Summer art-camp students design and build wind chimes using reclaimed materials

Larry Fielder of Rust Dust & Other 4 Letter Words
Larry advising and ensuring safety

Waterloo Arts offered its annual Round Robin summer arts camp to children aged 6-13. The first session was held July 9-20 and the second session is July 23-Aug. 3. HGR Industrial Surplus was a sponsor because we are invested in S.T.E.A.M. education.

more raw materials Waterloo Arts Round Robin at Rust, Dust & Other 4 Letter WordsWaterloo Arts Round Robin at Rust, Dust & Other 4 Letter Words raw materials

On July 17, the students used repurposed, reclaimed and salvaged materials at Rust, Dust & Other 4 Letter Words to make wind chimes. Larry Fielder, owner, found 90% of the materials at Goodwill and The Salvation Army. Students used wire, drills and other hand tools to put together their metal and wood creations. It was amazing to watch the teamwork as they engineered and problem solved together to create functional and decorative objects.

Waterloo Arts Round Robin at Rust, Dust & Other 4 Letter WordsWaterloo Arts Round Robin at Rust, Dust & Other 4 Letter WordsWaterloo Arts Round Robin at Rust, Dust & Other 4 Letter WordsWaterloo Arts Round Robin at Rust, Dust & Other 4 Letter WordsWaterloo Arts Round Robin at Rust, Dust & Other 4 Letter Words

Community motorcycle garage owner invests in mobile shop for middle and high schoolers

Brian Schaffran of Skidmark Garage

(Q&A with Brian Schaffran, owner, Skidmark Garage, a community motorcycle garage)

When and why did you move back to Cleveland and buy your first motorcycle?

I moved back to Cleveland from Los Angeles in 2000 after going through a divorce and not being able to rent an apartment due to my abysmal credit. I was essentially homeless and moved from friend’s place to friend’s place for several months before biting the bullet and coming back home to live in my childhood bedroom and finish my teaching degree at CSU. On my way to school one morning in 2001, I spotted an old motorcycle for sale in some guy’s front yard. Like deep shag carpeting, it was 70’s ugly, but it beckoned. I had never owned a motorcycle up to that point, but for some reason I was drawn in immediately. I bought it, and because I knew nothing about it, I soon took it to the nearest Honda motorcycle dealer hoping to get it tuned up. Well, most dealerships won’t work on old bikes – and with good reason. When you fix something on an old bike, something else breaks soon afterward – something unrelated – and the timing of the next broken item points to the last person to work on it. So, a service department at a dealership begins losing its ass on having to fix and fix and fix because it all appears to be the dealership’s fault that things keep breaking.

What motorcycles do you now own?

Since buying that CB750, I have since acquired several more old Hondas – a CB350, a CX500, a Goldwing, a 1965 Dream, and a CB500. But who has time to work on a bike when trying to keep a business alive? Not only do I not work on other people’s motorcycles, but I don’t even work on my own. For starters, I am not allowed to work on anyone else’s motorcycle. Otherwise, Skidmark Garage can be reclassified as a traditional mechanic’s garage and subject to all kinds of city, county, and state regulations. Also, since I spend every waking moment trying to get the word out about this place, I not only have no time to fix my motorcycles, but I also have no time to ride. For the most part, I haven’t ridden in a good two or three years. I used to ride every day, rain or shine, from March until December. Back then, I needed it to remind me to enjoy life while working for The Man. Now, I’m The Man, and I don’t have that overwhelming urge to ride like I used to. I’m just as happy to see the members of Skidmark Garage ride out on something they built or fixed themselves.

What’s it been like to be a business owner?

Being a business owner means fighting to keep my dream a reality every single day. My girlfriend, Molly Vaughan, works very hard to keep me grounded and does her best to remind me that balance in one’s life is important. Skidmark’s published hours, as expansive as they may appear, are actually non-stop. It is a rare occasion these days to find nobody working on a motorcycle at any given hour of the day or night. This place is almost never empty of souls. I’ve poured my entire being into this business – a business that is so foreign to most that advertising is typically not possible. Owning this business has meant educating people about a business concept that simply does not exist in most Americans’ brains. Now that the concept is starting to catch on, traditional marketing might be able to actually do some good. I am here a LOT.

Why did you locate where you are now?

It’s important for Skidmark Garage to be located in the same building as other creatives and makers. Soulcraft Woodshop has virtually the same business model as Skidmark Garage (member-based and DIY), and we were in the same building previous to the current location. A few years ago, when Soulcraft spoke of putting together a collaborative that included Ingenuity Cleveland and ReBuilders Xchange, I insisted Skidmark be a part of it. This new location afforded Skidmark three times the square footage at a lower monthly rent than the previous location. The current owners of this building were sympathetic to all of our start-up statuses and seemed to buy into our effort for collaboration. Being in this building with so many creative people is important for those creative types. They feed off each other and help each other constantly. We’ve got quite the collection of oddballs in this building. I’m proud to be included, although I do not consider myself creative…at all.

Any plans for expansion?

Skidmark now has 10 fully stocked bays, but it will be 12 bays in another month or so. The membership plateaued at about 20 members for a year or two, and then doubled in the last few months since the motorcycle show at the IX Center in January. Climbing to 40 members has been eye opening with regard to space usage. There’s rarely more than 8 people working on their motorcycles at once, but if the trend continues, I may need to up the amount of bays to 14.

Where do you get items for your garage?

Key to the success of this place is access to used machinery, carts and shelving from HGR Industrial Surplus. When I opened Skidmark, I’d never heard of HGR. The guys from Soulcraft made me aware of it, and my outlook immediately changed. The tough thing about HGR is the tendency for me to drift toward hoarding. I want every machine in that place. I can convince myself that the members of Skidmark will benefit from an envelope-stuffing machine if you give me enough time. But with space being the premium here, shelving and carts are way more valuable than I would have ever guessed. I’m hoping to score a Bridgeport and a lathe sooner than later.

How do you deal with the disappearance of tools?

Years ago, when discussing my dream of opening a community motorcycle garage, EVERYONE’S first response was a question about how am I going to guard against theft of tools? So, I made plans to prevent it, plans to monitor everything, plans to replace stolen items…but none of it ever came to be. Nobody has ever stolen so much as a screwdriver from Skidmark Garage. The members feel ownership of everything in here and have no interest in stealing what they already feel is their own.

Do people help each other out?

The beauty of Skidmark Garage is the willingness of everyone to help each other. All members are expected to help and can expect to receive help. Between the Wi-Fi, the library of manuals that Clymer/Haynes donated, and the knowledge of the people in the garage, just about any problem can be solved. We have a few members here who are extremely knowledgeable about certain aspects of motorcycles, and even though they very well could ask for compensation for their assistance, they never do. It is a community in the truest sense of the word.

Are members allowed to bring guests or helpers with them?

I encourage members to bring their friends to help. Wrenching on a bike with a friend or two is a great way to hang out and be productive. It’s a great way to learn and meet other people. Some members bring their kids, some bring their spouse, some bring parents. The more the merrier.

Is there an insurance liability concern?

The liability on such a business was a huge concern – not only for Skidmark Garage, but for the other 40 community motorcycle garages around the world. Obviously, Soulcraft Woodshop had the same issue — What insurance company will insure all the tools AND the regular Joe off the street using potentially dangerous tools? Thankfully, Soulcraft found the perfect insurance company for them, and they were able to insure Skidmark, as well.

Has someone ever dropped a bike, not paid and not come back?

Since opening Skidmark in spring 2015, there have been a few people who have effectively abandoned their motorcycles. They are not reachable in any fashion; therefore, the bikes take up precious room, and I have no recourse. Maybe I’ll hang them from the ceiling just to get them out of the way. At this point, I don’t even want money from them. I just want the bikes gone.

I see that you offer beginner welding classes. What do students do in the classes?

Every month, Skidmark and Soulcraft jointly host a MIG welding workshop. So far, since the workshop is for beginners, nothing but scrap metal gets welded. Nobody is building any structures of any kind in that workshop, they’re mostly learning how to lay down a few different kind of welds. Recently, we’ve added a TIG welding workshop, which sold out before it was even advertised. MOTUL Oil is coming into Skidmark to offer free oil changes to the members of Skidmark, and during Fuel Cleveland there will be a few demonstrations/workshops in which to take part. I would really like to have a women’s only night that encourages the ladies to fix their own motorcycles and shows them not only the basics, but some of the more advanced functions and how to fix them when those systems fail. Women have not been encouraged to learn how to wrench on machines. This needs to change — not just for the survival of the motorcycle industry, but for the survival of everything. It’s crazy to say, but women are possibly this country’s largest untapped resource.

Skidmark Garage welding class

What inspires you?

I’m continually inspired by the process of learning. That feeling is life-changing. I did everything I could to get my students to experience it when I was a teacher, and I get all excited when I see someone in Skidmark Garage learning. More learning happens in Skidmark Garage than in ANY high school. Real and legitimate learning happens when you “do.” Sitting in a classroom forces a teacher to try and recreate the “doing” in order to wake up that internal motivation to learn. There are few things more difficult than trying to get kids to learn through abstract exercises. There is nothing abstract inside these walls. The learning, the doing, the experiencing, the community — it’s all real; it all matters; and it all makes a difference.

Any words of advice to motorcyclists?

If I could bend the ear of every motorcyclist on the planet, I would explain to them the importance of knowing your machine. When your car breaks down, you’re stranded. When your motorcycle breaks down, you might end up dumping it, and you are exposed to the elements once you have to stop. There are so many other factors that make motorcycling far more risky (and therefore rewarding) than driving a car. A motorcyclist, especially one riding a vintage motorcycle, MUST know how to troubleshoot and at least patch most issues to get him/her to the next safe spot. Every motorcyclist should know where the nearest community motorcycle garage is located, because the owners of these garages and their members are there to help.

What’s next?

My next move is to get a mobile shop class going. Through my non-profit, Skidmark CLE, I will be taking a large trailer to three high schools (or middle schools) per day, getting a dozen kids out to the trailer, and teaching them how to break down an entire motorcycle, take the engine apart, and then reassemble the whole thing. It will culminate in starting the motorcycle at the end of the semester. Shop class does not exist in most high schools, thanks to state-mandated testing. Too many kids are graduating from high school without being even close to well-rounded. The shop class is not intended to push the students toward a life of mechanics, rather it is to give them a real sense of learning — nothing abstract will happen in that trailer. They’ll learn how to use basic tools, how to use the metric system, how an internal combustion engine works, how to read an instruction manual, and how to work together as a team. I don’t think I can provide anything more important to these kids than giving them the confidence to manipulate a machine and to fix something that is broken. Once they experience real learning inside the Skidmark CLE mobile shop class, they’ll be eager to learn in other areas of their lives. I hope to have this program rolling by spring semester 2019. With this mobile shop class, the school does not need to invest in the tools, the classroom, or the teacher. I have a handful of schools willing to sign up; I just need more funders to make it possible. This program will have profound and long-lasting effects on Cleveland. Using the hands and the brains at the same time to accomplish real goals will positively change the life of every student that takes the class.

Skidmark Garage with bikes in the shop and customer working

 

Photos provided courtesy of Mark Adams Pictures

HGR’s 2017 scholarship recipient gives an update on his first year of college

HGR's 2017 STEM Scholarship Recipient Connor Hoffman

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Connor Hoffman, HGR Industrial Surplus 2017 S.T.E.M. Scholarship recipient)

Since last August, I have been enrolled at the University of Cincinnati. During my time in college I have learned a lot both academically and about myself. It was difficult adjustment to live on my own and take responsibility for all aspects of my life. I didn’t have anyone to tell me to go to class, or when to do work or study. That meant I had to take it upon myself to schedule those tasks. Eventually, I got all that stuff figured out.

I also met a lot of new people during my time in college. I made friends with people from around both Ohio and America, and even people from other countries.  It’s a big change, but a welcome one, to go somewhere that is so diverse. Another new experience was living with three other people. What I call “tennis shoes” they call “gym shoes,” which is pretty shocking.

Since I am pursuing a degree in Information Technology, I took a wide range of technology-related courses, such as database management, programing, networking, and information security. Since these classes are in a STEM field, they require problem-solving and analytical-thinking skills. Programming for example, allows for problems to be solved in a number of creative ways. Problem solving and troubleshooting also are useful in life, in addition to being helpful in STEM classes.

As part of my degree, I have to intern each summer at somewhere technology related. The job search was a long process, and I went to a lot of interviews, but, ultimately, this summer I will be working at Progressive Insurance as a help desk specialist. I am excited to get some real-world experience and to put my skills to the test.

HGR’s 2018 S.T.E.M. scholarship presented to Euclid High School senior

Evan Ritchey (center) accepting the 2018 HGR Industrial Surplus S.T.E.M. Scholarship with his parents
Evan Ritchey (center) accepting the 2018 HGR Industrial Surplus S.T.E.M. Scholarship with his parents

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Tina Dick, HGR’s human resources manager)

On Thursday, May 10, 2018, HGR had the honor of presenting the 2018 HGR Industrial Surplus S.T.E.M. Scholarship to Evan Ritchey, a Euclid High School senior.

The $2,000 HGR S.T.E.M. Scholarship is awarded to students who have a desire to receive a higher education in a science, technology, engineering or math field.

Evan received his scholarship at the Senior Awards Dinner at the Irish American Club held to honor more than 300 Euclid students in grades 8-12. While students in grades 8-11 were awarded medals for academic excellence, graduating seniors received scholarships from more than 41 organizations.

Evan, who also received seven other scholarships, will be attending Cleveland State University where he will pursue a degree in electrical engineering.

 

Does STEM really matter?

S.T.E.M. education infographic
Courtesy of edutopia.org

 

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Fran Stewart, Ph.D., author of The STEM Dilemma: Skills That Matter to Regions via The MPI Group)

Engineers are the world’s problem solvers, but will creating more of them fix what ails some regions?

Policymakers must think so.

The pursuit of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees is no longer simply one of personal interest or professional ambition; it is now also considered an economic imperative and public priority for regions. Changes in the curricula (and even names) of local schools, as well as state and federal education spending, reflect a clear policy assumption: Local economies benefit when scientists make discoveries, engineers solve problems, and computer experts program solutions. The places that can attract or develop these professionals are seen as potential winners in today’s technology-driven economy.

The certainty of this conventional wisdom drives countless interventions targeted at growing local STEM “pipelines.” Yet, an important question remains: Does a greater supply of STEM-degreed workers actually generate economic gains for regional economies? New research suggests that (largely) imitative efforts to expand the ranks of STEM workers may not work — because they neglect important differences in regional demand for these skills, as well as the importance of other skill sets for regional competitive advantage.

Why? Because implicit in many STEM initiatives is the belief that a larger pool of workers educated in STEM will lead to the technological innovations, new products, and new processes that drive employment growth and economic well-being. Yet, it’s unclear whether mastery of specific technical skills creates new products and markets, or if entrepreneurial talents — recognizing trends, envisioning opportunities, assessing risk, and persisting in the face of obstacles — are what really generate growth. Focusing solely on technical aspects of innovation minimizes the importance of other skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, teamwork, communication, and resilience. Research indicates that:

Not all STEM jobs require a college degree.

STEM is more than just scientists, engineers, and software developers. Many technical and mechanical jobs, such as electro-mechanical technicians, industrial production managers and computer numerically-controlled-machine programmers, require advanced STEM capabilities. These STEM jobs are associated with higher regional wages and other measures of regional economic well-being.

STEM investment may not bring employment growth.

Despite the benefits associated with a higher concentration of regional employment in STEM jobs, investing in STEM talent as an economic development strategy isn’t necessarily a jobs program. Why? Because occupations with higher STEM requirements tend to employ disproportionately fewer workers.

Not all high-paying jobs require STEM degrees or skills.

Occupations with higher STEM requirements tend to pay higher wages, but so do occupations demanding high-level “soft” skills (e.g., critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and communication). The occupations that pay the highest wages are those requiring both high STEM and high soft skills. These occupations include scientists, engineers, software applications developers, and doctors, but also industrial production managers, science teachers, and certain business operations specialists. In addition, some occupations that require high-level soft skills but low-level STEM skills — chief executives, managers, lawyers, teachers, financial advisers and mental health counselors — reward workers with higher wages.

Highly skilled STEM jobs benefit regions, but so do ones requiring high levels of soft skills.

A region may see improved economic well-being from promoting STEM skill development, but regions also can benefit from focusing on soft-skill development. In my study, regions with greater concentrations of workers in high-level soft-skill/low-level STEM-skill jobs tended to enjoy higher median wages and per capita incomes. This suggests the need for greater policy focus on the development of valuable soft skills, which often cut across a large variety of occupations.

Low-skill, low-wage jobs predominate in most regions.

Economic development policy focuses largely on growing the supply of workers to fill “high-skill” jobs that benefit regional economies; not enough attention is being paid to the effects of low-skill work. More than half of all U.S. employment is relatively low-skill, and large concentrations of low-skill employment drag down regional economic well-being. Regions with a higher share of low-level STEM-skill and low-level soft-skill employment tend to have lower wages, less economic growth, lower productivity, and lower per capita incomes. These relatively low-skill occupations — which include work in food services, retail and home health care — play important roles in regional economies and provide thousands of essential jobs, but their limited pay and benefits present significant challenges not just for individual workers, but for communities, as well.

Regions differ in their demand for skills.

The region in my study with the largest share of employment accounted for by engineers, scientists, software developers, and similar STEM occupations had five times more STEM employment than the region with the smallest share of these occupations. Some regions have nearly 60 percent of their employment in occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree, whereas other regions have 60 percent or more of their employment in low-skill occupations. Wide variation in skill concentrations and educational attainment reflect differences in regional industrial mixes and heritages. Despite the largely universal goal of growing the supply of high-skill workers, these differences continue to shape the demand for talent and the well-being of regions in different ways.

Imitative policies may not pay off.

Place-based initiatives that aim to grow the supply of STEM workers to spur economic development run the risk that the newly developed human capital investments (or, skilled workers) won’t stay local. Well-educated young workers tend to be highly mobile, meaning they often take their in-demand skills elsewhere without rewarding jobs, emotional attachments, or area amenities to hold them. In other words, regions may inadvertently develop talent that ultimately benefits other regions. It’s important to remember that while a failure to invest in human capital is risky, it may be even riskier to invest in skills that don’t align with the talent needs of the region’s industrial mix.

The challenge for policymakers and economic development practitioners at local and state levels is how to craft programs and strategies that support the specific talent needs of their regional economies — building on existing industrial assets while identifying new opportunities for growth. The opportunities for workers and regions with the right mix of talent and luck are extraordinary; the speed with which technology is reinventing work environments and demands for talent is equally breathtaking. But the same technologies that are disrupting the workplace also can facilitate better understanding of job demands and skill concentrations, which enables cheaper, quicker, more accessible, and better-targeted pathways to developing necessary skills and knowledge. Regions need to take stock of their own assets and invest wisely — not just imitate the STEM efforts of others.

Local paint and coatings manufacturer is “the official paint” of the NHL

National Hockey League Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Jim Priddy, PPG plant manager, Euclid, Ohio)

When was the company or division founded, by whom and why?

PPG was founded in 1883 by Capt. John B. Ford and John Pitcairn in Creighton, Pa. Since then, we have maintained our commitment to innovation and quality products and have shifted our portfolio to focus on paint, coatings and specialty products. PPG coats the planes you fly in, the cars you drive, the mobile devices you use and the walls of your home.

Why did you locate in Euclid, Ohio?

PPG purchased the former Man-Gill Chemical Company facility in Euclid in 1997 as a way to enhance our resources and technology to better serve the automotive, industrial and packaging coatings markets. The Euclid facility complements our strong network of other PPG facilities in the Northeast Ohio region to provide a broad range of products to our customers.

What do you make here?

PPG’s Euclid, Ohio, industrial coatings plant produces pre-treatment and specialty products, including alkaline and acid cleaners and zinc phosphates.

What types of customers buy your products or for what industries?

PPG’s industrial coatings products serve customers in the automotive, transportation, appliance, coil, extrusion, and other markets.

In what ways are your products used?

The products produced in the PPG Euclid facility are utilized primarily in metal processing applications to clean, coat, and provide corrosion resistance, as well as in preparing the metal surface for priming and painting. Our products are used on metal automotive parts, such as body panels, underbody components and fasteners, as well as metal appliance frames and heavy-duty equipment parts.

How many employees and in what types of roles? What types of skilled labor do you hire?

Globally, PPG has approximately 47,000 employees. We employ approximately 90 people at our Euclid facility in a variety of manufacturing, technical, sales and data management roles.

What is your role at the company, and what do you enjoy most about what you do?

I am the plant manager for PPG’s Euclid manufacturing plant. For me, it’s all about our people. We have a great, engaged workforce, and I really enjoy working as a team with our employees to continuously improve our operation to be successful in today’s competitive business environment.

What role does the company play in the manufacturing industry locally? Do you use local suppliers or have local customers?

PPG has a strong presence in Northern Ohio with our Euclid, Strongsville, Cleveland, Huron and Barberton facilities. We utilize many local suppliers, and while many of our customers are in the Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania regional area, we serve additional customers nationally and across the globe. In addition, we donated a combined $130,000 in PPG Foundation grants in 2017 to local organizations in the Cleveland area, which supported STEM educational and community sustainability programs.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge that manufacturing currently faces?

The manufacturing sector as a whole currently faces challenges around hiring skilled labor and addressing the educational gap. For current students and recent graduates, there is often a misconception that manufacturing only involves physical labor in a plant. However, PPG is working to educate the next generation of manufacturers to understand that the industry is highly technical and offers a variety of strong opportunities tied to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

What is the state of manufacturing in Ohio or the area?

Manufacturing is an important business sector in Ohio and has been on a growth trend since 2009. Ohio is one of the top 10 states in the nation for both percentage of employees in manufacturing and manufacturing as a percentage of gross state product.

What does the future of manufacturing look like?

Manufacturing is a promising industry and will continue to evolve based on industry needs. Manufacturers like PPG are continually working to provide opportunities and educate the next generation of manufacturers about the various skilled opportunities within the industry. Careers in STEM fields will continue to be essential for the growth and prosperity of manufacturing.

Anything else that we missed but you would like to include? Some interesting fact that readers would be interested in?

PPG has an exclusive paint partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL), which makes PPG paint brands “the Official Paint of the NHL in the U.S. and Canada. You can learn more here.

PPG color draw down

HGR’s 2017 STEM scholarship winner visits for lunch and tour

HGR's 2017 STEM scholarship winner

On June 14, Connor Hoffman, winner of HGR’s $2,000 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) scholarship, took time from his day before lifeguarding to visit HGR, meet its owners and staff, take a tour and have lunch with us during our Wednesday cookout.

As a recent graduate of Euclid High School, he plans to attend the University of Cincinnati this fall as an information technology major. He chose the University of Cincinnati at the recommendation of his teacher because his college credit plus classes in Cisco networking align with the university’s program.

Connor hopes to work in networking or cyber security. When not studying or working, he enjoys gaming and watching Jeopardy in order to challenge his mind and learn new things.

Euclid High School Senior awarded 2017 HGR Industrial Surplus S.T.E.M. scholarship

HGR's human resources manager awarding scholarship to Euclid High School senior

Last night at Euclid High School’s Senior Awards Ceremony, Tina Dick, HGR’s human resources manager, presented Senior Connor Hoffman with HGR’s 2017 S.T.E.M. scholarship that will go toward his first year of college at the University of Cincinnati to pursue a degree in information technology. Connor was not able to be present due to competing in a CISCO Networking Academy National Competition in Florida. A representative from the high school accepted on his behalf.

Upon hearing of Connor’s accomplishment, his teacher Bob Torrelli, Science Department chair, says, “His potential is off the charts. He scored a perfect 36 on the science ACT! That is not easy to do.”

Connor is captain of both the robotics and soccer teams at Euclid High School and an officer of its National Honor Society chapter. In his senior year, he was in AP honors classes at Euclid High School and enrolled in college classes through Lake Erie College In his scholarship application, Connor says, ” Ever since I was young, I had a desire to learn how things work. When one of my toys would break I would open it up and try to see what made it tick. As I got older, this desire to understand the inner workings of things extended to other areas. It led me to join my school’s robotics club where I was able to learn many new things. I learned a lot about machining and assembling parts, as well as designing those parts using computer-assisted design. This desire to learn how things work also led me to enroll in my school’s Cisco Networking program which has set me on my current career path.”

Congratulations Connor, and good luck in college.

Euclid High School Robotics Team’s battle bot build update

Euclid High School robotics students working at a drill press
Euclid High School robotics students working at a drill press

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Bob Torrelli, Science Department chair and Robotics Team coach, Euclid High School)

Heading into competition Apr. 29 at the Alliance for Working Together’s RoboBots competition at Lakeland Community College, Euclid High School’s team and coach are hard at work. The frame and the armor are complete. The wheels are on, and the skids are mounted in the front. The weapon and axle are being finalized this week and, hopefully, mounted. We will then mount and attach the motor for the weapon. We need to make sure we have the correct fly wheels and belts. Then we need to run the inside electronics. We are continually doing quality inspections before proceeding to the next step so that the robot holds up this year in competition. We should be complete in about two more weeks, then five to six weeks of testing and tweaking.

The students asked for one of the titanium rail holes to be enlarged, and Gary (pictured in photo) gave them a lesson on what it takes to properly enlarge the hole evenly and proportionally. They also gained experience using a band saw, a jigsaw and many other tools that they had never explored before.

Go Team Euclid! HGR Industrial Surplus is a sponsor for Euclid High School’s team and encourages youth to choose careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, including manufacturing, welding, machining and other high-tech trades.

HGR offers $2,000 STEM scholarship to Euclid High School senior

HGR Industrial Surplus Scholarship Application

2017 HGR Industrial Surplus STEM Scholarship

HGR Industrial Surplus Inc. annually awards a scholarship to a high school senior who has been accepted by an institution of higher education for the next academic year to pursue a degree or certification in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math) field. This includes, but is not limited to, the fields of engineering, engineering technology, electrical, mechanical, welding, manufacturing, or construction. This year, one student from Euclid High School will be awarded a $2,000 scholarship.

Scholarship guidelines are as follows:
1. The applicant must be active in any facet of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math).
2. The applicant must be in good academic standing at his or her high school.
3. The applicant should be a senior.
4. The applicant must be accepted into an institution of higher education or a trade or technical school for the next academic year.
5. Financial need will be considered.

Those applying for the HGR Industrial Surplus scholarship should submit the following materials when applying:
1. A completed scholarship application.
2. A 350-word autobiography.
3. A 350-word statement explaining why this scholarship is important to you, including your financial need.
4. A minimum of one letter of reference. Up to three letters of reference will be accepted. Letters of reference should be from teachers, counselors, coaches, employers, mentors, etc. rather than from family or friends.
5. Scholarship Submission Deadline: All materials should be submitted here by April 15, 2017.

An update on HGR’s 2016 S.T.E.M. scholarship recipient, Tiffany Moore

woman high jumper

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Tiffany Moore, HGR Industrial Surplus’ 2016 S.T.E.M. scholarship recipient and Ohio Wesleyan freshman)

On Aug. 20, 2016, I said my goodbyes to my family and friends and set forth on a new chapter in my life. I was nervous but excited at the same time. So far, I have been in college for five months, and I have learned more than I could ever imagine. Some of my closest friends are from Ethiopia, West Africa, Pakistan, Tennessee, Chicago, and Boston. We have learned so much about each other and our different backgrounds and are still learning new things every day.

There is about a week left of the fall semester, and I have been doing a great job of staying on top of the college workload. The library has been my best friend. Sometimes, I stay there until 2 a.m. This semester, I took classes that would go toward my general requirements for graduation. Those include, French 110, Beginning Acting, English 105, Journalism 101, and UC 160 (required course for all freshman). I have enjoyed taking these classes and I am looking forward to my spring semester where I will be diving into computer science, French 111, Black World Studies, and Intro to Film.

My favorite class this semester is English. This class has helped me to become more confident in my writing for all of my classes. So far, I have written around 13 papers. That’s almost equivalent to the amount of papers I’ve written over my entire four years of high school. The class that has given me the most trouble is French. In high school I took three years of Spanish; so, I decided to try something different. Since, most of the students in my class has had experience with taking French, we get through the material pretty quickly. However, it takes me more time to retain all of the information. So, throughout the course of the semester I’ve gone to tutoring sessions and also linked up with a few students in my class to help get a better understanding of the material.

On top of being academically successful, I am also a member of the Ohio Wesleyan track and field team. We recently had our first meet in Cleveland at Case Western Reserve University. I participated in the women’s high jump and 200-meter dash. I love being a member of this team, and I am looking forward to seeing how our season turns out.

While being in college I had an opportunity to apply for a summer internship with Rockwell Automation. There are many other internships that I plan on applying for through Ohio Wesleyan that are geared toward computer science majors. I am happy that I chose to continue my education here at Ohio Wesleyan, and I am looking forward to spending my next three years here.

MAGNET’s 2016 State of Manufacturing address took place at Jergens, Inc.

MAGNET state of manufacturing symposium at Jergens

On Nov. 16, 2016, MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, in conjunction with PNC Bank, presented its 2016 State of Manufacturing: Important Trends Affecting Northeast Ohio Manufacturers at Jergens Inc., 15700 S. Waterloo Road, Cleveland. There was standing room only as manufacturers and service-industry representatives arrived to hear presentations by Rich Wetzel, Youngstown Business Incubator, on the state of additive manufacturing and Dr. Ned Hill, The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs and Ohio Manufacturing Institute, on manufacturing, the economy and the future.

In opening remarks, Paul Clark, regional president, PNC Bank, noted that “Thirty percent of PNC’s loan commitments in Northeast Ohio have been in manufacturing for the past 20 of 40 years.” These loans help manufacturers with new product development, new markets and acquisitions.

Wetzel, in his presentation on additive manufacturing, aka 3D printing, shared the seven main processes of additive manufacturing, with material extrusion being the most common, and says, “Northeast Ohio is becoming the capital of additive manufacturing and putting the area on the map.” He also shared that low-volume tooling is the low-hanging fruit and the easiest to implement for near-term opportunities but that the market tends to be risk averse.

Last, Dr. Hill (if I had an economics professor like this in college, I might have liked economics and learned something) talked about the current uncertainty in the market due to the election but the positive increase in interest rates. He says, “Manufacturing is looked at nostalgically by the public since it’s gone overseas, and they believe we aren’t making things.” In 2014, although China was the top nation for manufacturing, the U.S. was a close second. He shared that the largest market opportunity in the world lies in the NAFTA nations. He did a retrospective and shared that manufacturers were always in the top 10 employers in Ohio but now the reality is that part-time, low-wage jobs in healthcare, retail and food service have become the mainstay. In that reality, he says, “Midsized companies will be driving this state.”

Another trend he discussed in depth was automation. Since 1979, we lost almost 5-million factory jobs but at the same time more than doubled the value due to productivity. In addition, he shared statistics that we have lost 13 percent of factory jobs to trade and 88 percent to automation and continuous improvement, and that robotics is expected to reduce labor by another 22 percent in the U.S. He asked the audience to consider how many jobs technology has saved rather than lost. The U.S., for the first time in recent years, is a threat to China due to its quality, efficiency and improved internal supply chain. He says that when manufacturing can 3D print a die, it will save 20-30 percent and can compete with China. And, as much as we would like to believe that manufacturing powers the economy, it’s actually powered by consumers who do 70 percent of the spending. They are buying the products we manufacture!

Finally, he acknowledged the present problem of aging-out workers and the lack of a skilled workforce to replace them. He says manufacturing’s greatest enemies are parents, school counselors and OSHA, which limits workers under 20 from being on the manufacturing floor. We are losing talent to other industries. Let’s make these people our allies and work toward STEM education and a resurgence of interest in a field has evolved and shed its former stereotypical image.

 

Manufacturing undergoes renaissance and evolves its image

MAGNET [M]Power Manufacturing Assembly

On Wednesday, Oct. 19, Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network (MAGNET), Cleveland Engineering Society and Crains Cleveland Business hosted its third-annual [M]Power Manufacturing Assembly at the John S. Knight Center, Akron, Ohio.

The event was showcased information, stories and demonstrations that spoke to the renaissance in manufacturing, globally and in Northeast Ohio. Some of the highlights included:

  • A breakfast keynote address by John E. Skory, president, The Illuminating Company
  • A lunch keynote address by Tim Timken, Chairman, CEO & President, TimkenSteel
  • Three breakout sessions that included a choice of area manufacturing speakers and panels who covered topics such as sales and marketing best practices, turnover, innovation, Lean, risk, rapid prototyping, safety, patents, STEM programs, Internet of Things and counterfeiting
  • An exhibitor hall with representatives from education, industry, construction and engineering, agencies, and technology

According to Ethan Karp, president, MAGNET, in his opening remarks, “Ohio ranks second in the nation for new manufacturing jobs created, and small manufacturing powers 40 percent of Northeast Ohio’s revenue.”

During Skory’s keynote speech, he says, “Ohio is third only to Texas and California in the amount of electricity consumed by industry. We are working to support advanced manufacturing and industry by constantly improving systems.”

Then, I attended the morning breakout entitled “Best practices in sales and marketing: identifying and capturing your customer” presented by Dave Winar, CEO, Winar; Dan Yemma, general manager, M7 Technologies; and Craig Coffey, U.S. marketing communications manager, Lincoln Electric. Winar says his company’s motto is, “Common sense, with humor, we will succeed.” That sounds like a great philosophy to live by! He also shared the “salesman ship” graphic that hangs over his desk and says, “The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.” Coffey focused on the fact that the way people find information now is different from how they did 10 years ago; so, manufacturers need to evolve the way they approach sales as the closer, not the opener and salespeople as deal makers instead of relationship brokers. He also spoke to the importance of a digital footprint and partnering with digital influencers.

In the lunch keynote, Timken quoted a statistic from the National Association of Manufacturers, “For every $1 spent in manufacturing, $1.81 is added to our economy” and that for every worker hired four more jobs are created. You could see his passion for manufacturing when he stated that, for him, manufacturing is “the excitement of making stuff” and the ripple effect of the interconnectedness of people who make things in the region.

In my second breakout session, “Don’t just teach – inspire students: making learning relevant,” Toni Neary, partnership architect, Edge Factor, showed a number of inspiring and, sometimes, chilling videos that illustrate the art of storytelling to connect with youth who “think the world is purchased, not made.” She says that her company partners with manufacturers to show them that “this isn’t your grandfather’s manufacturing facility. It’s not dark, dirty or dangerous.”

Thoughts from Justin: Undecided about your career? Consider becoming a machinist.

machinist

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Justin Mobilian, HGR’s sales & marketing summer intern)

With the retirement of the Baby Boomers approaching, many manufacturing and machinist jobs will need to be filled. How many? 2.7 million. The problem? Many millennials lack the skills and experience (myself included).

Why be a machinist?

For starters, you DO NOT need a college degree. I have several friends who opted out of attending college, have a steady job and are doing financially well (if you guessed that they’re a welder, you are correct). Second, the average salary of a machinist in the United States is $41,000 to $46,000 (depending on the state in which you live).

No college debt. Almost guaranteed a job immediately. AND starting pay somewhere in the $40,000s. Still interested? I thought so. Keep reading.

Where to get proper training

Okay. So, now I have your attention. Great. Unfortunately you aren’t going to land a machinist’s job once you finish reading this and applying for a position (I mean, you might), but with a little work you will. If you’re still in high school, there is a good chance your school has a STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). If so, enroll. Even if it doesn’t interest you, you’re hurting yourself if you don’t. Who knows, you may love it!

If you’re not in high school (probably 99% of our readers), there is no need to worry. There are PLENTY of ways to get trained and experience to prepare for your future in machining. While it is possible to land a job with no experience, it is recommended to complete an apprenticeship.

In an apprenticeship program, you’ll study anything from machinery trade, operations, CNC programming and much more. These programs can take anywhere from 2-4 years and can be taken at a technical or community college. You may ask how this differs from a college degree, and I don’t blame you. One thing – money. YOU GET PAID TO BE AN APPRENTICE. YOU PAY TO BE A STUDENT. Need I say more?! Didn’t think so.

You completed your apprenticeship. What next? Two options: You can jumpstart into your career as a machinist, OR you can obtain the NIMS Credential (National Institute for Metalworking Skills). This will help you stand out from your competition. Perks of this achievement includes receiving a nationally recognized honor, improved professional image, secured job placement over others and many more. All you have to do is pass an examination, which should come with ease since you just completed a few years of training.

Don’t want an apprenticeship? No worries. Forget about who your best friend is. Google is your new best friend. Use it to your advantage. There are HUNDREDS (if not thousands) of online training classes. Unless you have no Internet access, there is no reason for you to not be able to find online training classes.

Even with all the training you receive, you will never be perfect at the job. That’s why companies require on-the-job training (OJT) to become a highly skilled machinist. All you need to do is land the job. From there on out, your place of employment will take care of you.

Get the training. Get the experience. Get your credentials. Land your dream job. Start earning hard-earned money. Advance your career. Be a machinist.

Local businesses invest in each other

Four hands holding a house to represent good neighbors

HGR’s owners are dedicated to the Euclid community, including supporting other businesses, and they, in turn, support us. Our CMO sits on the board of the Euclid Chamber of Commerce, and I am on a committee to organize the chamber’s Amazing Race fundraiser taking place this Friday. I write the monthly “Hit the Ground Running” column in both The Euclid Observer and The Collinwood Observer to showcase area manufacturers, the products they make and their contributions to the workforce. We also are very involved with Euclid High School’s S.T.E.M. program and Robotics Club. In 2014, we bought our building and have invested in renovations and improvements.

To continue our support of the community, I have gone out and met with many amazing organizations and businesses in the area and blogged about many of them, such as HELP Foundation, The Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum, NEO Sports Plant, The Twelve Literary and Performing Arts Incubator, artists Jerry Schmidt and Larry Fielder of The Waterloo Arts District, Euclid Historical Society and Museum, Euclid Art Association, Euclid Beach Park Museum, and Our Lady of Lourdes National Shrine.

There are two other businesses that I recently discovered. One is newer; and one is an institution that has been in the neighborhood since the 1970s. If you are looking for a good cup of coffee in the area, where do you go? No Starbucks. I found myself driving to Speedway for a cup to go. Then, Tami Honkala of HELP Foundation told me about an Arabica tucked away in the back of a medical building off a side street. They have no website, no sign, no advertising. No one but the tenants of the medical building know they exist even though they have been at that location since 2012.

I headed over to the Euclid Office Plaza at Richmond Road and Euclid Avenue for a look. I met the owner, Ronny, and got excited that I could get a mocha or a latte. The only problem was: NO DECAF! I stopped drinking caffeine years ago and only order decaf espresso. They don’t have it. This is a coffee house that is not for sissies. They also have food, including a salad bar, and offer catering services.

The longstanding local health food store, Webers, at 18400 Euclid Avenue, is owned by Bill Weber and his daughter-in-law Clara Weber. They carry many of the products I regularly buy on Amazon and eBay. Clara even was willing to special order some products they didn’t have in stock. When I shared with her where I worked, she told me that they were HGR customers and had purchased a forklift that they regularly use to unload inventory from delivery trucks.

What comes around goes around. It’s always good practice to be a good neighbor.