Career Snapshot: Press Brake Operator
This post is the third in a Career Snapshot series highlighting positions available in manufacturing. The interviews will cover general information about the industry as well as day-to-day specifics of real-life Distefano Technology & Manufacturing employees.
We’re sad to say that this is the last of our “Career Snapshot” series here on the Distefano Technology & Manufacturing blog, but there will certainly be future posts on manufacturing careers, the realities of working in a manufacturing plant, and more. If there’s a specific position in advanced manufacturing that you’d like to learn more about, please let us know in the comments section below, and we’ll be sure to follow up!
So, without further ado, here are some of the questions we asked Julian, a press brake operator at DTM. His story is a unique one, and we’re happy to have him on the team.
Distefano Technology & Manufacturing: When did you begin working at DTM, and what led you here?
Julian: Well, after I moved to the United States I worked in a restaurant as a dishwasher. I didn’t speak English well, but I knew that I didn’t want to spend my whole life working in a kitchen. So, when I met a guy working here as a press brake operator (who is still working here), he helped me get an application and I started at DTM in 2008. My job now has better pay, better benefits, and I don’t work weekends. I also appreciate that it’s stable, and Distefano gave me a really wonderful opportunity even though I didn’t speak English when I started!
DTM: What does your normal workday as a press brake operator look like?
Julian: I bend parts all day! I come in at 5:00am and finish any projects left in the machine from yesterday, or do new setups for new parts. It took about four weeks of training before they let me do basic parts, and I put a lot of effort in to learn on my own. A friend basically trained me in Spanish, but it was almost all on-the-job training. After the parts are made, some go to welding, some go to the CNC department, others go to the kitting area. Some go to outside processes like paint, plate, or galvanize. I make a lot of parts for agriculture equipment like lawnmowers; right now I’m working on a project making covers for outdoor heaters.
DTM: What do you enjoy about working at Distefano?
Julian: They gave me the opportunity to work with them without speaking any English. They paid for me to take classes at Creighton, and I went there to take seven levels of English. I’m still taking classes now and DTM pays for it. I enjoy working from 5am to 1:30pm, because I can go home early and have the afternoons free. There’s good benefits, and I have a bonus at the end of the year (profit or gain sharing) from just doing my job. The stability is nice. Oh, and we get free turkeys every Thanksgiving!
DTM: What’s your biggest challenge in your position?
Julian: To get parts out the door on time, and to hit standards. There can be distractions, but your work is independent of anyone else. It’s up to you to make your parts at the desired quality.
DTM: Do you have any advice for people looking at a career in manufacturing?
Julian: You’ll like it if you appreciate a new challenge every day. There’s different things to do every day, it’s never the same. Manufacturing is all around us, it’s everywhere. Everything we see is based in manufacturing. You need to know a little bit of math—you don’t have to be a math genius, but you do need to have practical skills.
Thanks for taking the time out of your day for this interview, Julian!
Photo credit: Cincinnati