ruemmele UW Platteville (Jr.) 1st year intern