The Manufacturing Executive
The Manufacturing Executive

Episode · 4 months ago

Filling the Skills Gap One Student at a Time w/ Matt Guse


Baby Boomers are retiring. Manufacturing is booming in 2021. And emerging generations aren't considering careers in the field.

There just aren't enough people to do the jobs that need to be done.

How will manufacturers fill the skills gap Boomers are leaving behind them?

In today's episode, I talk with Matt Guse, President at MRS Machining Company, about an actual manufacturing operation happening within the walls of a Wisconsin high school.

Here's what Matt and I discussed:

  1. How Matt launched, funded, and supported his competition
  2. The benefits of inserting a manufacturing operation into a high school
  3. Why interest in manufacturing has declined among young people and how to change that trajectory

To ensure that you never miss an episode of The Manufacturing Executive, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or Spotify, or here.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for The Manufacturing Executive in your favorite podcast player.

We're not here to teach the hard skill.We are here to teach the soft skill, because if you don't have the softskills, I don't care who you are. What Industria you can't be successful. Welcome to the manufacturing executivepodcast, where we explore the strategies and experiences that aredriving mid size manufacturers forward here. You'll discover new insights frompassionate manufacturing leaders who have compelling stories to share abouttheir successes and struggles, and you will learn from B to be sales andmarketing experts about how to apply actionable business developmentstrategies inside your business. Let's get into the show, welcome to another episode of theManufacturing Executive Podcast, I'm Joe Sullivan your host and a Co founderof the Industrial Marketing Agency guerilla, seventy six reading, writingand Arithmetic and machining and welding and fabrication. That's whathigh school is about if you're a student at Elevata High School in NorthWestern Wisconsin, we hear so much these days about the skilled labor gapproblem in manufacturing, baby boomers, leaving the industrial sector workforce. Gen Zer is not wanting to join it. Well, my guest today will tell youwhat he's doing to change all of this through a functioning job shop thatsits within the walls of a very unique high school. So, let's get into it.Matt Goose is President of m RS machining company, a business that wasstarted by Matt's father in his garage back. I one thousand nine hundred andeighty six and is now owned by Matt and his wife, Vicky in two thousand andseven M R S was named one of American machinist magazines, top ten machineshops in the nation and, more recently, a thousand and seventeen top shop bymodern machine shop magazine Mats, proud to say that he helped get thecardinal manufacturing company inside of Eliva strum high school up off theground by donating equipment. He continues to donate his time andexpertise to cardinal on a regular basis. That's keenly interested indeveloping a new talent and ideas for the manufacturing industry and has twopatents for cutting tools that he himself developed. That has always beenvery active in his community, serving on his local school board as a licenseofficial for both football and basketball and on the Chipola TechnicalCollege, machine tool, advisory board, he's passionate about cycling and hissuccessfully peaked up pikes cycled up Pike's peak to an elevation of fourteenthousand one hundred fifteen feet. In this past year, Mat put over ninethousand miles on his bike. Mat Welcome to the show I'm delighted to be here.Joe Awesome Wool. You Know Mad. I kind of stumbled across you online recentlyon linked in and was just immediately. It struck me that how interesting thisthis thing you have going at with cardinal manufacturing is, I you know.I hear the same thing time and time...

...again. These days for manufacturingleaders about baby boomers are exiting the work for us. Young people don'twant to get into manufacturing and as a result of all this paired with abooming manufacturing industry here in two thousand and twenty one, you knowit's very clear that there aren't enough people to do the jobs that needto be done, and then I see you know you involved in cardon manufacturing, whichis an actual manufacturing operation, that's operating within the walls of aWisconsin high school, with a mission that reads filling the skills gap. Onestudent at a time- and I saw this and immediately said- okay, I got to getmad on the show and here cardinal story you right away. So here we are yeah. Istarted that back in two thousand and six two thousand and seven, and I didknow right around two thousand. You know I was in business and I personally I tried start my home schoolhere at Mers and where do you go look for students and I didn't really haveany luck with the schools. I just kept getting closed orders and you know I'ma kind of guy that doesn't take no for an answer. I will find a way if I trulybelieve in it, so we started our own class here at amors and what I did is Iwent out to all these fast food, restaurants right and there's. Actuallya local one here in Wisconsin called covers, and their people are always sonice and they were just very pleasant and I'm, like you know, those are theguys I have to get in our shop because I know they have the work acti, theskill Sotski S, part of it, the rest. I can teach so we. I ended up hiring likesix of these people out of different restaurants and remember one was evenBurger King and we brought him in here and they were they stayed on for aboutthree to six months, but within a year they were all gone and I'm like cheesethere's got to be a better way and I had a friend of mine who I meantovermanaged and we I got invited to a baseball game and our weight down there.We kept talking about this just issues we're talking about today and he says Igot a guy. You got to meet his name is creckers Ki he's actually working parttime for men, he's going to UW start for to get his teachers agree and Ihate spot on. He goes well, I know he's going to Chicago and I said Hey, I amtask and he goes yeah. That's where that's where we're going to be- and Isay, Hey all great things happen- I am yeah, so we decided to meet under abanner because if you ever been to me t it's a pretty big place and that issuch and such time, and so we finally met up and more than a minute talkingto this guy crack, I'm like Oh, my gosh, this guy's a superstar. I need you knowyou just kind of get goose bumps and you talk to somebody. That's reallysmart and focused. I have to get this guy involved in my plan of developingyoung talent, so he told me right now, he's still going to school. When hegets down gets a job. He would commit it to reach it up to me along behold. Ithink it was like six months later. I get a phone call: Hey it's a quickerKoski, I'm over here to leave a strum and I'm going to take it off the teckcatch and I'm like. Well, that's only twenty miles away, Hey I'm on board andfrom there you know he told me it's going to be a couple of years before hegets up and going so. I invited them over and I met my dad. While my dad wasa really generous. He already said one hands forgiven one hand for receivingand actually by DAD got the horse. The Cart in front of the horse a little bitand you say Craig. What do you need and...

...crake says? Well I like to have this Ilike to have that and my dad said: okay, you can have our scene Sea mail. Youcan have or saw you can have early. I W W W wait a minute here dad we got toget the program up and going because it's a complete mess, so craig knewthat back of his hand and he basically went over there and started cleaninghouse and and that's how that's how this whole thing developed, and Ipersonally tell people if I wasn't a machinist or business owner. I'dprobably become a school teacher, because when you meet these kidsthey're from broken homes, some are from good homes but they're willing tolisten to there. I go to learn because that's what kids need these days, youknow in one of the questions is: How do you work with? I don't know if they'regen, zs or Jenes or whatever, but kids want attention and that's what you haveto do so. The first thing I did n't know went over there. Well, I gotfriends with him on snap Shat because that became more of a. He started up being acommunication tool, but I end up being a is singing touch. You know tool andthat's what kids are hungry for his attention, because you know, if youdon't have a father in your life, you don't have a mother and your your splithomes back and forth and they seem to find trouble and you just got to Si intouch with them and that's how I got involved in it. That's kind of a longquestion. I answer to your question, but it's great and I think it's. Iwould like you to use that as a lead in to just tell our audience a little bitabout what is cardinal manufacturing. First of all- and you know you kind ofgave the lead into how you wound up there, but tell us a little bit aboutwhat cardinal is well Cardo, manufacturing and really inan that show it's my competitor but, like I said, if I'm threatened by it abunch of high school kids and has a hundred percent turn over every twoyears and works two hours a day. I got other issues, but really it's a jobshop. You know we focus on welding the focus on machining. These jobs aren'tjobs that armrest is ever going to do and create frankly, noman locally wantsto do him because there's really no money in it and really what thisprogram does it number one it gives a school or evenue, watches a plus andbeing all my years at the school board. That's the first question: You're askedthe financial part of it number two. It generates a revenue for the program, sowe can give back and by tools and third of all, the kids get paid. L, that'sthe thing that the kids sues me. If I was a high school student, someone paidme to go to high school I'd be up every morning wanting to go, not an averagebelly get about. You know. The profit sharing is about two sandolas a year,but what's really nice about this is Craig is just a wonderful person, and Ican tell you how you can do this, but he went on all businesses and gotdonations and got people involved and he's got some pretty wealthy peopleinvolved in and one couple of them. Actually, anybody that goes intomanufacturing their school is pretty much a hundred percent paid for so youcan go to to yer EC Tech College, and I mean you were done. You have zero debtand that's what that's big, because some people go to that for your collegeand the Don and like. Why did they do this? I mean I have probably have sixof them at mors that went to the four year college six year college orwhatever have a hundred thousand dol debt over their head, where these kidswent to to your college, making the...

...same wage for zero debt, so they'regoing out buying homes and cars and enjoying life- and you know that's mymain focus if I can prevent one kid from making a bad decision cause. Inever had that when I grew up. That's the goal. I mean it's not all about me,so you know these guys. It's a student run. I mean the machine is ter incharge of making the parts they're in charge of talk in the customer. Theyhave production coordinator's. They have laid that in a lace, supervisorsmill supervisors. They have marketing campaign, a business person, it's afull blowing program and the best way to learn about it is, I actually have ayuture video I could share. We do in one minute's time. It'll tell you whatit's all about, but, second of all, if you really want to get learning it, wehave workshops like three times a year. Granted they were live, which I reallyenjoyed, but now last tube and virtual is a little bit of challenge becauseI'm a person that likes to meet face to face, but so we've been doing them andyou know we charge a little bit for it, but it tells you how to start theprogram how to develop day, one do thisthey due to this, and just you getto meet everybody, you get to see it live and you get to see why businesspartners are involved. Is School administrators are involved in hall atall, just basically evolves. Anyways Dan conry is a super guy he's a bigsupport of it. He's probably my hat's off to him. He's probably shoulddeserve more credit than I do because he's really involved in it. My Ays kidaround when, when I see Dan it means a fish is not good, but off set aside,you know, he's just a big support of it. He's actually personally donated likeeverybody else, during like twenty five and dollar to the program. You knowit's what he likes to call it. He calls it Varsity shop. You know where mostschools are like around here. Athletics are big in schools, and some people goto schools for their athletics, and some schools go further things orscience or whatever they're good at and it's open a role at now. So people aredoing this, and this is what cardinals, knowing for so a lot of people in open,er own at school, which you know here in Wisconsin, you get roughly tenSandolas for student money wise. I state the federal and you got twentytwenty five kids open rolling. That's quite a lot of money in your budget, sofrom a school board side they love it, and but really it's about what itreally bores down to like mini Craig and Dance Ay. We're not here to teachthe hard skill. We are here to teach a soft skill, because if you don't havethe soft skills, I don't care who you are, what Industria it can't besuccessful. You got to show up for work. You got to play together at the team.You got to be playing ice in a sand box together. If you can't do that, thereis no sense of teaching someone Harte Machine, all the world how to fabricatewhatever you did the cure may be. So we really focus on that in Craig. Go callme up and say mad, I'm having a problem over here. Can you come over and talk?So when someone fails there, everybody kind of fails and we bring them all inin the classroom. We shut the shop down. We talk about the issue and I can tellyou ten times out of ten and them Ten Commandments. It's not a you know it'snot a religious gamains, Tasos Commandments and we'll find it rightaway, and the kids know it. I'm like okay, is this: What you're going to doin life in the career? Go? No! Okay!...

We're sorry we'll figure it out and Ican give you a perfect example. They were making this part aluminum part andthey were trying to tap a quarter twenty hole and the mill supervisorsays you can't tap aluminum that big, I'm like you can tap a lur that big andthen the two machine operators are like Wyke. My tap keeps breaking so I wentover there and I could explain to him that maybe you're your jural got inthere is a little too too small and what happens? Is it the miners, not bigenough to tap a break? So I had to show in the chart- and I said this chart islike from back in the S: it's not modern, modern tools to day actuallydrill the size. So let's put the correct drill in and staff a few holeswhile we did that and it worked and like okay, so you guys are fightingover this and not getting along, and you know so that number the teachablemoments you like to have. When I talk to kids too, you know everybody tellsme what an a recently I was in some of the news about Cocon, find help andnever lot of comments or just pay more money pay more money and Joe. I knowmore worlt of people that are really pretty wealthy that are unhappy than Ido that people that make ends on meet every month because they love theirjobs. It's not all it's about money. It's about, come to a place. I wantthem to be here. They want to be here and we make it happy. We work togetherand I tell people build a culture and your Ayer problems go go away becausemy best recruiters are my employees. Now. Why do you believe there's beensuch a decline in interest among younger generations about entering themanufacturing work force? That's a question that POPs up a lot lately andit's one. I personally, I don't can't really a hundred percent acta correctly,but we all have the same thing and now it's like it's all this dirty dirty,grimy job, the parents, don't want you that there's no future in it and we'vegotten that word out and I think it's improved a little bit, but I just thinkit's what we need to get better at is it's more technical running the machine,isn't pushing buttons and just dialing it's you know I'll, tell everybodymachinando frankly underpaid and then that's one thing I want to do. I mean Iwant to be like to her. I Mosler telling people to reasure instead ofoff shore. I want to be the guy known for it's pay. These machinist is pateswalders. What they're worth because you're really here, you're a scientist,you're a chemist, you're, an engineer, you're a programmer and you got to giveall processes, metals, move things, don't pull right and we're paying. Youknow we're paying in two thousand thirty range, where these kids aretelling the construction, electrician plumbers, they're working well overthirty- and it's just not right, I'm not saying cutting it. Making a mistakein a two by four nowadays, of course, that's quite expensive, but you knowyou pile up a five hundred thousand dollar five access interacts. I didn'tknow ten two by four I mean that's like a seventy five thousand dollar spindleor if not worse, and people should get paid for that kind of risk and and it'svery stressful, so I just don't think that'scommunicated out with people out there and then, when I, they just think foryour college, for your college you're a loser or not. Quite frankly, that'swhat drives me every day, because when...

I was in school and Granet I wasn't.The nicest person is cool and probably deserved a little bit. What I deserved,but one of my teachers told me you know: Matt, you ain't Goin, to have nosuccessful life, you're going to be just low ball on it and never have acareer or anything, and you know that drives me every day. You know we kindof respected the teacher and he told me that I'm going really, you know that'sokay, so I just don't want other student really to be like that, becauseyou know every kid out there. Anybody has a gift and talent Joe. We just haveto help them find it and once they find it and I've seen it over and over andover they just blossom. I mean I can give you example for some people thisworking here I mean we got. Maddie Mat he's a wonderful lad and I meant her.She couldn't say two words and she was a freshman in high school. The cardinalher head was down, and I said Mattie one day I said: What's the matter, Ijust don't know what I'm going to do and Maddie well, it's gets develop aplan because every dream or goal a lot of plan is called failure. So many,what do you want to do a war? Do you want to be why I like making things Isaid it's let's get there is, is how we can get there. So we kind of laid out aplan and if someone were told me that day that she could scan up and speak infront of three hundred people, a thought you were crazy, but she doesshe's a spark plug here and me and Dan kind of fight over, because the Annealways wanted to hire and I wanted to hire so we always struggle with that.But mattes, a superstar here I mean she's twenty one years old, run in afive access, integre and being the leader at twenty one years old, JoeTwenty one. I got cold cool. He doesn't work here, he's actually a teacherMinnesota. He just thought he was depressed and a loser and CRIG wrappedhis arm around him and ox Ting and all he's talking to people showing peoplebecame a leader. One thing I do over their cardinal, like everybody kind ofof a nickname, so we always called Cole Hollywood. Well, why do we callHollywood? And I don't know if you guys know Titan Gilroy? He was on a show oneday and Titan was interviewing them and ever since then, he's became Hollywoodand he went on industry work got about two or three years and then he justdecided hey. I want to be like an under crake or Cowsky and decided to goteaching and he's. Thank you this his second year and all this year is thesecond year of covert kind of set it back, but he'll he'll develop a programjust like Craig did and there's sever aller students that are actuallybecoming teachers and actually with Craig's program. When now we got tallyand Tyson who both went for the program, went on industry and came back and it'snice, it's just kind of reproducing itself, but no, it's all about the kids,making the right crew choices, and you know other thing. I tell these kids ifmanufacturing isn't for you, that's fine, that's that's cool, at least now.You know what you don't want to do and what you do want to do and ain't therethat could almost save you a hundred thousand. If you do go to for yourcollege and that's not it, but you always remember, you can always fallback and manufacture, and I know who you are. I know where you've been, Iknow or you're going, so I s rely me as a reference or whatever and there'sbeen people that have called me and hey matt. I just this isn't nursing this isplumbing is doesn't for me. I remember machine and I enjoyed making thingsbecause really you know I talk to kids when I hire people. I look for likefour things. I look to see if they've...

...been involved in art because reallymachine in fabricating his art. I look for sports to sports is team player.You got to work together, music and that's not kind of a touchy one, butyou know when you're cutting ships- and you hear rumbling grumbling, that's nota good noise. You might want as pitty feed hold them and then what was theother one: Art, music, sports and math math, of course, naturally mats goodfor everybody, those four key Charriti that I kind of stick to and that's kindof what we lean towards over there too man. What have you learned about how tocommunicate with what I suppose is now Genz stay in touch they're looking forattention and it seems like if you higher a wand, you're going to hirethree or four right behind you, because they all seem like the hang togetherwith each other. When I was growing up, we did that too, but we didn't havecell phones and all this fantasy stuff. We just hung together, play sportstogether and just build that relationship. Now, it's more technicalthey're, not so much together, they're chatting or their text ing or is snapshading whatever they do? You have to be part of that that use thattechnology, because they want attention- and you know you kind of got to go withthe floor. It's sometimes it gets to be. What's this old guy doing tex and theteenager, but you have there's a fine liner, but you just have to stayinvolved in their their lives and just keep them on that path, because if theygo off it they'll go off fast. I trust me, it's that's what I don't like tohear makes sense. Matt here you picked up where your father left off and youtook over ms machining and kind of took it up to another level and have wonawards and been recognized by. You know some pretty reputable sources andpublications and Industry Organizations, and you did all this while also findinga way to be active in the community and doing some good for the world. So myquestion, for you is what advice: Can you give other manufacturing leadersthat are listening right now about how to find that kind of balance? Don't bescared, you know. Most people are complaining and I, like I tell people,don't come to me by team here. Don't come to me withproblems. Come to me with solutions you have to you have to get outside yourage. You just they're not going to come to you, you have to go to them and justdon't take no for an answer. You know. I can't tell me it's different schools.I called on I called on the superintendent, the principal. I gotnothing, nothing! Nothing like I told you before. I don't take no for ananswer, so I got into ficiate football and basketball. Well, you become, youknow you make a call holster you get! You get that relationship with the headcoach and all of a sudden. It now he's your reference and he goes to thesuperintendent principle who he works with every day say he got to come andtalk to this guy and that's how you open that door. I always say just whenyou do get it that chance. Do I tell them hey you're important to me becauseand vitamin to your shop colder and speak, even if you can't just maybethrow a video and just show your presence as far as just be part of yourcommunity, because really owning a business or running the business orbeing a leader you have to people got to know who you are because really on,like kids, they look up the heroes. You know they got the fancy professionalathletes and you know some of them are...

...kind of. You know that the not the besthero and I'd rather, my goal is for them to. Let me be the hero, so theycan look up to me and I think, all the more respect that goes that way, butdon't fear it man, just it's once you get into it. I guarantee you, we startgetting recognition, you start seeing kids and community mentor is getinvolved. It's just kind of a drug really in a way, just don't sit homeand clip lint. Just don't sit in your shop, Your Business and complain aboutit, because that doesn't there nobody, no good. That's good advice. Mat Isthere anything I didn't ask you about today that you'd like to touch on athere's, actually quite a few. I could probably be here for another hour, but you know. First of all, when I talkabout the employment thing, you know it's, it's like we're we're in memoryto back in the depressions in the IES and there were no jobs and we had allthese people applying. Well, that's a reversal now, so you got to kind ofthink about it like that, where there's all these jobs, but there's no peopleapplying, so you got to get rid ly creative and you know like if you'reback in the this, you had to get creative to get a job or show them now,it's just as a business owner as the community. You have to get creative anddo special things with benefits and stuff, and the second thing is, youknow: There's a lot of businesses out there that struggling and I've beenthere. I mean I've been in that this doing this. For thirty five years nowand you're going to have ups you're going to have dones lower times hightimes, but always keep your head up and there are people out there to help youtrust me I've had. I can name I mean I think where I'm at today isn't win.What I did it's for people have helped me, take that advice and use it goodway to put a bell on him at really appreciate you doing this day. It was agreat conversation. I really admire what you've been able to do a cardinaland a finding creative, innovative ways to get young people involved inmanufacturing and interested in manufacturing during a time when thatinterest. Really, when what I want, I guess there really needs to be some newlife breathed in into the industry and there's so many interesting thingshappening in manufacturing, but we need to shed light on it for the youngergenerations to kind of draw them in. I just think it's really great whatyou're doing at cardinal so mat. Can you tell our audience the best way toget in touch with you and where they can learn more about both M rsmachining and about Cardinal Manufacturing Yeah, I'm a Lindon underMac, goose and that's one way or you can reach us on our website. That's atW W W T M R S machining with a c all on the end com and I'll get your messageand I'm here to help anyway, I can feel free to reach out. Sometimes I get upin the middle of the night and I'll my text yet two or three in the morning,but that's just how I am that's how I'm wired I mean it's twenty four, seven,three and sixty five for me. Well, thanks again for doing this bath. Thisis really good conversation and yeah. Everybody. Please check out whatcardinals doing look for Matt, goose on Linkin and hope to catch you on thenext episode of the Manufacturing Executive.

You've been listening to themanufacturing executive podcast to ensure that you never missed an episodesubscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you'd like to learnmore about industrial marketing and sale strategy, you'll find an everexpanding collection of articles, videos guides and tools, specificallyfor B to B manufacturers at grill. Seventy sixscore ashlar. Thank you somuch for listening until next time.

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