Take Your Son to Work Day (Sort of)

A recent visit to a local machine shop enabled young folks, including my son, to get a better appreciation of what modern manufacturing is all about.

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I can’t imagine that my son or daughter would relish the thought of watching me work at my office. Seeing me take calls, email people, write stories, etc., wouldn’t exactly make for a thrilling “take your child to work day” experience for them.

However, and luckily for me, I don’t spend all my time tethered to my desk. I get to visit machine shops, equipment OEMs, trade shows and industry events where I can see advanced manufacturing equipment in action and meet with the professionals who push that technology forward. In fact, visiting these types of operations and chatting with people who are enthusiastic about the work they do and the industrial career they’ve chosen is what I enjoy most about my job.

That’s why I appreciated the recent opportunity to have my son tag along with me during a visit to a leading local machine shop that I had toured once before: Metalex Manufacturing, located in Blue Ash, Ohio. The contract shop had invited us to attend an open house at its facility, as it was being recognized by key aerospace customers for its work producing components for NASA’s Orion and Space Launch System (SLS) programs. Being that the event was also open to young people from area high schools, vocational schools and so on, I was able to bring my son to see his first machine shop. (Unfortunately, my daughter couldn’t make it.) I thought this would be helpful to him considering he will be attending the University of Cincinnati this fall in the pursuit of an aerospace engineering degree. I also brought five other young people with me who are currently interning for our company, most of whom also had never been inside a machine shop before.

My hope was they would come away with a deeper appreciation of what’s involved in making components for critical applications. In fact, I asked the six of them to write about their impressions of the shop, which you can read in our website’s Next Generation Zone.

Metalex’s wealth of advanced machining equipment is easy to recognize even to the untrained eye, and all my guests could readily see the need to have accurate and powerful machines to produce the types of parts the shop does. However, I’m glad they also picked up on how valued the company’s employees are and how they are empowered to grow their skills through a culture of continuous improvement. Manufacturing will always need people—smart people. By opening its doors the way recently it did, Metalex gave a next generation of professionals a firsthand look at what a modern, advanced production facility looks like and at the types of quality career opportunities manufacturers offer.

This is something all shops should consider. And they don’t have to wait until Manufacturing Day in October to do it.

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