Spending a Summer with Meyer Tool: No Sun, but a Bunch of Sparks
September 23, 2011
Meyer Tool & Mfg., Inc. had a great deal of added summer help this year. Forfeiting daily trips to the beach or pool, several diligent high school and college students made their way to Meyer Tool instead, where they were able to work on various projects alongside Meyer Tool’s experienced engineers, machinists, welders and office staff.
Students were given the unique opportunity to see and assist in the building of scientific equipment, projects, and prototypes for industry and labs throughout the world, notably US national labs such as Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Students with varied interests, but sharing a similar desire to experience their chosen profession, were able to gain an understanding of what these unique jobs entail and acquire skills that will set them apart from other graduates when it comes time to move from summer help to the world of the 9 to 5 (or 6-3:30).
Working with the Meyer Tool full time staff, students improve both their job skills AND their work ethic. It’s hard work that requires a lot of motivation, dedication and the ability to learn. Safety precautions must be abided by and attention to details, as laid out by the engineering plans, must be followed precisely to ensure that the Meyer Tool standard of lowest total cost of ownership is maintained. Through the Meyer Tool family values as well as the degree of personal accountability each and every employee is held to for their work on assigned projects, these students are motivated to do their best work. The team atmosphere on the Meyer Tool shop floor is pervasive and students are quickly swept up in the “can do” attitude!
The assembly, maintenance, and welding summer help are all supervised by experienced Meyer Tool staff.
Dan Jacobson has worked at Meyer Tool for close to three years. He began working here after high school and quickly identified that welding was where his interests lay. Eventually, he wanted to expand his knowledge so he began taking night classes while working full time at Meyer Tool. He is now studying Welding Engineering full time at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan. Dan came back this summer to continue working in the Meyer Tool weld shop because he “enjoys being forced to think” while he works. He is very quick to state that he enjoys his time at Meyer Tool because he is able to do “lots of projects that other companies just don’t do.” He says that his welding experience at Meyer motivated him to pursue a degree in Welding Engineering, adding that “the freedom that Meyer Tool gives its employees to think and to troubleshoot problems” definitely broadens his classroom knowledge with real world, hands on application of his college experience.
In contrast, Ryan Schneider and Alex Terzich do not have shop backgrounds; Ryan is attending Loras College to study Sports Management, while Alex is studying at Illinois State University with a focus on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Both have now worked two of their summers home from college at Meyer Tool and have found that the Meyer Tool shop offers a congenial air that both promotes “individual problem solving” and the opportunity to “feel like they’re a part of something bigger.” Alex and Ryan worked in maintenance, helping to do prep work for projects, 5S Activities, and various other odd jobs that needed to get done. While noting that it was undeniable that they “worked hard,” they were also emphatic that despite high expectations, “they did not dread coming to work” every day; rather, they enjoyed the mental challenge that much of the work presented to them. Alex went so far as to say that it “beat sitting around all summer,” which, when comparing the work Meyer Tool does with the usual life of a college student delighting in the summer sun, shiny blue pools, and lack of responsibility seems like some pretty high praise.
Eric Cunningham works in Meyer Tool’s Assembly department while being overseen by Shop Supervisor, Doug Carvelli.
Marist High School students, Eric and Eddie Cunningham, both interested in following in their mother and Meyer Tool president Eileen Cunningham’s footsteps, are thinking of pursuing careers in a manufacturing environment. Eric, who plans to pursue a mechanical engineering degree in college, spent his second summer at Meyer Tool. Last year, he was introduced to the shop environment by doing basic maintenance tasks, just like Alex and Ryan. He learned a lot about how a shop runs, the importance of safety and the value of a hard day’s work. This summer, Eric spent his time at learning Assembly skills such as inspection basics, precision cleaning and polishing and the intricacies of mechanical assembly. Eric gained exposure by shadowing assembly technicians. He was able to witness and participate in various testing procedures such as dye penetrant testing. “It was fun to work on actual projects this year,” said Eric. “There’s a sense of pride knowing you were able to contribute to important jobs for real customers.” Eddie Cunningham spent his first summer at Meyer Tool much like his brother did last summer, working in Maintenance, focused on 5SActivities alongside Alex and Schneider. “I know I’m very lucky to be able to have a first job at a place like Meyer Tool. I will be able to use the skills I learned here this summer everywhere I go.”
As the summer winds to a close, the Meyer Tool student-workers take time to reflect. While there was a distinct lack of weekday pool time and a drastic increase in early morning alarms, these employees found their work endeavors to be a success. As they leave to return to their respective schools, they take with them job experience, a tough thing to come by in these times, and an enhanced commitment to quality in both thought processes and effort. They feel lucky to have gained a real world appreciation of the teamwork necessary to achieve large scale goals, the pride achieved through accepting personal responsibility, and an understanding of a company that works towards innovation