Precision Plus Welcomes Barry R. Butters as Director of Education and Training

Michael Reader

Precision Plus’ Efforts to Fill the Skills Gap:  Third Installment.

In a continuing effort to stay ahead of a widening manufacturing skills gap, Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus has hired Barry Butters as Director of Education and Training.

Butters has been in the education field for 27years, teaching mathematics and engineering courses as well as serving as a high school principal.  He has taught every course in the high school math curriculum including both Advanced Placement Calculus AB & BC and Advanced Placement Statistics.  Butters has also taught Statistics at George Williams College.  More recently, he began teaching a course called “Introduction to Engineering Design,” which is an engineering course in the “Project Lead The Way” curriculum.  Project Lead The Way is a national Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program aimed to increase the numbers of engineers in the USA.  The course work is designed to get high school students involved in real engineering work at a younger age and to attract more students to the engineering field.  “I will be using best practice in education to bring employees up to speed as quickly as possible through a variety of training techniques,” said Butters.

Butters’ duties at Precision Plus include: new employee training for those with no machining experience, cross-training existing employees, developing educational platforms for the various CNC machines and measuring tools, and acting as ambassador for the manufacturing industry.  Reader has repurposed a room at Precision Plus to serve as a classroom to conduct training.  Butters has lofty goals for the training at Precision Plus  His intentions are for the classroom to be used for:

  • To give employees, interns and students an opportunity to obtain certifications from the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC)
  • To establish Precision Plusas a testing center for MSSC certifications.
  • To teach employees, interns, and students the mathematics related to the machining industry.
  • To teach employees, interns, and students blueprint reading, including geometric dimensioning and tolerance.
  • To teach employees, interns and students the skills necessary to use measuring devices including all kinds of micrometers, drop indicators, gages, calipers, optical comparators, roundness testers, automated optical systems such as OASIS, and coordinate measuring machines (CMMs).
  • To train employees, interns and students in the use of the Part Maker program.
  • To train employees, interns and students in the use of 3D CAD software.
  • To offer a CNC Lathe class to local high schools students.
  • To offer the Project Lead the Way course Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) and Introduction to Engineering Design (IED) at Precision Plus for local high school students.  The courses could be offered in the evenings as necessary.

Barry Butters, Director of Education & Training, speaks to a second grade class at Westside Elementary School class about the field of CNC Machining and Engineering.

Butters’ efforts to get manufacturing and its opportunities on the minds of the community and young people include organizing an open house to mark National Manufacturing Day.  The open house will be held on Thursday, October 3rd at 6:30 pm and is open to all.  On Friday, October 4th, National Manufacturing Day, Precision Plus will offer tours of its facility to local high school students.

In 2012, Mike Reader kicked off the first annual career panel, held at Elkhorn Area High School.  “Our mission is to continue to expand this opportunity, and I think it speaks volumes to Mike Reader’s vision that manufacturers need to take an active role in promoting their own industry,” said Butters.

Butters will be visiting area schools to speak to students about manufacturing and promoting its opportunities.  Most recently he visited a second grade class at Westside Elementary School.

You can reach Barry Butters at  He is willing to take any suggestions or simply talk about what is being accomplished at Precision Plus

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.

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