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Precision Plus October 2015 Education Update

Michael Reader

During the month of October, 2015, students from two local high schools visited Precision Plus in Elkhorn, Wisconsin to tour the facility and learn about careers in manufacturing. Mark Beilman,  Director of Education and Training, organized the events.  Beilman also visited an intermediate school (grades 4-8) during their career fair, to share the manufacturing message.

On Thursday, October 8th, Precision Plus welcomed Gateway Technical College’s Alternative High School, a creation of the Walworth County Educational Consortium in partnership with Gateway Technical College and local high schools. Allison Ender, Teacher of Senior Skills, and Derek D’Auria of the Walworth County Economic Development Center led the group of six students.

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Students and teachers first listened to Mark Beilman’s presentation on the company, the processes and the products manufactured at Precision Plus He also addressed the group about career possibilities at the company and the industry. Later, Beilman along with Tom Lankford, Production Manager, and Steve Dues, Tooling Engineer, led the students on a tour of the plant..

On October 12, Mark Beilman attended a Career Fair at the McNeel Intermediate School in Beloit, Wisconsin. He and Lindsay Healless, Career Advocate for Beloit Schools, talked to students during their lunch breaks not only about manufacturing, but also about the importance of education for succeeding in life. The students were then given an opportunity to visit the Precision Plus table and ask questions about CNC machining, manufacturing, and the benefit of getting a good education.

On October 15, 2015, students and teachers of Whitewater High School in Whitewater, Wisconsin came through Precision Plus for a presentation and tour, similar to the one given earlier in the month.

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Precision Plus continues its initiatives to bring technology to classrooms and schools to see manufacturing first hand.

For more information, please contact Mark Beilman via email, or by calling 262-743-1700.

Take a Virtual Tour of Precision Plus, Swiss Precision Manufacturer in Elkhorn, Wisconsin

Michael Reader

Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, takes us on a virtual tour of the plant. The company is a Swiss precision contract manufacturer, typically producing components requiring tight tolerances.

In this guided tour, Reader shows us how tiny components used in a variety of industries are actually made, some of them boasting tolerances as tight at 5/10,000 of an inch, or about 1/10 the diameter of a typical strand of hair.

Parts manufactured at Precision Plus on automatic lathe machines begin as bar stock, which through a number of operations is “peeled away” yielding complex, mission-critical components for industries such as aerospace, military, automotive, medical/dental, pneumatic/hydraulic and industrial.

In this video, Reader also talks about how the manufacturing industry has changed over the years, now requiring to employ exceptional individuals who excel in math and science and who can have the ability to program machinery and produce complex components with tight tolerances. The company supports many educational initiatives, offers internships and apprenticeships, and works with programs that support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines.

This video was produced by Wisconsin Manufacturing & Commerce, an organization that supports Wisconsin manufacturers. October has been designed as Manufacturing Month in Wisconsin.

Precision Plus’ 2015-2016 Year Education Update

Michael Reader

By Mark Beilman
Director of Education and Training

The 2015-2016 academic year is well underway, and so are Precision Plus’ efforts to continue spreading the word among students, parents and teachers about career possibilities in manufacturing.

In addition to visiting schools, talking to technical education teachers, and participating in career and technical education (CTE) committees, Precision Plus (PPI) makes itself present at high school and college career fairs.

On September 9, 2015, PPI was present at the Panther Fest Career Fair at Wilmot Union High School, and plans to be at Beloit High School’s career fair on the 24th. On October 9th, the destination will be Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), which will hold its career fair then.

On September 15, 2015, PPI attended Gateway Technical College Elkhorn Campus’s Open House, which showcased the new Community Center conference room, the Student Life Center, Walworth County Job Center, Walworth County Economic Development Alliance (WCEDA), the Veterinary Sciences building, and the Walworth County Educational Consortium’s Alternative High School.

Drawings of the anticipated new CNC Center were also on display. Precision Plus is fully vested in the success of this program. The first Youth CNC Boot Camp at the Elkhorn Campus began in July. One of the highlights of the program is the mentorship which each individual student receives from a designated industry professional.

A “Meet-and-Greet” luncheon for students and mentors was held at the college on September 18th, where mentors were announced and appointed. The luncheon was sponsored by WCEDA and the Walworth County Job Center. Precision Plus is excited to mentor two students during the 2015-2016 year: Elliot Salentine from East Troy High School and Cameron Bunne from Elkhorn High School. The students will not only receive ongoing mentoring, but will have an opportunity to work at PPI beginning in February of 2016, in accordance to their curriculum.

Precision Plus also encourages schools to bring classes to tour its facilities. On September 16, 2015, Career Advocate Lindsay Healless from Beloit Middle School brought her students to interview Mike Reader and Chris Clausen about careers in manufacturing. The students asked very good questions during the interview, but two of the students, Emily and MacKenzie, stumped Reader and Clausen when asked how they balanced work and their personal lives, and what were the most difficult portions of their jobs.

Two other schools are scheduled to tour the facility in October: the Walworth County Educational Consortium’s Alternative High School on the 8th, and Whitewater High School on the 15th.

The most anticipated event, however, is the celebration of Manufacturing Day (MFG DAY). Precision Plus is opening its doors for an open house on Thursday, October 8, 2015 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Students, educators, parents, legislators and the public at large are invited to partake in an informal presentation by several PPI employees on what their roles are at the company, and take guided tours of the plant. To attend this event, please register HERE.

Precision Plus is committed to education and to bringing awareness of career opportunities in high-tech manufacturing. To schedule a tour of our facility and/or allow us to make a presentation to your group or organization, please contact Mark Beilman by email or by calling 262-743-1700.

Precision Plus Tours McHenry County College’s Advanced Manufacturing Department

Michael Reader

On September 15, 2014, Barry Butters, Director of Training and Education at Precision Plus and John McConville and Ryan Nuhn toured McHenry County College’s Advanced Manufacturing Department to learn about their manufacturing program. The facility was impeccably clean and featured manual machines as well as a CNC lathe and a CNC mill.

McHenry County is one of the fastest-growing manufacturing sectors in the region, accounting for more than 25 percent of the county’s earnings. McHenry County College offers a Fast Track Advanced Manufacturing Certificate, through a program that incorporates CAD (computer aided design, manufacturing processes, blueprint reading for manufacturing and CNC (computer numerical control) machining.

Manual Machines

CNC Lathe

CNC Mill

For more information on McHenry (Illinois) County College’s Fast Track Advanced Manufacturing Program, click here.

Second Annual Manufacturing Career Panel To Be Held on February 26, 2014 at Elkhorn Area High School in Elkhorn, Wisconsin

Michael Reader


Elkhorn Area High School
in Partnership with Precision Plus,
Hosts The Second Annual Manufacturing Career Panel
Wednesday, February 26 – 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Elkhorn Area High School Auditorium

Did you know…

  •  The highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the United States lies within a 90-mile radius of the city of Waukesha?
  • By the year 2020, there will be 123 million openings in manufacturing in the country with only 50 million people ready to fill those jobs and that currently, there are 1000’s of job openings in our own region?
  • The manufacturing industry pays a sustaining wage that is 20% higher than most other industries?
  • Manufacturers are getting behind training programs to help ensure they will have the skilled workforce they will need for the future?

The time to get the word out to young people about these facts and the awesome career opportunities and rewards that the manufacturing industry has to offer is now!

Please plan to join Elkhorn Area High School in partnership with Precision Plus, for the 2nd Annual Manufacturing Careers Panel comprised of industry experts who will share the opportunities and rewards a career in manufacturing has to offer.  Panelists will also lay out career paths for students or community members interested in engineering or manufacturing careers with an opportunity for the audience to ask questions at the end of the presentations.

The panel will take place on Wednesday, February 26, 2014, in the Elkhorn Area High School Auditorium from 1:00 p.m. until 2:30 p.m.

This year, we are pleased to welcome the following manufacturing experts:

  • Ms. Mary Isbister, President of GenMet, a metal fabricating business located in Mequon, WI
  • Mr. Hanan Fishman, President of PartMaker, Inc., a computer-aided manufacturing software developer
  • Mr. Brian White, President of GE’s Waukesha Gas Engines, manufacturer of natural gas engines, located in Waukesha, WI
  • Mr. Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus,  manufacturer of precision turned components, located in Elkhorn, WI

Mary Isbister is president of GenMet Corp., a 75-employee metal fabricating company located in Mequon, Wisconsin.  She, along with her husband purchased the business in 1999. Since that time, GenMet has quadrupled its revenue.  In addition, the business has become ISO Certified, undergone a lean transformation, and been awarded ‘Fabricator of the Year’ by the National Fabricators and Manufacturers Association.

Ms. Isbister’s civil service includes being named in 2010 to the U.S. Manufacturing Council, which reports to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, where she currently serves as the Council’s Vice Chair.  She has been reappointed to serve an additional two-year term as a member of this advisory council.  In 2013, Ms. Isbister was appointed by Governor Walker as Chair of Wisconsin’s Council for Workforce Investment reporting to the Secretary of the Department of Workforce Development.

Ms. Isbister’s current civic participation includes service as a member of the Boards of Directors for a variety of non-profit organizations including:

  • Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Chair)
  • WUWM Community Advisory Board (Chair)
  • MMAC’s Council of Small Business Executives (Chair)
  • MMAC (Director)
  • M-7 Executive Partner (Small Business Representative)
  • FMA Precision Sheet Metal Council (Director)

In 2013 Ms. Isbister received the following awards:

  • An inaugural recipient of the Manufacturing Institute’s STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Award
  • The Milwaukee Business Journal’s Women of Influence Award

Mr. Hanan Fishman is the President of PartMaker, Inc., a division of Delcam Advanced Manufacturing Solutions, the world’s largest specialist in computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software development.  PartMaker, Inc. pioneered the field of CAM software for Turn-Mills and Swiss-type lathes with its patented ‘Visual Programming Approach’ for programming multi-axis lathes with live tooling. It assures quicker learning and easier use. It makes an extensive use of pictures to help the user describe tools, part features, and machining data. Synchronization of tools working on multiple spindles is achieved by a few mouse clicks

Mr. Fishman is the co-author of two U.S. patents dealing with the subject of automating the programming of multi-axis CNC machines.  He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Brian White is president of GE’s Waukesha Gas Engines, part of GE Distributed Power, a world-leading provider of power generation, energy delivery and water processing technologies serving all areas of the energy industry, including wind, solar, biogas, alternative fuels, natural gas and nuclear energy.

In 2010, White joined Waukesha Gas Engines, which specializes in the design and manufacture of natural gas engines to drive compressors, generators, pumps, and other equipment. Previously, he was vice president of reengineering for Dresser, Waukesha’s parent company. At Dresser, he led the transition to a ‘lean thinking enterprise’ culture, established a strategic global sourcing and logistics group to drive cost savings, oversaw facilities consolidations, led a worldwide Oracle implementation, and introduced a goal deployment process.

He began his career as an apprentice at Caterpillar Tractor Co.  Later at Sperry Sun UK, he moved up from a design engineer to program manager through a series of successively responsible positions, ultimately being named vice president of manufacturing for Sperry Sun Drilling Services.

Mr. White has a bachelor’s of science in electrical and electronics engineering from Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK.

Mr. Michael Reader, President/Owner Precision Plus has spent the last 18 years working to advance the family-owned and operated business, which specializes in precision turned metal components.  Serving a diversified customer based–from aerospace to music instrument manufacturers and from Fortune 100 companies to small businesses–has allowed the company to experience tremendous growth over the years.  Reinvestment in people, training, and state-of-the-art equipment are all part of the foundation driving success for Precision Plus and their 60-team members.

Precision Plus understands an organization is only as good as their people. Facing an imminent shortage of highly skilled manufacturing professionals, Precision Plus became proactive in the efforts to attract the next generation of skilled machinists, engineers and support staff. Starting in the fall of 2012, Michael hosted faculty from the Elkhorn Area High School for plant tours and conversations regarding critical skills needed for today’s advanced manufacturing.  This led to a career panel presentation involving approximately 180 students in February of 2013, and then to 10 internships over the summer.  Precision Plus has continued its internship program throughout the school year and is preparing for the Second Annual Manufacturing Career Panel EAHS.

While deeply invested in workforce development efforts, Michael is also very active with the industry trade association PMPA (Precision Machined Products Association), where he is a former board member and currently sits on several different committees to advance the industry and association membership.