Summer is coming to an end, and it is time for Precision Plus to say goodbye to our summer interns. Over the last few months, we have gotten to know these intelligent and talented students, as they received a real “hands-on” education. They now have the opportunity to apply what they have learned on the shop floor to what they are studying in school. Some interns will be returning to school, some will be graduating soon, and some will move onto other internships. No matter where they are headed, we feel fortunate that we were a part of their journey.
Precision Plus started the internship program four years ago, and it has developed into a successful program for both the students and our company. This summer, we had the opportunity to work alongside these ambitious and determined interns. From engineering and machining to IT, they have performed very well and have exceeded expectations once again. They have been given different and sometimes challenging tasks or projects. Our interns completed these responsibilities with the creativity and professionalism one would expect from someone with much more work experience.
Below, you will find a short description of each intern’s experience at Precision Plus and their future plans in their own words. We wish them the best in their future endeavors and look forward to welcoming them next summer!
-Mark Beilman, Director of Education & Training
Troy Steinfest, UW-Platteville Engineering Student
I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to intern at a great manufacturing facility like Precision Plus. This three year adventure has shown me what it is like to work in all aspects of a company and see how a business runs its daily operations. This experience has helped confirm my desire to become an engineer. I will be going into my second year at the University of Wisconsin Platteville studying electrical engineering.
Although working here has helped me know that I want to stay in engineering, it is not necessarily within my desired major. This has not detracted from the wonderful experience that I have been offered here at Precision Plus. Some advice for future interns is to be vocal about what you want to get out of your internships. Companies will listen to you, and you will have a more meaningful experience. With that said, my experience would not have been the same without working with all the fantastic employees here at Precision Plus. The employees that I have worked closely with truly have made my internship times memorable.
Jake Ruemmele , UW-Platteville Engineering Student
The past three summers interning with Precision Plus have been very beneficial to the growth and development of my engineering mindset as a whole. The mechanical engineering knowledge that I have amassed in school has been fortified with hands-on projects and opportunities thanks to Precision Plus’ extensive internship program. For me, the most challenging experiences dealt with seeing an engineering project start to finish. My best experience was seeing a re-design assembly on modelling software come to life in a tangible assembly used for some of the machines on the floor. For those interested in engineering and learning about how it applies to manufacturing, I would recommend taking shop or wood-working classes in tandem with engineering courses. I would also recommend that those individuals seek internships, and do it as early as they can! I graduate from UW-Platteville this December – hopefully within the year I will have a full-time job as an Engineer. Given the internship experience I have had the privilege of receiving over the last couple of years, I can safely say that I will be ready for the workforce this December.
Carson Filko, MSOE Engineering Student
The time I have spent in the walls of Precision Plus has laid the foundation for my future career, taught me core skills I will continue to use, and exposed me to the professional workplace.
Some of the most difficult challenges I have faced occurred when I was on second shift, running parts on the Miyano Turret lathes. When problems arise that a simple offset does not correct, a sequence of solutions must be applied, which many operators do not regularly face. Over time, one learns what to look for and a new way of problem solving.
My best experiences could be the very ones I had the most trouble figuring out. The mindset and responsibility of these problems has had the most impact on what I will take away from this experience.
If you are thinking of joining the crew here I would highly recommend it. This is a great group of people to work with and learn from. I would have to say the two things that will make you successful here are to listen to what the mentors have to say and to be meticulous about your work. They take precision very seriously here and accept nothing less.
Next year will be another year of learning more about the field of engineering at MSOE. I might even stop in here over break to catch up and make some more parts.
My future has been greatly impacted through each day I have spent here. For instance, the tight tolerance parts on the Miyano turret lathes, and knowing the application of the parts, showed how sometimes parts are designed to unnecessary constraints and has more implications than one might first see. I hope to look back at my days at Precision Plus and see what I learned when I started out at a top tier machine shop.
Alden Filko, starting MSOE in the fall
Precision Plus has been a great learning experience for me. The skills that I needed to develop to perform my job properly will pay off greatly in the future. This job has challenged me by forcing me to understand how the machine cuts the part and how one offset will change several dimensions. This internship has challenged me to try to juggle multiple machines at one time, while keeping all the parts within the print tolerance. The people that I work with have been the best. I never thought that I would become friends with my supervisor and that other employees would want to talk to a summer intern as much as they do. Prospective interns should be prepared to work in a high-paced environment and be willing to spend a large portion of their day paying close attention to their machines. I will be starting school at Milwaukee School of Engineering majoring in bio-molecular engineering. The experience as an intern will help me in my future because the skills I have learned as an operator will help me think critically and understand some programming. I have learned what an engineer draws up at his desk takes a lot more to actually make than what I previously thought. I feel that going into engineering with this background will help me to think about how a solution will be made instead of just finding a solution.
Matt Dowell, UW-Platteville Engineering Student
I’ve really enjoyed my summer break spent interning at Precision Plus. It has been a wonderful time interacting with the employees and running CNC machines, making an array of different parts. My most challenging moments have been running jobs in which the job requires tight tolerances while the material is very hard on the tooling, wearing it quickly. It is a consistent battle throughout the day to hold it in tolerance, but it keeps me on my toes and very busy, something I enjoy. My best experience at Precision Plus has really been working with coworkers. This is an excellent team that works together to make sure everyone understands what goes on and when things go awry, they explain why and how to fix it next time. I find that these soft skills I’ve learned over my internship are going to be invaluable in my career path, and it’s not something that can be fully learned in a classroom setting. My advice for people in an internship experience, either at Precision Plus or elsewhere, is to consult somebody more knowledgeable when in doubt. Even when you break something, you are better off to admit you’re at fault, so you can move on in the right direction.
Next year at college, my big new experience will be as a resident assistant in my dorm where I will assist students in academics, as well as fostering a great community to live in. My future plans of being a mechanical engineer will greatly be bettered by my experience with Precision Plus, by showing me what happens after the drawing board. Engineers often see the design and the final product, but working at Precision Plus, I got to experience firsthand the step in between – actually manufacturing something.
Britt Campbell, MSOE Engineering student
As a whole, Precision Plus has taught me important lessons about manufacturing. My most challenging and best experiences were learning how to use and program many of the software programs used to inspect the products that are made here at Precision Plus. My advice is that if you want to learn something, go and learn it because opportunities don’t always fall into your hands.
In the next year, I will be moving away from southeastern Wisconsin, serving as the Design Team Liaison for the MSOE SAE chapter, and hopefully finding an internship in the automotive field. This experience has taught me a lot, but the most important thing it taught me was that this type of manufacturing job was not what I want to do for the rest of my life. My experiences on the MSOE Formula Hybrid Team the past two years gave me the opportunity to design, test, and build a racecar and learn what area of engineering I truly wanted to be in, which would be designing and testing.
Justin Pawlowski, MSOE Engineering student
My experience working at Precision Plus has been quite a diverse adventure. It has been a great opportunity to see how the work that goes on in the classroom is converted into physical objects. I first began working in the QA lab, where I reviewed parts that were produced on the floor. Here, I gained a better understanding of what to look for in products that may be deemed nonconforming or make sure that it does match up to the company’s standards and is a solid part. After QA, I moved to shipping. Here, as the name suggests, I helped get the parts ready to be shipped to their destination. I also assisted with logistics in making sure the inventory numbers matched up to the job. Next, I began working on the Tornos machines on the floor. Here, I am always on the move. Whether it is checking my parts, sorting something, or cleaning my machines, I always have something to do. Although each division of the company differs from one another, they all relate to one another almost like a system of checks and balances, allowing each job to be done with precision. My most challenging moments have been when my machines keep producing parts, and I am quickly running out of time at the end of the day. In order to compensate, I must pace myself throughout the day to make sure I will be done on time. My best experience has been the overall change of pace from the typical teenager jobs. I am beginning my journey where my classroom work is starting to finally pay off, and I can use that knowledge in combination with this experience to only further my career development. My advice for prospective interns would be to follow your dreams. As cliché as it sounds, it is a solid piece of wisdom. The only person stopping you from realizing your dreams is yourself, so go out there and get them. If you dream of becoming an engineer, an opportunity like this is a very rewarding one. Next year, I will continue studying hard at MSOE where I hope to perform even better than last year. Overall, working at Precision Plus has given me a better insight as to where I wish to be in my career later down the road. This internship has opened many doors for me, and I will definitely take full advantage of that.
Amanda Mudlaff, MSOE Engineering student
My experience here at Precision Plus has been very fascinating. I have learned many new skills from other employees, made good connections with other employees, and will be able to use this knowledge throughout my life. The most challenging moments here at Precision Plus have been dealing with my frustration. When I’m not able to complete something, or I am struggling with a task, I start to get frustrated. I have to learn to control my level of frustration and not let it ruin how I finish the task. One of the best experiences here has definitely been learning how to do set ups. During my first summer here, an employee named Ty taught me how to do my first setup, and ever since then, I was hooked. For the last two summers, an employee named Hank has been teaching me more about set ups, as well. I love the hands-on experience that goes along with completing these tasks.
My advice to other prospective interns is to keep an open mind, even when you’re working on mind numbing tasks. The better and faster you complete the task, the more likely you will advance to more challenging skills. Also, talk to the other employees and make connections to help you in your future. This experience here at Precision Plus has helped me to understand the different views involved within the engineering process. There are multiple steps involved, and each step uses different knowledge. I have learned every one of these steps, and the knowledge that comes along with it. This knowledge will help to broaden my experience in my future job, too. My future holds me completing my Mechanical Engineering degree at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. I hope to have a job that involves either building or designing anything that has to do with boats.
William Sanchez, Entering his senior year at Elkhorn High School and will be a Youth Apprentice for the 2016-2017 school year
My experience with Precision Plus has been far from what I thought it would be. I have been given so many opportunities to try different things, being put in different tasks and being trusted to accomplish these tasks correctly. My most challenging moments would be to work on my own, in the midst of thousands of parts and to be in charge of making sure those parts are within the print tolerance. My best experience would be working with many different people in many different areas of the facility. Everyone is so incredibly nice, understanding, and always smiling and saying hi. Being a junior in high school, I was afraid that the workers would not be friendly, but they have made me feel part of the team. I would tell new interns to be yourself and to ask a lot of questions. Also, try your best and work hard, and you will not have a problem working here at Precision Plus. I will be starting the Youth Apprenticeship program for my senior year at Precision Plus. I am truly grateful for all the opportunities that have been given to me, and I can’t wait to see what the new year has in store.
Jessica Flock, MSOE Computer Engineering Student
I have been an IT intern at Precision Plus for the past two summers. This internship has been a great learning experience for me. I will be attending my second year at MSOE for Computer Engineering in the fall, so being an IT intern has given me an insight to a side of the industry that not many students get. My most challenging experiences here have always begun with a program not running the way it’s supposed to. Learning to get around these road blocks has taught me how to most efficiently troubleshoot, which comes in handy not only in my school work, but also when anyone I know has a computer issue. My best experiences at Precision Plus happen when something I have been struggling with for a long time, finally works the way it’s supposed to. That satisfaction makes all the hours I spent on the project seem worth it.