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Five of our Sandalwood Engineering & Ergonomics team members, Director of Systems Integration Paul Lagroix, Systems Integration Manager Brent Severn, Systems Integration Associate Bob Sloma, Injury Prevention Manager Dan Mines and Systems Engineering Associate John Osborn Jr. are attending the Manufacturing and Technology Conference in Pittsburgh PA from April 1 – 3, 2019

Check out the Day 3 recap from John Osborn Jr. for insights and happenings from the conference!

The final day of the conference featured two quick, deep dive sessions into several topics. Paul, Brent, Dan, and I attended a deep dive session put on by the MESA staff, where we were presented with a hypothetical company that was going through a downturn due to a lag in manufacturing technology. We broke off into teams of 8-10 and each team attacked a different aspect of the case study. My team focused on connective technologies and used the MOST analysis technique to determine our path to implement connectivity to the plant floor. To avoid getting into excessive detail, I’ll summarize by laying out a quick overview of the plan we came up with:

  1. Mission
    • Modernize our business strategy to give us a better opportunity to compete in a more globalized world
  2. Objective
    • Transform our operations to utilize smart manufacturing technologies
    • Eliminate the need for any paper, both in the plant and the meeting rooms
    • Connect our engineers to our machines remotely, so that data can be gathered at any time, from any place
  3. Strategy
    • Scale our goals
      • Establish where we are today, and where we want to be in a day, month, or year
    • IT strategy
      • Determine what our current IT infrastructure is capable of, and where improvements are needed
    • Feedback/Feed-forward
      • Ensure we are capturing all our results/data, and verify it is feeding into future results
  4. Tactics
    • Bring a third party person/company in to get an outside-in look at our company
    • Review the annual report
      • Identify what has been done to help or hurt our mission over the last year


At the end of the 30 minute team sessions, we came together again to go over each team’s action plan.

The second deep dive I attended was a session on training and quality standards, led by the days keynote speaker, Titan Gilroy Titans of CNC. This was a thorough discussion on development of our youth in the skilled trades, and how to hold them to a very high standard in order to develop top tier talent. Titan has a very interesting story of how he “came to be.” In a nutshell, he moved to America at a young age, and quickly got into boxing, where he experienced almost instant success. One night, he was out at a night club where an altercation broke out that landed Titan in San Quentin prison for 16 years. In prison, Titan studied machining to keep himself out of trouble, which led to a massive reduction in his sentence from 16 years to 3 years. Once out of prison Titan got a job as a CNC operator with HAAS manufacturing. Because of the great benefits Titan found from studying machining, he wanted to share his gift with others. He went on to start his own company, specializing in CNC training, which he offered at little or no cost to high schools, colleges, and prisons.

I’ve captured a few of Titan’s tips for success below

  1. Make jewelry
    • Anything thing you make or any service you provide should be the absolute best quality possible and be perceived as “jewelry”
    • If your customer is anything short of amazed by the quality of your work, you have under performed
  2. The skills gap is a lie
    • There is a myth that there is a gap in skills among our youth. Titan calls this a complete lie, and says the real issue is not a lack of skills, but a lack of training to polish the skills already present
  3. Give back to your community
    • Not only locally, but anywhere your help is needed
    • If you take care of those around you, they will always be willing to take care of you, should the need arise

Overall, this was a great experience, that I took a ton of knowledge away from, and I am sure my fellow Sandalwood attendees would agree.