Chuck Mills – Education Is Tied to Jobs

Chuck Mills – Education Is Tied to Jobs


ROB MCCLENDON: WELL
WE FIRST MET CHUCK
MILLS LAST WEEK. A STRONG ADVOCATE FOR
MIDDLE CLASS JOBS, HE IS A
PROPONENT OF TYING TODAY’S EDUCATION TO THE JOBS THAT
ARE OUT THERE, SOMETHING
THAT HIS FAMILY COMPANY IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF. MILLS MACHINES HAS
LITERALLY GROWN UP WITH
OKLAHOMA’S ENERGY INDUSTRY WHAT BEGAN AS A BICYCLE
REPAIR BUSINESS OVER A
HUNDRED YEARS AGO IS TODAY, A MULTIMILLION
DOLLAR MANUFACTURER OF
EARTH BORING TOOLS, DRILLING EQUIPMENT OF
ALL SHAPES AND SIZES. IN THIS WEEK’S OKLAHOMA
STANDARD, WE RECOGNIZE AN
INDIVIDUAL WHO BELIEVES IN THE MAGIC OF
MANUFACTURING. ALISA HINES: WITH A LITTLE
BIT OF WATER, AND A LITTLE
BIT OF FIRE, THERE’S MAGIC HAPPENING AT MILLS
MACHINE COMPANY. CHUCK MILLS: WE START OFF
WITH A SOLID PIECE OF
STEEL, LIKE THIS AND THIS IS PRETTY HEAVY, BUT IT’S
SOLID ALLOY STEEL, AND
WE’RE ABLE TO TAKE THIS PRODUCT, OR THIS RAW PIECE
OF MATERIAL, AND MAKE IT
INTO THIS PRODUCT. THIS IS WHAT WE CALL
A LITTLE GEO-CLAW. THIS IS FOR THE
GEOTHERMAL INDUSTRY. BUT, YOU CAN SEE THAT
THERE IS A, OBVIOUSLY
THE BODY WOULD BE ALL MACHINED. IT’S GOT HOLES DRILLED
IN IT FOR CIRCULATION. AND THEN WE FABRICATE
THESE CUTTERS TO IT. BUT, TO BE ABLE TO TAKE
THIS PRODUCT, OR THIS RAW
PIECE OF MATERIAL, AND MAKE IT INTO THIS PRODUCT
IS LIKE MAGIC TO ME. ALISA: CHUCK MILLS IS
PRESIDENT AND SAYS FINDING
WORKERS TO HELP HIM MAKE THE MAGIC ISN’T EASY. MILLS: IT’S PRETTY TOUGH. BECAUSE I THINK THAT WITH
MEDIA AND WITH PARENTS,
YOU KNOW, IT’S LIKE, OH LETS ALL GO TO COLLEGE
AND BE A DOCTOR, BE AN
ATTORNEY, YOU KNOW BE A SCIENTIST, BE A FORENSIC
SCIENTIST, WHATEVER. YOU KNOW, THEY DON’T
REALLY THINK ABOUT
MANUFACTURING, AS A CAREER. AND THERE ARE GREAT
OPPORTUNITIES. YOU CAN EASILY MAKE FIFTY
TO ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND
DOLLARS IN A MANUFACTURING ENVIRONMENT. AND PEOPLE JUST
DON’T REALIZE THAT. ALISA: BUT
TRAINING IS A MUST. MILLS: IN MANY INSTANCES,
OF COURSE, THEY DON’T
HAVE TO GO TO COLLEGE. THEY CAN GO TO A
CAREERTECH, GET A
CERTIFICATE, OR A COMMUNITY COLLEGE. WITH JUST A LITTLE
EDUCATION, MAYBE EVEN JUST
A YEAR OR TWO PAST HIGH SCHOOL, YOU CAN BE
KNOCKING DOWN SOME
PRETTY GOOD DOLLARS. YOU GOTTA KNOW
THE SOFT SKILLS. AND YOU KNOW, IF WE CAN
JUST HAVE SOMEONE WITH
SOME BASIC SKILLS THAT WILL SHOW UP AND WANT TO
WORK, THAT’S THE REAL KEY. IT’S REALLY ABOUT, BEING
CLEAN, SHOWING UP ON TIME,
AND WANTING TO LEARN, WANTING TO WORK. AND OF COURSE MY COMPANY,
LIKE MOST COMPANIES, THE
MORE YOU KNOW THE MORE YOU’RE GOING TO GET PAID. SO IF YOU WANT TO LEARN,
AND YOU WANT TO GET PAID
MORE, THEN ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS HAVE THAT ATTITUDE. IT’S ALL ABOUT
THE ATTITUDE IS
THE WAY IT STARTS. ALISA: AND ACCORDING TO
CHUCK, THE MACHINING
INDUSTRY HAS CHANGED. MILLS: YOU KNOW A LOT OF
PEOPLE THINK, JUST LIKE
CONSTRUCTION, IT’S A HARD, DIRTY JOB. AND, YOU KNOW WE HAVE AN
OLD SHOP HERE THAT WAS
BUILT IN 1947, AND WHEN WE GO OUT INTO IT YOU’LL
SMELL A MACHINE SHOP,
WHICH TO ME IS THE SMELL OF MONEY. LIKE PEOPLE SMELL OIL,
THEY SMELL MONEY, THAT’S
WHAT I SMELL; AND IT’S JUST A LOT OF HISTORY. BUT STILL, THE ENVIRONMENT
IS CLEAN, YOU’RE WORKING
IT WITH A COMPUTERIZED EQUIPMENT AND IT’S REALLY
NOT AS HOT AND DIRTY AND
NASTY AS PEOPLE THINK. ALISA: THOMAS COMBS HAS
BEEN WORKING FOR MILLS
MACHINE FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS, AND SAYS
THE CHANGES KEEP
HIM ON HIS TOES. THOMAS COMBS: WHEN I FIRST
CAME TO WORK HERE, THE
MACHINING SHOP WAS FULL OF MANUAL MACHINES. WE HAD NO CNC EQUIPMENT,
TWO OLD SCREW MACHINES,
AND ABOUT TWENTY HANDS DOING THE WORK. SINCE THEN, THEY’VE
BOUGHT THE CNCS, THE
MILLS, THE LATHES. WE’VE CULLED DOWN TO WHERE
THERE’S JUST ME RUNNING ON
THE MANUALS NOW, AND THERE’S THREE OF US DOING
THE WORK THAT NEARLY
TWENTY DID BEFORE. ALISA: TYLER ROBINSON IS
NEW TO THE SHOP AND SAYS
HE LIKES MAKING THE MAGIC HAPPEN. TYLER ROBINSON: THERE
WILL ALWAYS BE WORK FOR
MACHINISTS IT’S SOMETHING THAT WILL ALWAYS BE
THERE FOREVER, AS FAR
AS I CAN TELL ANYWAY. IT’S JUST A GREAT
TRADE TO LEARN, AND IT
KEEPS YOU ON YOUR TOES. IT KEEPS YOUR MIND SHARP,
BECAUSE YOU ARE ALWAYS
HAVING TO DO MATH OR WHATNOT. AND IT’S ALSO FUN. ALISA: NOW CHUCK SAYS THAT
EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE A
SMALL SHOP, THEY CAN STILL COMPETE AGAINST
BIGGER COMPANIES. CHUCK MILLS: WE CAN
COMPETE WITH THE BIG GUYS. MATTER OF FACT, YOU KNOW
IMAGE IS EVERYTHING, AND
ESPECIALLY WITH THE WEBSITE, WITH MARKETING
AND ADVERTISING, NO ONE
WOULD KNOW THAT WE ARE NOT A FIVE HUNDRED PERSON
COMPANY, BECAUSE WE
MAKE SO MANY DIFFERENT PRODUCTS, AND WE
MAKE LARGE PRODUCTS. I MEAN I’VE
MADE DRILLING BITS THAT
WERE 110 INCH DIAMETER. SO WE’VE MADE REALLY BIG,
MASSIVE-TYPE DRILLING
BITS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY, AND THEN YOU
KNOW THEN WE’VE MADE VERY
SMALL THINGS AS WELL. BUT, WE DO WORK WITH A LOT
OF OEMS, AS WELL, MAKING
PRODUCT FOR THEM, PRIVATE LABEL. BUT WE HAVE OUR OWN
LINE AND THEN WE CUSTOM
MANUFACTURE AND MODIFY FROM THAT LINE AND PROVIDE
SOLUTIONS TO PEOPLES’
DRILLING PROBLEMS. ALISA: AND COMPETING
WORLD-WIDE. MILLS: MANUFACTURING IS
WHERE IT ALL STARTS. I MEAN, EVERYTHING
ELSE IS A SERVICE. SO, IF WE’RE NOT
MAKING THINGS, THEN
WE’RE NOT GROWING. AND THIS STATE NEEDS
MANUFACTURING. THE UNITED STATES
NEEDS MANUFACTURING. YOU KNOW, WE HAVE TO
COMPETE WITH A LOT OF
GLOBAL INTEREST IN THE WORLD. WE COMPETE WITH CHINA AND
EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST
AND SOUTH AMERICA EVERY SINGLE DAY. NO LONGER DO WE THINK
ABOUT OUR COMPETITION
IN THE NEXT STATE OUR COMPETITION IS GLOBAL. ALISA: LOCAL MANUFACTURING
FOR A GLOBAL ECONOMY. ROB MCCLENDON: NOW CHUCK
TELLS US HE ISN’T ALONE IN
NEEDING SKILLED WORKERS. CURRENTLY THERE ARE ABOUT
4500 ADVANCED
MANUFACTURING EMPLOYERS IN THE STATE WHO EMPLOY
ROUGHLY TEN PERCENT OF
OUR STATE’S WORKFORCE. CHUCK MILLS, PRESIDENT OF
MILLS MACHINES AND THIS
WEEK’S OKLAHOMA STANDARD.

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