What type of employer is HGR? Buyer Spotlight with Jeff Cook

HGR Industrial Surplus Buyer Jeff Cook with fiance

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Jeff Cook, HGR buyer)

When did you start with HGR and why?

I started with HGR in August 2015. I wanted something new and challenging, as well as to move back to my hometown of Syracuse, New York. It seemed like the perfect fit. Definitely is.

What is your territory, and what do you do on a daily basis?

I cover all of New York, as well as, part of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Mondays I work from my office and Tuesday through Friday I travel the state to look at equipment all over the place.

What do you like most about your job?

Seeing new things every single day.  You never know what you are going to run in to.

What’s your greatest challenge?

Focusing on one thing at a time and not becoming distracted. Also, never assume things.

What’s your most interesting moment at HGR?

I’d say my most interesting moment at HGR is every time I have to go to New York City/Long Island. It is a different world.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

Golfing, watching/playing sports. Especially watching the Buffalo Bills, New York Yankees and Syracuse Orange.

Who is your hero or greatest influence/inspiration, and why?

My dad. He has always been there for me no matter what. He always stressed the importance of getting a college education and the importance of being the best you can be.

Anything I missed that you want everyone to know?

I get married Oct. 7, 2017! The picture is of my fiancé, Mallory, and me.

HGR opens its doors for this year’s F*SHO

F SHO Googie Style at HGR Industrial SurplusF SHO 2017 at HGR Industrial Surplus

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Dale Kiefer, freelance journalist)

HGR hosted the ninth-annual F*SHO on Friday, Sept. 15. This free, community-oriented event gives local builders, designers, and artists a chance to show members of the public the products of their furniture-making skills. And maybe sell a few items and inspire some future craftspeople along the way.

More than 2,000 people attended this time around where, in addition to rubbing shoulders with these talented artists, they also got a chance to check out HGR’s inventory. The evening was a celebration fueled not just by the furniture, but also by the free beer from Noble Beast Brewing Co., the free food from SoHo Chicken + Whiskey, and a live DJ.

The organizers, Jason and Amanda Radcliffe of 44 Steel, brought the 2017 F*SHO to HGR, keeping alive their tradition of finding a new location for each show. “It started out as just a couple people showing furniture back in 2009,” Jason says, “and now, look around!” It was difficult to tell what excited Jason the most. He marveled at the age of the still-sturdy wooden beams that held HGR’s roof up just as much as he did the sight of so many people walking through HGR’s industrial setting.

The F*SHO has undergone a sizable expansion, growing from five designers in the first year to thirty-three this year. Jason said that he never thought it should be too formal. He didn’t want it to be your standard booth setup. Instead, it should be something organic that grows naturally from the creative people who make it happen. HGR, with its rugged backdrop featuring its industrial surplus, made for the perfect venue.

“HGR is doing a great job with this space. They brought this building back—revitalized it. This is great for the city,” Jonathan Holody, the director of the Department of Planning and Development for the City of Euclid, says. He was there to mingle with attendees and share Euclid’s storied history. “A lot of the manufacturers in the area rely on HGR. It’s great to see this event attract people from all around the area to Euclid.”

This year’s F*SHO also represented a celebrity reunion of sorts, comprised of those who have earned fame in the world of furniture design. In 2015, Jason competed on the Spike TV show, Framework, which was hosted by hip-hop superstar Common. This reality TV outing pitted 13 designers against each other in a Project Runway-style face-off. Notably, two of the top three finishers in that competition call Northeast Ohio home. Jason finished third, while Akron-based Freddy Hill of Freddy Hill Design took second. There were no hard feelings though, as the first place finisher, Jory Brigham of Jory Brigham Design, traveled all the way from his home in San Luis Obispo, Calif., for the F*SHO. They also were joined by fellow competitors Craig Bayens of C. Bayens Furniture + Functional Design Co. from Louisville, Kentucky, and Toledo-based Lacey Campbell of Lacey Campbell Designs.

This gathering of friends and colleagues made HGR and Euclid the center of the cutting-edge furniture design world for the night of the F*SHO. And the large public turnout helped to ensure that there was plenty of inspiration shared with the next generation of designers who will call this area home.

some furniture from F*SHO 2017 at HGR Industrial Surplus

Alliance for Working Together to host fifth-annual Think Manufacturing Career Expo

Alliance for Working Together Think Manufacturing Career Expo LogoOn Oct. 5, 2017, Alliance for Working Together (AWT) is partnering with Lake County Chambers of Commerce to host their annual Think Manufacturing Career Expo. The goal of the expo is to serve manufacturers and middle- and high-school students by creating an interest in various high-tech careers that manufacturing offers. Approximately 30 manufacturers will have booths at the expo, including Dyson Corporation, Lubrizol, STERIS Corporation, Swagelok and others. HGR Industrial Surplus plans to be there, as well, to share our career opportunities. Booth setup begins at 8 a.m. with a breakfast meeting at 9 a.m. and students arriving 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

HGR Industrial Surplus to host MAGNET’s The State of Manufacturing 2017 on Nov. 10

MAGNET: Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network

Last year, MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network hosted The State of Manufacturing 2016 at Jergens. Click here for a recap of that event so that you can get an idea of what to expect. This year, HGR Industrial Surplus, 20001 Euclid Avenue, Euclid, Ohio, is hosting from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Nov. 10, 2017. Tickets are required and can be purchased here for $10. You also can view the full agenda on that page.

Join us for a morning devoted to economic and environmental trends affecting Northeast Ohio manufacturers led by Dr. Ned Hill, professor of public administration and city and regional planning at The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs and member of the College of Engineering’s Ohio Manufacturing Institute.

HGR Industrial Surplus hosts Euclid Chamber of Commerce Coffee Connections, Oct. 3, 2017

coffee at Six Shooter Cafe

On Oct. 3, the Euclid Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its  next “Coffee Connections” at HGR Industrial Surplus, 20001 Euclid Ave., Euclid, Ohio, from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Chamber members and members of the community are welcomed to attend for complimentary coffee, pastry and a tour of HGR’s 500,000-square-foot showroom and newly renovated sales and administrative offices that are furnished with one-of-a-kind furniture, fixtures and accessories made by HGR customers Jason Wein of Cleveland Art, Aaron Cunningham of 3 Barn Doors, Larry Fielder of Rust, Dust & Other 4-Letter Words and Industrial Design Student Brenna Truax.

Registration is encouraged but not required on euclidchamber.com/events.

This is a great opportunity to network with other local business leaders and learn about a Euclid business and what it does. HGR’s showroom always is open to the public during HGR’s business hours and includes new and used manufacturing equipment, industrial surplus, tools, machinery, construction supplies, and office equipment and supplies. HGR buys and sells, literally, anything and serves as a conduit between customers looking for affordable, used machinery, equipment and supplies and manufacturers hoping to recoup some portion of their initial capital investments.

Three furniture designers to do live build at Ingenuity; HGR to auction pieces for hurricane relief

Ingenuity Fest 2017

From Sept. 22-24, some folks from HGR Industrial Surplus and Jason Radcliffe of 44 Steel, Aaron Cunningham of Three Barn Doors and Larry Fielder of Rust, Dust and Other 4-Letter Words will be onsite on the second floor of Ingenuity Fest, Cleveland, finishing the live build of three pieces of contemporary, industrial-designed furniture that were started after the F*SHO, a contemporary furniture show, which was held on Sept. 15 in HGR’s 500,000-square-feet showroom.

The designers selected industrial-surplus equipment from HGR’s showroom to use in the build of the furniture. We’ll all be there Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon. Then, the finished furniture will be displayed the week of Sept. 25 in HGR’s lobby. We will host an auction, and the highest bidders will be proud new owners of one-of-a-kind pieces. All proceeds will be donated to hurricane relief in the Houston area.

Stop by our area on the second floor at Ingenuity to learn more about HGR, if you’ve never strolled through our showroom of anything and everything that you could imagine, and watch Jason, Aaron and Larry in action. They’ll be happy to share tips and tricks with aspiring makers and designers.

We can’t wait to see the finished products!! Make sure to check HGR’s Facebook, Twitter or website, or grab a card at Ingenuity to learn how you can bid on these one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture.

What type of employer is HGR? Q&A with HGR’s Sales Department

HGR Industrial Surplus Sales Department

(Courtesy of Jon Frischkorn, HGR’s sales manager)

What does your department do?

HGR’s Sales Department is dedicated to providing outstanding customer service with every interaction. We work to build relationships with our customers, in some cases, for the past 19 years. We want HGR to be the first stop each customer makes to fulfil his or her industrial surplus needs.

How many people work in your department, and what are their roles?

Our Sales Department consists of nine sales representatives, two sales assistants, a sales expediter, sales manager and, frankly, the entire HGR staff. All of our actions help sell our products and services that we offer.

What qualifications do you need to be successful in your department?

A positive attitude, a desire to help our customers, and the willingness to be flexible.

What do you like most about your department?

We have a great team here and enjoy helping to fulfill our commitments to our customers, each other, and our community. We enjoy what we do and try to have fun in the process.

What challenges has your department faced and how have you overcome them?

We are problem solvers and have countless challenges daily that we work to overcome in order to help satisfy our customers’ needs. These can be as simple as locating an item in our 12-acre showroom, finding specifications on a product, or even overcoming shipping obstacles.

What changes in the way your department does business have occurred in the past few years?

While much of the sales role hasn’t changed, we are constantly striving to improve and be more efficient at servicing our customers.

What continuous improvement processes do you hope to implement in the future?

HGR is always improving its staff. Something as small as an internal procedural changes or on-the-job product training happen routinely. We also do offsite training and offer continuous education courses at Kent State University.

What is HGR’s overall environment like?

The overall environment at HGR is often described as a handyman’s toy store. We are within a building originally built in 1943 to produce aircraft parts during World War II, then housed GM’s Fisher Auto Body Plant. The building itself is amazing. The wooden beams, brick, and numbered aisleways create a unique backdrop that is perfect for 12 acres filled with industrial surplus. See this story for more on the history of our site.

What is your perspective on manufacturing, surplus, investment recovery/product life cycle/equipment recycling?

HGR is the heart of the “rust belt” and is a major player in the re-use of used industrial equipment. We help continue the life of machines that otherwise could be scrapped and lost. It isn’t uncommon for us to see items we’ve bought and resold a couple times. As companies needs change, we are always here to purchase machinery so it can be reused by someone else.

New mural by world-renowned designer graces Waterloo Road building

Camille Walala mural Collinwood Ohio

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Amy Callahan, executive director, Waterloo Arts)

Perhaps you have lately noticed a fresh spot of color acting like a beacon to Waterloo Road. The new mural, designed by French-born and British-educated designer and artist Camille Walala was commissioned by Jack Mueller, a real estate investor who owns the former bank building on Waterloo Road. The building, upon completion of its interior, will be home to Poplife, a pop-up gallery, health food space, and donation-only yoga studio.

Walala’s work is inspired by the Italian-led Memphis Movement from the 1980s but is updated with influences from the Ndebele tribe and optical art. She has large-scale works in some of the most important cities in the world: New York, Paris, London, Sydney, and now Cleveland. Mueller says he stumbled across Walala’s work online and was excited about its Memphis influences. From there, the artist and the investor developed a friendship through Instagram, both sharing a love of graphic shapes and bold colors. When Mueller saw an opportunity to commission a mural from his favorite artist, he reached out to bring Camille and her partner, Julie Jomaa, across the Atlantic for the project.

Mueller says it is important to him that the building’s exterior reflect its interior by revealing his business’ dedication to the sublimity of bold shapes and bright colors. He puts it simply, “I want to make the world a more colorful place.” Walala’s aesthetic, bursting with sunny colors, such as cherry red, millennial pink, canary yellow, and nifty turquoise, adds a splash of color, hopefully a smile, and a little bit of wonderment to the days of many Clevelanders.

Waterloo is lucky to have an investor like Jack, who believes in public art and in making art as accessible as possible. Public art is important because if you live in a neighborhood where there’s poverty, that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be able to see art on their walls just for art’s sake. Every neighborhood deserves something beautiful, something that provides a unique point of pride and helps carve an identity out for residents. In particular, street art is like having a conversation outside, and murals act as canvases that humanize our urban landscape. Walala’s piece starts a conversation about the creativity and energy of humanity and about the egalitarianism of street art to passersby.

 

Enter HGR’s September 2017 “guess what it is” Facebook contest

September 2017 Guess What it is Facebook contest for HGR Industrial Surplus

Head to our Facebook page to guess what piece of equipment or machinery is pictured. To participate you MUST meet the following three criteria: like our Facebook page, share the post, and add your guess in the comments section. Those who guess correctly and meet these criteria will be entered into a random drawing to receive a free HGR T-shirt or other cool items.

Click here to enter your guess on our Facebook page by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. A winner will be drawn and announced the following week.

HGR Industrial Surplus is hosting F*SHO on Friday, Sept. 15

This is a reminder to stop by on Friday, Sept. 15 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the back entrance of HGR’s building to check out 30 contemporary furniture designers’ work, have a beer and eat some grub provided by Noble Beast Brewing Company and SoHo Chicken + Whiskey restaurant. Everything but the furniture is free! The ninth-annual show is presented by Jason and Amanda Radcliffe of 44 Steel.

But, this year, there’s a twist: Jason Radcliffe of 44 Steel, Aaron Cunningham of 3 Barn Doors and, possibly, one other surprise designer will be picking out industrial items from HGR’s showroom the night of the show to work all week after and all weekend (Sept. 22-24) at Cleveland’s Ingenuity Festival to build their pieces of furniture. They will be delivered the week of Sept. 25 to HGR’s lobby for display. Then, that same week, we will post them on our eBay auction site that you can get to via a link on our home page at hgrinc.com. The donated furniture will be auctioned to the highest bidder, and proceeds will be donated to an arts organization in Houston to help with Hurricane Harvey relief.

The F*SHO is a win for everyone and a mighty good time! We hope to see you there. F*SHO ad

CFHS students display Hot Work in heavy metal

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Paula Maggio, PR specialist, HGR Industrial Surplus)

Students are back in the classroom. And that means students in the metals classes at Cuyahoga Falls High School are back at their work benches, safety goggles in place and welders in hand.

The school offers two one-semester courses in metals within its Industrial Technology and Manufacturing Program. In them, students develop foundational skills in metal fabrication and metal joining processes. They learn introductory industrial mathematics, design, basic metallurgy and metal forming. In addition, they learn theory and applications of a variety of welding and fusing processes including soldering, oxy-acetylene cutting, welding and brazing.

Students design and build projects and make repairs using the techniques they learn. We stumbled upon the students — and some of their creations they have dubbed “Hot Work” — at the Cuyahoga Falls All-City Art Walk last April.

Walk along with us as we show you some of their creations.

Metals student Maddie shows off the CFHS Hot Work bench displayed at the Art Walk.
Wine bottle holders and a paper towel holder were among the items the students crafted using their metal work skills.
CFHS metal working students also displayed this unique toilet paper holder at the Art Walk.
CFHS metals class students sold the items they displayed at the Art Walk, including peg racks made out of sawed-off golf clubs.

F*SHO comes to HGR Industrial Surplus; win a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture by a famous designer

F*SHO ad

In two weeks, the F*SHO, a contemporary furniture show and brain child of Jason Radcliffe of 44 Steel, will be coming to HGR Industrial Surplus. Join us Sept. 15 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 20001 Euclid Avenue, Euclid, Ohio. Entry is through the back of HGR’s building.

There will be approximately 30 furniture designers showcasing their work while a DJ spins tunes, and food, courtesy of SoHo Chicken + Whiskey, and beer flow freely. Everything’s free, except the furniture!

In 2015, Jason competed in FRAMEWORK, a furniture and design reality-TV show, hosted by hip-hop superstar Common on SPIKE TV. The winner of that show, Jory Brigham, who also teaches furniture building, will be coming from California to premier a new piece at the F*SHO, and Jason will be heading to California to teach a class at Jory’s studio.

In addition, you will have a chance to win a piece of furniture designed by either Jason Radcliffe, 44 Steel, who works with steel, or Aaron Cunningham, 3 Barn Doors, who works with wood. They will select items from HGR’s showroom to use in the furniture design then will be building the two pieces live at Ingenuity Festival on Sept. 22-24. Contest details to be announced shortly. Stay tuned!

Q&A with Ian Charnas, manager of CWRU’s think[box]

 

How and when did think[box] come about? Where did the idea start, and who spearheaded it?

In March 2012, think[box] opened in a temporary 2,500-square-foot space on Case Western Reserve University’s campus thanks to a generous gift by CWRU alum and wonderful human being Barry Romich. The facility really took off and before long was receiving thousands of visits a month. University Trustee Larry Sears along with other major supporters led the efforts to procure a new and larger facility, which led us to opening think[box] in a 50,000-square-foot space in October 2015.

Most people don’t know what an open-access innovation center is. How would you describe it? What is its purpose? 50,000 square feet of what?

We describe think[box] as an innovation-focused makerspace. Now, “makerspace” is still a new term for many people, but think of a metal shop and a wood shop combined with all that new-fangled stuff. 3D printing, laser cutting, electronics, textiles, media, you get the idea. We have floors dedicated to prototyping and fabrication, as well as offices of support for entrepreneurship for projects that have the potential to turn into businesses and create jobs.

How has it succeeded, so far?

Innovation at think[box] is alive and well. More than 64 companies and startups have used the facility to raise more than $6.2 million in funding.

What types of things do people make there?

We see everything and everyone, from students working on academic coursework and research projects to startup companies and even folks working on hobbies and crafts. Startups and projects include medical devices, clean energy solutions, consumer electronics, aviation, robotics, as well as art and fashion, and much more.

How many visitors each month?

Currently think[box] receives on average more than 5,000 visits each month. On campus, only the gym and the library receive more visits, according to the provost’s data.

Of these, how many are CWRU students, how many faculty, how many alumni and how many from the community?

Around 80 percent of our visits are CWRU persons (students, staff, and faculty) while 15 percent are from the neighboring Cleveland Institute of Art. We’re very happy about that, of course, because when you get those designers and artists together with our scientists and engineers, and then you add law students and business students, now you have a real-world team that can take a project much further than any one of them could on their own. So that gets us to 95 percent, and the remaining 5 percent are general community members, including folks off the street, alumni, local entrepreneurs, and more.

Do local grade school and high school classes visit for STEM education?

Currently think[box] can host tours of K-12 students; however, the facility isn’t set up to host entire classes working on projects. Individual K-12 students can attend with their parents and a signed waiver. Full details on our K-12 policies are available on our website.

How do you get the word out to the community?

Because of our focus on entrepreneurship, our primary outreach is to the local entrepreneur ecosystem — groups like JumpStart, LaunchPad, FlashStarts, BizDom, and other accelerators and incubators. These groups have each sent startups over to think[box] to take advantage of the facilities here, and, in turn, CWRU has sent student startups to incubate with each of those groups.

I see the list of equipment online. Where did it come from?

The equipment at think[box] was selected by staff after careful consideration of features and after visiting several dozen high-profile makerspaces and shops around the nation, including visits to MIT, Stanford, and other highly regarded institutions.

What is your role there?

As the manager, my role involves fundraising, communications and promoting national visibility, overseeing selection of large equipment, recruiting and training staff, managing strategic projects, and organizational partnership development.

Is training available?

Yes, training is available on all of our machines. Users are expected to do their own design work (we do not offer design help) but staff are here to help show you how to safely operate the equipment.

How can think[box] help manufacturers, and what is its role in contributing to a skilled workforce?

The role of think[box] is to give free, open access to millions of dollars of high-tech prototyping equipment. When it’s time to go to manufacture, we help link entrepreneurs with (ideally local) manufacturers so they can grow their business.

laser cutting area at think[box]fab shop at think[box]computer lab at think[box]3D printing area at think[box]electronics area at think[box]

Grammar tips: Verbs

I got this one meme

What’s wrong with these sentences that we commonly hear?

  • I got no money.
  • I seen Game of Thrones on Sunday.

If you answered “the verb,” you’re right.

How would we correct them?

Well, in the first sentence, the verb is formed from “get.” This verb can be conjugated:

  • Present: I get
  • Preterite/past: I got
  • Present continuous: I am getting
  • Present perfect: I have gotten or (informally) I have got
  • Future: I will get
  • Future perfect: I will have gotten
  • Past continuous: I was getting
  • Past perfect: I had got
  • Future continuous: I will be getting
  • Present perfect continuous: I have been getting
  • Past perfect continuous: I had been getting
  • Future perfect continuous: I will have been getting

You might say, well, the preterite shows “I got;” so, what’s the problem? Well, “got” is past tense, as in “I got no money from Mary.” It might be better to choose a different verb and say, “I received no money from Mary.” But if you are trying to say that you’re broke and don’t have any money, “got” alone doesn’t suffice. You could say, “I have no money.” If you really want to be colloquial and informal, “I have got no money” has become a correct usage. It’s a case of picking the wrong verb or using the wrong tense.

In the second sentence, the verb is formed from “see.” This verb can be conjugated:

  • Present: I see
  • Preterite/past: I saw
  • Present continuous: I am seeing
  • Present perfect: I have seen
  • Future: I will see
  • Future perfect: I will have seen
  • Past continuous: I was seeing
  • Past perfect: I have seen
  • Future continuous: I will be seeing
  • Present perfect continuous: I have been seeing
  • Past perfect continuous: I had been seeing
  • Future perfect continuous: I will have been seeing

There’s no “I seen” as an option. You can say: I saw Game of Thrones on Sunday or I have seen Game of Thrones on Sunday. In the example “have” was dropped from the sentence. Often, we do that when we speak because we keep abbreviating. “I have seen Game of Thrones” becomes “I’ve seen Game of Thrones” becomes “I seen Game of Thrones.”

I seen meme

Gear up for Manufacturing Month 2017!

rolls of nails by Stephen Herron

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Liz Fox, senior marketing associate, MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network)

Because 3.5 million manufacturing jobs are expected to be available by the end of the decade, manufacturers are constantly looking for new ways to involve young people in their plants. Some seek assistance from apprenticeship efforts like MAGNET’s Early College Early Career program, while others participate in outreach designed to change the perception of manufacturing from being a dirty, unsafe factory to a high-tech, exciting environment. The latter is the very thing that propels Manufacturing Day, which occurs on the first Friday of October, and, by association, Manufacturing Month (October).

Created in 2012, Manufacturing Day not only stands to celebrate the sector as a whole, but also emphasizes the idea that jobs in the field are highly skilled and take place in some of the world’s coolest facilities. To do this, companies often open their plants to showcase their best technology or hold a career fair with the purpose of informing students what potential career paths lies ahead for them in manufacturing.

According to recent studies by Deloitte, Manufacturing Day has been shown to be effective in not only engaging young people, but involving manufacturers in their communities. In fact, 89 percent of companies surveyed value participating in Manufacturing Day and Manufacturing Month events, and 71 percent of students and young people who attended a plant tour, career/job fair, or other event said they were more likely to spread the word and encourage their friends and family to seek more information about what manufacturing provides for the community, as well as what it can do for the individual.

To coincide with Manufacturing Day (Oct. 6 this year), the whole month of October is also Manufacturing Month in Ohio. As one of the fastest-growing and most innovative manufacturing hubs in the country, companies and nonprofits use this opportunity to work together to address the skilled labor shortage and steer public perceptions of manufacturing in the right direction. Not only does this include businesses from across the state, but local chapters of professional organizations, workforce specialists, and Manufacturing Extension Partnership affiliates, such as MAGNET, TechSolve, and others.

Last year, Ohio played host to nearly 200 Manufacturing Day events, beating out rich manufacturing areas such as New York, Indiana, and Texas.

One of many events kicking off Manufacturing Month this year is the 6th Annual NEO Manufacturing Symposium on Sept. 29. Sponsored by MAGNET and Cleveland Engineering Society and held at Lorain County Community College, this event addresses topics critical to manufacturing, including cybersecurity, talent pipeline, and more. Manufacturers that are looking for answers about new trends and how to lessen the skills gap are encouraged to attend (not to mention a great tour of the new, state-of-the-art Riddell facility in North Ridgeville is available after the conference wraps up at 1 p.m.!).

To find out more about what’s taking place in Ohio on Manufacturing Day (or how to put on an event of your own), visit MFGDay.org or follow @MFGDay on Twitter.

Additional details can be found by logging onto manufacturingsuccess.org or following MAGNET at @MAGNETOhio

U.S. Army vet invests in her own wood shop and woodworking business

wood thingamjigs dog crate
Dog crate

 

 

(Q&A with Jessica Brown, owner, Wood Thingamajigs whose shop can be found on Facebook and at www.woodthingamajigs.com)

How did you get involved in woodworking in the seventh grade?

The students in my school were given the choice between wood and metal shops or cooking and sewing classes. Given that I had already learned to cook and sew from my Mom and Grandmother and having spent countless hours watching my Dad do various carpentry projects around the house, the obvious choice for me was to give the shops a try. From the moment I walked into that wood shop and smelled the delicious wood aromas, I knew I had made the right decision.

What equipment and main tools do you have in your shop?

  • Delta Table Saw and Planer
  • Kobalt compound miter saw
  • Jet band saw, drill press, dust collection system
  • 26” Shop Fox dual drum sander
  • Various Dewalt, Craftsman, Ryobi, and Porter Cable power and hand tools
  • Assorted pipe and bar clamps

wall tiles wood thingamajigsHow and when did your business, Wood Thingamajigs, come into being?

Every year my then boyfriend (now husband) and I exchanged one handmade Christmas present. For Christmas of 2015 my present to him was some wood letter tiles spelling out various important words for us and our family. I spent countless hours in our garage and our attic hand making more than 100 tiles. After Christmas, we posted a picture of my handiwork on Facebook, and one of our friends said I should start a business making them. I decided to give it a try as a business in April 2016.

Why the name?

After thinking about starting the business for a while and asking other people if it sounded like a good idea, I decided to go for it. We were sitting on the couch one afternoon throwing around ideas for a name for the business. In the brainstorming, it was asked “well, what will you make?” Wood stuff, wood items, wood thingamajigs.

What types of items do you make? What is a “pet novelty?”

We make everything from outdoor yard games to furniture. Our pet novelties consist of feeders, furniture-style dog crates, cat trees, and leash holders.

What is the largest or heaviest item that you have made? What is the smallest? What is the most special or unique?Wood Thingamjigs cutting boards

The largest and heaviest item that we have made so far is a custom, solid-cherry 12’ 3” dog crate with four separate compartments. This was co-designed with our customer and made to match her existing dining room furniture. The piece we made is used not only as a dog crate, but as a buffet or sideboard. Our smallest product is a hand turned, exotic wood wine bottle stopper. The most special is definitely the wood letter tiles that started this whole adventure. One of our favorite things to make is a cutting board. We like to integrate different species into the boards into unique designs. We love walnut, but we also use maple, cherry, paduak, and purple heart to name a few.

Who are your customers?

We have a broad customer base consisting of everyone from brides to businesses.

Do you have another fulltime job?

Yes, at this time I do have another fulltime job as a purchasing manager for a local additive manufacturing company.

Why did you join the U.S. Army, for how long, what did you do for them, where were you stationed?

I grew up in a family where nearly everyone served. I knew from a young age that it was something that I wanted to do. Right after high school, I enlisted in the National Guard as Military Police. A few years later, I applied to and was accepted into West Point. After graduating, I served at Fort Benning, Georgia, and Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. All together I was in the military for 16 years.

I see you are from Massachusetts. How did you end up in Ohio?

When I left active duty, I was married to a man who was from Northeast Ohio.

How did your current husband’s love of woodworking start and is the shared interest one of the things that brought you together? What is each of your roles in the company?

Jason’s love of woodworking also started at a young age working with his father remodeling an old farmhouse. He likes to remember the first time I showed him my limited shop when we first started dating. It is a fond memory for him. Our mutual love of woodworking brings us together. A few years ago I had surgery, and as I was healing and able to move around better we decided to make a project together. It was our first joint endeavor. It is lovingly referred to as “the project” in our family. We have had a few people ask to purchase it over the years but the sentimental value is priceless. When it comes to the business we share responsibilities for our orders. I tend to manage more of the business side of it, as well. We love to sit together and brainstorm the next project or the next step in expanding the company.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Our inspiration is found in a variety of places. Sometimes the grain of a wood catches your eye and says it needs to be an end table. Other times walking through the wood mill we will see a slab that just begs to be made into a bar top. Our inspiration is to be able to live a life where we love what we do and love going to work every day. A place where the work isn’t work. The cliché if you love what you do then it isn’t really work truly applies to our company.

What is your artist’s/maker’s philosophy?

“A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.” Louis Nizer

What do you do when you’re not woodworking?

Dream about woodworking

Industrial design student donates functional objects that she made for HGR’s newly renovated offices

Brenna Truax industrail design student donation

You may have read the blog written by former Walsh Jesuit High School Student and current University of Cincinnati Industrial Design Student Brenna Truax’s visit to HGR for scrap materials. Then, we did a blog about some of the desk organizers that she was in the process of creating at Akron Makerspace for our newly renovated sales and administrative office. They are finished! She delivered them on August 15 before going back to school. We love them and are calling dibs on them already. Check them out next time you are in the office. In addition to desk organizers, she created a coat rack and a planter with items from HGR. Thank you, Brenna and good luck in your sophomore year! I know that we will see more of you.

Brenna Truax industrial design items donated to HGR Industrial Surplus

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