Who amongst us has not wondered in awe at the explosive power of Menthos and Coke, or for the more aged challenged amongst us, that old standby of baking soda and vinegar? I grew up with a house full of brothers and a neighborhood full of kids and am blessed to have three children of my own, so I have personally witnessed or taken part in any number of explosive creations or mangled engineering marvels. I am reasonably certain that should the zombie apocalypse my teenage boys warn me about actually come to bear, I could retire to my workshop and summon forth from my youth a stout zombie defense with some salt, brake fluid and one or two other purposely unmentioned ingredients.
My clear recollection of such pyrotechnics was that as a youth I had the ability to see, touch and hear how to make and utilize a variety of materials, not just read about how to do something.
One of the primary reasons I co-own a machine shop is that as a youth I vividly recall going to the Reynolds Aluminum plant (where my father was a metalworker) on “Family Day” and seeing the gantry lifts moving aluminum beams back and forth overhead. Also quite alive in my memory is the cast house, where aluminum was melted and molded into a variety of shaped and sized extrusions. (Liability concerns were obviously not a big issue for Family Day in the early 1970s.)
So while the chance to be splattered with molten aluminum is no longer an option, we have the next best thing coming to town in February and March. As part of the Arizona SciTech Festival, which is a statewide celebration of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), a project called How It’s Made Arizona has been designed to expand the knowledge and general perception of manufacturing careers and manufacturing’s value to the Arizona economy.
This program entails manufacturing companies opening their doors to the public and giving an inside view of what manufacturing is all about. We are currently looking for companies to help out by showcasing their products and abilities. The tours can be as exhaustive or as brief as you choose, no need to share the secret sauce, just show the magic the secret sauce can create.
To learn more, go to www.howitsmadeaz.com and click on “Host a Manufacturing Event”. If your company, your employer or your client is at all involved in manufacturing, your participation would be tremendously appreciated and you will be helping to nurture the curiosity that will build the next generation of manufacturers…or at the very least, the next generation of kids who run around with a welding mask and a tennis ball cannon pretending to be Iron Man.
Steve Macias is the president of Pivot Manufacturing and the chairman of the Arizona Manufacturers Council
The Arizona Manufacturers Council within the Arizona Chamber is the state affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). For more on manufacturing and NAM, visit http://www.nam.org/.