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Chairman’s Corner - July 2013Download
NTMA’s theme for 2013 is “Stewardship of the Manufacturing Industry”. Our four main focuses are Membership Value, Industry Advocacy, Workforce Development, and Governance. As I travel this year and visit many of our chapters, I will be reporting to you all of the great stewardship activities that are occurring across the United States.
May included a very busy week in my travels as Chairman. I had my doubts when our NTMA staff suggested that we schedule three major activities in the same four days; a Purchasing Fair, the Chapter Leadership Summit, and the NRL National Contest. What were we thinking? I should have known that our competent national program and event staff could pull this off without a hitch. It was a whirlwind four days, but very successful.
Arriving in Indiana a day early, Past Chairman Ron Overton chauffeured me to Richmond, Indiana (My birthplace) to visit my cousin’s plant, Moseys Manufacturing (Not to be confused with Moseys Production Machinists!). There we saw what could only be described as American Ingenuity at its best. I’d love to tell you what I saw but then I’d have to… well, you know.
We then went across town to visit Kevin and Rick Ahaus. We participated on a tour of Ahaus Tooling & Engineering Inc. where they design and build unique holding fixtures and special machines for many industries. Ahaus is a rarity being that Kevin is the FOURTH generation owner! They obviously have great Governance going on at Ahaus. Kevin spoke to us about their in-house apprenticeship program and how he has worked with Ivy Tech on many manufacturing focused programs. Kevin is a State Trustee for Ivy Tech and keeps manufacturing at the top of the priory list. A great example of Workforce Development!
We started off with the first day of the Purchasing Fair where Dan Bagley led very valuable seminars on how to be successful at the Purchasing Fair. These seminars were very well attended and received high marks on the survey as being of value. The day concluded with a networking reception sponsored by Okuma, one of our national associate members. Several of the customer companies’ representatives attended this reception which provided a golden opportunity for our members to strike up a conversation and begin to build a relationship with prospective customers. Great Membership Value!
The second day of the Purchasing Fair is where the tires met the pavement. While several of the customers that promised to be there weren’t, the ones that were there, which were many, had specific needs that our members in attendance could fulfill. All in all, a very productive Purchasing Fair. Kudos to our own Michele Marquard, Membership Officer, for heading up this event! The Purchasing Fairs are a great Membership Value and just another example of how we need to continue to remind and educate our members to the Value of NTMA Membership.
That same day at noon was the kickoff of the Chapter Leadership Summit. A little background is in order here. A couple of years ago at our Annual Conference in St. Thomas, we had a very open conversation with all of our chapter trustees and chapter executives on how we could improve the relation between the National office and our Chapters. Not surprisingly, two main issues arose from this conversation; lack of communication and funding for chapter operations. The Executive Team took this to heart and with the help of our competent staff began working on improving these two issues.
The first thing we did was approve the hiring of dedicated staff to work directly with our chapters. Most of you know Kelly Schneider by now and she has been instrumental in improving the communication with our chapters. Between Kelly and the Chapter Executive Team led by Tami Adams, the Chapter Leadership Summit was created. This event not only continued to work on the communication piece, it also brought those in attendance many valuable tools to help their chapters operate more efficiently and how to generate needed funds. From all of the reviews, this was an excellent event and everyone wants to have it every year! Plans are already in motion to do just that. This event is a great example of good Governance.
Next up was the National Contest for the National Robotic League (NRL). Again, our event staff, together with our new NRL Manager, Maureen Caruthers, put together a spectacular event. If you didn’t read the article on this event in the June issue of the Record, please go back and do so. All I can say is that if you ever have the opportunity to attend, or better yet, volunteer at, one of these events, please do. The excitement and enthusiasm of these kids in remarkable. They are truly the future of manufacturing in this country! What better way to Advocate the Manufacturing Industry?
With my head still spinning from all of these exciting events, I was off to visit the Akron Chapter. My host for this trip was our own NTMA Executive Team Secretary, Dave Sattler. Dave and his lovely wife, Janet, invited me to stay at their wonderful home by the lake. Since this is Dave’s home Chapter, he was excited to show me around and tell me about the recent successes in the chapter.
Since closing their training center six years ago, the chapter all but died. Three years ago, they were within months of shutting down. If it weren’t for a few strong members, Dave Sattler being one of them, and the help from the NTMA office, specifically Emily Lipovan, the chapter would have died. Instead, it is now thriving with a full board and several very active member companies.
As with many of our chapters, Akron’s main focus is on Workforce Development. They have established a co/op with the University of Akron and created a new two year program. They are also collaborating with all of the local programs in an effort to help define their curriculum. One their main goals are to work with all of the surrounding counties to be the coordinator of their training efforts in manufacturing. The chapter is also working with the city and the local community to start up a NRL program. There is a lot of great stewardship work going on in Akron!
While in Akron, I had the pleasure of touring several of the member’s companies. First up was of course, the Sattler Companies. Dave and his Operations Manager, Terry Ake, showed me how they manage three companies within one building. Having a diversified customer base is a real strength in any business. Having multiple businesses takes it to a new level!
From Sattler, we visited Flohr Machine Company where Gerard and Pete Flohr gave us the grand tour. Flohr is a no nonsense machine shop where quality is foremost. The brothers run a tight ship and creativity is encouraged. They are relatively new members but Gerard already wants to be involved with the chapter on developing the NRL program. Great Industry Advocacy Gerard!
Next up was Chapter President, Steve Schler, owner of Pro Mold Gauer. Steve gave us a full tour of his company where they manufacture molds and dies for the plastic and rubber industry. Steve has been instrumental in coordinating the workforce development efforts within the Akron Chapter. Thank you Steve!
From PMG, we visited long term member Ewart-Ohlson where third generation President, Brian Ewart and General Manager, Dave Achauer, gave us the grand tour of their company. These folks machine the same parts we do except about 100 times larger! I was taken aback by the sheer size of the equipment and parts that they machine. Very impressive! Brian is just getting engaged with the chapter board but we expect great things to come.
Lastly we met Gary McAfee at his company McAfee Tool & Die. Gary is a 100% self made business man. Not only does he have a diverse customer base, the services that he provides are just as diverse. From engineering and manufacturing stamping dies, to stamping parts, to production machining, to complete assemblies, the company does it all! Gary is very involved in the chapter and one of the main influences on its revival.
At the Akron Chapter meeting I had the distinct honor to help present NTMA Service awards to nine long term members of the NTMA. These folks are all great Stewards of the Manufacturing Industry.
Name Company Years of Service
Cheryl Hamilton RJS Corp 40
Dave Heckman Imperial Machine & Tool 40
Brian Ewart Ewart Ohlson Machine 40
Michael Magee Akron Tool & Die 40
Neil Mann Allen Aircraft 35
Zoi Romanchuk PR Machine 30
Jon Munson Universal Precision 45
Gary McAfee McAfee Tool & Die 35
Lee Combs S C Manufacturing 35
All in all, a whirlwind trip but that I won’t soon forget. Next month, I have my visit to Rock River Valley Tooling & Machining Association, our chapter in Rockford, Illinois.
In the mean time, keep up the good work in your own chapters and communities!
NTMA Chairman 2013