people, industry, beryllium, niche market, working, niche, talking, manufacturing sector, customer, manufacturing, company, business, shop, machine, markets, machinists, material, tolerance, components, relationship
Roz Lowe, Damon Pistulka
Damon Pistulka 00:05
All right, everyone, welcome once again the faces of business. I’m Damon Pistulka, your co host, and I am excited for our guests today. I’ve got Roz Lowe with me today from LA gauge. We are going to be talking about the advantages of nice manufacturing markets. Ross, thanks for being here today.
Roz Lowe 00:22
Hey, thanks for having me. I look forward to this show. It’s fun. It’s
Damon Pistulka 00:26
gonna be fun. Oh, yeah. So people were commenting, and we’re like, oh, God, we are late. At 305, we were just sitting here jabbering away, it was great. We’re talking we’re and we’re gonna talk about some other stuff about what we’re hitting too. And I have to write some of that down. But it’s great to have you on today. So Roz, we always like to start with people and kind of let let them understand your back your background, because you’ve been in manufacturing in specifically pretty niche manufacturing for a number of years. So kind of walk us through your background and how you’ve been helping manufacturers.
Roz Lowe 01:02
Sure. Um, yeah, well, um, you know, I was born into the industry. Basically, I won’t go through the whole Coal Miner’s daughter’s story, but yeah, my family’s, you know, 334 generations deep into this game? Oh, wow. Um, but, uh, you know, I started out with in precision centerless, grinding and thread rolling niche market. And then I moved on, and I use that in my career for a little while, that niche market of thread rolling, that’s, you know, definitely everybody doesn’t just do that. I’m working with unique material grades has always kind of been a wheelhouse to me.
And, um, you know, there are, there are so many different components within saying all of that, of niche markets that I’ve been exposed to. Le Gage is where I am now. And I mean, we are a niche market was a double scoop of ice cream of niche, you know, currently, like the industry that I’m in now, our focus is first off beryllium.
So there aren’t too many shops out there that are working. And when I say beryllium, I don’t mean beryllium copper, right? There are shops out there, there will still you know, play with beryllium, copper. Um, I wouldn’t suggest they do that. But there’s not as much marketing on the bad side of that is there would be with beryllium. So beryllium, technically, there’s about, I’m gonna say maybe five manufacturers out there that I’m aware of it, you know, in my end of it, who are manufacturing out of those five, I think there’s maybe three or two that are that are worthy. And Ellie gage happens to be one of those companies, and why is that?
Why are they so special there? Well, the other niche to La gauge extreme, close tolerances, complex components that we work in. And you know, as I, I’ve grown up in the industry, and my father owned a company, and that’s how I was introduced to it. And I was, you know, the whole daddy’s little girl thing. So I really got close to many business owners, like my uncles and grandfathers and, you know, over for the, at the house for barbecue.
So I’ve gotten to know these folks. And I know, people that are just masters in this in his art of manufacturing. And when I say that we work in complex, close tolerances, some of those masters that I know, I’ve spoken to them about some of the prints were working on or the components we’re working on. And they’re like, they wouldn’t even touch it with a 10 foot pole. Yeah, we wouldn’t even be getting been able, you wouldn’t even be able to get a quote from the majority. I think 99% of manufacturers out there will look at a print with the type of tolerances that we’re working in. And they would say forget about it in aluminum. Now add beryllium to the mix. To the do what we do, yeah,
Damon Pistulka 04:20
yeah. So when you’re talking about the tolerance, What kind are you talking? I mean, we didn’t millions we do. Yeah, was in 2020. It’s wave. Yeah, so you’re measuring with light? That’s, that’s the Yeah. Okay.
Roz Lowe 04:37
Right. Yeah. But we do. We do, mate. We do use icmm. We have Calypso software. Yeah, some of the machines that we have here are really the best the industry has to offer period hands down. But it didn’t you know, it wasn’t that way at the very beginning. So you know, there’s there’s definitely opportunity in the conference. And, you know, but this is definitely that four leaf clover. Yeah. So when your niche market?
Damon Pistulka 05:07
Yeah, yeah. So when you look at at, at the advantages of working in this extremely niche down market, what are some of the things that you really see that that are benefits to it?
Roz Lowe 05:21
Besides making more money? Well,
Damon Pistulka 05:25
no, that’s one of that’s definitely one of them. Because it’s the only one that can do it, then obviously, you can charge within reason what you need.
Roz Lowe 05:32
Yeah, of course. Well, you know, it’s kind of like, if you think about it, I mean, there, there are a lot of markets that you can apply this thought process to, so say, your primary care physician, right. And you make a great living, and that’s awesome. And you want for nothing, your primary care physician, you have tons of customers, perhaps you’ve even bought another doctor’s business who retired, let’s just say your that. Yeah. Um, then your brain surgeon. Right. So there’s right who’s making more money?
I mean, right. So yeah, is the primary care physician making money? Of course he is. He’s making a great living. Is the brain surgeon making? Yes, the brain surgeons making really good money. And then you could even add more examples on to the brain surgeon and say, well, this brain shirt surgeon only deals with patients who are XY and Z and even further minimize the candidates that would come to that that doctor? Well, that’s gonna increase the cost. And demand. Right? Yeah. Because only guy, so yep. Same.
Damon Pistulka 06:41
Yeah, that’s for sure. That’s for sure. So as you’re doing this in, in the markets, what are some of the things that you’ve seen change over the last couple of years, even in your niche market? That surprised you?
Roz Lowe 06:54
Well, you know, here’s the thing, and I think that anyone can apply this to their business. Yeah, I didn’t want to just talk about, you know, a niche market where, you know, people think, Oh, well, how am I supposed to get into that? But to answer your question, customer service, right. So, you know, you don’t tend to think you’re going to find really good customer service, you know, customer advocating driven a workforce, who’s driven to cater to the customer’s demands and needs? And who’s going to answer the questions the next day, respond to the email, same day, right? So we happen to be a company that that does do that.
But but not to make it a commercial, some of the things I’ve seen are in the industry, I’ve seen a lot of that go away, you know, that customer advocating service, the pick up the phone and talk to the customer. Everything’s, you know, very email II today. And long. Oh, it wasn’t that way. I’ve seen some changes like that. And so I think bringing back some of the practices of before, in my younger years, like picking up a phone and calling a customer, or getting in your car and going and visiting a customer. You know, relationship building is something that’s, you know, I think not really happening so much as it once was.
Yeah. Okay. So I mean, it was that way, right? We used to have fax machines, and no website. And so you had relationships that were built, and trust that would be gained because of those relationships built. And so I see some of that has disappeared. But I do see some of it coming back. And I think that the companies who are making that a very important aspect of their business, succeeding, right, so say you’re in aluminum shop, or say you’re not in a niche market, you’re, you’re you’re a liquor store, and there’s 27 elevens within a five block radius, right?
If you’re that liquors, or that liquor store, or that store, that’s gonna say hi to me and remember my name when I come in? Well, I’m not going to go to the 711. And, and for the convenience, I’m going to go where, you know, you’ve built a relationship with me, and I’ll almost feel like I’m cheating on you if I don’t go to your liquor store if the cat foods 10 cents more. Yeah, now so so that is a way to make any business a niche market.
Damon Pistulka 09:34
Yeah, well, you’re right. And I was just this morning I was reading it says people won’t do business with you until they really think you’re their friend. And I that I don’t think that’s ever gonna go away. I think that I think that we trust you. Yeah, I’d have to trust you that you know, the middle like and trust we have to have that. I just really think that what what some, especially if you’re working with bigger corporations that they really really pushed the people to the point that it’s, it’s the relationships are getting neglected on both sides.
And, and it’s one of these things that I do believe is coming back. And, and because of technology too because things like this, I mean, you can, it’s much better to do a phone call when you can see and, and and watch the expressions and and if you know if I have something we can talk about what it is, and I can show it to somebody and we can we can talk to those things or even sharing the screen with a solid model on it is a is a good way to do it.
Roz Lowe 10:34
As I will say, we were working with a customer in New York during COVID. Right. And, you know, in this side of the industry, when you’re working on at this level, oftentimes you’ll have to deal with a, you know, source inspector, right.
And he’s not sourcing you, because you’re, you’re hoping I’ll put you on the ESL, I mean, sometimes it’s a source inspector, that’s coming out to watch, you know, throughout the process, and maybe that’s part of, you know, what needs to happen, right? I was doing, I had, I was like, well, it was a source inspector, though the source guy, they had to source the shop, and I was COVID. And, you know, everybody was grounded, so that that wasn’t going to happen. So I put on a zoom stick, and was like, I we can overcome it.
Yeah, through the shot, and the phones falling off the stick. And it was terrible. We still earned their business. So we did the customer. I think it was maybe much to do with, of course, what we can do, but the enthusiasm that we tried so hard to earn, earn them, you know, earn their business. But eventually I started making these virtual shop tours. And, you know, during COVID, I was like, Well, I can’t do this zoom call thing again and have the phone drop off and you couldn’t hear me and the lighting was stupid. And it didn’t show things the way I wanted it to.
So I made a virtual shop tour. And that was really great. So video is like, now the new line card, right? Used to be where we’d email a line card, or people will go to your website and see all your machines, but half of your buyer, many buyers today, they don’t even know what those machines are gonna do. You know, and even if you gave sighs it’s still what does that mean? But when you have a live video, and you’re literally showing what your shop is doing, and like you said, Hey, look at this part. That’s just so much. It’s powerful. Yeah, can really open up a lot of doors so that that’s yet another thing that’s changed quite a bit.
Damon Pistulka 12:40
Yeah, yeah. So we have a common question. Jeremy. Jeremy said a few things Jeremy out. And he said, You must have a lot of Mavericks, I think he was talking about when you’re talking about. And it is I mean, it is when you get into the different kinds of machining even I was never in tolerance machining, like you’re talking about there. But even when you move into complex five axis kind of stuff, we were making parts for the F 22. And other kind of defense things, you know, so it’s been a while being tell because it hasn’t been in production.
But But even when you’re looking at those, when you’re looking at those kinds of things, there are there are specialists, there are specialists that come into it.
So you have the general, you know, general person that runs the CNC in a normal shop that you see down the street, and then there could be the one that works in this kind, and there could be one that works in a medical, it’s completely different than then, you know, just depending what were you doing even like you were talking about the, the centerless grinding, there’s just so many specialized technologies or the mill turn that we see different things happening, or that you know, it’s just there are so many different specialties they do it.
But Jeremy also said something because you get to dictate to your customers. And when he was talking, that’s when you were talking about you know, being able to make more money when you niche down and some of it is honestly you can get the margin you really should for what you’re getting. You’re doing. Yeah, yep. And then
Roz Lowe 14:09
Southie I’m seeing in the industry, I mean, you know, I’ve actually been recruiting for a couple of weeks right now, okay. Our backlog is very healthy. So, you know, we’re, we’re expanding and we’re growing, and you know, the owner is actually going to put second floor on the company. And we’re going to use all the office space that we currently have, which is an additional 5000 square foot of space to grow even more and put more equipment and then what are we gonna do with those machines? We’re gonna need people. So we’re actually, you know, aggressively I’m grime aggressively. And some of the guys I’ve talked to you just to get a feel for what your range?
You know, I want to say I don’t think machinists are making the amount of money that they should. And, you know, I’ll tell you when you’re in a niche market You know, when making commercial components, I mean, a business owner can only do what they can do. You know, and we’re in California. So it’s not a very small business friendly state as far as financially, the taxes and everything that you have to pay and all of this. I mean, there’s certainly other states that offer the manufacturing industry a much more healthier environment to thrive and grow.
You know, but, I mean, yeah, wages, you know, are better. I think, when you’re in a, in a company that, you know, does do specialty work, um, you know, there’s more opportunity to grow and to earn more, right and, and, and have more for your family. And then, you know, so it’s not just good for the business owner, right. It’s also good for the people that worked at the company, you can make a living wage or making more than a living wage where you could actually save for your kids college, you know, right. And that’s, I think, the American dream. Yeah. Right.
Damon Pistulka 16:07
And you’re right there. That’s, that’s for sure. It does, because you when there’s a little bit more margin to spread around. It’s good for everyone. Usually, it’s business owners smart. So they are doing so Matt Matt goosey. Now, Matt’s got a machining shop in in Wisconsin. So unfortunately, unfortunately, he’s a Green Bay Packers fan. But we love him still love him even though he is. Yeah. And so he had to he had to give me he had to give me a Seahawks dig while you’re on here. But anyway, Matt, Matt runs a good runs a good shop. And he just specializes in what he does.
And it’s more turning and more big turning and specialty stuff. But Matt’s done a really good job of he’s got he’s very plugged into the local high schools. And so much so that they they developed a he’s got a vocational school within the school and some other things like that, that that really I believe he told me his average age of his workforce was
Roz Lowe 17:09
under 30. That’s awesome.
Damon Pistulka 17:12
Which is, it’s crazy in the industry anymore to see that. But that, you know, there are like you said, we were talking the other day, and you were talking about the the fact that that you are finding a lot of good candidates.
Roz Lowe 17:24
And we’ve got apprenticeship programs, and it sounds like your your buddy in Wisconsin may may have maybe a better program. But you know, the thing of it is, you know, we’ve got a lot of companies that are you know, there’s no workers when you trade schools back? Yes, we do.
So we’ve had a lot of a lot of schools, and the state’s thrown a lot of money at the schools to develop these apprenticeship programs or rather trade schools. Yeah, the disconnect is, you know, the shops weren’t talking to the school. Yeah. Now, the curriculum that would be needed, so that when they do produce a graduate, that it’s applicable to the industry, right. So there was a bit of a disconnect there. Now, I think there’s been a lot of funding a lot of different organizations.
I think NTMA is a good one. There’s also a couple local California organizations that are now caring and working with the business owners to find out more about, well, what is it that you need these people to learn? You know, and the interesting thing, too, is a lot of like, I think outside of the box, right? So I think like a business owner because I come from a family business. So example we have a young man here, he’s our contracts lead now. And when I met him, he was just a young man, graduate from Santa Barbara, English, Major, high grades, good marks, etc.
It’s doubtful that he was thinking to make his career in the manufacturing sector. But you know, if you, you think outside the box, you think, well, this is here’s a good writer, right? In the world today is all about emails. And you want to make sure everything’s spelled correctly, and the emails were going that way or, and so, you know, his his spelling is punctuation. He’s a contract guy. This young man loves reading. And he that’s his thing. So who would you want to have looking over a contract? It’s 50 pages thick, right, but somebody who literally enjoys and thrives on reading, right?
So, you know, I think there are a lot of people that we can pull from the colleges even current times, you know, without the trade school imposed within their curriculum or their minds. And there are a lot of roles in the manufacturing sector, where you know, what they come to the table with just out of their natural skill sets can be applicable in The manufacturing sector, we have a guy that’s that, that was an accountant who is in our quality department, and he’s one of the best inspectors, you know, that I’ve ever seen.
So who better than to look at the calculations? Right, then maybe an accountant, so you’re gonna have the colleges that are producing a lot of people, where, you know, maybe they’re being overlooked. And we just have to start looking at these candidates. And I’d rather see these young college degrees, working in an aerospace manufacturer making military components to defend our country and, yeah, and our people, then at Starbucks, yeah. And I’m seeing that as I look through, you know, resumes right now.
Damon Pistulka 20:44
Well, that’s good. It’s, it’s, it’s inspiring to hear that and I think you’re, you’re doing one of the things that I wrote down the word diversity, because we used to look at, at manufacturing and go, Okay, you know, you have to come from a trade school, or you have to have this kind of degree or that kind of degree. And I think what we really realize is that aptitude and want to do it, if they get it and want to do it, you know, they probably have the capacity to do it. In most cases, it’s just, we have to be ready to train the people the right way.
And I, that’s one of the things that I really, really enjoy, and I enjoy spreading to is the fact that even when you look at the high schools, there’s a lot of kids that are coming out of high school now that don’t understand that manufacturing is a choice, like it really can be for him.
Because there’s nothing saying that you have to be a trade school trained CNC machinist, to be the best machinist in the world, it means you have to have a desire to do it, you’re gonna have to work out a while you’re gonna have to get better at your trade and get better at doing that work. But some of the best you’ll see, may not have ever touched, you know, stepped inside of a school to run a CNC machine. It’s just the desire and some natural ability and some some put some work into getting good at it.
Roz Lowe 22:04
And that’s why we as manufacturers are people who have made our careers in this industry have to literally roll up our sleeves and participate and get involved and go to the school on Manufacturing Day. And, and taught and be a panelist. And, and, and, and and you know, we have to be patriotic, I’m patriotic about my country. And the other thing I’m patriotic about is the manufacturing sector. I am true. That way you guys are pushing each other around about your football. Yeah. Like some Mueller big, you know, Patriots fans, or, you know, whatever the team is, or UCLA or us.
Yeah, I’m a manufacturing fan. And you know, if the manufacturing sector, you know, had colors as many football teams do, I would say possibly red, white, and blue. And those would be my colors. And so, you know, we’ve got to take that passion and patriotism for the industry, to the high schools, because I agree with what you just said, the high school is the best place to plant the seeds of thought in these young people’s minds, because a lot of them maybe haven’t. I grew up in it. So I was I was exposed to it. My my son grew up in it, he was exposed to it.
Yeah, um, you know, and so on and so forth. There are so many kids out there who just for lack of being exposed to it. Yeah, no, we have to we have to do something about that and participate.
Damon Pistulka 23:38
Yeah, you said you said it participate. And that’s a big thing. And I think that, that we’re seeing that a lot more that now a lot. A lot of the manufacturing companies and people in those companies are really, really stepping forward. The other thing and I see two that it says really great about this is I see a lot more younger people in it, you know, millennials that are talking about it, and they’re talking to the Gen Z people about it. And that’s great. Because, you know, I
Roz Lowe 24:08
think we think Elon Musk a little bit. I mean, he Oh, yeah, I’m cool. You know, he did the greatest he did marketing for us. Right? Right. Just when we thought everything had been invented, and there was nothing left for the entrepreneur because Yeah, completely famous. Filthy rich because Elon Musk comes out here and says, Hey, let’s make rockets and you know, do this whole thing. Right?
Damon Pistulka 24:37
So and again another
Roz Lowe 24:39
thing that came from it kids are looking at his Instagram and his followers and yeah, you know, he’s he’s more important than most are blue saying or not blue singers. But what is it rap? Right? Yeah, nowadays. You know, he’s right up there.
Damon Pistulka 24:54
What do you think about he created a niche a niche market, niche manufacturing market? Nobody was ready. Looking at commercially to the extent they are now commercially building, things like that, that’ll that’ll do it
Roz Lowe 25:07
any was a niche market?
Yeah. Oh yeah, yeah,
Roz Lowe 25:10
exactly what we’re talking about. And yeah, he’s a perfect example. Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 25:15
Yeah, that’s a whole crazy thing that what they do but I won’t go down that so bizarre bizarre is do you have have cells of machinery or most of the parts made on one machine?
Roz Lowe 25:26
That is a great question because our that we do we do operate in cells? Yes we do. And so you know, machinists are trained in a versatile manner like, you know, you leave guys a male guy, or then again we have machines that are that offer both right, quick turn, you know, depends on the department, you know, I mean, with regards to we make mirrors here for f 35 the electrical, the optical targeting systems, so that polishing room is not going to be a cell, once the component is made, then it goes and we do some really complicated stuff in different areas.
You know, what’s what’s interesting, our deeper department, like a long time ago, it was like, you know, certain machinists were really the desired oh, we need a five access guy, where they you know, then it was a CMM guy that’s kind of still going on. Yeah. Deeper guys are going to become, I think the next hot ticket. That’s a side of the industry. Like in my day, deep burning was like, Where was the entry level? Yeah. But I think deep brewing is definitely an inner side of the industry. Everything’s getting really close and tolerance. You know, you got 3d printing, right. So there’s the deburring going on there. And so did the debriefing is something that’s obviously not a sell.
Damon Pistulka 26:58
Yeah. Cool. Cool. And then Deb Curtis is talking about She said her local community is offering high school seniors. apart upon graduation, 10 Local trades and manufacturing school and a school pay the student versus a student paying the school tuition. That is
Oh, that is cool. Right.
Roz Lowe 27:17
Now Jeff on this Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 27:19
no doubt because that. Yeah, that is really something because that that is what we need. And well, and I want to
Roz Lowe 27:28
know that because she’s living in a state that’s taking the lead. Yeah. I would. I really would like to find
Damon Pistulka 27:36
out. I believe it’s Wisconsin, but I don’t I didn’t have to look. I will look but
Roz Lowe 27:40
so much going on. I know Kentucky’s doing some really great stuff right now. They’re big school that right there and then the kid and you get to go there for a year for free tuition free. I mean, think about Kentucky’s doing and are we feeding an industry so the manufacturing can thrive in their state? Yeah. Hi bliss, Kentucky.
Damon Pistulka 28:04
John’s asking this do you use additive manufacturing? In your shop? Um,
Roz Lowe 28:09
John, that’s an excellent question. I’m not really. Yeah, not really. Yeah, but definitely a great you know, with beryllium, they’re like, you speaking more to like 3d printing and whatnot. Right? Yeah. Um, here’s the interesting thing. So they are experimenting with beryllium and I don’t know if most of your your listeners would know this. But there’s really there’s only one supplier for beryllium.
Yeah, so even more of a niche market what a cornered market that is one one supplier guys. So when everybody right now is really hurting, and I know this, because some of the things going on with nickel, aluminum and some of the supply chain issues that you know, we’re all about to face. I really want to tell everybody,
Damon Pistulka 28:58
Roz Lowe 29:00
stockroom up with material. Um, get it while you can. But um, yeah, the beryllium is just not there yet in the 3d printing world. So if there’s any inventors out there, or, you know, scientists out there who come up with the solution on that, you know, it’s not there yet.
Damon Pistulka 29:21
Refresh because beryllium is one of those metals that’s it’s not very friendly. For the isn’t there something about the the metal shavings and what what is it? Again, I remember the
Roz Lowe 29:35
highly toxic Yeah, that’s gonna say it’s atrociously toxic. So okay, we have to have special filtration systems and HEPA filters and these really mean it’s it’s an expense to put forth in order to play in this market. So you know, you really have to do take some extremely serious precautions to participate On this side of the industry, you know, which which we do you have to one one speck of that dust in your lungs is game over for you, you know, you’re going to be around for a while, but it’s not going to be comfortable. Yeah. Right.
So you really have to be careful. But really, um, the reason why it’s really I’m so popular right now in space applications and nuclear applications of the material itself. It’s it’s the toughest, the hardest material. And it’s also the most fragile.
Oh, also in regards to heat and extreme temperatures. So I’m in deep space, or really, really close to the sun. Can you imagine the temperature variations take place? Well, beryllium is not going to change size. Yeah. And it’s very, very light. So when you’re making components that are going to go in something that’s going to go into space, it’s a logical conclusion, to spend the money up front on, you know, the more expensive material that’s going to last, you know, it’s gonna you’re gonna have better results from it. And it’s lighter weight. So you know, you’re not driving your F 354. Down the street. It’s more like your leaf, you know?
Damon Pistulka 31:23
Yeah. You don’t need as much power to move it around. Yeah, yeah.
Roz Lowe 31:26
Exactly. So the weight is really?
Damon Pistulka 31:29
That’s cool. That’s cool. Is that good? Yeah. It’s interesting. It’s interesting, like you said that the nice when you talk about you, you deal with beryllium. So what does that mean? That means I have to even do the safety precautions, that means we’re going to be in these kind of customers, we know where we’re going to be working. But you can really get good at that. Because you also know why they’re choosing that material. And, and the kind of tolerances and the way the things that it’s going to be, where it’s going to be used, and why it’s so critical to have it. Exactly right.
Roz Lowe 32:03
Fascinating side of the industry. I mean, you know, we we had NASA out here not long ago, and they were doing a documentary series on James Webb telescope. And we were included in that chain. And that documentary series, they came out and did a piece on us. And, you know, when you get to talk to the people that are part of these programs, and the designs of the design side, and I mean, you know, not just that not just James Webb telescope, but, you know, a lot of the stuff we work on is really, really interesting. You know, I just love that side of it. Yeah. Participate on some of these really interesting projects.
Damon Pistulka 32:38
Yeah. Very cool. Well, Deb did say that is in little Walworth County, Wisconsin. She said it’s in a rural area. So yeah, that’s their team again. Yeah, they Yeah. See, and Matt came up with this again, see what happens on your cuz I’m a patriot member manufacturing sector. Team. Yeah. The, the, but it’s, but it is, you see these you see these?
This is what I don’t think, again, when people think about manufacturing in the United States, they don’t really put two and two together, they see like the James Webb telescope, and they don’t understand that the company where you’re working, made components for that. And that could be right down the street from where they live. It could be a place where they could work, they could talk about it.
I still remember a company that I ran years ago. And I know how long it is because we made the wheels on the Mars rover that you see on TV now with the holes in them. They’re out of aluminum. But you think about that, and you think about those kinds of things that you think about as you do that. There are memories and you get part of these programs, like you said, and it’s really something it’s super cool that you had NASA out there and they were talking documenting that gazillion billion dollar, you know, telescope that they put out there. That’s gonna really help us for for years to come. So,
Roz Lowe 34:03
I you know, I we were making some parts for the first rockets with Speight for SpaceX. And my dad shot and, you know, we did a bang up job for him. We did a really good job. And we, you know, did some expedites like overnight, it was easy, right. And so here’s another cool thing. So my son at the time was like, I think he was like, 17 1617. Right. And they ended up giving us a private tour of SpaceX, right? Oh, yeah. So they were just really nice people, such nice people. They also sent us a bunch of T shirts, like what can we do for you and I was like, some T shirts would be cool.
Like for the next couple of weeks, I was getting these ups packages and they were just full of T shirts. And my son you know, was part of like the Geek Squad in his class. He was like hammer kids and a lot of his friends went on to to party to be in this industry. You became an inspector guy. Now he’s making commercials for shops, right? So he’s in the industry and they gave us all these shirts and he got to hand them out to his friends and I got to be the coolest mom to a 17 year old trust me. 17 year old son and being a cool mom is not an easy doesn’t
Damon Pistulka 35:18
have very often Yeah, does not
Roz Lowe 35:23
taking you on a tour with a couple of your buddies. Yeah. Yeah. And it was amazing. I thought, speaking to John’s question, they had 3d printers, like I knew what all the machines were because I grown up in this right? bragging to my kid, you know, like, that’s a blah, blah, blah. And that’s a yada, yada. And there was a machine and it looked like a wire EDM, you know, kind of machine. And but it wasn’t, and I was like, what is that?
And they’re like, that’s a 3d printer, Roz, and it was like white. And it was printing on titanium. Flywheel, you know, really, really intricate. You know, it was just crazy, really complex component right there. And I couldn’t believe it 3d printing and titanium. Right? I don’t think this there, though, because of the honeycomb effect. Um, you know,
Damon Pistulka 36:15
we I don’t I don’t know, I know, they’re doing some crazy stuff. And it’s, but again, we’re talking about these nice markets, where you look at and you go, okay, what can it really do for an industry? What can I really do when you look at traditional manufacturing methods, or you look at using additive additive machining, and then maybe it’s additive machining with or additive manufacturing with machining and come combination to it, or grinding or something else. And you can get these parts that we couldn’t, we couldn’t build before simply couldn’t build.
And that’s the thing that I see crazy about when you look at the additive manufacturing, and as they expand in other materials, because now you look at, you know, we couldn’t machine something like that, or we couldn’t mold something like that. Or we could, you know, did now we can,
Roz Lowe 37:03
you know, I went to the Shot Show, I don’t know if you’re familiar with one of the biggest gun conventions. Amazing. Amazing, right? It’s amazing. And so I was at one of the booths and I was the guy had the silencers right. And I was looking at the silage. I was like, how do you make these and he said, 3d printing. And I was thinking, My God, that must take forever, these must be so expensive. I’m thinking in my head. And I and I’m like, How long does it take you to make these and these were very, I’m talking. It looked like Armadillo skin, you know, the design on it outside.
It was really amazing. And Holly’s channels on the inside, you know, this piece. And I asked her, How long does it take you to make those? And he said, oh, about three days. And I’m just thinking, well, that’s not going to be a thing. And I said, How have you ever costed out, you know, to machine it right, dude, when what’s what’s the cost difference? And he said, well, um, you would never be able to make this on a machine. Yeah, the way it was actually designed. Interestingly enough, yeah. 3d printing was the liberal only way that this piece could be made. So So yeah, it’s like everything hasn’t been invented yet.
Yeah. That’s cool. That’s cool. That’s, it’s, yeah. Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 38:22
It’s great to get to talk to you about this today, Ross, because I do that, that you have been in some of these, these really nice places, like you are now at La gauge, like in the thread rolling and the sound was grinding. I mean, it’s just specialty within a specialty within an industry and talking about it a bit, you know, and letting people understand.
Yeah, there are intricacies, you’re going to be able to really specialize though and get really intricate with their intimate with your customers, with their needs, with the special interests that they have to really develop relationships that isn’t like, I’m a machine shop and Damon needs a machine piece and he just goes down the street to get some it’s not that kind of relationship. It’s like you said your one or two in the world and you got you are in the US and they’re gonna come to you and you probably know them already.
Roz Lowe 39:19
Yeah, and we
Damon Pistulka 39:20
don’t know everybody. I don’t know everybody’s
Roz Lowe 39:22
business in the last couple years. Yep. Yep. Yeah. Be open that’s for sure.
Damon Pistulka 39:29
Yeah, yeah. When you’re when you’re one of a one a few it’s it’s much easier to open those doors to
Roz Lowe 39:36
100% still have to you really still you can’t you can’t become stuck up about it. Yeah. Oh, because well, no. I mean, you know, you can’t you have to, I think it’s really important that you always have that customer advocating. side of your company, no matter if you’re the brain surgeon or you’re the primary care doctor. You know, you have to, you have to be grateful, I think, you know, one of our actually, you know, everybody, everybody’s company has their mantra, right, you know, these are the things we follow. And one of ours is, is being humble.
So that’s right up there with root cause, and, you know, everything that’s important to a company. I mean, one of our number five, in the top five, you know, what part of our mantra is to be humble. So, no matter how big you get doesn’t really matter. You know, you have to always really care about that customer and, you know, meet their needs. And when you can’t, you got to pick up the phone and let them know why you can’t and you’re not gonna, you know, have an honest, good relationship.
Damon Pistulka 40:50
Yeah. Yeah, that’s for sure. Good stuff. Ross. It’s so much appreciate you stopping by today and talking with us. It’s, it’s, it’s great to understand. It’s great to understand more about the nice markets and manufacturing markets you’re in, you know, beryllium is, is it I knew it was special. I didn’t realize how special it was until you were doing it. And I knew the stuff you’re making was extremely cool. And that’s, that’s awesome as well. I want to thank everyone for listening today, too. And I didn’t see a make sure I got through the questions. I think they think so. But and Deb says, Yeah, humble is an intangible asset. Daboo
Roz Lowe 41:31
ask for sure. I think we thank you.
Damon Pistulka 41:36
Yeah, well, I’ll do an introduction after this. I’ll do that. I’ll write that down here and do that. The depth great. Because it is it really is it when you look at you humble being Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it’s humility. And what we do is is important every day because as soon as you think, you know, you’re really if, if time and and experience tells you anything. That’s That’s true.
Roz Lowe 42:00
Exactly. Yeah. So one tidbit to give everybody before we go, all right. Valentine’s Day is coming up right, February. So you know, nowadays everybody always used to give out Christmas cards. Early February,
Damon Pistulka 42:15
March. We miss next year, next year, next year does like Valentine’s Day, oh, I’m in trouble. I’m
Roz Lowe 42:22
thinking about it. Now. I do Valentine stuff for customers. So I was gonna say people that are salespeople. If you’re trying to get somebody to be your customer, you send them that will you be my customer Valentine? Or if you have customers that you’re already working with you send them that? Yeah, we love our customers. So you know you can you can do marketing things that make your business a niche. You know, you can emphasize a better a really customer advocating driven team. You know, you can focus on being the best quality or working in unique material grades. But there’s always opportunity in any business to make that business a niche is
Damon Pistulka 43:07
unique in its own way and absolutely yeah, yeah. I mean, we even there was a metal fabrication company that I ran the number of years ago and our niche was is we could we could turn your production orders in five days. And
Roz Lowe 43:23
a lot of people that was like you know,
Damon Pistulka 43:26
we could do it in five days and it was the way that the way the factory was set up the way that we did it the kind of materials we used and we could turn production orders in five days they weren’t 10s of 1000s they were 10s of 1000s Buddy you know if it was 1000 We could do it in five days. All the time.
And we have to run 24/7 You have to do some other things and you have to have the right equipment but it’s one of these things that that was a point place that if you looked at it like everyone else did was we bend metal we weld metal we do whatever but no, it’s unique because we can do something and it makes it very hard for anyone else to do just like you if you’re going to make a really a mirror there are not many places they go if I want my parts quick or I want to I want to have a lower inventory then and I can get my parts when I need him all the time.
It’s a less there’s there’s different ways to make them unique it’s it’s the the automotive shop down the street can be unique if they they want to be so I can’t even get a quote turned around that fast. So impressive. Yeah, yeah. That’s it’s awesome that you bring it up though. It is there is there are opportunities to be unique in anything you do. And when you do that, you separate yourself from the rest just like niching down. You know Kurt Anderson, he and I talk all the time he brings up the pink, pink running shoes with purple shoelaces, when you get that that detail on what you do. People come to you because they need what you do. Not if I said if I do running shoes Shoes.
Well, then there’s a lot of people that want running shoes, but maybe I have the pink running shoes or the purple shoe laces. That’s what I sell when you have that, and that’s what you sell. You know, when somebody comes to you, you’re pretty sure they’re gonna buy that shoe from you. Yeah. Oh, for sure. Yeah. So I mean, it really for you, when you niche down. The other thing that you’re doing is it, it allows you to focus, I don’t get, I don’t get distracted over here, I’m not gonna make something for this. Because we don’t do that we do this. And and you really can get get good and focus in on that and get really good in your industry.
Roz Lowe 45:35
100% Absolutely correct in that. And then once you do do that, you can model that process and expand yes to the next thing that you’re going to become the very best out. Yeah, you know, live it, eat it breathe it. I mean, that’s kind of always anyways, but yeah, you know, yeah, that’s the approach what, hey, I got to know, what are your thoughts on the robotics that are coming into the industry? Now I see a lot of shops right now that are going with robotics, you know, lights out, you mentioned that
Damon Pistulka 46:06
it’s gonna it’s gonna keep working well, and realistically, when you think about it, how many people are retiring compared to how many people are the robots will ever really play replace, and I don’t think we’re ever going to run into the problem where it’s replacing enough people to make a difference in the kind of places we’re talking about, you know, in a big man in a big assembly place maybe, but not not in the CNC. Yeah, and anything like that. It’s not it’s it’s gonna be
Roz Lowe 46:34
a prototype robot in the CNC world is, yeah, it’s happening. I’m what? My son was at a shop recently doing a film on him. And I mean, they’re, they’re sure they’ve only got to me, the only people that they have working on the shop floor, basically, the ones that are loading up the tool changers, you know, for the machines, and I mean, it’s, it’s extremely impressive. And the components that they’re working in are extremely close tolerance, you know, like plus or minus couple foul, you know, kind of,
Damon Pistulka 47:05
I think, I think overall, it’ll be it’ll be it’ll be helpful for the companies that need it, and can can really utilize it. And I think like many of these, these technologies, that the people that use it will, will be successful and, and it’ll help overall,
Roz Lowe 47:20
I think it’s a way to get our commercial manufacturing back. It’s one way that we can compare foreign government with foreign countries. That is labor side. I mean, I don’t see it as something. Yeah. For our current industry, or the labor for the workforce, whatever. I see it as an opportunity to get back some manufacturing. We’ve lost
Damon Pistulka 47:42
Yeah, yeah. Very good. Yeah, I think so. I think so. Awesome. Well, Ross, thanks for being here today as I’m talking to you about the the advantages of niche manufacturing markets and what you’re in and talking about some of these other things we can do. Thanks so much, everyone for listening today. We’ll be back again next week.