Modern Machine Shop Covers Top Shops

The speakers at this year’s Top Shops Conference have faced business challenges just like you. Before heading to the show, read stories we’ve written about them in past issues of Modern Machine Shop.


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The Top Shops Conference in Cincinnati is right around the corner, September 9-11. And while you probably already know that the heart of this year’s conference will be presentations from your peers, you might not know that Modern Machine Shop has written about many of their shops in the pages of our magazine. Before heading to the conference, read about some of the challenges they’ve faced in their manufacturing businesses and how they’ve overcome them.

Kylan Hastreiter – Vice President, Hastreiter Industries

Founded in 1988, Marshfield, Wisconsin-based Hastreiter Industries worked largely under the radar until 2018, when it leaped into the spotlight by winning Modern Machine Shop’s Top Shops award in the category of Human Resources as well as a featured position on the magazine’s cover.

However, the road from small shop to Top Shop was not so cut and dry. A vision of expansion required an overhaul of long-trusted and organically developed systems of enterprise and resource management. RealTrac’s ERP platform has enabled the company to achieve its goals and make an impact on the wider community.

Kylan will be giving the closing keynote Wednesday, September 11.

Aneesa Muthana – President/CEO/Co-Owner Pioneer Service

As Henry Ford once said, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.” In this recent column Aneesa wrote for Modern Machine Shop, she discusses how the decision to retrain, retrain or replace is never entirely up to the shop owner – it’s up to the employees as well.

Aneesa will be speaking in the session: People, Not Profit: How to Bring Out the Best in Your Team

Cheryl Larson – CFO-Owner at Colburn Manufacturing Company

Scott and Cheryl Larson chalk up their shop’s success over the course of 20 years to establishing relationships with key people who have helped grow the company and make it more efficient. “You have to know when to ask for help,” Scott says.

The husband and wife team are co-owners of Colburn Manufacturing, a Fridley, Minnesota, shop that serves a range of industries and specializes in CNC Swiss-type turning. The Larsons have reached a point in which they are ready to retire and hand the business to their son Clint (application engineer) and daughter Liz (director of operations). In fact, they are a little more than one year into their five-year succession-planning process.

Cheryl will be speaking in the session: Case Study for Successful Succession Planning

Hillary Coombs – Strategic Lead, Westminster Tool

Thanks to a culture change founded on a commitment to emotional intelligence, this mold supplier solved its skilled labor problem and increased throughput per employee. Read more.

Hillary will be speaking in the session: Next Generation Session: Workforce Development and Workplace Culture

Fabian Schmahl, President & CEO at thyssenkrupp Bilstein of America Inc.

What is the Role of Collaborative Automation in Production? Thyssenkrupp Bilstein’s North American operations is finding out. The shock absorber manufacturer has eight cobots and counting in its Ohio production facility, plus two autonomous vehicles. Here are scenes from its shop where the picture of automation is changing.

Fabian will be speaking in the session: Automation Session with thyssenkrupp Bilstein

Adam Wiltsie – Plant Manager, Vanamatic

Finally, our sister publication Production Machining, wrote a story about how as shops consider new equipment and expand their capabilities, they also need to consider how their employees factor into these changes. Employee structure can affect how shops adapt to changes or implement new technology.

Like many shops, Vanamatic has changed along with the industry. But these changes included more than equipment. The shop recognized that moving from a traditional linear production system to a more flexible cell-based production system would help the shop succeed as business evolved. Learn how employee structure provides the foundation for success at Vanamatic.

Adam will be speaking in the session: Cobotomation - DYI process automation at Vanamatic

See the full conference agenda here.

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An extension of Modern Machine Shop's successful Top Shops Benchmarking program, the MMS Top Shops Conference will connect leading machining and metalworking professionals to the people, the products and the processes that are moving manufacturing forward. It is an event that has been designed by Top Shops for Top Shops. Register here.


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