Manufacturing Career Day Panel


Uploaded by GRCCtv on 08.11.2011

Transcript:
>> WELCOME YOU TO, ACTUALLY, THE FIRST ANNUAL CAREER DAY.
NO ONE HEARD ME SAY “ANNUAL,”
‘CAUSE THAT MEANS WE’RE GOING TO DO IT AGAIN,
BUT I HOPE TO DO THIS EVERY YEAR.
I HOPE IT GETS BIGGER AND BIGGER.
BUT WHAT WE WERE ACTUALLY LOOKING AT WHEN WE PUT THIS TOGETHER
WAS TO TRY TO, UM, GET EMPLOYERS WITH STUDENTS,
WITH FUTURE EMPLOYEES,
AND I THINK I FOUND OUT THE MAIN PROBLEM, JUST A MINUTE AGO,
WHEN THE REPORTER ASKED ME,
“HOW MANY OF THESE COMPANIES ARE ACTUALLY HIRING?”
AND SHE WAS SHOCKED WHEN I SAID, “ALL OF ‘EM!”
SO, UM, SHE WAS UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT MANUFACTURING
WENT AWAY LIKE, UNFORTUNATELY, MOST PEOPLE.
I’M HERE, AND THESE PEOPLE ARE HERE, TO TELL YOU THAT THAT’S NOT THE CASE,
AND WE HOPE TO HEAR SOME REALLY GOOD INFORMATION
OUT OF THIS PANEL FROM MANY DIFFERENT SECTORS,
MANY DIFFERENT AREAS OF MANUFACTURING.
KINDA TELLING YOU WHERE THEY’RE AT, WHERE THEY’RE GOING,
AND KINDA HOW YOU COULD BE PART OF THAT.
SO, UH, HOPEFULLY, KINDA LISTEN TO WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
AND GET A GOOD IDEA WHAT INDUSTRY IS TODAY.
I THINK WE GET A LOT OF IMPRESSIONS OF WHAT INDUSTRY
WAS 30 YEARS AGO, WHEN I WAS IN IT,
AND IT’S TOTALLY DIFFERENT THAN WHAT THAT IS.
SO, UM, WE’LL GO AHEAD AND GET STARTED.
AND WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO IS GIVE ‘EM QUESTIONS TO ANSWER,
THEY’RE ALL GONNA ANSWER KIND OF SPECIFICALLY FOR THEM.
AND THEN, AT THE END,
HOPEFULLY WE’LL HAVE A LITTLE TIME
THAT WE CAN SOME AUDIENCE QUESTIONS AS WELL,
FOR THE SPECIFIC COMPANIES OR ANYBODY UP HERE.
SO, UM, I’M GONNA TRY TO DO IT JUSTICE OF INTRODUCING THEM,
BUT AGAIN, THESE ARE ALL PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN AROUND THE AREA,
AROUND WEST MICHIGAN, IN MANUFACTURING FOR YEARS,
AND I WAS KIND OF TRYING TO TOTAL UP THE DIFFERENT YEARS,
BUT I DON’T EVEN WANT TO DO THAT.
BUT WE GOT A LOT OF EXPERIENCE
AND A LOT OF REALLY GOOD YEARS IN THE WEST MICHIGAN MANUFACTURING AREA.
SO, LET’S START OFF AT THE FAR END.
KAREN SPALDING.
KAREN AND I HAVE WORKED TOGETHER FOR QUITE A LONG TIME,
ESPECIALLY IN THE APPRENTICESHIP AREA.
BUT KAREN IS THE SENIOR RECRUITER AT TRANS-MATIC IN HOLLAND.
TRANS-MATIC EMPLOYS 250 PEOPLE.
THEY HAVE, THIS YEAR, $65 MILLION IN SALES.
IT’S A FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS.
KAREN HAS WORKED THERE FOR 16 YEARS, AND AGAIN,
HAS BEEN A REAL GOOD PERSON FOR US, AS A REAL GOOD ADVOCATE
FOR GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE.
ESPECIALLY IN THE LAKE SHORE REGION.
AND I DIDN’T PUT THESE IN THE RIGHT ORDER.
I'D THINK I'D DO THAT.
KEVIN CLAY.
KEVIN WORKS AT PRIDGEON AND CLAY.
HE IS A STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT MANAGER.
HE'S BEEN THERE FOR SIX YEARS.
PRIDGEON AND CLAY IS ONE OF GRAND RAPIDS’ BIGGEST COMPANIES.
THEY EMPLOY 600 PEOPLE
AND HAVE ABOUT $185 MILLION IN SALES.
KEVIN’S BEEN WITH THE COMPANY FOR ABOUT SIX YEARS,
AND I KNOW KEVIN AND I HAVE TALKED A LITTLE BIT
ABOUT TRYING TO PUT TOGETHER A ROBOTIC LEAGUE IN THE AREA
AND SO, WE’RE REALLY TRYING TO GET A LITTLE BIT MORE INTO THE AUTOMATION,
AND HOPEFULLY, KEVIN CAN GET SOME HIGH SCHOOLS INVOLVED WITH THAT, SO...
JIM NEWMAN.
JIM IS A PLANT MANAGER AT GRAND RAPIDS PLASTICS.
ALTHOUGH NEW TO GRAND RAPIDS PLASTICS,
HE HAS BEEN 14 YEARS IN MANUFACTURING...
AND GRAND RAPIDS PLASTICS CURRENTLY EMPLOYS 150 PEOPLE IN GRAND RAPIDS.
JIM... WOJCZYNSKI.
HA, LOOK AT THAT.
GUESS YOU CAN TELL MY BACKGROUND-- IS FROM AUTOCAM.
HE IS THE DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES.
AUTOCAM EMPLOYS 250 PEOPLE, 500 IN THE U.S.
THEY HAVE SEVERAL DIFFERENT AREAS THAT JIM IS GOING TO TELL US ABOUT.
THEY HAVE A VERY STRONG APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM WITH THE COLLEGE.
THEY'VE BEEN WITH US FOR A LONG TIME NOW.
AND THEY HAVE $160 MILLION IN SALES
AND AGAIN, THEY ARE A VERY DIVERSE COMPANY IN A LOT OF DIFFERENT AREAS
THAT JIM WILL DESCRIBE TO US.
BETSY SIMPSON HAS ALSO BEEN A FRIEND OF THE COLLEGE FOR MANY YEARS.
BETSY IS FROM GENTEX.
SHE IS IN TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT.
AGAIN, I’VE WORKED WITH BETSY FOR A LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS.
ACTUALLY, INDUSTRIAL MAINTENANCE DEGREE AND ALSO THE APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM.
UM, GENTEX-- SMALL COMPANY-- HAS 3,900 EMPLOYEES AND GETTING BIGGER.
ELEVEN HUNDRED?
I DON’T KNOW, I’M STARTING TO GET INTO QUESTIONS-- SORRY.
UM, AND THEY’RE JUST APPROACHING $1 BILLION IN SALES, SO...
AGAIN, THEY’LL TELL YOU KINDA ABOUT THEIR PRODUCTS, AND--
AS WE GO THROUGH, BUT, UH--
AGAIN, WE HAVE SOME REALLY GOOD REPRESENTATIVES FROM INDUSTRY HERE,
SO KIND OF ASK ANY QUESTIONS
AND GET ALL THE INFORMATION YOU CAN FROM ‘EM.
ALL RIGHT!
WE'LL GO AHEAD AND START WITH KAREN.
DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY AS IT IS TODAY
AND WHERE YOU’RE AT AS FAR AS EMPLOYMENT.
>> HI, EVERYBODY.
TRANS-MATIC IS LOCATED IN HOLLAND.
THE COMPANY ITSELF HAS A VERY STRONG CORPORATE CULTURE,
MEANING...
PEOPLE REALLY TAKE A LOT OF RESPONSIBILITY
TO FORM OUR CULTURE.
PEOPLE ARE VERY RESPECTFUL OF ONE ANOTHER.
THEY’RE VERY COLLABORATIVE, THEY’RE NOT NEGATIVE,
AND WHEN SOMEBODY ENTERS INTO OUR ORGANIZATION
THAT ISN’T SERIOUS ABOUT THEIR WORK OR SHOWS UP EVERY DAY AND ON TIME
AND ALL THOSE THINGS THAT EVERYBODY’S BEEN TELLING STUDENTS FOR, YOU KNOW,
THE LAST 18 YEARS OF YOUR LIFE,
THAT PERSON STICKS OUT LIKE A SORE THUMB.
I MEAN, BY THE TIME YOU GET TO WORKING IN THE REAL WORLD,
SO TO SPEAK, THERE’S JUST NO EXCUSE FOR NOT BEING THERE
AND NOT BEING FULLY ON WHEN YOU’RE SHOWING UP FOR WORK.
SO, OUR COMPANY IS, UM, VERY PROFESSIONAL.
VERY RESPECTFUL.
WE’RE SERIOUS ABOUT WHAT WE DO, RIGHT DOWN FROM THE PERSON
WHOSE MAYBE TAKING CARE OF THE FACILITY
AND DOING WHAT SOME OF YOU MIGHT CONSIDER NOT IMPORTANT WORK,
LIKE A CUSTODIAL KIND OF ASPECT?
ALL THE WAY UP TO OUR MANAGERS AND TEAM LEADERS
AND OUR SKILLED JOURNEYMEN.
PEOPLE ARE REALLY SERIOUS ABOUT WHAT THEY DO.
WE’RE A RELATIVELY SMALL COMPANY.
WE’RE OBVIOUSLY NOT A THIRD OF THE SIZE OF PRIDGEON AND CLAY,
AND, YOU KNOW, MUCH, MUCH SMALLER THAN GENTEX.
BUT PEOPLE KNOW US AS A GOOD EMPLOYER,
BECAUSE WE ARE A REALLY SOLID EMPLOYER.
WE DO SCREEN OUT PEOPLE THAT DON’T "FIT THE MOLD."
UM, IF YOU DON’T FIT THE MOLD
AS FAR AS PEOPLE WHO ARE SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR CAREER
AND SERIOUS ABOUT SEEING THE COMPANY BE SUCCESSFUL,
JUST DON’T BOTHER.
SO, THAT’S WHAT I SEE A LOT IN THE PROFESSIONALS THAT I SPEAK WITH,
IS THAT THERE IS ENOUGH PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT JUST AREN’T SERIOUS.
WE JUST DON’T WANT TO HAVE THOSE PEOPLE WASTE OUR TIME.
WE NEED REALLY SERIOUS PEOPLE WHO WANT TO GROW WITH US,
EARN A GOOD LIVING, WORK IN A LOVELY FACILITY.
YOU KNOW, OUR FACILITY IS RELATIVELY NEW, IT’S WHITE, IT’S AIR-CONDITIONED,
EVERYTHING'S CLEANED ALL THE TIME.
I’LL TAKE EITHER CUSTOMERS OR CANDIDATES THROUGH THE SHOP FLOOR,
AND THEN, LATER ON IN THE DAY, SOMEBODY WILL COME UP TO ME
AND SAY, “OH, I’M SORRY THAT THAT AREA WASN’T VERY WELL-CLEANED UP.”
LOOKS GREAT TO ME!
BUT WE TAKE THAT VERY SERIOUSLY--
ORGANIZATION AND THE, YOU KNOW, THE CLEANLINESS OF OUR FACILITY.
WE INVEST A LOT, LIKE MANY OTHER OF THE COMPANIES OF OUR SIZE,
WE INVESTED-- (coughing) PARDON ME.
A LOT IN THE EQUIPMENT AND, UH, THE BUILDING ITSELF,
AND SO, THAT WE ARE ASSURING YOU
THAT YOU THAT HAVE A VERY HIGH-QUALITY OF WORK LIFE.
THAT YOU WORK IN A LOVELY FACILITY
THAT YOU’RE PROUD TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH,
AND WE EXPECT YOU TO CONTRIBUTE TO MAINTAINING IT THAT WAY.
BUT OVERALL, YOU KNOW,
OUR COMPANY IS LIKE A PLACE THAT PEOPLE CALL HOME.
THEY CALL THEIR EMPLOYER, YOU KNOW--
THAT EMPLOYER IS THEIR HOME
FOR WHERE THEY ARE EARNING A LIVING,
AND WE TAKE THAT VERY SERIOUSLY.
WE DON’T EXPECT YOU TO WORK SO MUCH THAT YOU DON’T HAVE A LIFE
OUTSIDE OF, YOU KNOW, YOUR PERSONAL LIFE AND YOUR INTERESTS,
BUT WORK IS SUCH A HUGE PART OF WHAT YOU’RE CONTRIBUTING
AND WHAT YOU’RE GLEANING FROM THAT CONTRIBUTION,
THAT WE WANT TO MAKE IT THE BEST IT CAN BE.
AND WE FIRMLY BELIEVE IN THAT.
AND WHAT RAPIDLY FOLLOWS IS INNOVATION,
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT, AND A VERY, VERY HAPPY CUSTOMER BASE.
AND WE’VE REALLY GROWN AND BLOSSOMED BECAUSE OF THAT.
SO, WE SHARE OUR PROFITS.
WE, UM...
I DON’T THINK WE’RE A WAGE LEADER,
BUT WE’RE RANKED VERY COMPETITIVELY, COMPENSATING OUR EMPLOYEES.
WE PROVIDE A HIGH LEVEL OF SECURITY...
AND I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE,
OVER THE LAST TWO, TWO AND HALF YEARS...
WERE MISLED BY SOME OF THE ACTIVITIES THAT DID HAVE TO HAPPEN.
YOU KNOW, EMPLOYERS, LIKE OURSELVES, WE DID HAVE TO SHRINK,
BECAUSE OUR ANNUAL REVENUE WAS SHRINKING.
BUT THE SKILLED PEOPLE THAT WORKED FOR US--
THE PEOPLE THAT HANDLED THE TOOLS AND DYES,
AND THE MAINTENANCE ASPECT,
AND DID THE TOOL DESIGN ON 3D CAD SYSTEMS.
UM, THOSE SKILLED POSITIONS WERE NOT THE POSITIONS THAT WE ELIMINATED.
ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE MIGHT HAVE HAD TO WORK IN A DIFFERENT AREA,
OR WORK REDUCED HOURS,
BUT WE KNEW THAT THE CYCLICAL ECONOMY WOULD COME BACK,
AND WE HAD TO MAINTAIN OUR CAPABILITY.
AND SO, THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT’S HAPPENED.
NOW, IT’S COME BACK EVEN STRONGER THAN WE HAD ANTICIPATED,
AND HONESTLY, IT’S REALLY HARD FOR US
TO FIND WELL-ROUNDED, STABLE, SERIOUS INDIVIDUALS
TO COME INTO OUR COMPANY.
AND WHEN I SAY, “STABLE AND WELL-ROUNDED,”
I MEAN, I WANT TO HEAR THAT, YOU KNOW--
SO-AND-SO-- I WAS SPEAKING WITH SOME OF THE GUYS THAT ARE HERE
FROM THE ALLEGAN TECH CENTER.
I WANNA KNOW THAT THEY, YOU KNOW, GO HUNTING
OR HAVE FAMILY PLANS OR HAVE SPECIAL SKILLS AND HOBBIES
OR LIKE TO ENJOY THEIR RECREATION TIME.
THAT MAKES YOU A WELL-ROUNDED PERSON, AND THAT’S WHAT PEOPLE ARE MADE UP OF.
THEY’RE MADE UP OF THEIR TECHNICAL SKILLS
AND THEIR FAMILY AND THEIR PERSONAL TRAITS
AND THE THINGS THAT THEY DO TO ENHANCE THEIR OVERALL LIFE.
AND I THINK WORKING FOR A GOOD EMPLOYER IS ONE OF THE ASPECTS
THAT YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE TO MAKE A HUGE DECISION ABOUT.
YOU MIGHT NOT BE AT THE COMPANY YOU CHOSE WHEN YOU’RE 20 YEARS OLD--
YOU MIGHT NOT BE THERE FOREVER.
BUT WHEN YOU DO GET IN, MAKE A WISE CHOICE
AND TRY AND CHOOSE A REALLY REPUTABLE COMPANY,
AND ONE THAT CAN PROVIDE YOU WITH A REALLY HIGH-QUALITY OF WORK LIFE,
AND THAT’S THE KIND OF COMPANY THAT WE WOULD LIKE TO SAY WE RUN,
AND I THINK WE’RE PRETTY SUCCESSFUL AT IT.
>> THANK YOU. >> YEP.
>> THANK YOU.
PRIDGEON AND CLAY HAS BEEN IN THE GRAND RAPIDS AREA
FOR OVER 60 YEARS NOW.
WE STARTED IN 1948.
WE’RE A FAMILY-OWNED COMPANY,
AND THAT’S A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF OUR CORPORATE CULTURE.
WE REALLY VALUE FAMILY
AND A HIGH AMOUNT OF EMPLOYEE INVOLVEMENT,
WHETHER THAT’S IN...
IN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS, OUTSIDE OF WORK,
IN COMMUNITY ACTION PROGRAMS.
SOMETHING THAT’S ALWAYS BEEN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO THE COMPANY,
AND GIVING BACK TO THE AREA--
UH, WEST MICHIGAN AND GRAND RAPIDS--
HAS ALWAYS BEEN VERY IMPORTANT TO MY FAMILY AND TO THE COMPANY.
WE’VE EXPANDED RECENTLY.
AND WE’RE SEEKING PEOPLE WHO WANT TO EXPAND WITH THE COMPANY.
WE HAVE A FACILITY IN GRAND RAPIDS, OBVIOUSLY.
ALSO IN FRANKLIN, INDIANA...
MONTERREY, MEXICO...
WE’RE ALSO IN APOSTAG, HUNGARY...
KATOWICE, POLAND...
WE’VE GOT SALES AND ENGINEERING OFFICES IN SHANGHAI AND GERMANY
AND, UH, WE’RE CONSTANTLY LOOKING TO EXPAND
AND TO, YOU KNOW, INCREASE OUR OPPORTUNITIES
TO SERVE OUR GLOBAL CUSTOMERS IN THEIR OWN BACKYARDS.
AND ONE OF THE--
UM, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE ARE CONSTANTLY FIGHTING
IS THE IDEA THAT, WHEN YOU DO A GLOBAL EXPANSION,
YOU’RE DOING THAT AT THE EXPENSE OF AMERICAN JOBS,
AND THAT JUST SIMPLY ISN’T TRUE.
AND WE’VE SEEN A SITUATION VERY SIMILAR TO TRANS-MATIC,
WHERE WE DID LOSE A LARGE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES.
IN 2008 AND 2009, WERE HORRIBLE YEARS TO STRUGGLE THROUGH.
WE’VE EMERGED A STRONGER COMPANY,
BUT WE’VE ALSO EMERGED A VERY DIFFERENT COMPANY.
WE’RE SEEKING A DIFFERENT KIND OF EMPLOYEE.
THERE WAS A DAY WE USED TO JOKE ABOUT--
WE WERE LOOKING FOR “WARM BODIES,”
AND THAT JUST ISN’T THE CASE ANYMORE.
WE’RE LOOKING FOR VERY MOTIVATED, TECHNICALLY SKILLED, SAVVY INDIVIDUALS
WHO ARE, YOU KNOW, NOT ONLY SELF-STARTERS
WITH A HIGH AMOUNT OF INTEGRITY,
BUT THEY ALSO HAVE TO BE INTERESTED IN CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVING
AND, UH, INTO INNOVATING THE PRODUCTS AND PROCESSES
THAT WE HAVE INSIDE OF OUR BUSINESS RIGHT NOW.
WE’RE NOT LOOKING FOR THE SAME EMPLOYEES THAT WE ARE,
AND ONE OF THE PROBLEMS THAT WE ARE SEEING IS...
A LOT OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE BEEN CONVINCED
THAT IT’S VERY IMPORTANT
TO HAVE A FOUR-YEAR, LIBERAL ARTS-TYPE BACHELOR'S DEGREE,
AND, UH, WE’VE GOT PLENTY OF THOSE AT P&C,
BUT WHAT WE’RE DYING ON THE VINE FOR IS SOME TECHNICAL SKILL.
SOME WELDERS.
SOME AUTOMATION.
SOME PEOPLE WHO KNOW HOW TO PROGRAM A FANNETT CONTROL ARM.
THINGS LIKE THAT.
THAT’S REALLY WHAT THE SITUATION AT PRIDGEON AND CLAY RIGHT NOW.
AND THAT’S WHY I’M HERE TODAY.
>> GRAND RAPIDS PLASTICS, FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS.
BEEN AROUND OVER THE LAST TEN YEARS.
WE ALSO ARE A TIER-ONE SUPPLIER TO THE BIG THREE.
WE’RE ALSO INNOVATED INTO TAKING 30 PERCENT OF OUR INDUSTRY
AND MAKING IT NON-AUTOMOTIVE.
WE DO A LOT OF BUSINESS OUT OF DETROIT AREA
WITH HOUSEHOLD GOODS, KEYBOARDS, THAT TYPE OF PRODUCT.
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT AUTOMOTIVE ANY LONGER.
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR, ALSO, IS THAT SKILL TRADE.
YOU KNOW, THE INDUSTRY IN PLASTICS DROPPED IN ‘08 AND ‘09,
LIKE EVERYBODY KNEW.
NOW, IT’S ON ITS WAY BACK.
WE ALSO ARE OUT LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WITH THE SKILL SET-- TECHNICAL.
YOU KNOW... PEOPLE THAT HAVE PROGRAMMING,
ENGINEERING-LEVEL, PROBLEM-SOLVING PEOPLE
OUT THERE TO HELP US IN OUR INDUSTRY.
YOU KNOW, INJECTION MOLDING IS ONE OF THOSE ONES,
WHEN YOU LOOK AROUND, EVERYTHING IS MADE OUT OF PLASTIC NOWADAYS
AND THAT SKILL LEVEL IS THE LEVEL THAT WE DESPERATELY NEED
AT GRAND RAPIDS PLASTICS.
WE’RE A FAST-GROWING COMPANY.
WE LOOK FOR PEOPLE THAT WANT TO MAKE A CAREER.
LIKE I SAID, IT’S FAMILY-OWNED,
AND THE OWNERS OF THE COMPANY BELIEVE IN FAMILY.
BELIEVE IN, YOU KNOW-- YOU’RE PART OF THAT FAMILY
WHEN YOU COME ON BOARD WITH US.
>> AT AUTOCAM, WE, LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, I SUPPOSE SO FAR,
WE’RE IN NEED OF TECHNICAL PEOPLE.
WE ARE A PRECISION-MACHINING OPERATION.
WE HAVE OPERATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES,
IN MICHIGAN AND CALIFORNIA AND BOSTON.
WE ALSO HAVE FOREIGN OPERATIONS IN FRANCE, POLAND,
GERMANY, AND SOUTH AMERICA.
WE SUPPLY PRIMARILY THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY
AS A TIER-TWO SUPPLIER.
WE ALSO PRODUCE WHAT WE REFER TO AS "MEDICAL DEVICES,"
AND THOSE WOULD BE THE TOOLS, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT A SURGEON USES--
ER, AN ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON USES IN THE REPLACEMENT OF A HIP.
SOME OF THE ACTUAL JOINTS, SOME OF THE SCREWS, THE DRILLS,
THE PIECES THAT THEY'LL ACTUALLY PERFORM THE SURGERY WITH.
WE, TOO, CAME THROUGH THE 2008-2009 YEAR,
AND WE SURVIVED, AS OTHERS DID HERE,
AND WE ARE NOW IN NEED OF THAT TECHNICAL BASE
THAT HAS NOT BEEN AROUND.
WE’VE GONE TO THE POINT WHERE WE'VE MADE A COMMITMENT TO APPRENTICE PROGRAMS.
WE HAVE ONE CLASS STARTED NOW.
WE HAVE ANOTHER ONE THAT WE’LL START IN ANOTHER MONTH,
AND WE’RE PLANNING A THIRD CLASS FOR NEXT YEAR.
AND WHEN WE’RE DONE, WE’LL HAVE PROBABLY 30 PEOPLE
IN AN APPRENTICE MACHINING PROGRAM.
SO, WE SEE THE NEED.
OUR REAL NEED IS IN THE SKILL SETS THAT PEOPLE COMING OUT OF GRCC HAVE,
AND THAT IS IN THE MACHINING AREA.
IT’S A CAREER, IT HAS A LOT TO OFFER,
AND IT HAS A LONG-TERM FUTURE TO IT.
THANK YOU.
>> HELLO, EVERYONE.
I’M GLAD TO SEE YOU OUT THERE.
I’M BETSY SIMPSON, AND I WORK AT GENTEX CORPORATION.
I’VE BEEN THERE FOR 14 YEARS NOW.
GENTEX IS-- I MEAN, I YOU COULDN’T ASK ME FOR A BETTER TIME,
“WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT GENTEX?”
BECAUSE WE’RE ALL OVER THE HIGHWAYS, RIGHT?
I MEAN, EVERYBODY KNOWS WE’RE HIRING.
GENTEX IS A TIER-ONE SUPPLIER AND TIER-TWO SUPPLIER
TO THE GLOBAL AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY.
WE MAKE THOSE REALLY COOL REAR-VIEW MIRRORS
THAT HAVE THE REAR CAMERA DISPLAY UP THERE IN THE MIRROR,
YOU’VE SEEN ADS FOR THAT?
THAT GUYS THAT SAY, “I’M YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE,” RIGHT?
THE MIRROR THAT’S ON THAT CAR,
ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE CAR, THAT DOES THE BLIND ZONE?
WE MAKE THOSE.
WE’RE REALLY EXCITED ABOUT OUR PRODUCTS RIGHT NOW
AND IT’S AMAZING THAT YOU CAN HAVE A BILLION DOLLARS IN SALES
WITH REAR VIEW MIRRORS, RIGHT?
IT’S PHENOMENAL TO ME THAT THAT MANY PEOPLE BUY CARS,
BUT THEY DO.
AND WE ARE GROWING.
IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE WORKING AT GENTEX.
I’D INVITE YOU ALL TO CHECK IT OUT,
IF YOU’RE NOT FAMILIAR WITH US.
GENTEX IS TRULY DOUBLING ITS MANUFACTURING CAPACITY RIGHT NOW.
WE HAVE FOUR BUILDING PROJECTS GOING ON RIGHT NOW
THAT WILL DOUBLE US, IN SIZE, AS FAR AS MANUFACTURING GOES.
I DON’T KNOW A WHOLE LOT OF PLACES THAT CAN SAY THAT.
INCLUDED IN THAT, WE ARE DOUBLING OUR CAPACITY
IN OUR WAREHOUSE IN GERMANY.
AND MOST OF THE MANUFACTURING THAT WE DO--
THOSE JOBS ARE RIGHT HERE IN ZEELAND, OR RIGHT THERE IN ZEELAND, MICHIGAN.
WE DO SOME VERY LIGHT ASSEMBLY
IN OUR GERMAN PLANT AND IN THE ONE IN CHINA,
MOSTLY BECAUSE THOSE AUTOMAKERS LIKE TO GO
AND SEE IT HAPPENING, YOU KNOW?
SO, WE KIND OF SNAP THE MIRROR TOGETHER, SO THEY CAN SEEN MANUFACTURING HAPPENING?
UM, BUT WE LIKE TO KEEP THE TECHNOLOGY RIGHT HERE IN ZEELAND,
BECAUSE THAT GIVES US THE OPPORTUNITY TO MANAGE IT BETTER.
WE CAN MAKE CHANGES, WHEN WE NEED TO, MORE QUICKLY, MORE RESPONSIBLY.
THE SECOND REASON WE LIKE TO KEEP IT RIGHT HERE
IS FOR THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY THAT’S ATTACHED TO THOSE PRODUCTS.
UM, YOU KNOW, YOU TALK ABOUT A COOL GROUP OF PEOPLE TO WORK WITH,
OUR FOLKS NOT ONLY INVENT THE PRODUCT,
BUT THEY ALSO INVENT THE PROCESS THAT BUILDS IT.
THERE’S NO EQUIPMENT THAT YOU CAN GO OUT AND BUY, YOU KNOW, OFF THE SHELF
THAT MAKES THESE MIRRORS.
WE HAVE TO INVENT THAT TO.
SO, IT’S LIKE DOUBLE THE INNOVATION, RIGHT?
TWO TIMES-- I LOVE IT.
IF YOU, YOU KNOW--
IF WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WORK THERE?
THERE ARE FOUR CORNERSTONES OF OUR FOUNDATION
THAT WE ALL KEEP IN MIND WHEN WE’RE MAKING DECISIONS EVERY DAY.
THE FIRST ONE IS, UH, "OWNERSHIP MENTALITY."
WE TREAT THAT ORGANIZATION-- I MEAN, EVERYONE ELSE ON THE PANEL,
WE TALKED ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE PART OF THAT FAMILY.
WE THINK OF IT THAT WAY, TOO-- WE OWN THIS PLACE,
AND WE WANT TO KEEP IT AS THE SPECIAL PLACE THAT IT IS.
THE SECOND ONE IS "UNPRETENTIOUS MANAGEMENT,"
WHICH IS A KIND OF PRETENTIOUS WAY OF SAYING,
"WE TALK TO EACH OTHER LIKE WE’RE THE SAME."
THERE’S NO ONE THAT’S SO SPECIAL THAT I CAN’T WALK INTO THEIR OFFICE
AND GET THEIR ATTENTION.
THAT’S...
IF YOU’VE BEEN TO ONE OF OUR BUILDINGS, YOU CAN SEE THAT’S REAL.
THE LAST TWO ARE PROBABLY THE OBVIOUS TWO.
IT’S LESS ABOUT THE WAY WE TREAT EACH OTHER,
MORE ABOUT THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT PRODUCT--
"DEVOTION TO INNOVATION," "DEVOTION TO QUALITY."
FRED BAUER, OUR CEO, SAYS, "YOU KNOW,
"YOU CAN HAVE COOL THINGS AND MAKE COOL THINGS,
"BUT IF THEY DON’T WORK, NOBODY’S GONNA WANT ‘EM."
SO REALLY, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO HIM IS QUALITY.
GEE, THERE’S JUST ONE MORE THING.
OH, WE ARE GLOBAL.
WE HAVE-- I TOLD YOU ABOUT OUR MANUFACTURING PLANTS.
WE ALSO HAVE SALES OFFICES.
THERE ARE TWO IN JAPAN, ONE IN KOREA,
GERMANY, THE U.K., FRANCE, ITALY, AND SWEDEN.
SO, UM, YEAH-- WE’RE EVERYWHERE.
THANKS. >> THANK YOU.
UM, STARTING WITH KEVIN, WHAT IS YOUR POTENTIAL
OR WHAT DO YOU SEE PRIDGEON AND CLAY, AND ALL OF YOU, BEING IN FIVE YEARS?
>> WELL, I SHOULD HAVE DONE A BETTER JOB OF SAYING THIS BEFOREHAND,
BUT WE ARE A METAL-STAMPING COMPANY.
WE ARE 80 PERCENT, ER, 80-85 PERCENT--
DEPENDING ON THE MONTH IN CAR SALES-- AUTOMOTIVE.
SMALL AMOUNT OF NON-AUTOMOTIVE.
WHAT WE’RE LOOKING AT DOING IS INCREASING OUR VALUE AD.
INSTEAD OF STAMPING COMPONENTS,
NOW WE’RE LOOKING AT INTEGRATING INTO SUB-ASSEMBLIES
AND SOME LARGER ASSEMBLY WORK,
WHICH MEANS WE’RE IN DIRE NEED OF PEOPLE
WHO UNDERSTAND AUTOMATION AND WELDING.
WE JUST RECENTLY PURCHASED
A NEW TRUMPF 7040 FIBER-OPTIC LASER WELD MACHINE,
AND IT’S AN AMAZING PIECE OF EQUIPMENT, IF ONLY WE KNEW HOW TO USE IT.
(audience chuckling) SO, THAT’S WHERE YOU ALL COME IN.
SO, REALLY, UNDERSTANDING THE TECHNOLOGY THAT WE HAVE
AND NOT ONLY THE LIMITS, BUT THE POTENTIAL THAT WE HAVE,
AS WE START GOING AFTER LARGER SEGMENTS WITHIN OUR CUSTOMERS
AND WITHIN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY AND THE OTHER INDUSTRIES THAT WE SERVE.
>> GRAND RAPIDS PLASTICS... (indistinct speaking)...
...TWO MONTHS, WE’LL BE ADDING 12 BRAND NEW MOLDING MACHINES.
ACTUALLY, THEY’LL BE DUE TO BE DELIVERED, UH, STARTING ON THURSDAY OF THIS WEEK.
THAT’S WHERE, ALSO, I NEED THE TECHNICAL GROUP FROM HERE
TO COME HELP US.
OUR POTENTIAL GROWTH IS, IS WE’RE OPENING A NEW FACILITY
THAT SHOULD BE OPEN MID-DECEMBER.
OUR NEW DISTRIBUTION CENTER SHOULD BE OPENING JANUARY 1st OF THIS COMING YEAR,
WHICH WILL EMPLOY CLOSE TO ANOTHER 150 EMPLOYEES FOR US.
ALONG WITH THAT, WE’RE EXPANDING IN OUR ASSEMBLY AREAS ALSO,
WITH MORE NEW ROBOTICS,
AND THE TECHNICAL ASPECT OF THAT, TOO.
>> AT AUTO-CAM, THE POTENTIAL, I GUESS,
CAN BE SUMMED UP IN ONE WORD-- "SUBSTANTIAL."
WE’RE LOOKING AT REVENUE GROWTH
OF SOMEPLACE BETWEEN 35-50 PERCENT EACH YEAR,
GOING OUT THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS.
WE’VE MADE A COMMITMENT FOR $40 MILLION IN NEW CAPITAL EQUIPMENT
THAT’LL BE COMING IN OVER THAT PERIOD OF TIME.
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN SEVERAL YEARS, WE’VE SEEN WHAT WE CALL “BOOKED ORDERS.”
IN OTHER WORDS, BUSINESS THAT’S COMMITTED TO,
OUT INTO 2013 AND '14--
AT IT’S HIGHEST LEVEL THAT WE’VE EVER SEEN IT,
AND THAT’S NOT INCLUDING ANY NEW BUSINESS
THAT MIGHT BE GENERATED AND SO FORTH.
SO-- SUBSTANTIAL.
>> FIVE YEARS IS THE PERFECT AMOUNT OF TIME
TO THINK ABOUT, IN ORDER FOR US TO PROJECT WHERE WE’RE GOING TO BE,
BECAUSE MUCH BEYOND THAT, WE DON’T KNOW, RIGHT?
UM, ONE OF THE THINGS ABOUT A PUBLICLY TRADED COMPANY LIKE GENTEX
IS THAT WE HAVE TO KEEP GROWING IN ORDER TO KEEP OUR SHAREHOLDERS HAPPY,
AND WHEN THAT’S YOUR MAJOR REVENUE STREAM, RIGHT?
YOUR INVESTMENT STREAM, THAT’S A BIG DEAL.
SO, UM, SO GROWTH, IS-- WE’RE PREDICATED ON GROWTH.
WE’RE BUILT ON THAT FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPT.
IN ORDER TO FUEL THE GROWTH OF THE COMPANY,
WE HAVE TO GROW THE TALENT THAT WORKS WITH US.
FOR YOUNG FOLKS THAT ARE JUST GETTING STARTED,
I WOULD THINK THAT WOULD BE VERY APPEALING,
WHEN WE DEDICATE OURSELVES TO HELPING YOU BECOME WHO YOU WANT TO BE,
AND THAT’S REALLY WHAT MY JOB IS ABOUT.
THE OTHER THING I WANT TO SAY
ABOUT GROWTH POTENTIAL IS THAT, YOU KNOW,
WITH ALL THE EXPANSION THAT WE’RE SEEING,
THE OPPORTUNITIES ARE HUGE.
AND ON THE FLIP SIDE OF THAT,
WE WILL HAVE TO REINVENT OURSELVES IN FIVE YEARS,
BECAUSE WHEN YOU CREATE A PRODUCT FOR AUTOMOTIVE,
SOMETHING THAT, YOU KNOW, IS VISIBLE AND IT’S AN INNOVATION,
THERE’S SOMETHING THAT IS INTRINSIC TO SELLING THAT PRODUCT...
AND THAT IS, EVERY YEAR, FOR FIVE YEARS,
THE MARGIN THAT YOU RECEIVE ON IT GOES DOWN.
AND SO, BY THE TIME YOU GET TO THE FIFTH YEAR,
YOU’RE NOT MAKING A WHOLE LOT OF MONEY ON THAT PRODUCT ANYMORE,
AND SO, YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOMETHING NEW TO PUT OUT THERE
IN ORDER TO FUEL THE BEAST, IF YOU WILL, RIGHT?
IN ORDER TO MAKE MONEY.
NOW, THAT’S A SCARY PROPOSITION...
BECAUSE AS YOU GET BIGGER, THERE’S MORE TO SUPPORT.
BUT IT’S ALSO REALLY EXCITING, AND IF YOU LIKE THAT CHALLENGE,
IF YOU LIKE THAT KIND OF, UM, ENERGY, YOU KNOW?
TENSION, ENERGY-- THEN THAT WOULD BE A GENTEX THING.
>> WELL, I CAN ECHO A LOT OF THE THINGS THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN SAID.
UM, I DID NOT MENTION BEFORE, WE ARE ALSO A DEEP DRAWN METAL-STAMPING COMPANY.
SO, WE MAKE COMPONENT PARTS.
WE ARE ALSO INTERNATIONAL.
WE HAVE A PLANT IN CHINA,
AND TO KIND OF COMMENT ON KEVIN’S-- (clearing throat)
EARLIER DESCRIPTION,
MANY PEOPLE THINK THAT WHEN A MANUFACTURING COMPANY
DOES BUSINESS IN ANOTHER CONTINENT,
UH, PARTICULARLY ASIA,
THEY THINK YOU’RE TAKING JOBS AWAY FROM THE AMERICAN WORK FORCE,
AND THAT’S JUST SIMPLY NOT ALWAYS ACCURATE.
IN OUR SITUATION, OUR CUSTOMERS WERE ALREADY OVER THERE,
AND FRANKLY, IF WE HAD NOT SET UP SHOP OVER THERE,
THEY WOULD HAVE DE-SOURCED US AND FOUND ANOTHER SOURCE
TO MAKE AN AIR COMPRESSOR COMPONENT.
(laughing) WE JUST MAKE METAL PARTS!
AND, UH-- BUT BOTTOM LINE IS,
IS THAT, UH, JUST MAKING THOSE LITTLE METAL PARTS
PROVIDES 300 FAMILIES WITH A LIVELIHOOD.
WE ALSO HAVE A PLANT IN MESA, ARIZONA.
SO, OUR CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS IS IN HOLLAND,
AND WE HAVE PLANTS IN ARIZONA, AS WELL AS CHINA.
SO, WHERE DO WE THINK WE’RE GOING TO BE IN FIVE YEARS?
WE’RE PROBABLY NOT EXPERIENCING THE KIND OF EXPLOSIVE GROWTH
THAT SOME OF THE OTHER PANELISTS HAVE DESCRIBED.
WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO VERY STEADY GROWTH
AND, UH, PROBABLY MORE ABOUT THE 20 PERCENT PER YEAR,
MAYBE 25 PERCENT PER YEAR KIND OF GROWTH.
WE ALSO ARE MAINTAINING OUR DIVERSITY.
MANY OF THE COMPANIES, AND I THINK PRIDGEON AND CLAY IS PROBABLY--
WHAT DID YOU SAY?-- 80 PERCENT AUTOMOTIVE?
>> IT'S FRIGHTENING, YES. >> YEAH, THAT IS VERY FRIGHTENING.
AND BY DESIGN, WE’VE BEEN FORTUNATE
THAT WE’VE ONLY BEEN ABOUT 50-55 PERCENT AUTOMOTIVE
IN THE LAST 45 YEARS THAT WE’VE BEEN IN BUSINESS.
AND SO, WE’RE GOING TO MAINTAIN OUR DIVERSITY,
BUT WE’RE GETTING INTO ALTERNATIVE ENERGY.
SO, IF YOU THINK ABOUT THE LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES,
WE’VE BEEN WORKING ON THIS FOR ABOUT THREE AND A HALF YEARS NOW
WITH JOHNSON CONTROLS-SAFT,
AND, UM... (clearing throat)
WE MAKE THE CANISTER THAT HOLDS THE LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES.
SO, WE’RE PRETTY EXCITED ABOUT THAT.
WE DO HAVE A NEW DISTRIBUTION CENTER
AND WE ARE CONTINUALLY EAR-MARKING AND BUDGETING
A LOT OF CAPITAL DOLLARS FOR NEW PRESSES,
BUT AS FAR AS US, LIKE, "BUILDING A NEW PLANT,"
UM, WE’RE VERY CAREFUL.
WE’RE JUST VERY, UM...
YOU KNOW, IN OUR INDUSTRY, PRECISION AND HIGHLY-ENGINEERED PARTS
DO TAKE A GOOD YEAR OR SO
BEFORE THEY COME TO MARKET BECAUSE COMPANIES LIKE GENTEX--
AS BETSY DESCRIBED-- THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE INNOVATING IT.
BY THE TIME THEY INNOVATE IT, AND CALL TO US, THEIR SUPPLIER,
TO MAKE THE COMPONENT PARTS, YOU KNOW,
IT HITS US AND WITH OUR VARIETY OF CAPACITY,
WE SOMETIMES CAN MEET THEIR MARKET, YOU KNOW--
DELIVER THE PRODUCT TO MARKET WITHOUT HAVING TO DO A GREAT BIG ADDITION.
BUT WE DO BUY NEW PLANTS, THINGS LIKE THAT.
SO, OURS IS MORE OF A STEADY GROWTH...
AND ALTERNATIVE ENERGY--
AND JUST MAINTAINING OUR ABILITY TO DO WHAT WE DO.
THAT NICHE OF WHAT WE DO-- THE BEST IN THE INDUSTRY--
AND UM, BEING ABLE TO STAY DIVERSE,
AND NOT JUST BEING IN BED WITH ONE PARTICULAR SECTOR OF THE ECONOMY.
I THINK THAT’S VERY HELPFUL FOR OUR BUSINESS MODEL.
>> THANK YOU.
BY THE WAY, I THINK IF YOU GO OUT
AND TALK TO ALL THESE COMPANIES OUT IN THE ATRIUM,
YOU’RE GOING TO HEAR THE SAME THING.
>> DEFINITELY. >> IN ALL THE MEETINGS,
THEY'RE TALKING 20 PERCENT, 25 PERCENT GROWTH,
AND THAT’S VERY TYPICAL OF WHAT WE’RE LOOKING AT RIGHT NOW, SO...
WHAT THREATS DO YOU SEE, BOTH TO YOUR COMPANY
AND TO MANUFACTURING IN GENERAL?
JIM-- JIM NEWMAN?
>> UM...
FINDING THE RIGHT EMPLOYEES FOR THE RIGHT FIT FOR OUR COMPANY.
THAT’S PROBABLY HUGE RIGHT NOW.
YOU KNOW?
GETTING THE RIGHT GROUP OF PEOPLE,
MAKING SURE IT CORRELATES TO GREAT TEAMWORK.
THAT’S PROBABLY THE BIGGEST ONE IN THE PLASTICS INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW,
IS JUST EVERYBODY’S OUT THERE,
TRYING TO GET THE SAME GROUP OF PEOPLE AND GETTING THE RIGHT FIT,
YOU KNOW, FOR WHAT WE DO.
>> I WOULD ECHO THAT.
FINDING THE RIGHT SKILLED PEOPLE.
WE, UM, WE ARE A PRECISION-MACHINING OPERATION,
SO THE SKILL SETS THAT WE NEED TAKE TIME TO DEVELOP.
AS I INDICATED EARLIER, WE’RE VERY COMMITTED TO THE APPRENTICE PROGRAM.
WE FOUND, IN THE PAST, WE’VE BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL
WITH RETAINING LONG-TERM SKILLED MACHINISTS BY HOME-GROWING THEM,
SO TO SPEAK.
SO, WE’VE STARTED THAT COMMITMENT IN ANTICIPATION OF THE GROWTH
THAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR IN '12 THROUGH '15,
AND, UH, YOU KNOW, WE’RE OBVIOUSLY ALWAYS LOOKING FOR THOSE SKILL SETS
OUT IN THE WORKFORCE,
BUT THE AVAILABILITY OF PEOPLE WITH THOSE SKILL SETS IS JUST NOT THERE.
SO, WE’VE TAKEN THE APPROACH THAT WE HAVE TO BE READY,
BECAUSE THE BIGGEST THREAT THEN BECOMES, IF WE DON’T HAVE THE PEOPLE,
WE CAN’T EXHUME THAT NEW BUSINESS THAT’S OUT THERE
AND THE POTENTIAL OF TAKING ON THOSE ORDERS,
BECAUSE THE LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO IS TAKE ON THOSE ORDERS,
NOT BE ABLE TO PRODUCE, AND THEN, YOU KNOW,
THEN THE SNOWBALL STARTS TO GET SMALLER, AS YOU GO THE OTHER WAY DOWN.
>> I’LL MAKE IT THREE FOR THREE...
WE CAN’T FIND THE TALENT.
>> FOUR FOR FOUR.
UM, IN A TRAINING THAT I USED TO DO-- I DON’T DO IT VERY OFTEN ANYMORE--
BUT, LIKE GENTEX, AS BETSY DESCRIBED,
THEY HAVE THEIR FOUR CORNERSTONES OF THEIR PRINCIPLES,
AND WE’RE PRINCIPLE-BASED.
WE A PRINCIPLE-BASED MANAGEMENT PHILOSOPHY.
AND WHAT I USED TO SAY TO PEOPLE,
WHEN IT CAME TO ALL FOUR OF OUR PRINCIPLES--
PARTICIPATION, IDENTITY, EQUITY, COMPETENCE--
THE CORE COMMON DENOMINATOR OF ALL THOSE THINGS ARE THE PEOPLE.
AND...
OUR COMPANY RARELY EVER HAS TO WORK ON A SUNDAY,
WHICH IS GREAT FOR EVERYBODY, I THINK.
BUT, UM, I USUALLY SAY, “WHAT DOES OUR COMPANY LOOK LIKE ON A SUNDAY?”
BEAUTIFUL BUILDING, LOTS OF EQUIPMENT, RAW MATERIAL ON THE RACKS...
BUT NOTHING IS HAPPENING.
AND WE HAPPEN TO BE VERY FORTUNATE, IN THAT WE COULD BUY A LOT OF EQUIPMENT
IF WE NEEDED TO AND WE CAN BUY A LOT OF RAW MATERIAL WHEN WE HAVE ORDERS,
AND WE CAN BUY MORE BUILDINGS AND MORE LAND,
BUT I CAN’T BUY TALENT.
I CAN ATTRACT, AND TRY AND RETAIN TALENT,
BUT WHEN WE’RE FACING A LABOR MARKET AS STRESSED OUT AS THIS ONE IS,
AND BOY, IT’S VERY COUNTER-INTUITIVE, YOU KNOW?
I’VE SAID FOR THE LAST YEAR AND A HALF, AND I SAID THIS TO KEVIN.
“WHERE ARE ALL THE QUALITY TECHS OR DYE-SETTERS
"OR C.N.C. PROGRAMMERS OR P.L.C. PROGRAMMERS OR ELECTRICIANS
"OR YOU NAME IT-- I CAN’T FIND ‘EM."
BUT WHERE DID ALL THOSE PEOPLE GO
THAT I KNOW WERE VERY GAINFULLY EMPLOYED BY THEY FURNITURE SECTOR,
THE AUTOMOTIVE SECTOR, UM, THE FOOD INDUSTRY?
THAT THEY SEEM TO BE-- HAVE MAINTAINED, BUT, UM,
THERE WERE SO MANY DIFFERENT SECTORS OF OUR ECONOMY IN WEST MICHIGAN.
WHERE DID ALL THOSE PEOPLE GO WHEN THEY LOST THEIR JOBS?
ARE THEY STILL ON UNEMPLOYMENT OR DID THEY MOVE AWAY?
SO, BOTTOM LINE IS... I CAN’T BUY PEOPLE TO SHOW UP.
AND IF I DON’T ATTRACT THEM AND RETAIN THE SKILLED TALENT,
OUR COMPANY WILL LOOK LIKE EVERY OTHER COMPANY "ON A SUNDAY."
NOTHING WILL BE HAPPENING.
AND THAT IS A SCARY PROPOSITION,
AS SOMEBODY WHO CARES INTIMATELY AND DEEPLY ABOUT WHAT THE COMPANY
IS LIKE FIVE AND HALF, SOMETIMES SIX DAYS A WEEK.
SO, YEAH, FOUR FOR FOUR.
>> I’LL MAKE IT FIVE FOR FIVE, BUT I WANT TO GET TO ONE OTHER POINT FIRST.
THERE ARE TWO THREATS, AS I SEE IT-- MAJOR THREATS-- TO PRIDGEON AND CLAY,
AND THE FIRST OF WHICH IS THE INTRUSION AND POLICIES OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT.
AND MAINLY, IT’S JUST THAT THEY’RE EXCEPTIONALLY UNPREDICTABLE,
UM, IT’D BE NICE IF WE HAD SOME PREDICTABILITY AS FAR AS TAX CODE,
EXTENDING TAX BREAKS, R&D TAX CREDITS, THINGS LIKE THAT.
IT’S NOT SO MUCH THE RAISING OR LOWERING.
IT’S THAT WE NEED THESE TO BE FIXED COSTS.
WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND WHAT OUR COST OF DOING BUSINESS IS GOING TO BE
BEFORE WE CAN START ALLOCATING RESOURCES FOR GROWTH,
FOR HIRING, FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT.
WE NEED TO HAVE SOME OF THESE THINGS SOLIDIFIED.
ANOTHER WAY THE GOVERNMENT GETS INVOLVED
IS SOMETIMES, WHEN THEY PUMP RESOURCES--
GOVERNMENT RESOURCES, MONEY, OTHER THINGS--
INTO A LOT OF DIFFERENT ALTERNATIVE, UH, ENERGIES.
SOME OF IT IS VERY VALUABLE-- A LOT OF THE BATTERY TECHNOLOGY
AND A LOT OF IT IS VERY VALUABLE,
BUT THEN, THERE ARE SOME-- AND YOU’RE STARTING TO SEE,
YOU KNOW, SILT, SOY, BIONICS, AND OTHER COMPANIES THAT YOU’LL SEE--
ER, SOLAR ARRAY-- AS OTHER COMPANIES,
YOU’RE SEEING THAT REALLY WEREN’T WORTHY OF THAT TAXPAYER CAPITAL
AND THEY CREATED AN ARTIFICIAL MARKET.
THESE MARKETS HAVE TO STAND ON THEIR OWN AT SOME POINT.
>> AT SOME POINT. >> AND WHEN THAT HAPPENS,
THERE’S GOING TO BE A LARGE AMOUNT OF ATTRITION OF NOT ONLY COMPANIES
BUT, OF COURSE, OF EMPLOYEES.
THE SECOND THING, AND I’VE SAID THIS EARLIER TO MY COHORTS HERE,
MANUFACTURING NEEDS A FACELIFT.
IT JUST NEEDS A FACELIFT.
WE’VE HAD SOME DAMAGE DONE TO OUR REPUTATION
AND TO OUR IMAGE OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, AND IT’S BEEN UNFAIR.
NOT THAT THESE HAVE BEEN PERFECT TIMES,
BUT WE HAVEN’T BEEN REALLY ANY WORSE OFF THAN MOST PEOPLE.
THE PANEL-- EVERYBODY HIRING?
EVERYBODY HERE HIRING? >> YEP.
>> EVERYBODY HERE ALSO OFFERS SOME TYPE OF EDUCATIONAL REIMBURSEMENT?
WE WANT TO PAY YOU TO WORK AND PAY FOR YOUR SCHOOL,
WHILE YOU’RE WORKING,
SO WE CAN PAY YOU MORE WHEN YOU’RE DONE GOING TO SCHOOL.
WHAT KIND OF RACKET IS THAT? >> (laughing) YEAH!
>> THAT’S A PRETTY DARN GOOD DEAL.
AND WE’RE HAVING A DIFFICULT TIME WITH THAT,
AND THOSE ARE OUR BIG THREATS.
>> THANK YOU.
WE’VE KIND OF TOUCHED ON THIS A LITTLE BIT, HERE AND THERE,
BUT IN SPECIFICS, WHAT SKILLS AND ABILITIES ARE YOU LOOKING FOR
FOR YOUR CURRENT EMPLOYEES?
JIM?
>> UM, AGAIN, WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR IS WE HAVE A MACHINIST-BASED OPERATION,
AND ON TOP OF THOSE MACHINISTS, ARE WHAT WE CALL "TECHNICIANS,"
WHICH ARE MULTI-SKILLED MACHINISTS, IF YOU WILL.
YOU KNOW, AND OUR GOAL WITH OUR EXISTING WORK FORCE
IS TO TAKE OUR SECONDARY MACHINISTS AND MACHINISTS
AND UPGRADE THEIR SKILLS, INTERNALLY, SO THAT WE--
EVENTUALLY, THE IDEAL WOULD BE THAT WE HAVE A SHOP FULL OF TECHNICIANS,
BECAUSE, AGAIN, THE SAME THING WOULD HAPPEN.
WE’D HAVE MORE HIGHER-PRICED EMPLOYEES,
BUT WE’D ALSO HAVE MORE HIGHER-PRICED EMPLOYEES
WITH A MUCH BROADER SKILL BASE,
WHICH ALLOWS US TO, THEN, BECOME INNOVATIVE IN THE THINGS
THAT WE DO.
AS WAS MENTIONED EARLIER,
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAPPENS IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY
IS THE CUSTOMER’S ALWAYS LOOKING FOR PRICE DECREASES.
YEAR ONE, YOU MAKE "X," AND BY YEAR FIVE,
YOU BETTER HAVE FOUND A WAY TO MAKE THAT PROCESS,
IMPROVE THAT PROCESS,
SO THAT YOU CAN STILL MAKE MONEY AT IT IN YOUR FIVE OR MAYBE SIX OR SEVEN.
BECAUSE IF YOU DON’T, NOW YOU HAVE A PRODUCT
THAT THE CUSTOMER STILL NEEDS,
BUT YOU’VE TAKEN ALL OF YOUR PROFIT MARGIN OUT OF IT,
AND YOU STILL HAVE TO MAKE IT IN ORDER TO KEEP THE CUSTOMER HAPPY.
SO, WE’RE MAKING A CONCENTRATED EFFORT, ALONG WITH OUT MACHINIST PROGRAM,
TO TAKE OUR EXISTING EMPLOYEE BASE
AND EXPAND THEIR SKILL SET AS WELL.
>> OKAY, I’M GOING TO DO A HISTORY LESSON ON YOU,
‘CAUSE I’M GETTING TO BE THAT AGE.
WHEN I WAS, UM, WHEN I WAS LITTLE, I WAS A GOOD READER,
AND MY GRANDMOTHER TOLD ME THAT I COULD DO WHATEVER I WANTED TO DO
BECAUSE I WAS A READER-- I WAS GOOD WITH LITERACY, RIGHT?
AND THEN, I DISCOVERED THAT I WAS GOOD AT MATH, AND I USED TO TEACH MATH,
AND I USED TO TEACH IN A SCHOOL JUST LIKE THIS...
AND WHAT I USED TO TELL MY STUDENTS THEN
WAS THAT THEY NEEDED TO HAVE "MATH LITERACY."
AND NOW, 20 YEARS LATER, THAT I’VE WORKED AT GENTEX,
WHAT I SAY IS THAT YOU NEED TO HAVE "TECHNOLOGY LITERACY."
AND I’M GOING TO GO EVEN ONE STEP FURTHER.
YOU REALLY HAVE TO HAVE ALL THREE.
YOU HAVE TO BE LITERATE, AND BE ABLE TO SPEAK TO PEOPLE
SO THEY CAN UNDERSTAND YOU, RIGHT?
AND YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THEM, SO WE CAN GET THE WORK DONE.
YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO SPEAK IN MATH,
BECAUSE THAT’S THE LANGUAGE THAT SO MANY OF US USE,
IN ORDER TO DEMONSTRATE THAT WE’VE HAD RESULTS,
AND YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO USE THE EQUIPMENT THAT’S OUT THERE,
WHICH IS VERY TECHNOLOGICALLY COMPLEX, IN ORDER TO SOLVE PROBLEMS.
AND THAT’S KIND OF LIKE THE FROSTING ON THE CAKE,
‘CAUSE IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO JUST BE LITERATE WITH WORDS,
LITERATE WITH MATH, AND LITERATE WITH TECHNOLOGY.
IF YOU CAN’T MARRY THOSE THINGS AND SOLVE PROBLEMS,
YOU’RE NOT HELPING.
SO, THAT’S WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR. >> OKAY.
>> THAT WAS PERFECTLY SAID. (all chuckling)
THAT WAS-- DID EVERYBODY REALLY PAY ATTENTION TO THAT?
THAT WAS VERY WELL SAID.
I’M GOING TO USE THAT...
AND OCCASIONALLY, I MIGHT GIVE YOU CREDIT FOR IT.
(all laughing)
UM, THAT WAS SO WELL SAID.
THANK YOU, BETSY-- THAT WAS AWESOME.
I’M GOING TO ADD TO THAT.
NOT ONLY DO YOU HAVE TO BE LITERATE IN YOUR COMMUNICATION,
IN YOUR MATH, AND IN THE TECHNOLOGY.
BUT WOW, FOLKS, YOU GOTTA SHOW UP.
AND THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT-- I DON’T UNDERSTAND
IF THEY JUST HAVE AN I-DON’T-FEEL-LIKE-IT-DAY--
AND OUR COMPANY IS VERY ACCOMMODATING
WHEN IT COMES TO BALANCING,
YOU KNOW, WORK OUT-- LIFE OUTSIDE OF WORK,
AND UNDERSTANDING THAT PEOPLE HAVE LIVES AND FAMILIES
AND COMMITMENTS, AND THAT’S ALL GREAT,
BUT I AM AMAZED AT HOW OFTEN I WILL HAVE A RELATIVELY--
YOU KNOW, SOMEBODY JUST START,
AND THEY’LL HAVE AN ABSENCE WITHIN THE FIRST MONTH,
SOMETIMES WITHIN THE FIRST WEEK,
AND IT JUST ENDS THE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
RIGHT THEN AND THERE.
IT’S JUST DONE.
AND MOST OF THE TIME IT’S DONE, BUT I AM JUST AMAZED
AT HOW MANY PEOPLE DON’T LEAD A STABLE LIFE...
STABLE ENOUGH...
TO ENSURE THAT THEY HAVE PRIORITIZED
GETTING UP AND BEING READY,
MENTALLY READY AND PHYSICALLY READY,
FOR WORK FIVE DAYS A WEEK, FOR THE WHOLE DAY,
ON WHATEVER SHIFT YOU NEED TO WORK
OR WHATEVER THE SHIFT THE COMPANY NEEDS YOU TO WORK
AND WE REALLY TRY AND WORK WITH PEOPLE ON THAT.
WE DON’T JUST PLUNK PEOPLE IN A SHIFT THAT THEY DON’T LIKE.
SO, ALL THAT LITERACY THAT BETSY SPOKE OF IS CERTAINLY, YOU KNOW,
THE ICING ON THE CAKE... BUT HOLY SMOKES, GUYS.
JUST TOTALLY SHOWING UP EVERY DAY
YOU ARE SCHEDULED TO BE THERE...
IS HUGE.
AND I JUST CANNOT TELL YOU HOW SHOCKING IT IS FOR ME TO EXPERIENCE, UM--
AND IT’S NOT NECESSARILY A GENERATIONAL THING,
BUT IT’S JUST, I MEAN-- I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS.
IT’S LIKE I SAID, I THINK PEOPLE NEED TO LEAD LIVES THAT ARE STABLE ENOUGH
TO ENSURE THAT THEIR ACTIVE AND FULL PARTICIPATION IS DEPENDABLE.
MY EXPERIENCE HAS NOT BEEN 100 PERCENT ON THAT ONE.
SO, EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS, RELIABILITY, DEPENDABILITY,
ALL OF THOSE THINGS--
MAYBE I’M PREACHING TO THE CHOIR, BUT IT’S JUST STARTLING.
>> I WANT TO GET VERY SPECIFIC.
WELDERS...
DYE SETUP TECHS...
C.N.C. PROGRAMMERS...
WELD TECHS...
I’M LOOKING FOR INDUSTRIAL MAINTENANCE TECHS.
I’M LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WITH SOME TECHNICAL SKILL,
AND A LITTLE BIT OF TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE,
‘CAUSE THAT’S THE BASIS OF THE COMPANY, IS UNDERSTANDING THESE THINGS.
AND JUST LIKE BETSY HAD ALLUDED TO, THERE ISN’T A WAY--
THERE’S NOT A PRODUCT YOU CAN BUY OFF-THE-SHELF
TO MANUFACTURE STAMP METAL COMPONENTS.
YOU HAVE TO INVENT THAT, AND TO KEEP JOBS HERE IN GRAND RAPIDS,
YOU KNOW, THIS IS NOT A CHEAP PLACE TO MANUFACTURE, WEST MICHIGAN.
SO, WE REALLY HAVE TO BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF ALL OF THIS INNOVATION,
OR WE’RE JUST GOING TO SEE THESE JOBS TURNING INTO COMMODITY-TYPE JOBS,
THEY’RE GOING TO GO SOUTH,
AND EVENTUALLY, COMPLETELY OUT OF THE COUNTRY.
SO, I’M LOOKING FOR SOME VERY SPECIFIC THINGS.
TECHNICAL, TECHNICAL PEOPLE.
>> VERY GOOD.
OKAY, THEN.
HOW CAN OUR STUDENTS-- MY STUDENTS--
WHO MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN BRIBED TO BE HERE, BUT--
HOW CAN THEY GET PREPARED FOR YOU?
WHAT CAN THEY DO TO GET READY FOR YOU?
>> NOW, THAT’S-- >> UH-OH!
SORRY! >> NO, THAT’S ALL RIGHT.
>> NO, GO AHEAD JIM. >> AH, I SEE HOW PLASTICS RATES NOW.
>> GO AHEAD, JIM-- IT’S ALL RIGHT.
>> (laughing) ALL THESE METAL PEOPLE!
NO-- AND I’M WITH THE STAMPING FOLKS.
IN PLASTICS-- AND TECHNICIANS--
YOU’VE GOTTA HAVE EVERYTHING THAT BETSY SAID.
I MEAN, TO GET THE PLASTIC OUT,
YOU’VE GOTTA HAVE ALL OF THE BASIC READING,
YOU KNOW, MATH SKILLS, TO MAKE IT ALL HAPPEN.
I MEAN, REALLY, IN MY FIELD, THE PROCESS TECHS
ARE THE QUARTERBACK OF THE TEAM.
WITHOUT THEM, WE HAVE NOTHING, AND THAT’S HOW DESPERATE WE ARE.
IS WE NEED THE QUARTERBACKS TO COME TO WORK,
LIKE THE YOUNG LADY ON THE END SEND.
WITHOUT PEOPLE SHOWING UP TO WORK, WE HAVE NOTHING.
AND THEIR LIVELIHOODS, FOR THE REST OF THE BUILDING, ARE ALL ON THE LINE.
A HUNDRED AND FIFTY PEOPLES' JOBS ARE ALL THE LINE,
WAITING ON ONE PERSON, BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T DECIDE TO COME IN,
AND IT IS THAT HUGE TO ALL OF US.
THAT’S WHY WE’RE HERE TODAY.
TO GET PEOPLE THAT ARE MOTIVATED,
THAT WANT TO DO SOMETHING WITH THEIR LIFE,
TO BETTER THEIR CAREER, TO START THAT FAMILY ASPECT OUT THERE.
I MEAN, IN OUR INDUSTRY, IT’S GROWING FAST AGAIN.
PLASTICS TOOK A NOSEDIVE, BUT NOW WE’RE ON THE WAY BACK.
AND AS ONE OF THE PEOPLE ON THE PANEL SAID,
“WHERE DID ALL THE PEOPLE GO?”
'CAUSE I’M GOING TO TELL YOU, IN OUR INDUSTRY--
AND I TALKED TO THE OTHER SUPPLIERS OUT THERE OUTSIDE--
THEY’RE ALL LOOKING FOR THE SAME GROUP OF PEOPLE I’M LOOKING FOR.
BUT THEY’VE ALL DISAPPEARED OUT OF WEST MICHIGAN.
WELL, JOBS ARE ALL COMING BACK TO WEST MICHIGAN RIGHT NOW.
ESPECIALLY IN OUR FIELD.
UM, A DAY DOESN’T GO BY THAT PEOPLE OVERSEAS CALL ME
TO TAKE ON WORK, AND THAT’S HUGE.
SO, YOU KNOW, IT IS ABOUT THE BASIC STUFF.
COMING TO WORK, READING, WRITING, AND-- YOU KNOW,
THE TECHNICAL SKILLS NOW ARE REALLY WHAT YOU NEED THE MOST OF.
>> I SCREWED UP EVERYBODY.
OKAY, NOW, BETSY.
WHAT WOULD-- WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU WANT OUR STUDENTS TO KNOW,
TO DO, TO STUDY FOR?
HOW CAN THEY PREPARE FOR YOUR COMPANY?
>> I THINK IT’S LIKE THIS...
I’M GOING TO GO OUT ON A LIMB AND I’M GOING TO SAY
THAT I BET...
THAT MOST OF YOU DON’T LOVE WRITING ESSAYS.
IS THAT A PRETTY FAIR STATEMENT?
YEAH.
BECAUSE WHEN SOMEBODY ASKS YOU TO WRITE AN ESSAY, RIGHT?
YOU HAVE TO CREATE SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING...
IS THAT RIGHT?
JUST AN IDEA, YOU GOTTA CREATE SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING,
THEY THINK IT’S GONNA TURN OUT A CERTAIN WAY,
AND YOU GOTTA MAKE A POINT AT THE END, RIGHT?
THAT’S WHAT I WANT YOU TO PREPARE FOR.
EXCEPT I WANT YOU TO PREPARE FOR CREATING SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING.
AND YOU LAUGHED, AND I GET IT,
AND I CHOSE SOMETHING THAT WAS LAUGHABLE, RIGHT?
BUT THAT’S VERY REAL,
BECAUSE THE PROBLEMS THAT WE FACE EVERY DAY,
THERE PROBABLY ISN’T A PROCESS THAT’S ALL SPELLED OUT ALREADY
FOR YOU TO FOLLOW.
YOU HAVE TO INVENT THE SOLUTION...
AND THAT’S WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR.
SOMEBODY WHO’S WILLING TO PICK UP THE PENCIL,
AND PUSH THROUGH SOMETHING TO GET US A LITTLE BIT CLOSER TO THE SOLUTION.
NOW, WHAT DOES THAT TAKE TO DO, RIGHT?
IT TAKES COURAGE, IT TAKES CONFIDENCE,
AND IT TAKES COMPETENCE IN THE STUFF THAT YOU KNOW.
AND YOU GOTTA PULL THAT ALL TOGETHER, AND MAKE SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING.
UM, THE OTHER THING I WOULD ENCOURAGE--
IT KIND OF ECHOES WHAT KAREN’S BEEN TALKING ABOUT--
YOU HAVE TO BE REALLY ENERGETIC, BECAUSE THERE’S A LOT OF WORK TO DO.
SO, UM, I WOULD SAY THAT THAT AND ALL THE OTHER STUFF I’VE TALKED ABOUT.
THAT’S WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR.
>> ONCE AGAIN-- I’M NOT GOING TO REITERATE EVERYTHING
THAT BETSY AND OUR OTHER PANELISTS HAVE SAID,
BUT ENERGY, ADDING THAT ENERGY, IS WONDERFUL.
I LOVE IT WHEN PEOPLE WALK THROUGH THE PLANT,
OR EVEN WALK INTO AN INTERVIEW, AND THEY’RE LIKE...
YOU KNOW?
I’M SORRY THAT THE TAPE RECORDER CAN’T GET MY PHYSICAL,
YOU KNOW, CAPTURED,
BUT LET’S JUST SAY I’M AN UNINTERESTED BLOB, YOU KNOW?
JUST TOTALLY NOT INTO IT.
YEAH, HAVE SOME PEP N YOUR STEP.
YOU KNOW, I MEAN, COME ON!
SHOW UP!
(laughing) I DON’T KNOW, THAT’S ALL I’M GOING TO SAY.
>> YEAH, THAT’S EASY.
I MEAN, THAT’S THE EASY PART.
JUST DON’T SOCIALLY LOAF-- JUST GET THERE.
DO YOUR THING.
ANOTHER THING, YOU KNOW, WE’RE CONSTANTLY LOOKING FOR IS SOMEBODY WHO--
UH, PEOPLE WHO ARE BI- OR MULTI-LINGUAL.
DOESN’T REALLY MATTER WHAT OTHER LANGUAGE IT IS.
IT’S REALLY MORE JUST THE TYPE OF PERSON WHO’S--
ESPECIALLY IN AMERICA, WHO’S GONG TO TAKE THE TIME
TO ACTUALLY LEARN TO COMMUNICATE IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE.
THAT’S SOMETHING THAT, UH, YOU KNOW,
AS THE MORE I TRAVEL ABROAD,
IT BECOMES SOMETHING THAT’S A BIT OF AN EMBARRASSMENT,
HOW MONO-LINGUISTIC WE ARE... >> YES, VERY.
>> ...IN AMERICA.
AND SO, I WOULD SUGGEST THAT THAT’S PROBABLY SOMETHING
THAT WOULD JUST-- IS BETTER.
ALSO, JUST A TIP, DO A LITTLE RESEARCH ON THE COMPANY
WHERE YOU’RE APPLYING.
JUST A LITTLE BIT-- MOST EVERYBODY’S GOT A WEBSITE, I GOTTA IMAGINE.
UM, AND CORE PRODUCTS ARE OUT THERE.
PROBABLY SOME-- YOU’D PROBABLY BE ABLE TO FIND
SOMETHING ABOUT THE CUSTOMERS, THE COMPANY’S FIVE YEAR PLANS,
THEIR STRATEGIC GOALS.
LEARN ABOUT THE COMPANY, FIRST OF ALL.
IT WILL HELP THE INTERVIEW GO A LOT BETTER.
IT WILL BE MORE LIKE A CONVERSATION THAN AN INTERROGATION, WHICH IS NICE.
AND IT WILL HELP YOU REALLY OWN THAT JOB
OR OWN THAT POSITION.
>> BEING PART OF A TEAM.
I MEAN, YOU COME TO WORK, YOU SPEND MOST OF YOUR TIME
WITH THE PEOPLE THAT YOU WORK WITH.
THAT’S YOUR TEAM.
IT’S LIKE YOUR FAMILY.
YOU KNOW, THAT’S WHAT WE LOOK FOR.
TEAM-BUILDING SKILLS.
WHAT SKILLS DO YOU COME WITH?
YOU KNOW, COMMUNICATION, LIKE CLAY SAID.
WE’RE ALSO LOOKING FOR PEOPLE THAT CAN SPEAK MULTI-LANGUAGES.
IT HELPS-- IT’S NOT A TOTAL NEED, BUT IT DOES HELP.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE EFFORT YOU PUT INTO THE JOB THAT YOU WANT, YOU KNOW?
AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE’RE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE
THAT WANT TO BE PART OF A GREAT TEAM.
>> AGAIN, THE CREATIVITY IS THE KEY.
AUTOCAM WAS FOUNDED AS AN ENTREPRENEURIAL COMPANY.
IT STILL IS ONE TODAY.
WE’VE VERY MUCH TEAM-ORIENTED, AND WE’RE VERY MUCH IDEA-ORIENTED.
PEOPLE WHO COME UP WITH AN IDEA THAT MAY BE A BAD IDEA
OR NOT THE RIGHT IDEA ARE NOT CHASTISED,
THEY’RE NOT LOOKED DOWN AT.
THEY’RE BASICALLY TOLD, “THAT DIDN’T WORK, GO FIND SOMETHING ELSE.”
AND SO, THEY KNOW THAT THEY CAN CONTINUE TO THINK OFF-THE-WALL, OR WHATEVER.
I TELL NEW EMPLOYEES COMING IN THE DOOR THAT WE’RE ENTREPRENEURIAL,
AND THAT IF OUR CONFERENCE ROOMS HAD CHANDELIERS IN ‘EM,
SOMEONE WOULD BE SWINGING FROM IT DURING A MEETING,
BECAUSE THAT’S HOW FREE-FLOWING THE ENVIRONMENT IS.
THE TOPIC MAY BE "X," BUT BY THE TIME YOU LEAVE THE MEETING, MANY TIMES,
YOU GO ON BACK THROUGH THE ALPHABET TO "D" OR "E" OR "F."
SO, THE CREATIVITY-- THE "ESSAY-WRITING" IF YOU WILL--
IS A KEY COMPONENT OF WHAT WE LOOK TO
TO MAKE OUR SURVIVAL HAPPEN.
>> I GET TO EDITORIALIZE, 'CAUSE I HAVE THE MIC, BUT--
FOR MY STUDENTS, NOTICE NONE OF ‘EM SAID,
“WELDING SKILLS,” OR “MACHINING SKILLS.”
AND THERE’S A LOT MORE THAN THE TECHNICAL SKILLS
WE’RE TRYING TO TEACH YOU.
AND AGAIN, WE’RE ALSO TRYING TO TEACH YOU TEAMWORK,
BEING THERE, SHOWING UP.
SO, WHEN I’M HOUNDING YOU ABOUT BEING THERE, THERE’S A REASON, OKAY?
SO, I ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT-- YOU KNOW, WE CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH.
AGAIN, KEVIN TALKED ABOUT THE NEW EQUIPMENT HE SHOWED ME.
HE SHOWED ME THE BROCHURE,
AND IT WAS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE TO ME OF WHAT THIS PIECE OF MACHINERY IS.
WE CAN’T TEACH YOU THAT, BUT WE CAN TEACH YOU TO LEARN THAT
AND BE ABLE TO ADJUST TO IT AND WORK WITH A GROUP
TO LEARN HOW THAT PROCESS WORKS.
AND SO, IT WAS REALLY UNIQUE TO ME TO FIND OUT
NONE OF ‘EM SAID A SPECIFIC TECHNICAL SKILL,
BECAUSE THAT IS LESS IMPORTANT THAN WHAT YOU BRING TO THE TABLE.
SO, UM, ANY QUESTIONS FROM THE GROUP?
WE ABOUT FIVE MINUTES, IF YOU...
>> ALL RIGHT, SO YOU DIDN’T EXACTLY SAY
A CERTAIN TECHNICAL SKILL OR WHATEVER...
IS THAT SOMETHING THAT, ABOVE AND BEYOND THE SCHOOLING,
YOU’D BE WILLING TO TRAIN SOMEBODY, IF THEY HAD THE RIGHT PERSONALITY TRAITS
AND WHATEVER ELSE YOU’RE LOOKING FOR?
OR ARE YOU LOOKING FOR SOMEBODY THAT CAN COME IN
AND JUST PUNCH BUTTONS ON A MACHINE AND KNOW IT AUTOMATICALLY?
>> EVERYBODY ON THE PANEL, ALL OF THESE COMPANIES
HAVE AN EDUCATIONAL REIMBURSEMENT AND TRAINING PROGRAMS.
SO, NOT ONLY DO WE WANT YOU TO CONTINUE EDUCATION AND TRAINING,
BUT WE WANT TO PAY FOR IT.
SO, WE HAVE SOME SKIN IN THE GAME, TOO.
BUT YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.
IT’S A TYPE OF PERSON THAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR.
THAT’S EXACTLY RIGHT.
>> I’M GONNA DIVERGE FROM THAT A LITTLE BIT,
BECAUSE I EXPECT YOU TO HAVE THE TECHNICAL SKILL, REMEMBER?
THAT TECHNOLOGY LITERACY THING.
SO, YOU WON’T GET AN INTERVIEW FOR THE KINDS OF JOBS
THAT YOU’LL BE APPLYING FOR WITH YOUR ASSOCIATE’S DEGREE.
YOU WON’T GET AN INTERVIEW IF YOU DON’T HAVE THAT.
SO, DO I EXPECT TO BE ABLE TO CONTINUE TO DEVELOP YOU?
DO YOU HAVE TO HAVE THAT "I-GOTTA-KEEP-LEARNING,
"I-GOTTA-KEEP-LEARNING" MINDSET?
YOU BET.
BUT, YEAH.
IF YOU DON’T HAVE THAT, WE WON’T MEET.
>> I’VE NOTICED THAT YOU GUYS ARE SAYING THAT YOU WILL HELP REIMBURSE
FOR COLLEGE TUITION AND THINGS LIKE THAT.
DOES THAT ALSO APPLY TOWARDS CLASSES TO GO LEARN SPANISH?
>> A PRIDGEON AND CLAY, YES, IT DOES.
>> YEAH, IF WE HAVE A BUSINESS NEED FOR IT.
ANYTHING WITHIN THE SPECTRUM FOR A BUSINESS NEED,
YES, WE WOULD COVER.
SO, IF WE FELT LIKE--
WELL, SAY YOU’RE A MAINTENANCE PERSON
AND YOU WORK AT MACHINES WHERE KNOWING SPANISH
WOULD BE HELPFUL IN SOME WAY,
OR YOU HAVE ANOTHER IDEA OF HOW YOU’LL USE THAT, ABSOLUTELY.
UM, YEAH, IF YOU WANT TO GO FOR BASKET-WEAVING, PROBABLY NOT.
BUT YEAH, ON THE SPECTRUM, MOST ARE JOB-RELATED.
>> WELL, I WRITE APPRENTICESHIPS FOR THESE COMPANIES.
ESPECIALLY IN HOLLAND, I’VE WRITTEN SPANISH INTO MANY, MANY APPRENTICESHIPS.
IT JUST MAKES SENSE.
IT’S THE CULTURE THERE, AND THAT’S WHAT WE DO.
>> I JUST WANT TO JUMP IN, TOO--
WE TEACH GERMAN, CHINESE, JAPANESE, AND FRENCH ON-SITE.
WE DON’T SPANISH BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE ANY BUSINESS AFFILIATION
WITH SPANISH COMPANIES, OR SPANISH-SPEAKING.
>> AT AUTOCAM, WE WOULD DO THE SAME.
WE WOULD CERTAINLY PROVIDE IT.
WE WERE LOOKING FOR SOME SORT OF, YOU KNOW, RELATIONSHIP TO THE JOB,
BUT WE’VE HAD PEOPLE THAT’VE GONE OFF TO FRANCE,
AND WE’VE HAD PEOPLE TRAINED IN PORTUGUESE,
AS WELL AS FRENCH,
YOU KNOW, BASED ON SOME JOB CONNECTION.
>> I PROBABLY DON’T NEED A MIC... (indistinct speaking)
...PRETTY WELL WITH GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE,
AS AN INSTRUCTOR HERE.
ALL OF THESE COMPANIES LOOKING FOR INDIVIDUALS,
THAT ARE GROWING OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.
HOW MUCH CONNECTION DO YOU HAVE, CORPORATELY,
WITH YOUR LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLS
IN HELPING RECRUIT POTENTIAL STUDENTS
INTO OUR TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS?
AS I’M SPENDING A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF TIME TRYING TO EVALUATE WAYS
THAT WE CAN MARKET OUR TECH PROGRAMS TO HIGH SCHOOLS,
BUT WE NEED A LOT OF HELP.
WHAT CONNECTIONS ARE WE SEEING, CORPORATELY?
>> I’D LIKE TO ANSWER THAT ONE.
UM, WE HAVE A STRONG CONNECTION AT TRANS-MATIC,
AND MR. SARVER HAS A GROUP OF HIS STUDENTS
FROM THE ALLEGAN TECH CENTER,
AND, GOSH, HAS IT BEEN EVERY YEAR FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS OR SO,
WE INVITE YOU GUYS IN, WE PAY FOR THEIR TRANSPORTATION,
AND I INVITE IN ALL OF OUR LOCAL AREA HIGH SCHOOL MACHINE SHOP CLASSES,
JUST LIKE I DO WITH THE ALLEGAN TECH CENTER.
WE’VE GOTTEN TO THE POINT
WHERE IT BECAME A STRATEGIC INITIATIVE FOR US
TO START RECRUITING AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL
TO ACTUALLY BRING CO-OP BACK.
IF YOU REMEMBER, CO-OP WAS PRETTY POPULAR FOR A WHILE.
THEN, IT KIND OF FADED BECAUSE OF THE SAFETY AND THE LEGAL THING.
IT’S DIFFICULT BECAUSE, SOMETIMES, THE STUDENTS THEMSELVES,
IF THEY HAVE A SPORT, IF THEY PLAY AN INSTRUMENT,
IF THEY HAVE A FAMILY COMMITMENT, IF THEY HAVE A CHURCH COMMITMENT--
THEY JUST ARE ALREADY PACKED WITH SO MANY ACTIVITIES.
LAST YEAR, I DID AN OPEN HOUSE AND INVITED PARENTS
AND THE STUDENTS OF, LIKE-- I DON’T KNOW--
THE FOUR AREA-- MOSTLY HOLLAND AND GRAND HAVEN.
I DIDN’T DO MR. SARVER’S TECH GROUP, BECAUSE THEY HAD ALREADY COME IN
AND HE BROUGHT, LIKE, HIS WHOLE CLASS-- IT WAS PERFECT-- THROUGH OUR PLANT.
BUT, UM, I DID THIS OPEN HOUSE... I HAD FOUR PEOPLE SHOW UP.
I MEAN, I THOUGHT I’D AT LEAST GET, LIKE, 50... WITH A PARENT!
YOU KNOW, LIKE WHAT IF YOU GOT, YOU KNOW, 20 KIDS AND ONE PARENT--
THAT’S AT LEAST 40 PEOPLE.
I GOT FOUR!
(laughing) WE WERE DONE PRETTY EARLY THAT NIGHT.
PEOPLE ARE REALLY BUSY.
BUT I DEFINITELY BELIEVE THAT HIGH SCHOOL, UM, INDIVIDUALS
NEED TO BE INVITED INTO MANUFACTURING,
BECAUSE IF THEY HAVEN’T HAD A PARENT THAT’S IN IT
OR VISITED THE PARENT,
YOU KNOW, WE ALL KIND OF KNOW WHAT A HOSPITAL IS LIKE
AND WHAT THE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ARE LIKE
AND WHAT TEACHER’S JOBS AND ACADEMICS ARE LIKE,
YOU KNOW, BECAUSE WE ALL EXPERIENCE THAT AT SOME POINT DURING OUR LIVES.
BUT IN MANUFACTURING, THEY DON’T ALWAYS KNOW,
AND I THINK THAT’S ONE REASON WHY THEY’RE NOT AS INTERESTED
IN PURSUING SOME OF THE SKILL SETS
THAT GRCC DOES JUST A GREAT JOB OF OFFERING
A HUGE ARRAY OF DIFFERENT TECHNICAL SKILLS.
BUT, UM, NOT THAT MANY PEOPLE, HIGH SCHOOL PEOPLE,
ARE REALLY THINKING IN TERMS OF THAT.
THEY SEEM TO BE AVOIDING MANUFACTURING, GENERALLY.
OR GOING INTO ENGINEERING FOR A FOUR-YEAR DEGREE,
WHICH IS GREAT-- I MEAN, I’M NOT CRITICIZING THAT--
BUT RIGHT NOW, MOST OF THE EMPLOYERS THAT I SPEAK WITH,
WE ALSO HAVE A VERY LARGE NEED
FOR PEOPLE WITH AN APPLICABLE SKILL SET...
AFTER A TWO-YEAR DEGREE,
AND INDEPENDENT THINKERS, AND ALL THOSE GOOD THINGS
THAT WE TALKED ABOUT BEFORE.
>> WELL, WITH KAREN-- BY THE WAY-- SHE WAS THE ONE COMPANY IN--
THE WINNER OF 2008, IF YOU REMEMBER THEY ECONOMY,
WHO CALLED ME UP AND SAID, “CAN I COME AND DO A PRESENTATION
"TO YOUR MACHINE-SHOP CLASS?"
AND I WENT-- AFTER I FELL OFF THE CHAIR, THEN I GOT BACK UP AND SAID, “YEAH, SURE.”
UM, SO SHE’S BEEN THERE RECRUITING IN THE TIMES THAT ARE TOUGH
AND THE TIMES THAT ARE GOOD.
SO, WE REALLY APPRECIATE THAT.
>> ANOTHER QUESTION THAT I WANTED TO ASK IS,
I TALKED TO A COUPLE OF COMPANIES TODAY...
THEY SAID, “YEAH, AFTER YOU GET DONE
"WITH YOUR, YOU KNOW, YOUR C.N.C. MACHINIST COURSE,
"THINGS LIKE THAT, YOU KNOW, WE CAN GET YOU AN APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM,
"BUT THEY’RE ONLY GOING TO PAY YOU $7.40.”
YOU KNOW, “THEY’RE GOING TO PAY YOU MINIMUM WAGE
"OR YOUR $8.00 AN HOUR OR EVEN $9.00."
>> (indistinct speaking). (all laughing)
>> I KINDA LAUGHED, YOU KNOW?
I’M 27.
I KNOW THAT THERE’S A HUGE AGE VARIETY IN THE CROWD TODAY.
I MEAN, SOME OF ‘EM ARE YOUNG COLLEGE STUDENTS, SOME OF US ARE OLDER.
I HAVE A TWO-YEAR-OLD, YOU KNOW, BILLS I GOTTA PAY.
YOU KNOW, THINGS LIKE THAT.
SO, WE NEED COMPETITIVE WAGES TO BE A SKILLED LABORER OR WHAT HAVE YOU.
>> (indistinct speaking).
>> WELL, I COULD MENTION-- AND WE’RE A FAIRLY SMALL COMPANY,
AND WE’RE NOT A WAGE LEADER.
SO, I WOULD CONSIDER-- AND I DON’T KNOW--
BUT I WOULD CONSIDER, LIKE, AN AUTO DYER
AT AUTOCAM OR GENTEX--
THOSE WOULD BE-- AND EVEN PRIDGEON AND CLAY,
BEING JUST SO MUCH LARGER THAN WE ARE,
WOULD BE MORE WAGE-LEADERS.
BUT JUST TO GIVE YOU A REFERENCE POINT,
TO START OUR APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM,
AND THIS IS NOT PRIVATE KNOWLEDGE,
I MEAN, THIS IS PUBLIC INFORMATION BECAUSE WE HAVE TO HAVE OUR WAGES SCHEDULED
FOR OUR APPRENTICESHIPS APPROVED BY THE STATE,
AND I SAY THIS IN ALL THE CLASS PRESENTATIONS I DO.
BUT IF YOU HAVE AN ASSOCIATES DEGREE,
YOU WOULD START AN APPRENTICESHIP AT TRANS-MATIC AT $16.50 AN HOUR,
AND THEN, IF YOU WORKED THE "OFF" SHIFT,
YOU’D GET AN ADDITIONAL TEN PERCENT PER HOUR.
SO, YOU’D GET, LIKE, AN ADDITIONAL $1.65 AN HOUR.
NOW, YOU WOULD STAY AT $16.50
FOR A PERIOD OF TIME UNTIL OUR WAGE SCHEDULE--
UNTIL YOU AMASSED A NUMBER OF HOURS.
LIKE, I THINK IT’S, LIKE-- I DON’T KNOW-- 2,000 HOURS OR 2,500 HOURS.
I DON’T KNOW-- I DON’T HAVE IT MEMORIZED.
SO, FOR A GOOD YEAR OR SO, YOU’D STAY THERE.
AND THEN, EVERY THOUSAND HOURS THAT YOU PUT IN,
YOU WOULD GET A CERTAIN PERCENTAGE INCREASE,
SO THAT BY THE END OF THE FOUR-YEAR PROGRAM,
YOU’RE AT $18.50 AN HOUR.
AND WHAT I JUST REALIZED
IS THAT I GAVE YOU THE RATES FROM A COUPLE YEARS AGO,
ACTUALLY, WE JUST CHANGED THAT FOR THIS COMING YEAR.
IT’S GOING TO BE-- I BELIEVE IT’S $17, AND THEN, YOU END UP AT $19, SO...
AND THEN, ONCE AFTER YOU’VE BEEN A JOURNEYMAN FOR A WHILE,
AND IF YOU’VE DONE REALLY WELL, COMPLETED ALL OF THE REQUIREMENTS,
THEN YOU SHOOT UP TO, LIKE, $20 AN HOUR, $21 AN HOUR, PRETTY QUICKLY.
SO, AND MAYBE THE COMPANY YOU SPOKE WITH IS SMALL.
MAYBE THEY, UM-- MAYBE THERE’S A REASON FOR,
YOU KNOW, I WANT TO GIVE THEM THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT
THAT THEY ARE AT A VERY LOW STARTING WAGE RATE.
UM, IT REALLY DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU’RE INTERESTED IN
AND WHAT KIND OF SKILLS YOU DO BRING TO THE TABLE, SO...
ANYWAY, JUST FOR REFERENCE.
AND I KNOW I’M NOT A LEADER IN WAGES-- I’M SURE THAT OTHER COMPANIES BEAT US.
>> I WANTED TO COMMENT-- JUST BECAUSE I TALKED
TO FOUR OR FIVE COMPANIES... (indistinct speaking)
IF THEY’RE GONNA BRING YOU IN AS A JANITOR,
BECAUSE THEY WANT TO SEE THAT YOU’RE GOING TO COME TO WORK
FIVE DAYS A WEEK, EVERY DAY-- FIRST.
THEY’RE NOT GOING TO INVEST A LOT OF MONEY INTO YOU,
IF THEY DON’T KNOW IF YOU’RE GOING TO COME TO WORK.
>> YEAH, TO BOLSTER WHAT THE GENTLEMAN JUST SAID,
WE HAVE, YOU KNOW, A 90-DAY PROBATIONARY PROGRAM
BEFORE YOU WOULD BE ABLE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE
OF THE EDUCATIONAL REIMBURSEMENT AND THINGS LIKE THAT.
AND THAT’S WHAT IT IS.
IT’S JUST A LITTLE SMELL-TEST PERIOD
TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE GOING TO COME TO WORK
AND THAT IT’S GOING TO WORK OUT.
BUT, UH-- BUT YEAH.
$8.05, THAT’S RELATIVE-- THAT’S PRETTY LOW.
I WOULD THINK THAT THAT MOST, UH-- I THINK MOST FACTORIES, MINIMUM,
WOULD BE IN THE $12-$13 RANGE. >> OR EVEN, LIKE--
>> EVEN FOR A CUSTODIAL-TYPE POSITION. >> EVEN A MACHINE OPERATOR OR SOMETHING,
YOU KNOW, $9 OR $10 AN HOUR,
AND I MEAN, THAT’S JUST LIKE, LITERALLY, ASSEMBLING, YOU KNOW.
I DON’T KNOW WHO YOU SPOKE WITH, BUT YOU KNOW,
THAT’S PART OF YOUR JOB
AS, UM, A PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEE IS TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
BE CHOOSY.
THIS IS A HUGE DECISION.
YOU WANT TO GO WITH A COMPANY THAT YOU CAN BE PROUD
TO SAY YOU’RE ASSOCIATED WITH,
AND IF YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE YOU’RE BEING ADEQUATELY COMPENSATED,
THAT WILL REFLECT IN YOUR ATTITUDE
AND YOUR PERFORMANCE AT WORK EVENTUALLY, ANYWAY.
SO, IT’S ALL RELATIVE.
BUT YOU’RE IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT THERE.
>> I WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL OF YOU FOR COMING,
AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, ALL OF OUR PANEL MEMBERS
TO GIVE US THEIR HEADS UP AND THEIR INFORMATION
ON WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO MEET THEIR NEEDS.
I HOPE THIS WAS HELPFUL TO ALL OF YOU.
I, AGAIN, APPRECIATE EVERYTHING FROM OUR PANEL,
AND PLEASE GIVE 'EM A HAND. (applause)
WE HAVE ANOTHER HOUR OF THE EVENT, SO FEEL FREE TO GO AROUND
AND LOOK AT SOME OTHER THINGS YET, AND...
I'M SURE THEY'LL TALK TO YOU INDIVIDUALLY,
IF YOU HAD ANY SPECIFIC QUESTIONS.