LaunchPoint: Get in Focus

Nicole Smith realizes her potential for success in manufacturing, and becomes focused on acquiring skills and launching her own manufacturing career.


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“LaunchPoint” is a new series from the Edge Factor Show coming in May 2014. It will air on TV on Cox7 Arizona. The show’s creators offer this synopsis of one of the episodes:

How do you break away from the status quo and exceed even your own expectations? What does it take to become the first person in your family to attain a postsecondary education? For Nicole Smith, it took courage, determination and focus. One of her strengths is an ability to stay committed to achieving her goals. 

While attending the Exploratory Program at Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School, Nicole discovered an aptitude for manufacturing and mechanics. Her instructor, Tate Ostiguy, says, “Nicole’s attention to detail and processing techniques showed me that she was always thinking one step ahead.” During her four years at Bay Path, Nicole was focused on her studies and heavily involved with extracurriculars including SkillsUSA and the National Honor Society.

She then enrolled at Quinsigamond Community College, where she received the machining and technological skills she needed to excel in a manufacturing career. For Nicole, graduating college was a groundbreaking personal accomplishment. When she walked down the aisle and received her diploma, she became the first person in her family to graduate with a postsecondary education. 

One of her educators at Quinsigamond was Steve Phillips, a co-owner with his wife Cathy of Phillips Precision in Boylston, Mass. Seeing firsthand her skills and willingness to learn, Steve and Cathy were excited to invite Nicole to work for them. When asked if she enjoys working at Phillips Precision, Nicole says, “I enjoy the variety. I have three very different machines—the 3D printer, laser etching, and a coordinate measuring machine—in my corner of the shop, and they all require a different method of thinking.”

Steve and Cathy Phillips saw her potential and ability to grow in their company. Cathy says, "For a small and growing shop like Phillips Precision, having someone with the technical ability and attention to detail like Nikki has sped our continuous improvement plans. Until she arrived, as owners, Steve and I would carry out these tasks in our spare time.” With her ability to stay focused and her determination to learn more, the possibilities for Nicole Smith to advance at Phillips Precision and in her career seem wide open.