ASHWAUBENON (NBC 26) — The Manufacturing First Expo & Conference gets underway at the Resch Expo Wednesday, and this year's theme is all about addressing change.
Machine Plus employees in De Pere say they look forward to the event every year.
"Manufacturing, plain and simple. It's everything from machining all the way down to trucking. It will bring you through the whole process. It's pretty amazing," said Machine Plus President Jamie Veeser.
Veeser says his business will be one of the 180 exhibitors connecting with other manufacturers and job seekers—looking to get their start in the field.
"Absolutely, it's for everyone. If you're looking to get a job or get into a certain company. There are going to be employers there. There are going to be presidents there. You're going to rub elbows with just about everybody in manufacturing," Veeser said.
This year's theme is all about addressing change in the field, and Veeser says he's excited to learn how other manufacturers are adapting to demand.
"Automation! That's the big hot, button on everybody's mind is automation, automation, because we have plenty of jobs for students coming out of school, but there aren't enough students to fill those jobs. So, automation is very hot right now," Veeser said.
Veeser and his crew specialize in building hard-to-make parts. That includes everything from manufacturing packaging containers for hot dogs cases to small pieces used to build sports cars.
Veeser says his crew is just as excited to connect with students to hopefully inspire them with something new this year.
"We're going to bring in more long boards that the guys like to make, just to show off some talent and just get people excited. There's so many things you can do in machining, and there are so many things you can do in manufacturing. It's so cool," Veeser said.
Veeser said with this year's keynote speaker focusing on changes to the industry, he's experiencing that firsthand and happy to see where it's going.
"It's changed the whole environment of machining. Machining is not a dirty environment anymore like it used to be way back in the day. My dad was in machining. He would come off the job and he stunk. I used to be like, "What's that smell?" Nowadays, you can go out to eat after. Some guys even wear gloves. It's a totally different industry," Veeser said.