Spring Manufacturing and the Local Community Help Each Other by John Higgins, Ace Wire Spring & Form Co., Inc. Springs Magazine - Winter 2013
As the co-owner of Ace Wire Spring & Form Co., Inc., Linda Froehlich is passionate about her company's involvement in the local community. She enthusiastically supports local programs that expose kids to the opportunities available in manufacturing.
The company sponsors a local high school team that participates in BotsIQ, a STEM high school program, where students learn science, technology, engineering, and math. The team of high school students uses their knowledge of engineering, technology, and manufacturing to create robots. The remote-controlled robots compete in a gladiator type of tournament hosted by a local college. The winner is the last robot standing.
Creativity and enthusiasm are a big part of what students demonstrate, and Ace Wire Spring & Form is happy to encourage this experience any way it can. The company buys t-shirts for the students, and invites them to the company’s shop to see first-hand how spring manufacturing works. The company gives them a guided tour of the manufacturing shop, and explains the many aspects involved in the spring making process. Also, Ace’s expert shop craftsmen make themselves available to answer student questions and explain the career opportunities in manufacturing.
Ace Wire Spring & Form also works with high school students in the Robotics and Precision Machining Program at Parkway West Technical. Ace offers a tour of the company’s shop to both students and teachers, and makes itself available to answer questions and provide information. Also, the company's journeyman machinist and fourslide manager visits the technical school to speak to students. They explain the opportunities in manufacturing, their experience in the field, and answer questions. This creates a personal connection between Ace Wire (and the manufacturing industry as a whole) and students, increasing their enthusiasm and awareness of the opportunities in manufacturing.
In addition, Ace Wire Spring & Form offers internships through local colleges. In communicating with school staff, business relationships have been established so they understand what Ace Wire Spring & Form employment needs are. At the same time, Ace Wire Spring & Form learns what current college students are looking for in manufacturing. Currently, the company is working with graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh to conduct marketing research on the spring manufacturing industry including future growth opportunities.
Through these many opportunities to communicate with schools and their students, Ace Wire Spring & Form is better able to learn what the manufacturing talent pool will be filled with in a couple of years. At the same time, the students’ perspectives on what manufacturing is, and the career possibilities available helps increase their enthusiasm for the field they are interested in, and how to ultimately get to the dream career they desire.
By creating this open avenue of communication between Ace Wire Spring & Form and students in the community, Linda Froehlich hopes to not only help plug some of the existing skill gaps, but also help the future workforce understand the multitude of opportunities that are available in spring manufacturing.