Brooks, Milwaukee, Engineer discussed on How'd It Happen Podcast


Podcast, which was awesome. I screwed up. And ran out of space on my SD card. And then I tried to. Well, we made a valiant effort at trying to capture the rest of the recording on my iphone, but sadly it was not good enough. You can start a new episode called it happens. It. So our this is our first is our first take two Andrew's been so kind as to as to make another hour of his time available to me. So thank you for that rose. Not my basement, this time moved out of that house. And we have an office now that I'm trying out as, as a podcast duty on planning to have two podcasts videos, one here and then wanted my new house, which is on the. Lake country. Nice on the west side. So I can make a convenient more convenient for people to come, but anyway enough about me. Andrew, welcome. It's good to be here. Coming again always happy to be with you. So engineer good friends, we've we've known each other for about sixteen years through I joined the tech group that Andrew was in back in two thousand and six. Tech is short for the executive committee and its group of, of presidency. Owes business owners that get together and they help each other learn from each other's experience and also get exposed to really great ideas and resources from people that come from all over the country in the world. It's part of this digit now for the last couple of years. But, but Andrew, and I know each other quite well as a result of having been together all that time. But I've never besides take one had the chance without alcohol to sit down. Oh I thought we were gonna have alcohol. Oh, well, we could we could see where that goes. You've already seen how I have trouble controlling gear when I'm sober. But anyway, Andrew, I ask everybody the same thing when they come on the show. And that's how did happen for you. That's a great question Michael and happy to be here with you how to happen assumes. It's done. And I'm still on the journey nice, but happy to talk about. That's what happens when you have a chance to think through it again after. I. Yeah. I hope most of it's the same. Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, it's journey. But you know how did we get to where we are right now is, it's a fun thing to reflect on? I'll try not to say, as I mentioned last time. Oh, thank you. So for anyone who didn't hear the beginning never been before brand new. Yeah. So I grew up in Gardner Massachusetts or as they say, gotta it's an hour west of Boston come from a blue collar family, five boys in the family. And when, when you graduate from high school in that in that town, there were some, you know, kids friends of mine that went to college and really did quite well, but a lot of us the options were going to military or work in the gun factory. And in fact, I had two brothers who served was a marine, always a marine, and the other one was in the coastguard and the rest of us all worked in the gun, factory, actually, so at one point, it was my, my dad and, and my oldest brother, Mark rather rock. My brother Matt myself. It was really kinda cool to do that. But I had a guidance counselor in high school who knew me pretty well. He was my soccer coach and, and he gave me some advice in turn out to be some of the best advice, I ever had in my life. He knew that I was good with my hands. He knew my family pretty well. He knew we always worked on our own cars. And, you know, a lot of things like that. But he said, new program had opened up Springfield technical community college. It was a two year degree in heat power and air conditioning with an emphasis on alternative energy solar energy, and earth, sheltered homes and and win. Dennard. What year was that nineteen eighty? Wow. Okay. Yeah. So we're talking about that. I kind of getting started. Although. Okay. Yeah. At that time, it was a little different than it is. Now, the, the teacher of one of the program said had goats on his roof. He was a real. Environmentalists that at his deepest roots. And so he was kind of living in an earth sheltered place. And he was on the leading edge of things, but he had a goat mowing his. Also grass on his building the side of a hill or something or. But at any rate, this guy concert mentioned this new program, and he said, it's kinda combination of working with your hands, and then learning some things in school. And so my dad and I got in the car and drove out there and we look looked at the program. We went out in the shop. And we saw these guys working with, you know, volt ohm meters and instruments to measure oxygen and flew gas and added note, any of that was at the time, but it just seemed fascinating to be. And I remember my father saying to me, I wish they had a program like this. When I was kid, I would love to have done something like this. So I ended up enrolling and, and the annual tuition was five hundred dollars a year. I worked in a gun factory save. That money and I was the first in our family to get a college degree, and that, that two year degree really is the reason why ended up here in Milwaukee, when, when I got through the whole program, I, I wouldn't primarily for alternate energy solar energy, and all these other things, and, and I had to take based courses in. Heat power and air conditioning. So I ended up with a first class, Firemen's license, so I can operate high pressure boilers doesn't come and all that handy any more, but at the time, it seemed like a good idea. And I also got a oil burner technician license from the state of Massachusetts. And that unique program, turn out to be something that was very relevant for a company located here in Milwaukee cleaver Brooks, so clear Brooks, targeted the school and actually went out there and set up interviews and nobody had really signed up. And so our teacher said to me and a few other folks, he said, once you guys sign up and I said, I don't wanna go to Milwaukee, it's cold and dark dirty there and as opposed to gun factory. Exactly right. At the gun factory. I did learn that. I didn't wanna do that. I wanna ask you for a second. What kind of work were you doing in the gun factory, and was it a soup to nuts factory where, where there was a foundry on the on the on the one end machining and whatever on the other we, we, we were? Very vertically integrated, but we did not poor hot metal. Okay. But we did take round sock and bore the holes in it for the shotguns in the twenty twos. And then for all the handguns they're all the machining operations. So in my first summer, there, I, I was in maintenance, and with that meant as I suck the cutting oil out of the bottom of the trays probably stuff that you really, but it was the worst job I ever had that sounds like a. That's a whole nother session, right? But yeah, I mean when, when you when you cut into handgun frames, and, and there would be I forget two hundred and fifty handgun frames on a on a frame, rack all of the drippings, from the cutting solvent or oil would drip, into the bottom of the tray and then you had suck it out. But there were other things in that cutting fluid as you might imagine, that's where people decided to spit, or through other cigars, or do other things just to get guys like us but I that's the vow. And then I helped out maintenance. In fact, I, I helped the plumber, he was a licensed plumber, and they, they let me carry tools around. So I was plumber's assistant for a little while. I learned a lot, and then and then the second year I got to do piece work, and then I worked night shift so I worked for two four. We were working twelve hour shifts at that time were making a lot of guts, okay? And with piece work, I could do pretty well. I could make you know, maybe five dollars and seventy five cents an hour back then that was a lot of money and, and then working that shift. I didn't spend any money. So I was able to save about money to pay for my. My room and board your room aboard. I at I actually stayed at a YMCA when I lived in Springfield, Massachusetts. I did for the first year and then second year I get an apartment. Okay. Yeah. So thanks for the perspective there, because it's important that I think that people know that, you know, how hard you work, you know what you are willing to do. How hard you're willing to work and then the opportunity that presented as a result. Yeah. My whole family in working there. It was a it was a good company Harrington Richard citizen, when the company they started, and I think eighteen seventy one h and our guns and the year that I was there we were making the marksman rifles for the US Olympic team. So they made some nice guns, but they made a lot of guns that were I would call entry level and guns that a beginner gun like my, my first in our family, when you turn sixteen you'd go to the firearm safety, course. And if you've got an a you got a gun for your sixteenth birthday. Okay. So I have a autographed gun with my name on. Some subverts engraved into its for you. Of course. Yeah. So back to the clear bookstore, they targeted the, the school and, and the instructor suggested that, you know, a bunch of sign up and the five ultimately signed up, but I didn't wanna come here because, you know, mock it had this in my mind, this reputation being cold dark integrity, and, and the instructor sit. Well, at least you'll get some experience interviewing, and so I went on the interview and, and out of the group of five I was the only one they were gonna fly out for, for second interview here, wacky, I'll come back to the rest of that story. What happened in between eventually came out and started with the company and had a, a full seventeen year career at cleaver Brooks. And what was interesting is the HR person who made her viewed me, told me, she said, when you come into this company, she said with your background, you're gonna start a shop technician on the floor in research and development, you'll work hand in hand. With an engineer you'll do some practice elements testing that might lead to some travel. So you might be able to go to some field tests. And then after that, maybe a product it's released maybe transfer over to clear Brooks, and working their service department, that could lead topper, -tunities management, or in parts and sales, or even business management is so many pass that you could go down and cleaver Brooks was installing they were selling installing boilers and schools factories apartment buildings. Everything everything short of power generation so everything from about doing this for memory, Michael, I want to say, three million BT us up to maybe two hundred fifty thousand tonnes of statement. Our just some ratings. But the, the big boys would be the size of a two story, colonial house, and, and the small boilers, you could fit through a door jam got it. Yeah. But bigger than a house. Usually a couple of story apartment building or schools. A lot of the schools in this country had cleaver Brooke spoilers. Okay. All right. Thanks. So she had walked through the, you know, the potential career you can have that cleaver Brooks. And I set a goal for myself to, to move to Milwaukee for two years. And then I would move back out east and fascinating in my seventeen years with the company, I held nearly every job that she had walked me through. So I I, I worked in our day, we develop new products. I transferred over to cleaver Brooks. I traveled all over the world, commissioning boilers starting up, and then started going to school nights and was going to school for engineering because I thought, that's what I was really going to be an ever did get my engineering degree another mentor in my life. I you know, like the guidance counselor who really change the trajectory of my life. This, this other mentor had suggested to me. Why, why are you going to school for engineering and I said to be an engineer, and he said, you already are one said no? Not I do not have a degree. I'm not an engineer and he said, no, you, you are one said you should think about, maybe getting a degree in business at that point, I hadn't even thought about business because it's not something that, you know, we did and, and our family and you know, it's interesting reflecting on it. And, and so I decided to do that. And, and I went to school for business while I was moving up in management. So, you know, became an assistant manager and then a manager. And when I was getting my. Undergrad my bachelor's in business administration at cardinal Stritch university. I was running a twenty four million dollar business. So I'd really moved up pretty quickly at cleaver Brooks. So you were getting your degree and your NBA at the same time. No, I got my undergrad. I mean. Oh, yes. Yeah. I was I it was really phenomenal to be able to be an accelerated program. I was one of the first people in the company to do that. In fact, it was a B SPA seven so bachelor of science business administration number seven at cardinal Stritch, and what is the what does that mean number seven with seventh grade class? Yeah oh yeah. They're just watched the program, essentially, and so it was kind of new to the area to have an accelerated degree for adults who, who work. I was married at, at that time, and would which really, you know, when you think about the impact that guidance counselor had I moved to Milwaukee, I come.

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