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What’s It Like Working at Precision Plus in Elkhorn, Wisconsin as a Summer Intern?

Michael Reader

As we, at Precision Plus, were ready to send off our 2015 summer interns to (or back to) college, we asked them what they thought of their experience, what they took away from it, and how their internships may have an effect on their future careers.

This is what they had to say:

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After being an intern at Precision Plus for two years I’ve come to fully understand how on the job learning can greatly benefit my college experience. It’s taught me skills that I would later use some way in the classroom or in my extracurricular activities. I would definitely recommend being an intern at Precision Plus; it’s a great atmosphere, there are plenty of helpful co-workers, and any internship that can be done before graduating from school will help define what you want the future to hold. I have truly enjoyed my experiences here and have learned so much. Thanks to everyone at Precision Plus -Britt Campbell

The 3-year summer intern experience I have had at Precision Plus has awarded me with a better understanding of the manufacturing industry. In my first summer I got a little experience on the different types of machines and areas within the company. The second year I trained other interns while working as an operator, explicitly on the Tornos CAM platform. This was my third summer at Precision Plus, and I have gained a lot of further knowledge on the Tornos machines. I now know how to setup new jobs, and make adjustments to existing ones. This entire opportunity has allowed me to work with my hands and apply problem solving practices, which has been very rewarding to me. I thank everyone that I have worked with over the summers for their guidance and teaching me about manufacturing. -Bob Dall

My experience as an intern at Precision Plus has exposed me to what actually happens in the world of manufacturing a part. I have learned what features on parts are easy or difficult to hold, differences in materials, and fine-tuned my print reading skills. All of these things I believe will help me in my future as an engineer to make better parts, thus better products at cost effective pricing. The internship is something that many other people my age do not get the opportunity to be in, effectively setting myself apart in the job market. Whether you are straight out of high school or planning on attending a 2-year or 4-year post secondary education, an internship in something close to your field is very important. Actually having a job, no matter the field, is a large thing to help future employment opportunities. Precision Plus is helping me to transition from education to the workforce through my internship. -Matt Dowell

I very much enjoyed my time at Precision Plus The problems I was presented with, although frustrating at times, provided challenges that stretched my abilities and gave me a learning experience that cannot be provided in a classroom.  My favorite thing about this internship was being able to work in a field that pertains to my career aspirations. I will be majoring in computer engineering at MSOE this fall and, as the major suggests, hope to become a computer engineer. Working in an IT position has given me insight into how the computers I will be designing work together and communicate. Learning firsthand how a larger network is maintained has given me a perspective that not many students, and many fewer incoming freshman, will have. This advantage will help me not only in the classroom, but also in the job market. I would definitely recommend this internship program. Although there is only one IT intern position and I wouldn’t want someone else to take it, I know the other interns get similar firsthand experience that is invaluable to anyone going into manufacturing or a related field. -Jessica Flock

My name is Kyle Gorst.  I’ve been with Precision Plus for a year now, and am heading into my first year at Gateway Tech.  Doing this internship with Precision Plus has been very beneficial to my future career. They put me through all of the departments in their shop and taught me a lot. I am currently a CAM and Miyano operator.  I would recommend this internship to any student interested in the manufacturing field. -Kyle Gorst

This internship has been extremely valuable to me. The way I believe it has been the most valuable is by giving me real experience in the manufacturing industry. This experience is something that cannot be gained through classes or books, but rather it can only be gained through an opportunity such as this one. The most beneficial thing I have learned during my time at Precision Plus is the knowledge of all of the steps involved in creating a certain part. As an engineer, it is one thing to be able to design a part that works in a model on the computer, but it’s an even more important thing to design a part that not only works in a model, but also is feasible to make without being cost prohibitive. By working here, I have gained a better understanding of what some of the limitations are of designing a part, which will hopefully set me apart from other engineers who have not had hands on experience like this. -Brad Killen

Overall, I had a great summer being part of the internship program here at Precision Plus I would say that my main role was a floater; I would help out where needed. I spent numerous weeks working in the finishing department, Quality Assurance, and as a CAM operator. While some jobs were more boring than others, the work day went by fast. There is always a job to be done, so you’re never left sitting looking at the clock. Over the past two summers, I have gained many valuable skills that I will be able to use in future jobs. I also believe that interning here has made me more marketable. I would highly recommend this internship. -Sergey Klyukvin

I gained the most from learning on the job and experiencing hands on what it’s like to create and design parts from scratch.  I enjoyed the critical thinking skills I had to endure while working on set ups as well. Learning different viewpoints from the other workers around here has helped me to better understand the multiple ways there are to inspect parts as well.  This experience has helped me to pursue this career even further than I had originally planned.  Working at Precision Plus has definitely encouraged me to always try my best and always be open to try new things. -Amanda Mudlaff

To say my experience at Precision Plus Inc. this summer has been invaluable is an understatement. I have been trained in multiple facets of the ‘business’ sector of Precision Plus Inc. – everything from quoting, to a visit to a customer plant has been covered. I also had the opportunity of testing/validating a laser engraver for some of the parts produced, which I really enjoyed. I really believe that my ‘real-world’ engineering knowledge has started to take form, and can be attributed to the experience I’ve received these past two years interning at Precision Plus Inc. I would certainly recommend an internship at Precision Plus Inc. for those pursuing a technical field of study. It’s a testament to work force commitment that a company of this size would invest so much time, money, and effort into us interns. I think I can speak for all of us when I say it is greatly appreciated. -Jake Ruemmele

Working as an intern for Precision Plus has been an invaluable experience as I was able to not only design parts, but also witness the process of making them. This experience will be extremely useful in my future plans of becoming an engineer. Knowing and understanding the manufacturing process will help make designing new parts or products much easier because I will know the process that goes into actually making them. At first, I pictured working in a factory as being dirty, grueling work, but after working here, I have realized that the manufacturing industry has improved drastically and is no longer the dirty work it used to be. I would recommend entering into the manufacturing to people who work better with their hands and to future engineers so that they can find what interests them in this field. -Tristan Steiner

My name is Troy Steinfest, and I was given the great opportunity to intern at Precision Plus The two summers that I spent here has given me the experience that will help me in my future endeavors. This opportunity will also impact my education as I will be furthering it as I attend the University of Wisconsin-Platteville pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering. I would recommend any student looking into engineering to consider finding an internship like this that allows someone to see the overall process of how a business works. My favorite experience while working here has to be learning all the individual points of manufacturing a part, and then seeing all the individual work come together to form the final product. The platform that I most enjoyed in the process is Material Handling. Here I was able to see all the material that enters and leaves the company. I learned that a very important factor in keeping a company running smoothly is organization. These experiences are ultimately priceless, and I recommend all students look into programs similar to what Precision Plus has set up. -Troy Steinfest

Precision Plus thanks the summer interns for their contribution and enthusiasm, and wishes them continued success in their studies.

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.

 

Feeding the Employee Pipeline: WCEDA Panel Discussion on Efforts to Create a Viable Workforce for the Future

Michael Reader

A panel discussion entitled “Feeding the Employee Pipeline,” was organized and presented by the Walworth County Economic Development Alliance (WCEDA) on Thursday, March 19, 2015 at the Geneva National Golf Club.

The purpose of this panel presentation was to bring together educators and industry leaders to better understand the present shortage of a skilled workforce and its future implication, to learn about the solutions and initiatives currently in place that address that shortage, and find out how collaborative efforts are essential for creating a viable workforce. Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus, was invited to be a panelist.

Derek D’Auria , Executive Director of WCEDA, moderated the discussion. In his introduction, D’Auria referred to data collected for a Harvard University study, which indicate that 33% of jobs in the future (as early as 2018) will require a 4-year degree, 57% will require a technical skill, and 10% of jobs will be able to be filled with unskilled employees. He also pointed out that currently in Wisconsin, 65% of all high school graduates set off go to a 4-year college after high school graduation, but that only 25% earn a bachelor ‘s degree, leaving the rest typically with a lot of debt, and resorting to part-time jobs.

First to address the audience was Karen Burns, Manager of the Walworth County Job Center. Burns summarized all the programs that are available at this agency—from learning interviewing soft skills, to working on resumes, to lining up candidates with programs, to working in conjunction with Gateway Technical College and employers.

The second speaker was Dennis Winters, Chief Economist, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Winters presented several slides showing a growing disparity between jobs and the workforce, and the implications, should the situation remain status quo. He contrasted the job seeker position from 50 or 60 years ago, with the one from today, by saying “You can’t expect now to finish high school and run a machine: understand technology, run it, and don’t break it!”

Winters also spoke about the “Wisconsin Fast Forward” program, a blueprint for prosperity, based on employer-need base training. He emphasized the importance of postsecondary training and continuous improvement, and concluded with the following statement: “Education and training must be part of your lifestyle for the rest of your life.”

Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus., was the first panelist to speak. He pointed out that a manufacturing company can expand their brick and mortar and get new equipment, but without people to run it, the expansion is senseless. Given this situation, Mike Reader, President and Owner of the company, hired Butters to build an awareness campaign to make this happen. As an example, Precision Plus has established internship and youth apprenticeship programs, actively participates in several career and technical education (CTE) committees at the high school and college level, and has sponsored industry field trips for students. Butters also teaches an engineering design and development (EDD) course through Elkhorn Area High School and regularly engages with other companies to encourage their involvement.

The next panelist was JoAnne Pella, Career Advisor of Elkhorn Area High School (EAHS). Pella outlined the programs that are in place at the school, such as co-ops, career panels, that will guarantee that all students be exposed to academic career pathway guidance. By mandate, all students will have to have gone through career guidance. She pointed out, however, these initiatives have been long in place at EAHS, and each added option only enhances their existing program. Pella also talked about a career advisor consortium, held at Gateway Technical College, where advisors from several high schools in the area meet once a month to review their programs and exchange ideas.

Debbie Davidson, Vice President of Workforce and Economic Development at Gateway Technical College, talked about the initiatives in place at the school that address the needs of employers in the area. She particularly talked about their CNC Boot Camp program, which has been offered to adults for several years, but to entering high school seniors just for the last three years, with great success. Students go to school during the summer for six weeks. Then, during the fall semester, they attend school in the morning and Gateway in the afternoon. In the spring, they split their day by attending school and participating in a paid internship at a local manufacturing facility. At the end of the program, students not only have a high school diploma, but also a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt, a Manufacturing Skills Standard Council (MSSC) Safety Certification, 15 Gateway school credits, and six months work experience to put on their resume.

Davidson mentioned that through a collaborative effort, which included Precision Plus, the CNC Boot Camp will be offered at the school’s Elkhorn Campus as of July of 2015.

Kevin Paluch, Vice President of the Geneva National Golf Resort, addressed the shortage of properly trained hospitality/culinary arts employees. Due to the nature and the location of the business, the company generally hires a short-term workforce that may not be best prepared to provide a superior experience for their clients. He also alluded to an earnings threshold that will determine whether the younger generation (less than 25 years of age) chooses to work or stay at home. The incentive to go beyond that threshold depends on their qualifications and ability to perform hospitality and culinary jobs properly. Paluch reiterated the need for schools to expand on this type of training.

Rich Gruber, Vice President of Mercy Health System spoke about what his group has done to address the skills shortage. In an entity that employs about 6,500 people, there are regularly 1,500 jobs to open, and these include a range of occupations, from health care to plumbing to food service. Proactively, the organization has established several programs within the system, such as a residency program for primary care physicians, and certified nurse assistant (CNA) program that works with local high schools and colleges. This year alone, Mercy Health System will have graduated over 900 CNAs.

Gruber also spoke about options for junior high and high school students: “The earlier they are exposed to career choices, the better,” he suggested. Schools must be able to provide tools to explore different careers as early as 6th or 7th grade. “Capturing inquisitive minds is essential,” he added. Gruber made clear, however, this could not happen without collaboration and constant conversation with schools at all levels, as well as with fellow health systems, and observed solutions need to be fueled by creativity and outside-the-box thinking by all the partners involved.

Bob Kopykdlowsi , Principal of Badger High School, then addressed the perception issue experienced by many parents and the community at large. He stated that convincing parents that a 4-year degree may not be the only career path available for their students, presented a hurdle, and he suggested that typically the community does not recognize alternate career paths as viable. His school offers many options for children to explore career opportunities.

Tristan Steiner, a senior at Badger High School, spoke about his experience from a student-perspective. Tristan has always been interested in math and science, but did not know how to apply his interest to a career choice he would not regret later. Beginning in his sophomore year, Tristan was able to get a taste of different careers options by taking targeted classes, which eventually led him to realize that he would like to become an electrical engineer with a focus in renewable energy sources. Tristan also had the opportunity be an intern at Precision Plus, where he was able to experience a number of aspects of the business. Being able to study the design of parts and programs for machines, confirmed the choice he made was valid.

The program then opened up to questions and comments that explored topics such as externships–or teachers going into the field to experience the environment, the importance of schools having advisory committees to drive their curricula, the advantages of going to a 2-year college before joining a 4-year institution, and changing the mindset of the community.


A video of the entire presentation is available below:

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!