Governor's Cup Wins in a Row
22 Nov 2021
If you ask Randy Kinney, manufacturing jobs today have a misplaced reputation.
“The mindset of many folks today is that manufacturing jobs are in dark, scary and unsafe conditions,” said the owner of Kinney Manufacturing. “But we are just the opposite, with highly-technical jobs in bright, clean, organized and safe environments.”
Opportunities in those jobs abound at Beatrice’s Precise Fabrication, a custom fabrication company owned by Lincoln-based Kinney Manufacturing. NGage’s educational video series Opportunity Here offers an insight into the nature of those opportunities. Precise Fabrication manufactures laser-cut individual parts and full assemblies for regional and national customers in a broad range of industries. Beatrice and Gage County have historically been the national home of the lawnmower industry, so many customers are in the lawn and turf industry. Precise is actually located next to their largest customer, Toro.
“We have also done well to diversify into the industrial, power, gas and agriculture sectors, which helps to manage the ups and downs of different industries,” said Kinney.
Kinney saw an opportunity in Beatrice and Gage County with Precise Fabrication with a 2018 acquisition. Since the purchase, Kinney has invested $3 million in capital expenditures into the building, including two lasers, sheet rolling equipment, lighting and HVAC equipment. In addition to the proximity to existing customers, Kinney saw several advantages to acquiring Precise. An excellent location in the middle of the country offers reasonable shipping costs. Quality infrastructure, such as reliable, low-cost electricity and well-maintained roadways, promotes consistent production. Prospective employees possess an excellent Midwestern work ethic, supplemented by the Southeast Community College campus in Beatrice, which offer intensive training programs to promote development.
“Gage County and NGage have a growth mindset and have the resources to support businesses who have a similar approach,” said Kinney.
Installing technology, such as laser cut equipment, often raises concerns of job losses with workers. But that is quite the opposite for Precise Fabrication, said Kinney. As a company with 14 robots in his facilities, he knows they are necessary to remain competitive.
“Robots allow U.S. manufacturers to be competitive worldwide in terms of labor cost, but that does not mean we have to take away jobs,” he said. “We are creating better jobs, with more technical requirements that also pay much higher than minimum wage.”
In an age of rising college debt, despite the technical requirements, Precise employees do not need to go to college to obtain those benefits.
“There may not even be a need to go to a two-year college program right out of high school,” said Kinney. “We tell prospective employees if they can do three things: show up on time, communicate and work as part of a team, that we will teach you what you need to know.”
It is all part of their philosophy on opportunity, said Kinney.
“We want to help you grow so we can grow together,” he said. “We can help you build a career, stay in the community and support a family.”
Kinney has his eye on future opportunities for Precise Fabrication as well. The current facility is 41,250 sq ft, but the property includes four acres of land for when they are ready to expand. But the main opportunity Kinney sees is with people. The company intends to work with high school counselors to get the word out on what manufacturing jobs are like and what they can provide.
“We are always looking for good people and if one walks in the door, we will hire them,” said Kinney. “We will find opportunities for you and help you do what you want to do, even help pay for schooling that is necessary.”
Governor's Cup Wins in a Row
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