“LaunchPoint,” a new series on Cox7, spotlights the technology of manufacturing and the people who make manufacturing work.
On “Launchpoint’s” third episode, we hear the story of another promising young individual, Nicole Smith, and her work in the manufacturing industry.
For high school, Nicole Smith opted for Bay Path Vocational Technical High School in Charlton, Massachusetts, so she could experience multiple career options through the school’s exploratory program. In their freshman year, Bay Path students work for one weekend each, at nine different shops. After those nine cycles, the students choose the shop they want to work in for the next four years.
Going into this program, Nicole was planning on a culinary career. However, during her cycle in a kitchen, she quickly learned that it was not the place for her. The chef called on Tate Ostiguy to take her to his technology shop instead. Tate has worked in technology and manufacturing almost all his life and is a dedicated teacher, inspiring his students with “the impact that manufacturing has on the man-made products we use every day.”
Although in the machine shop Nicole seemed timid at first, Tate could see she had some real interest in the innovative work they did. In the first couple of days, Nicole showed her creativity and out-of-the-box-thinking by making a more advanced keychain than the other students for the first assignment, complete with a picture of her cat as well as an inscription. In addition to her work in the technical shop, Nicole joined the robotics team, where she experienced the process of putting together many small and diverse parts to ultimately build a fully functional machine.
Upon graduating, Nicole chose to pursue higher education, the first in her family to do so, at Quinsigmond Community College. At “Quinsig”, she studied under Steve Phillips, who taught his class at his own shop, Phillips Precision, giving his students a unique, hands-on experience compared to a regular classroom environment.
As Nicole said, “being in the shop environment helps a lot when you’re trying to learn about future careers; it connects the dots. I’m actually doing something, instead of looking at a screen or just taking notes.”
Nicole eventually received a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology, and went back to Phillips Precision where she is an inspector. With her help, Phillips Precision has moved into the racing market, creating high quality parts for race cars at a reasonable price.
Nicole’s attention to detail is crucial to ensuring that all parts are above the required standards necessary in high-speed racing. As a result, customers are more than happy with the high quality parts Phillips Precision produces.
Phillips Precision looks forward to new technology that is continuously advancing and coming into the shop, knowing Nicole will be on the front lines, testing it and teaching other employees how to use it with quality and success.
More episodes can be found at http://www.cox7.com/launchpoint.