Is there room for love in metalworking?
Peter Boucher of 3V Precision Machining (the subject of this month’s cover story) talks about love a lot. He regards his work with this emotion, he regards his employees with the same emotion, and he looks for employees who are willing to cultivate the same mindset. (Or heartset.)
In his own case, that love has led to works such as the one in the photo below. Mr. Boucher was disappointed by metal sculptures he saw in art galleries. He thought CNC machining could do better. So he made sculptures of his own, and a local gallery welcomed him. What followed was a side career as sculptor “Pierre” Boucher.
Today, that same love affects the choice of his shop’s manufacturing work and how the shop performs that work. He sees a direct connection between the orthotic parts his shop machines and the lives that might be changed through the breathing-related oral therapy that uses these parts. Surrendering to this love that focuses on the imagined patients, he lets the feeling inspire him to invest more fully in production equipment and to devote his creativity to continually improving the process.
What is meant by “love,” in this case, is the audacity to demand that purpose and joy must be at the core of our working lives—and to pursue these objectives ahead of other considerations.
This is the courage that all of us who work, in one way or another, are called upon to demonstrate. We often fail to rise to this calling. Instead, the habitual attitude is this: Get done what is right in front of you for now, keep things safe and steady, and if you want to let love shape or redefine any aspect of your work, then maybe you’ll look into that later.
As a result of this attitude, how much is lost? How much benefit, innovation and productive output? How much health, peace and raw happiness are lost as well?
With the sculpture work, Mr. Boucher admits there was also another kind of love at stake. He hoped being “Pierre” would help him meet girls. Specifically, there was a certain sort of woman he hoped he would meet and marry.
It worked! According to Mr. Boucher, “I tell my wife all the time: ‘If you ever leave me, I’m going with you.’”