By Lloyd Graff
Groups like the Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) are still dominated by old white guys who can’t jump, but it’s beginning to turn over in a few ways. One of the nice things about going to a conference like the PMPA Management Update in Phoenix last weekend is to see an organization evolving.
Owners, many second and third generation machine guys themselves, are looking to rejuvenate their businesses with young talent. I heard this from almost everybody I talked to at the conference. A lot of older shop workers have retired or been pruned. The managers of many PMPA shops are looking for fresh talent out of local engineering schools, tech schools, high schools—wherever there are kids who want to work hard and are willing to use Lava soap. You can’t advertise specifically for youth, but in America today you can shop the abundant talent pools, looking for what you want. For 30 years, the constant lament at these gatherings has been “you can’t get talent.” In Phoenix, the belief was that at this moment you can get “potential” that you can develop.
I talked to several young guys—30 is young to me now—who are running things at their shops and feeling good about it. Dave Thuro is pretty much running things now at Thuro Metal products in Long Island N.Y. The company is pushing hard on exporting to Europe and Mexico. Eli Crotzer of Hi-Vol Products, LLC, an automotive cold header turned Hydromat shop in Livonia, Mich., came into the machining world through the private equity door. He says he’s about as technical as a baked potato, but he’s learning fast, selling off one shop in his boss’s portfolio and looking to more ongoing operations.
Aaron Bagshaw of W.H. Bagshaw Co. Inc., carries on the company name after 140 years in the business. He’s adding CNC bargains to his successful line of pins. He was proud of the five Nomuras he just “stole” for $23,000.
Machining is getting a life again right now as the know-nothings write it off.
Creative destruction is alive, under the rubble.
Question: Do you feel the machining business coming back to life?
White Men Can’t Jump