Precision Plus of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, Joins the Manufacturing Community to Celebrate the Industry, Improve Public Perception, Promote Career Opportunities, and Inspire the Next Generation of Manufacturing Professionals
ELKHORN, WISCONSIN, September 28, 2015 – In celebration of Manufacturing Day (MFG DAY) 2015, Precision Plus invites the community to attend an open house on Thursday, October 8, 2015 from 5:00 pm until 7:30 pm, with the goal to continue to dispel outdated perceptions of the manufacturing industry, while sharing the outstanding opportunities available through careers in high-tech manufacturing.
A brief presentation by several Precision Plus Team members is scheduled to begin 5:30 pm. Guided tours of the plant and operation will follow the presentation. Light refreshments will be served at the completion of the tours and the Precision Plus Team will be at hand to answer questions.
“There is an increased demand for highly-skilled individuals to design, program and operate technology,” said Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus “Unless we proactively act together to reverse the trend, the shortage of skilled workers will be unprecedented.”
This is the fourth consecutive year for Precision Plus to host an open house to celebrate Manufacturing Day, a national event first organized in 2012 to promote the manufacturing industry. MFG DAY is supported by manufacturers throughout the U.S. and Canada who host events for students, teachers, parents, job seekers, community leaders, legislators and the community at large to spread the word about 21st century manufacturing.
Precision Plus is an ISO 9001:2008 registered contract manufacturer of precision turned components, specializing in Swiss-type turning , and serving customers across industries who demand exceptional quality.
To register for the Precision Plus Manufacturing Day Open House, click HERE. For more information, please contact Mark Beilman, Director of Education and Training via email or by calling 262-743-1700 ###
For a PDF of the invitation above, please click HERE.
On August 3, 2015, Precision Plus (PPI) of Elkhorn, Wisconsin welcomed Mark Beilman as its new Director of Education and Training, to carry on the position first held by Barry Butters.
Beilman’s first job after graduating from the University of Wisconsin at Platteville was with Miniature Precision Components of Walworth, WI, where he served as a research and development engineer for seven years. From 2005 until 2012, he worked at Mukwonago High School as a technical education teacher, and prior to joining Precision Plus he taught technical education at East Troy High School.
When I first started contemplating a career change out of teaching in public education, I wanted to find a job that still included some interaction with young people, but within manufacturing; something I was missing since my days working at MPC, an injection molding company based in Walworth, WI.
I knew I had found that when Barry approached me and discussed this position. I had worked closely with Barry while I was a teacher at East Troy, placing Youth Apprentice Amanda Mudlaff at Precision Plus Barry told me how his job was a rewarding mix of working with young people and getting the word out about manufacturing. He was right. It has been great so far!
As Mike has said, I have big shoes to fill but believe I am up for the challenge. This challenge has been made easier by all the wonderful people who work at Precision Plus, how they have made me feel welcome, and helped me when I have questions. It sure has been a whirlwind first three weeks: from sifting through files, learning the Swiss machining process, to meeting interesting people such as Bob Klockars, President of Walworth State Bank, or visiting Gateway’s new manufacturing facility.
So far my experiences have exceeded my expectations. I am excited to get our new group of youth apprentices started in the fall and to keep spreading the word about the benefits of a manufacturing career.
Mark Beilman and his wife of 14 years, are originally from Madison, but have lived in Walworth County since 1998 and consider it their home. The have two sons, Raymond (10 years old) and John (6 years old). Beilman coaches U8 soccer in Williams Bay.
The Beilmans recently bought a “new” boat (a 1978 Yar-Craft), and are excited to get out fishing and boating as much as they can as the summer winds down. They have a cabin up north, in Superior, WI, where they enjoy spending time in the summer months.
When time permits, Mark enjoys working with antique cars. He is the proud owner of a 1964 Ford 250 and a 1955 T-Bird.
Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training at Precision Plus in Elkhorn, WI spoke to a wide audience during the 2015 Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) National Technical Conference, which took place on April 19-21, 2015, in Columbus, OH. His presentation centered on Precision Plus’ active plan to help close the skills gap in manufacturing.
PMPA’s 54th Annual National Technical Conference focused on technical innovation, quality advancements and shop management, offering attendees a variety of seminars on subjects needed to meet today’s precision manufacturing challenges.
In addition to Butters, six other members of the Precision Plus Team attended the conference: Mike Brown, John McConville and Sam Kirkland, Machinists, Terry Mumper, Engineer, Dale Wittlieff, Director of Quality and Continuous Improvement, and Bill Wells, Sales and Engineering Manager.
On Monday, April 20th, during a session entitled, “How to Deal with the Skilled Training Issue,” Butters shared Precision Plus’ “13-Step Playbook for Workforce Development,” currently used by the company, in an effort to close the manufacturing skills gap.
In his presentation, Butters talked about Precision Plus, its plan to double its capacity, and the absence of qualified employees to operate machines that do the work that used to be done by people in the past. He also addressed the overall perception of manufacturing based on “what it was then,” and the lack of information of “what it is now.” Whereas in the past, a high school student who may not be doing great in school would have been a prime candidate to go into manufacturing, today’s industry requires individuals who have high technical and math skills as well as strong soft skills.
In a 2012 News Magazine 60 Minutes interview, Professor Peter Cappelli of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, stated that even as late as a generation ago, manufacturing companies had training and apprenticeship programs in place, but over the last few decades that responsibility shifted primarily to technical colleges. As technology advanced, the curricula offered by technical colleges drifted away from the actual skills needed for professionals in manufacturing. Cappelli suggested that manufacturers needed to be involved in the training of prospective employees in one way or another.
After listening to this segment, Mike Reader, president of Precision Plus decided to get involved. “What’s the return on investment on doing nothing?” Reader asked.
Butters used Precision Plus’ “13-Step Playbook for Workforce Development” slideshow presentation to showcase the initiatives taken by Mike Reader and Precision Plus over the last two and a half years to get involved and become a catalyst. These efforts included hiring Butters, an educator, to help deploy the playbook. In 2013, Reader had organized a Manufacturing Career Panel at a local high school, which was attended by more than one hundred area students. When students asked about internship availability, Reader knew something had to be done.
Today, Precision Plus offers a summer internship program for young people typically becoming mechanical engineers, as well as a school-year apprenticeship program for students interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing.
Both programs expose students to all aspects of manufacturing and have been designed on a rotating department basis. In addition, students go on tours and attend tradeshows, among other activities. Parent involvement is key, as they must tour the facility before their child is accepted into either program.
In addition, Precision Plus is involved with local schools at all levels, from elementary through college. The company is a member of several career and technical education (CTE) committees, has brought more than 90 teachers, counselors and career coaches through the facility, and has welcomed students on field trips. In addition, Barry Butters has traveled to schools and has addressed students at all levels. Precision Plus also offers a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering design and development (EDD) class, taught by Butters in the Precision Plus classroom to local high school students.
Having community support is crucial, so the public at large is regularly invited to tour the plant and learn about today’s manufacturing. Precision Plus has also reached out to vendors and customers to help enrich the experience, and has brought manufacturing industry awareness to local, state and national legislators, having had high ranking public officials across party lines tour the plant and engage in conversation, in an effort to find common ground and talk about workforce issues.
Butters information was well received and followed by many favorable comments, as per this letter from Monte Guitar, PMPA’s director of technical programs.
For more information on this presentation, please contact Barry Butters via phone or email.
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