STEM Education Event at Advanced Manufacturing Center on April 22, 2015 Features Elkhorn Area School District PLTW Students and Teachers, State Legislators and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch

Michael Reader

In fall of 2014, Project Lead The Way (PLTW) announced a pilot program with a curriculum specifically designed for elementary school children, to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics arts (STEM). PLTW has had a solid record for rigorous and comprehensive curricula available to children from middle school through high school. Elkhorn Area School District was an early adopter of the elementary grades pilot program, the PLTW Launch Curriculum, which gives students an opportunity to explore and apply STEM sciences early on.

Dr. Joshua Schultz, Affiliate Director of PLTW at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), extended an invitation to Elkhorn Area School District PLTW students, as well as teachers and administrators, to participate in a Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development event and reception at the Advanced Manufacturing Center in Milton, WI on April 22, 2015, to celebrate the district’s accomplishments and receive a special recognition. Also invited were State of Wisconsin legislators, PLTW officials, Barry Butters from Precision Plus, and Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch.

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As planned, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch was at hand to hand the special recognitions. So were William White, Vice President, Project Lead The Way Midwest Region, Jason Tadlock, District Administrator for the Elkhorn Area School District and Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus

Students included Cullen Gahart (3rd Grade), Matthew Prokes (4th Grade), Natalie Petersen (5th Grade), Lesly Rodriguez (6th Grade), Gwen Nicholas (6th Grade), Wendy Remeeus (6th Grade), Elizabeth Wallace (11th Grade, Justice Bachtell (12th Grade), J.P. Griswold (12th Grade) and Kathryn Lieffrig (12th Grade). Teachers present were Eryca Card, Linda Frankenberg, Alex Hutson, Barry Butters and Jerry Iserloth. Jason Tadlock and Chris Trottier represented the administrators.

Teachers and administrators were asked to talk about their STEM initiatives, and to showcase their efforts to support education, their students, and reiterate the importance of STEM education policy decisions in Wisconsin. In addition, students from the Elkhorn Area School District displayed their projects and shared the value and lessons learned through their PLTW coursework.

The agenda included a continental breakfast, introductions and welcome by Tania Kilpatrick, CESA 6, an overview of PLTW in the Midwest Region by William White, presentations by Jason Tadlock, Barry Butters, Eryca Card and students, and by Thor Misko, Vice President of Development at PLTW. Dr. Joshua Schultz closed the program with final remarks about the event and the program.

And thank you, Elkhorn Area School District, for the shout out on their Facebook Page!


U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan Visits Precision Plus in Elkhorn, Wisconsin on April 6, 2015

Michael Reader

On Monday, April 6, 2015, U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan (WI01) stopped at Precision Plus for a short informal visit with the company’s employees, to share some of the legislative efforts in Washington, D.C. A roundtable discussion with a number of area business leaders followed the meeting.

Mike Reader, President and Owner of Precision Plus, introduced Congressman Ryan to the employees. Congressman Ryan, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee, is in charge of reviewing and passing laws that affect issues such as healthcare, welfare, trade, tax and retirement.

During the Q&A with Precision Plus’ employees, Congressman Ryan compared the tax rates assessed on small to medium-sized businesses in the U.S., at an average of 44.6%, with similar taxes for same-sized companies around the world, which average 25%, and are as low as 12.5% in Ireland. Larger-sized companies, such as Anheuser Busch or Snap-On Tools, pay an average of 35%. Subsequently, their shareholders are taxed about 20% on dividends paid and capital gain.

This tax disparity with its global competitors places U.S. companies in hard-to-compete situations. Some companies are choosing to move their operations to other countries in order to be able to be competitive in the global arena. Others, have been purchased by foreign corporations, so that they can stay viable in the global market. Congressman Ryan pointed out the fact that 96% of all consumers are outside of the U.S. and that currently the U.S. is working, among other things, on trade agreements with eleven Asian nations to open up their markets. The U.S. is adamant that trade partners respect fair trade, do not allow unreasonable subsidies, and protect intellectual properties.

Congressman Ryan addressed also tax reform, and the initiatives that can be put in place—such as depreciation rules, etc., to lessen the tax burden levied on small to medium-sized companies, until this complex issue is resolved, allowing companies to be able to reinvest into their workforce and equipment.  “We need to get American manufacturers to be in a good position to sell overseas, make things here, get our tax fixed, so that we can be more competitive,” he added. “We are in a race to set the rules of the global economy,” he added.

Congressman Ryan was also asked about the status of Medicare reform. He reported on a new payment plan for doctors which is based on value, rather than on number of procedures, or quality versus quantity. Those who can account for healthier outcomes and higher patient satisfaction, will receive a larger payment that those who do not.

After the company meeting, the conversation continued with eleven local business executives about legislative issues, and what can be done to promote domestic manufacturing that will create even more good paying careers.

This visit follows in the footsteps of last year’s, where both Wisconsin Senators–Baldwin and Johnson—stopped in at Precision Plus for tours and conversation.  Mike Reader, President and Owner of Precision Plus said, “We will continue to engage our representatives on both sides of the aisle, at all levels, looking for common ground and a path forward.  Our goal is to promote domestic manufacturing legislation and help develop the next generation of manufacturing professionals.  People are our greatest asset and without them we are nothing but buildings filled with equipment.  We need a global level playing field to allow our team to compete and be successful.  This is why we must engage our representatives and we encourage others to get involved in the conversation.”

Elkhorn Youth CNC Boot Camp Information Program to be Held on March 25 and April 8, 2015

Michael Reader

Students and Parents! Don’t miss this opportunity to attend an informational session about the new CNC Boot Camp program coming to Gateway Technical College in Elkhorn, Wisconsin in July! The informational session will be held on March 25 and April 8, 2015.

The information session will be held on March 25 and April 8, 2015 at 5:30 pm and will be held at Walworth County Job Center, 400 County Road H. in Elkhorn. Contact  Marci Barr at 262-741-5263 for more information.

Check out what seniors already in the program at Gateway’s iMET Center are saying about it:

Youth CNC Boot Camp Opens at Elkhorn Gateway Technical College in July of 2015

Michael Reader

Exciting career educational opportunities are coming to Elkhorn, Wisconsin in Walworth County with the launch of Gateway Technical College (GTC)’s Youth CNC Boot Camp Program at their Elkhorn Campus, which is scheduled for July 13, 2015.

This is a great opportunity for high school senior students who are at least 17 years old at the beginning of the 2015/2016 school year. There is no cost for the program for students residing in Walworth, Racine or Kenosha counties in Wisconsin. Applications must be received no later than May 1, 2015. Two information sessions are scheduled for March 11th and 25th.

According to GTC’s Deborah Davidson, V.P. Workforce & Economic Development Division, the institution has worked with local employers to “develop, design and deliver” a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machine Operator Boot Camp, based on the needs of employers—who are integral to the success of the program.

The CNC Boot Camp begins with in-class instruction, followed by lab time, and culminating with students operating CNC machine equipment like that found in industry. “The curriculum includes courses such as applied mathematics, blueprint reading, machine shop safety, precision measurement and CNC production runs,” explained Ms. Davidson in a video about the program, recorded when it first launched in Racine in 2013.

The first six weeks are spent in the classroom and end before Labor Day. Then, during the school year, students attend regular classes in the morning, and then go to GTC’s Elkhorn Campus CNC Lab from 12:30 until 4:30 in the afternoon.

The youth/high school program is exactly the same as GTC’s Adult CNC Program, but it has been designed to work with the students’ school schedule.  An adult CNC Boot Camp has also been planned for the Elkhorn facility, with details to come.

On February 24, 2015, Deborah Davidson, sent the following informational email:

Dear Walworth County Friends,

In an effort to expand programming opportunities in the Walworth community Gateway Technical College and our partners at the Job Center, WECDA, local businesses and schools met to discuss the inclusion of students in Walworth County to participate in the CNC Operator High School Boot Camp. Piloted in Racine in 2013 and offered again in 2014, we are pleased to open up the programming to both Walworth County and Kenosha County in the summer of 2015.

 In an effort to eliminate transportation barriers for high school student participants, and based on input from Walworth County employers and school administrators Gateway will offer a High School CNC Boot Camp at the Elkhorn Campus beginning in July 2015! Boasting a 95% job placement rate from our 20+ adult Boot Camps, we are convinced that this program will meet the needs of area employers.

While there is much work to do to make this Boot Camp a reality; we are confident that by offering this in Walworth County we are providing students with access to innovative programming that leads to great manufacturing careers. These students will serve as an employment pipeline while building a strong foundation for their future.

Please help us spread the word to the parents and students by inviting them to attend one of the following information sessions:

 Wednesday, March 11th at 5:30pm and Wednesday, March 25th at 5:30 p.m.                                                                                                                                            

 Walworth County Job Center
Gateway Technical College 
Elkhorn Campus
South Building
400 County Rd H
Elkhorn WI 53121

If you are an employer, please consider serving as a mentor/worksite sponsor for these students as they go through the training and the internship. We are delighted with the outreach we have experienced to date but it will take all of us to make this program a success.

Precision Plus joins other businesses, organizations and the community in welcoming GTC’s Youth CNC Boot Camp to Elkhorn.

The WEDA Invites Precision Plus’ Mike Reader to Speak at the 20th Annual Governor’s Conference on Economic Development in Madison, Wisconsin

Michael Reader

Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) will hold its 20th Annual Governor’s Conference on Economic Development on February 11-13, 2015. This year’s conference theme is “Shifting Sands – Preparing for the Future,” and will take place at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus. has accepted an invitation to speak at a breakout session entitled “Best in Class: Best in Manufacturing,” to be held on Thursday, February 12, 2015 from 2:25 pm until 4:00 pm.

According to Bruce Kepner, Economic Development Manager, of Alliant Energy, who is also a co-chair for the 2015 conference, “One of the topic areas that will be covered at this year’s conference is workforce development and new and innovative programs that Wisconsin companies are using to meet the need for skilled talent.”

Kepner, who visited the Precision Plus facility in June 2014, was impressed with the company’s progressive educational initiatives, and thought it would be “an approach others would benefit from learning about. “

Mike will join two other speakers: Michael Shiels, Dean, School of Applied Technologies at Waukesha Technical College Dual Enrollment Academy; and Lori Peacock, Career and Technical Education Partnerships and Program Coordinator at Bay Link Manufacturing of the Green Bay Area Public School District. Barb LaMue of the WEDC will moderate this session.

This session will explore the unique “best practices” work-based/school-based educational models that each organization represented has put in motion to increase awareness, skill development and promote leadership within Wisconsin’s manufacturing workforce.

The conference kicks off on February 11th with WEDA’s Legislative Day and continues on the 12th and 13th. In addition to engaging breakout sessions, the conference will feature renowned keynote speakers and diverse sessions with speakers focusing on Wisconsin’s shifting economy.

Click here for more information on the WEDA’s 20th Annual Governor’s Conference on Economic Development.

Mike Reader Will Serve as a Panelist in the Upcoming Midwest Industrial Efficiency Summit

Michael Reader

On Wednesday, January 28, 2015, industry leaders will convene at the Chicago Hilton and Towers to share their experiences and knowledge for sustained energy efficiency efforts during the Midwest Industrial Energy Efficiency Summit. This is a yearly event sponsored by Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), organized to “celebrate accomplishments and inspirations in energy efficiency, as well as layout out the efficiency program and policy landscape for the coming year” in the Midwest. The summit takes place in conjunction with the 3-day 2015 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference, which goes through January 30th.

Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, was asked to be part of a panel titled “Companies Capitalizing on Opportunity,” where he, Rick Sites and Jeff Rehm, will address their “commitments, successes and challenges” in achieving energy and GHG emission reductions, as well as the non-energy benefits inherited from energy efficiency initiatives. Rick Sites is the Energy and Sustainability Team Leader at Ohio Hospital Association. Jeff Rehm is Senior Manager, Corporate Facilities & Global Sustainability at W.W. Grainger, Inc. Panel moderator will be Christopher Russel, Visiting Fellow, Industry, ACEEE.

Reader plans to share Precision Plus’ current processes to identify viable “green” solutions for energy-related scenarios, which include challenging ROI calculations. Reader adds that this arena is constantly changing and it important to stay at the forefront of energy efficiency developments.

Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training To Receive Annual “Friend of the Elkhorn Area School District” Award

Michael Reader

Congratulations to Precision Plus’s Director of Education and Training Barry Butters, who has received a “Friend of the Elkhorn Area School District” award.  The awards will be presented on January 26, 2015 at Elkhorn Middle School.  The award is a framed picture created by a West Side Elementary student.
Precision Plus proudly supports local educational initiatives.


Barry Butters receives “Friends of Elkhorn Area School District” award.


On February 26, 2015 Manufacturers Across Wisconsin Will Meet at the Manufacturing Matters! Conference in Milwaukee

Michael Reader

The 2015 Manufacturing Matters! Conference welcomes Wisconsin manufacturers for the 18th consecutive year. On February 26, 2015, the conference will showcase a variety of informational and educational sessions as well as a trade show.

The conference will run from 7:00 am until 4:15 pm,  and will feature keynote speaker Mike Laszkiewicz, Vice President & General Manager, Power Control Business Rockwell Automation, as well as over forty speakers who will address attendees on an array of subjects from trends to staffing , to continuous improvement. Additionally, key sponsors to the industry will be featured at the concurrent trade show.

Manufacturing Matters! is sponsored by The Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP), and focuses on “delivering unmatched opportunities for learning, networking, and collaboration.”

The conference will take place at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee. For more information, click here.

Wisconsin Project Lead The Way Publishes 2015 Design Guide for Classrooms and Cross-Disciplinary Environments

Michael Reader

Wisconsin Project Lead The Way (PLTW), in collaboration with Eppstein Uhen : Architects, and Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) have published the 2015 Design Guide for ideas in implementing classroom setups for dedicated and/or cross-disciplinary environments.

The 52-page guide, which addresses the physical class/space requirements for conducting PLTW programs, was published to provide educators and administrators with conceptual tools to visualize how these programs can be physically implemented in facilities through remodeling and/or repurposing existing facilities, construction of new additions, or developing entirely new facilities to enhance the PLTW programs in schools.

This well thought out guide, is an invaluable tool for any school or organization implementing or expanding areas dedicated to STEM education. Access the full guide HERE.

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