A Note from Mike Reader
It is hard to believe summer, as we know it, is coming to a close: students are returning to school and Labor Day is right around the corner. It has gone by quickly, but has left us with much to reflect upon as we head into the next season.
As time passes, it creates new opportunities for ideas to blossom into reality, and for changes to take place. I want to share with you some of the most significant events time brought through Precision Plus over the summer.
Change of the Guard
Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training, who joined our team 25 months ago, has chosen to return to the education field. As a career educator, and very accomplished one at that, he set out to learn everything he could about manufacturing from “Day One,” as he walked in the front door.
His energy and willingness to help anyone with a question quickly showed –even the most skeptical–why we had brought Barry on board. His engagement with people spanned from those already in the building, to those outside unaware of the wonderful career opportunities in today’s manufacturing environment.
Barry immersed himself in learning all facets of what we do in order to help us improve and to share the story with students, educators and parents. Like everything else Barry had set to do in his life, he excelled while making a positive impact on everyone he interacted with.
Sadly for me and the Precision Plus Team, Barry has transitioned back into public education to continue his passion for working with young adults. Our loss, is Beloit Memorial High School’s gain, where Barry will be back in the classroom teaching advanced math and other Project Lead The Way (PLTW) classes.
Goodbye is too permanent a word, so I say farewell my good friend. May your journey continue to influence the next generation of leaders, problem solvers and difference makers. You will be missed, but never forgotten. I truly hope we will find a way to continue the work started with you, even if in a smaller scale. Big shoes to fill.
Into them, however, steps another difference maker. Mark Beilman, former Tech Ed instructor from East Troy High School, joined our team on August 3rd, to take the reins from Barry and lead our education and training efforts. Mark brings a balanced background, with experience in manufacturing as well as education, which has helped him hit the ground running, as he explains in his introductory letter. Please join me in giving Mark a warm welcome.
Our quest to be a better vendor/partner, community members and employer is an ongoing effort. This summer, we have been working with the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater and the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center to learn more about ourselves through how our customers and employees perceive us.
To accomplish this, we have conducted both customer and employee surveys. Let me personally thank all of you who participated, and please know all your comments are important to me, including those that point out our flaws, as they clearly represent opportunities for improvement.
Internally, we have started conversations to address each of these and we are working aggressively to do better as we build upon all the positives already in place. You will likely see a few additional short surveys in the months to come and I thank you in advance for your honest feedback.
Gateway Technical College Elkhorn Manufacturing Center
Our partnership with Gateway Technical College (GTC) continues to grow and evolve. Together with Mark Beilman, we were given a private tour of the Elkhorn Campus Manufacturing Lab, following the arrival of four brand new Haas SL-10 lathes and one Tsugami S205 Swiss-type CNC lathe fitted with a high pressure coolant pump and a MTA tracer magazine barfeeding system.
Many thanks go to Dr. Bryan Albrecht of GTC for listening to the business community and embracing the opportunity to be a leader in Southeast Wisconsin technical education.
Our heartfelt appreciation must also go out to the equipment manufacturer partners that stepped up with VERY generous donations to make this dream come true. Brad Morris of the Morris Group and Jamie Schwarz of CNC Indexing & Feeding Technologies both offered state-of- the-art equipment at a substantial discount.
Furthermore, I am thrilled to announce that PartMaker Software and GTC have forged a long-term agreement to provide computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software for the students in the Manufacturing Lab. Hanan Fishman, President of Delcam/PartMaker deserves a big “Thank you!” for making this happen. Only with the support of industry leaders like Brad, Jamie and Hanan, could the Manufacturing Lab become a reality.
Mecco Laser Marking System
In the meantime, Precision Plus continues to invest in technologies to add value for our customers/partners, the latest addition being a laser marking system by Mecco. It is a 20-watt fiber laser with a 110 x 110 mm field fitted with a rotary stage and powered z-axis to enable us to mark around round parts. Paul McDonough has completed the installation validation and it is “open for business.” An article about Paul and the Mecco Laser Marking System is available for you to read HERE.
As of August 7th, our solar array became functional, and continues to generate energy–even on cloudy days. Our appreciation goes to Neil Fleischhacker for coordinating this project as well as other green initiatives. Recent statistics and a video of the installation are available HERE.
Precision Plus will soon welcome our 2015-2016 apprentices, and we are diligently planning a fall schedule that includes school visits, career and technical education committee meetings, MFG Day celebrations, and much more.
I look forward to continue to update you on Precision Plus