Meeting People the Old Fashion Way (Liberated from email!)

One of the great things about doing this magazine is finding out that people actually read it, and some even like it.

I received a call from Paul Ikasalo, the manufacturing manager at F.H. Peterson of Stoughton, Massachusetts. Paul liked my Swarf piece in November when I declared my self-exile from the email world. He called me at 708-535-2200 and on my cell phone (708-380-8530) to say hello and endorse my email boycott. He hates the sterility and pollution of web messaging. We had a hearty conversation for twenty minutes discussing the business approach at his sixty-person job shop near Boston. Peterson does short-run stuff. Medical apparatus is an important component of their business. They run old school toolroom equipment, but have invested in CNC Toshiba boring mills in recent years, which are now their core machining capability. Business is good. They have been able to hold on to their machinists over a long period of time because they pay well and listen.

I also had a great conversation with Scott Volk of MetalQuest in Hebron, Nebraska, near Lincoln. He wanted to talk about my “radical proposal” Afterthought column regarding enlistment of young people in the machining world. He is heavily involved in an outreach effort at a local high school and junior college to tell them about the cool opportunities available. He says there is an active group of grass roots communicators in Nebraska and Kansas who are quickly getting traction in recruiting students into a manufacturing track. Their approach has been to get to know career counselors and invite kids into their factories for show and tells. When kids see the fun stuff in today’s CNC shops, they bite. He says local junior colleges have filled their manufacturing-oriented classes to overflowing, because kids can see the payback.

Paul and Scott love the thrill of making things that are important. This is the story of manufacturing which has been so poorly told to the uninitiated french fry fryers of America. The new world of customized manufacturing, which is coming soon to a company or a war near you, is going to open up more opportunities, as making things when and where they are needed eliminates the advantage of off-shore manufacturing.

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2 thoughts on “Meeting People the Old Fashion Way (Liberated from email!)

  1. Chris Pollard

    I thought this blog was going to be more about machining. Too many of these editorial blogs like machine design’s one go off into Republican right wing rants and try to skewer liberals.

    There are a lot of liberal engineers and calling them “Maoist” doesn’t help – we don’t believe in totalitarian government. To my mind it is the Republican right wing mind set that concentrates on greed and materialism and aids the transfer of jobs offshore. Liberals are against that.

    So, please turn the “I’m a right wing conservative” knob a bit.

  2. Tyler Shinaberry

    Chris, whether you like it or not, the world of machining is about more than just machines that remove metal. Politics and opinions are what drives industry. Unlike the machines we proudly use, humans make decisions based on emotion, beliefs, and faith.

    On the other hand, to ask someone to turn down their feelings on an inssue is no different than asking someone to lie about who they are. This is a blog, this a place for people to exercise their right of opinion based on their own. This is how new ideas are formed and people are able to grow in their own beliefs. To ask someone to not express them self is only cheating you as a reader out of an opportunity to learn. I respect your opinion as well as Lloyd’s; both make respectable points. Now I can sit back and take this new knowledge so that I can generate my own opinion using these new points.

    The internet is not any different than watching television at night. You can choose what you read on the internet and you can choose what you watch at night. However, unlike watching TV, you have the oppotunity to argue with the media source. Regardless as to whether you are democrat, republican, or anarchist, this is the right we have been given by those who fought for our rights. APPRECIATE IT!!!



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