Thousands of students, a variety of hands-on activities, and numerous employers … OH MY! Picture this: The lobby of DeVos Performance Hall in downtown Grand Rapids is full of over 10,000 students talking, laughing, and excited for what they are about to experience. When they walk into the exhibit hall they will be greeted by numerous employers within four major industries: advanced manufacturing, health sciences, construction, and information technology. What is this crazy, fun, knowledge packed event called you may ask? It’s MiCareerQuest!
MiCareer Quest is not your normal career fair. This is a hands-on experience that allows middle and high school students to create curiosity and excitement for their potential future in one of these awesome and successful industries. Lead by volunteers, the students are allowed 25 minutes in each section visiting the different booths and engaging with employers.
DeWys Manufacturing partnered with the Kent Intermediate School District this year. Students and educators that stopped by our booth experienced numerous aspects of the manufacturing field. The students assembled brush bots by gluing a toothbrush to the bottom of a battery, then taking the motor and placing the positive and negative (one on each side) to the battery, then use a rubber band over it to hold the motor in place. Once everything was assembled correctly the battery caused a vibration. The students could then race their brush bot against their peer’s, tracking to see who’s was the fastest!
From there the students could sit at a computer and learn about CAD designing and even got to use the software. If that wasn’t enough, they could then go on to program a robotic arm and as a take away they got to keep a glow in the dark 3D printed item from KCTC.
This was DeWys’ fourth year participating with MiCareerQuest, and it is made evident every year how important this event is to the W Michigan area. As an employer in the skilled trades industry, we know how big the demand is and will continue to be for manufacturing positions. If at the end of the day we helped change one students perception of manufacturing and they will be considering it for a future career, then we have done our job! Contact us if you are interested in more information on the MiCareerQuest Event!
Today’s students view manufacturing as dark, dingy, and dead end. Here at DeWys, we have purposely worked with our local schools, colleges, and community partners to improve this perception. This is our way of helping to change the perception of manufacturing.
I sat down with three team members at DeWys ranging from ages 19 – 23 to discuss their opinions of manufacturing:
What was your perception of manufacturing growing up/before starting at DeWys?
Cody: “I didn’t really know much about manufacturing, but it sounded interesting and hands on. This may scare away most but I found it intriguing and wanted to learn more.”
Hannah: “I did not think that I would end up with a job in manufacturing. Growing up, I didn’t have a complete understanding of what all it entails because of that it was not as appealing to me as other opportunities.”
Logan: “Our country was built on manufacturing and local manufacturing is also good for our economy. Everything you use on a day to day basis was manufactured and this industry is not going anywhere, so I knew since high school that I wanted a career in a manufacturing environment.
What do you think your peers perceptions of manufacturing is?
Hannah: “I feel like most think of your typical 80’s factory job. Long hours, dirty shop, no windows, and little flexibility.
Logan: “My high school did an excellent job of promoting manufacturing, so my peers growing up had a positive impression. I feel like other schools only promote four year college degrees and those schools should be more open to the skilled trades industry opportunities as well.”
Cody: “I think most feel like it’s a challenge career with dead end jobs”
Now that you are working in manufacturing, has your perception changed at all? If so how?
Logan: “My perception has always been positive, so no it hasn’t changed. I have known that I didn’t necessarily want a four-year degree, but once I learned that DeWys offered tuition reimbursement I figured I could now learn about manufacturing inside and outside of the shop.
Cody: “Now that I have worked in manufacturing for a few years, I have learned ALOT. DeWys has a great training program and gives you the opportunity to cross train if interested.
Hannah: “Now that I am working in manufacturing, it is an eye opener and really cool to be working with parts that will eventually go towards items I use on a day to day basis.
From what I heard when talking to Logan, Hannah, and Cody is that the younger generation is open minded and excited to learn more about manufacturing! More manufacturers and educators should be partnering together to promote the skilled trades industry to change the dark, dirty, dead end perception in the next generation. So again, my question to you is how are you changing the perception of manufacturing?
DeWys Manufacturing Inc., a West-Michigan based metal solutions company, is pleased to announce the addition of Molly LaRoche as our newest Human Resources Generalist. In her new role, she will be instrumental in supporting the Human Resources department and the organization as a whole. Molly will be responsible for payroll, safety meetings, wellness initiatives, and team member benefits. She will also work alongside DeWys Mfg.’s Workforce Development Manager to interview and hire skilled team members that fit with the culture of the company.
Molly received an Associate Degree from GRCC then transferred to Grand Valley State University where she earned a Bachelors Degree in Human Resource Management. She completed an HR internship managing new hire paper work, hourly timesheets, and 401(k) contributions. Prior to coming to DeWys, she worked for a tax firm where she assisted in tax processing and administrative duties. Along with her knowledge and experience from school and internships, Molly is looking forward to expanding her skills and experience in the Human Resource field, growing within the company, and learning the many facets of manufacturing.
When Molly is not assisting team members at DeWys, she is spending time with her family, and boating in Grand Haven (in the summer months). She also enjoys riding her bike on trails in Holland or volunteering at a variety of non-profit organizations in the greater Grand Rapids area. Molly’s willingness to learn and grow with the team members as well as her interest in improving DeWys Manufacturing, will make her an asset to the culture and future of the company.
DeWys Manufacturing Inc., a West-Michigan based metal solutions company, is pleased to announce the addition of Paul Love as our newest IT team member. In his new role, Paul will be engaged with the innovation and technology teams as DeWys Mfg. implements the Industry 4.0 plan. Industry 4.0 is the automation and data exchange within our information system and manufacturing equipment. He will be responsible for orchestrating system upgrades, network troubleshooting, and computer deployment. He will also be assisting team members with daily issues and working to develop cost effective hardware solutions that provide value and solve unique complex problems.
Paul received a Bachelors in Database Management as well as an Associates in Computer Information Systems. He also has five years of experience in the field giving him the knowledge and wisdom to excel at DeWys Mfg. Paul loves a challenge and within the Information Technology field there is always something to fix, new technologies to learn and master, or day to day operations to solve.
Outside of work, Paul loves to spend time participating in hands on activities with his kids. He enjoys watching them learn to create and solve a variety of projects and crafts. He also likes to travel with his family, watch Star Wars movies and play video games. Paul’s background and understanding of the I.T. field will make him a great asset to our team members at DeWys Manufacturing. The company looks forward to the contribution Paul will make in taking DeWys Mfg. to the next level of I.T. innovation.
As DeWys Manufacturing continues to grow and move further down our Road to Success, it is important to the owners that the team members are invested in our culture. To do this, our management team put in place the Cultural Road to Success. These three core principles are what the entire company is now responsible for.
- Values: This is how we A.C.C.T. With this we recognize and reward team members for positively affecting DeWys
- Advancement: Everything and everyone can be improved
- Character: Do what is right
- Customer Astonishment: Customers drive our success
- Talent: Be the best that you can be
- Attitude: When team members, management, and owners are all working towards the same goal, that is when DeWys will continue the journey on our Road to Success.
- Accountable: We will be accountable to each other
- Empowered: We will feel empowered to make a difference
- Problem Solve: We will be driven to problem solve
- Beliefs: This is based off the old saying “treat others the way you want to be treated”
- Recognizing: We believe in recognizing team members
- Rewarding: We believe in rewarding team member initiative
- Communicating: We believe in communicating a clear consistent message
So what does the Cultural Road to Success mean for the future of DeWys Manufacturing? First, this will open communication up to ALL team members sharing our cultural vision for years to come. Second, it allows our human resources department to find and hire the right fit during the interview process. “Understanding what we value and where we want to go in the future ensures that we are committed to making the right hire each and every time” – Laura Elsner, Workforce Development Manager. Finally, DeWys is adamant about making this Cultural Road to Success public information. When current and future team members, the management, and the community know our vision for the future we will all be on the same page towards achieving our goals
Nothing is perfect, but when you strategize, implement, and work together as a team then that is when you can see growth. DeWys has been in business for over forty prosperous years, and with the culture addition to our Road to Success, we see the next forty being even better!
Two years ago, DeWys Manufacturing implemented four main principles that were set in place to be our companies values, also known as A.C.C.T. This acronym stands for Advancement, Character, Customer Astonishment, and Talent. DeWys takes pride in knowing our team members portray these qualities on a daily basis.
As part of A.C.C.T., a team member is either nominated by a peer for a variety of positive achievements or submits their own innovative ideas to improve a process within the company. During 2017 team members were caught in the A.C.C.T. for a variety of reasons.
- Russ, Kevin, Alex, and Ryan each submitted innovative ideas that are currently being implemented into the shop. These ideas will increase throughput in the cutting department, cut costs and increase safety in the machining area by modifying a saw and adding drawers to the workstations. Also, purchasing a turret tool that will reduce the tool hits on a customer’s product by 65%, and purchasing a vacuum system for the powder booth that eliminate how often maintenance is needed.
- Phil, Eric, Nate, and Lee showed compassion towards team members and the community. Whether it was offering a hand when in need, taking a new team member under his wing to make them feel welcome, hosting students to his family farm to learn new opportunities, or cheering up a coworker’s daughter who was injured, these four went out of their way to help out and make a difference.
- Customer Astonishment
- Lisa, Ryan, Juan, and Bob went above and beyond their job descriptions to ensure the customers needs were taken care of. Paying attention to detail to notice misleading part information, working overtime and weekends to wow a customer with a new program, catching quality issues saving us from a huge return, or explaining in detail what DeWys does for continuous improvement are why these four were recognized in 2017.
- Jim, Semir, Nate, and Chris won for their expertise in the areas they work. Whether it was having the willingness and ambition to learn more, committing to spreading their talent and knowledge onto their team, being a skilled welder, or being a problem solver and having great utilization, their talent and commitment to the industry shined through.
As DeWys Mfg. continues to grow and move further down our road to success, it is important to the owners that the team members are invested in our culture. In the next issue I will be talking about the expansion of the ACCT into our new Cultural Road to success and what that means for the future of DeWys.
DeWys Manufacturing Inc., a West – Michigan based metal solutions company, is pleased to announce the promotion of Alex Middleton as our newest Product Development Engineer! In his new role, Alex will be instrumental in benefiting our customers through redesign for manufacturability and cost reduction, supporting manufacturing through process and product improvements, and reviewing customer prints. Furthermore, he will be developing and creating internal manufacturing packages for a wide variety of customer products.
Alex has been working with metal since he was 12 years old, starting in his dad’s sheet metal shop. He learned at a young age that he enjoyed the atmosphere and working hands on. He has been a valued team member at DeWys Manufacturing since 2002 starting as a CNC programmer. This role provided knowledge and experiences with processes and procedures that will help him to excel in his new engineering role.
Along with his engineering career, Alex is a paid-on call Firefighter/EMT and in his free time loves to work in his shop at home where he enjoys making knives. With his passion and experience in the manufacturing industry, Alex will be an asset for the company’s customers as well as the engineering department.
From an 800-square foot pole barn, DeWy Mfg. has transformed into a thriving 98,000 square foot building within the past forty years. Over that time period, the company has developed into a precision sheet metal powerhouse featuring a talented group of team members and a wide range of precision sheet metal capabilities.
But what propelled DeWys to where it is today, are the same values and tenets that created the culture in that little red pole barn forty years ago. Four key guides the company continues to use today, (1) Advancement – Everything and everyone can be improved, (2) Character – Do what is right, (3) Customer Astonishment – They drive our success, and (4) Talent – Be the best you can be. All four are important to DeWys.
2017 developed and set the foundation for the company to be in business for the next forty years. With record sales, hiring over 50 new team members, the companies first business acquisition, first collaborative robot, and a redefined focus on culture, exciting things are happening and will continue to roll into 2018.
Looking back, we could have NOT accomplished any of this without the hard working, talented, and dedicated team members. Summer was a bit of a toil for all, with a substantial spike in our business resulting in an increase of overtime. BUT we made it through, learned from our rapid growth and mistakes, and we are now set up for the next wave of business.
So, what is in store for 2018, that will have an impact on the next forty years to come? First, and foremost, the management team has wrapped up it’s annual, one-page strategic planning document, labeled the 2018 Road to Success. The plan consists of targets for the next 1, 5, and 15-years. Key areas of focus are culture development, investments in infrastructure and technology, getting to know our customers more, and improving our quality and delivery metrics just to name a few.
The company has been blessed in so many ways in the last forty years. There is always uncertainty in any future, and we will only endure the ups and downs by keeping the faith and working together as one. Thank you! – Jon DeWys, CEO of DeWys Manufacturing
DeWys Manufacturing Inc., a West – Michigan based metal solutions company, is pleased to announce the addition of two Fanuc robotic arc weld cells to the DeWys Manufacturing automation process. The company’s innovation team partnered with Lincoln Electric’s Automation Division to create weld cells that will provide a solution to automate current mechanized and manual welding processes.
The robots will provide reliable and repeatable production that utilizes new welding capabilities, positioning, and vision guiding technology for DeWys Mfg. The Fanuc robotic arc weld cells will increase capacity and weld quality, allow for repeatable work through laser dot touch sensing, and create production capabilities for customers whose parts were unable to be robotically welded before. DeWys Manufacturing will also minimize material handling steps as well as decrease cycle times on moving parts from manual weld booths to automated systems.
Utilization of the off-line programming software offered with these robots will drastically reduce time on the shop floor due to manual programming. The software also allows for feasibility studies which will more accurately determine weld work for the robots. DeWys Manufacturing looks forward to new opportunities the robotic arc weld cells will create for our current and future customers. The addition of the two new weld cells will not only increase capacity, but also increase DeWys Mfg.’s value to their customers.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give” – Winston Churchill
Tis the season to reflect on life and count your blessings, and to take the time to help change the lives of those that are not as fortunate as others. It is extremely important to the team members of DeWys Mfg. that we take time throughout the year to volunteer with a variety of organizations in the West Michigan area.
“I love that DeWys offers us many opportunities to volunteer. I enjoy being able to spend time with coworkers I might not otherwise get to work with, and I love trying to show people in our community that, as a company and as individuals, we care about them!” – Don W., team member
Kicking off this year, a group of volunteers spent time at Kids Food Basket making premade nutritious sacked suppers for children. This organization serves over 7,000 children in the community that may not have a meal at home each night. Later in the year, DeWys held a companywide competition for team members to raise funds while cheering on their favorite NCAA team, MSU or UofM. Within two weeks, team members raised $200, which was donated to Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids. Gilda’s Club works with cancer patients and their families throughout the stages of their diagnosis to make life easier and offer programs to cope and receive support.
Habitat for Humanity is an organization we volunteer with annually. A group of 20 team members spent a Saturday this fall completing demo work on a house that will eventually be a home for a single mother and her three daughters. This year’s team motto was ‘building our community one home at a time’. We believe that a home should be a place your family goes to be safe, warm, and happy.
For the first time, DeWys Manufacturing will be adopting a family with four girls ages seven through eleven this December through Love Inc of Allendale. Through this program, we will be providing holiday cheer in the form of presents, clothes, and other items on their wish list. When the gifts are picked up by the family, Love Inc. provides a dinner and a few other surprise gifts.
Life is full of blessings but unfortunately some are more fortunate than others. As you start your holiday season celebrations, remember those families in your community that are in need and make it a point to do something generous for them. I know the DeWys Manufacturing team members sure do!