Over the last few months, our Manufacturing Spotlight series has highlighted professionals working in various roles throughout the manufacturing industry, and given readers a closer look at what careers in manufacturing really look like. The purpose of these conversations and articles is to give individuals who may be considering a career in manufacturing a realistic, no-nonsense look at life in the industry.

We had the opportunity to speak with Mitch Sullivan, a manual machinist with the Boyd Corporation, exploring his successful career journey from autobody to his current manufacturing position and plans beyond. Mitch wholeheartedly represents what AMTEP seeks to provide for motivated individuals and the manufacturing industry as a whole, finding a strong interest within his career and creating custom parts and tools required by aerospace technologies and life-saving medical devices.

Mitch’s Journey Through the Manufacturing Industry

Before his manufacturing career began, Mitch started his work journey in automotive. Working at a body shop, Mitch learned valuable skills that he was able to put forth in his future, but ultimately, job growth within that industry just wasn’t where he wanted it to be.

“Before I went to school, I had worked in the automotive industry,” Mitch said, “and really, there’s not a lot of room for growth there unless you start your own shop.”

By transitioning and beginning his career in manufacturing, after having received expert training from the AMTEP, Mitch found immediate interest, job growth, and stability within the industry, working his way up the manual machining position that he currently holds.

“It gives me the opportunity to see how things are made from the ground floor,” he said. “When you get to work with blueprints and engineers, you see what the application is from a baseline structure standpoint, and what it takes to take bare metal and turn it into a piece of equipment for an airplane.”

Creating things is a passion for Mitch, and his career in manufacturing has enabled him to fully realize that passion. Mitch revels in the fact that he uses the tools and knowledge at his disposal on a daily basis to help craft parts and custom accessories that go on to aid doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, as well as parts that help helicopters or airplanes fly people around the world

“You know, it gives you a sense of purpose,” he said. “I’m really doing stuff with my life that helps others. If you really like to do things for other people, it’s a great place to be, and you’re also helping yourself at the same time.”

The benefits and career satisfaction don’t stop there. Mitch is absolutely fascinated by the field, thirsting for knowledge to continue to grow and progress through the industry. While Boyd Corporation is very careful to maintain a proper work/life balance. Mitch explains that he frequently enjoys going home to continue researching the latest manufacturing innovations and techniques online.

“The way that we do things [at Boyd Corporation],” he explained, “and the way work is structured, is that I could leave everything at work at the end of the day. But I love going home and watching videos about manufacturing.”

Mitch’s Thoughts of AMTEP & Recommendations

The Advanced Manufacturing Training Expansion Program was a transformative experience for Mitch. After unfortunately losing his job at the autobody shop due to a lack of business and expired contracts, Mitch found AMTEP, which immediately piqued his interest.

“I found out about CNC Manual Machining,” he explained, “and my grandfather was a machinist, so I had some familiarity with the job itself. I had built over 1000 cars over the last ten years, so it was really cool to get that baseline knowledge. It really filled out my knowledge and manufacturing vocabulary.”

Mitch goes on to describe that the various trainings were very hands-on, offering 4-5 hours a day within the machining shop, receiving machine training, and giving him a much-appreciated jump start when it came to entering the field itself.

“The person I work with has been with me for 4 years,” he said, “and he has been nothing but impressed. I was able to pick things up easily, not having to lean on him for everything, although he is there whenever I have questions. I feel like I’m very well prepared for the job.”

AMTEP hadn’t only given Mitch the tools and training needed for manual machine work, but job preparedness in general.

“We didn’t just cover machining,” he said. “We went over basic processes that I already knew, but hadn’t really thought about in certain ways before. I received really good advice on how to present myself and how to approach careers.”

Most of all, Mitch’s training with AMTEP and his experiences within the manufacturing industry have brought him solace, peace of mind, and stability on and off the job. Mitch describes that he’s engaged and confident about his future within not only his career, but his personal life as well.

“It’s given my wife and I stability,” he explains. “When I worked in the autobody business, you didn’t know if you had a job next month. Working in manufacturing, we’re able to have that stability. This is what I’ll be doing, and this is why I’m starting. It’s given us a lot of stability and peace. It’s a comforting feeling to know that I have value to somebody, no matter where I’m at.”

When asked if he would recommend the AMTEP program to his friends, family, or really anyone, for that matter, Mitch gave us a resounding yes. He’s even planning and excited to go back for further training in pursuit of continuing to grow his career.

“You’ll be ready to go from day one,” Mitch said. “I believe that if you show up, do the work, and listen to the instructors, you’re getting really valuable information. It’s almost priceless – the things that you can learn from the program.”

Visit the AMTEP webpage to learn more about how you can enroll in the program and start your manufacturing career.