MoldMaking Technology

OCT 2018

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Page 14 of 51 13 Regina came to Westminster Tool on a tour while a student at Grasso Technical High School in the mechanical design and engineering technology program. She applied and was ultimately selected for a work-based learning internship while still attending high school. After her graduation in June 2015, Regina accepted a full-time position. In her three years at Westminster Tool, she has spent a year in sales, a year in engineering and design and the last year in production planning and scheduling. In each area, Regina recommended and implemented improvements that not only streamlined processes but have better-enabled the company to exceed customer expectations. Beyond this, she documented and created training documents for Westminster Academy to ensure continuity and consistency in training. One of Regina's most influential contributions to Westminster Tool is her vast knowledge and expertise because of exposure to several departments. She possesses a deep understanding of processes from conception to production that is way beyond her years. Regina is the go-to person at Westminster Tool, as she has the responsibility, wisdom and respect of the entire shop and all with only three years out of high school. Regina perfectly embodies the types of opportunities that this industry provides—while most young adults would be entering their last year of college with a mound of debt, she is running a shop floor. Danielle is not what you typically would envision as an EDM specialist, but that is exactly the role she has filled at Westminster Tool. Danielle graduated in 2013 from Windham Technical High School in Windham, Connecticut, from the manufacturing technology program. She was easily considered best in the class. Not only has Danielle mastered the programming and operation of an EDM machine in four years, she is leading the department. Her commitment to continuously improve and take ownership of improving processes has made her a critical part of the team. Danielle also has created and provided EDM training for all employees. Her dedication ensures the future talent development of the shop with consistent and repeatable measures. Danielle is a key component for all shop tours, customer visits and community outreach. Her ability to communicate and share the innovation about a career in manufacturing with the public is exceptional. Danielle volunteers at all the company's school outreach programs and is enthusiastic about the opportunities that manufacturing provides. She is a great example of a young moldmaking star. Regina Byrne (20) Production Planner Westminster Tool (Plainfield, Connecticut) Danielle O'Connor (23) EDM Specialist Westminster Tool (Plainfield, Connecticut) M oldmaking may be known as a one-off industry, but that is not an accurate description of the current employment landscape across many mold shops. Those who are under are entering and staying in this niche trade. And, I am not just talking about one noteworthy individual—I am seeing multiple workers under making an impact across the shop floor in everything from engineering departments to human resources and marketing. For example, A• Tool Corp., Westminster Tool, Ameritech Die & Mold, Franchino Mold & Engineering and Mantz Automation are a handful of shops in this feature that employ numerous under- workers and that nominated more than one under- employee who made the honoree list. The ques- tion is: How are these shops able to attract and retain the next generation of moldmaking professionals? "Retaining a younger crew starts with selection," Ameritech Die & Mold Program Manager Mark Rotman says. "It is important to choose employees who have a natural curios- ity for what we do. If they do not have the excitement for the trade initially, it is not likely going to change. We spend a minimum of seven weeks evaluating select candidates to make sure we have had a good opportunity to evaluate them. This also provides a great opportunity for them to evaluate us as well." Company culture is also an intentional strategy among these Žive shops, as they have found it has a direct impact on retain- ing a young crew. Culture can take various forms, including offering unconventional perks that cater directly to the social and economic needs of under- employees, such as no-cost health insurance, an on-site meal program and gym access with a trainer. Culture can also mean an environment set up to train someone with no skills, continuous learning opportuni- ties, a focus on leadership skills, commitment to work/life bal- ance, community involvement and open communication that encourages idea sharing and feedback among all employees. In the end, having youth in a shop feeds on itself. The more young people that a shop employs, the more attractive it is for young people to join that workforce because they see what their peers are capable of achieving in only a few years of employment. Young people observe the job enjoyment and fulŽillment of their peers and are amazed by the technology available to their peers. Now, let me introduce some of these next-generation moldmakers who made MoldMaking Technology's inaugural -Under- honoree list.

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