Mike Reader of Precision Plus Speaks at the 20th Annual Governor’s Conference on Economic Development

Michael Reader

On February 12, 2015, Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus participated in a panel presentation at the 20th Annual Governor’s Conference on Economic Development in Madison, Wisconsin. Other panelists were 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, Bay Area Public School District.

The audience of about 120, comprised mostly by economic development professionals and educators, appeared to be genuinely interested in learning about workforce development. The program was entitled “Best in Class: Best in Manufacturing.”

The goal of the program was to explore the unique “best practices” of work-based/school-based educational models each of the organizations represented has put in motion to increase awareness and skill development, as well as promote leadership within Wisconsin’s manufacturing workforce.

Mike Reader recaps the panel presentations: “Michael Shiels led off the program by explaining what Dual Enrollment Academy is doing to attract and develop talent for the area employers.  Lori Peacock talked about Bay Link Manufacturing, an entity which exists as part of Green Bay West High School, and which was modeled after the successful Cardinal Manufacturing program at Eleva-Strum High School.”

Mike Reader’s presentation included a slideshow outlining the thirteen steps Precision Plus has taken to help close the skills gap. Reader also talked about the reason why his company gets involved at all levels: “We need to change/correct the outdated perception of manufacturing,” he explained. He concluded by encouraging the audience to get involved in supporting the growth of manufacturing in Wisconsin and the initiatives that will result in career opportunities for many.

The program was followed by a Q&A session. Barb LaMue, Sector Development Manager of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), moderated the presentation, and shortly followed up with this email:

Michael, I just wanted to drop you a quick note to thank you for presenting last Thursday at the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development.  Your devotion, passion, and knowledge of connecting young adults to meaningful education and careers certainly was evident.   Your panel received the top evaluation scores.  Thank you for your continued investment in Wisconsin and being such a manufacturing champion!

On behalf of Precision Plus and the Wisconsin manufacturing industry, Mike Reader welcomes any opportunity to inform, educate and engage with others about the future of manufacturing.  He can be contacted via email or by phone.

Precision Plus on the Move: Barry Butters Visits Area Schools

Michael Reader

As part of the continuing effort to bring attention to the manufacturing industry as a viable career option for today’s youth, Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training, and other representatives from Precision Plus Inc. have been traveling to Wisconsin area high schools and technical colleges.

On November 1st, Butters spent the day at Burlington High School’s Career Day Fair.  The event allowed students to gather information from the booths of various prospective employers from a wide array of industries.

“It was evident from the discussions with the students, that there are still a number of misconceptions about manufacturing,” said Butters.

Butters then traveled three and a half hours to Eleva Strum High School on November 7th. Technology Education teacher Craig Cegielski, has developed an operational manufacturing company run by the students within the school. The Eleva Strum staff, students and community were filled with pride about what their program has accomplished to date.  Cegielski’s outstanding efforts bring real-life manufacturing experiences into his classroom.

Butters and Production Supervisor Charles Lankford, traveled to Blackhawk Technical College in Janesville on November 19th.  They took a tour of the CNC Machine Program facility and met with CNC Technician Instructor Rich Grossen.  The entire manufacturing program at Blackhawk will be moving to a new facility in nearby Milton in the near future. The Advanced Manufacturing Training Center at Milton will result in larger capabilities for the program.

On November 26th, both Barry Butters and Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus, traveled to Richmond-Burton High School to speak to an “Introduction to Business” class about the manufacturing industry.  Mike shared the challenges of running a manufacturing business in the current economy, and Barry focused his remarks on employability skills.

Subsequently, Butters traveled to East Troy High School on December 1st to speak to Mark Beilman’s “Introduction to Engineering” class about the manufacturing industry and specifically what is manufactured at Precision Plus Inc.  East Troy is a first-year Project Lead the Way (or PLTW) school with just one-course offering. Beilman shared that East Troy High School plans to add an additional PLTW course each year.  Precision Plus Inc. is a big supporter of the PLTW Program, which follows the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Initiative to promote the field of engineering. The PLTW curriculum strives to provide experiences to stimulate interest in the manufacturing industry.


Reader and Butters attended the State Project Lead the Way Conference in Pewaukee on December 9th, for which Precision Plus is a “Friend of STEM” donor.  At the conference, Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch addressed the state’s PLTW teachers, where she acknowledged the skills gap that companies, such as Precision Plus, are facing.  It was encouraging to see the sheer number of high school educators working in conjunction with the PLTW program through the Milwaukee School of Engineering to stimulate interest in the youth of Wisconsin toward this field.

On January 7th, Precision Plus representatives, President Mike Reader, Director of Sales and Engineering William Wells, Production Supervisor Tom Lankford, Director of Education, and Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training, traveled with Elkhorn’s District Administrator Jason Tadlock and Assistant Principal Dan Kiel to tour Beloit Memorial High School’s Technical Education facility. What has been accomplished at this facility in a short period of time is remarkable. Steve McNeal, Beloit’s District Administrator, said it was truly a partnership between the school and local industry leaders.  Beloit Memorial High School has also hired Ryan Rewey to be the Technology Education Coordinator to ensure the program’s success.

Butters again traveled back to Beloit Memorial High School to speak to PLTW teacher Tammy Spoerk’s classes on January 10th.  Butters message centered on the potential for a great career in the manufacturing industry and specifically, what is manufactured at Precision Plus

Butters went back to East Troy High School to speak at their Career Day on January 14th. He and fellow manufacturer Jerry Heckel from Heckel Tool & Manufacturing Corporation gave a presentation to 40 students on the skill-set needed to join the manufacturing industry, including problem-solving skills, a significant background in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as experience in traditional metals classes.

Butters plans to visit Delavan-Darien High School and Woodstock High School in the near future.  Mike Reader is committed to the cause of re-introducing the manufacturing industry to the next generation of professionals, dispelling the misconception that manufacturing is a dirty and dangerous profession. Precision Plus Inc. invites any individual or group interested in learning more about the manufacturing industry to their facility for an informational tour.  Furthermore, Barry Butters and Mike Reader will travel to speak to any group interested in learning about the manufacturing industry.  Feel free to contact them with any requests at 262.743.1700 or via email: Barry ButtersMike Reader.