The first recipient of the annual Kent Olson “Employer of the Year” Award is Pointe Precision. This inaugural award pays tribute to an outstanding employer in North Central Wisconsin that has:
1. Supported the local workforce development system and utilized its resources;
2. Built its skilled workforce through transformation and innovation; and
3. Embraced collaborative community and/or sector workforce strategies to help build the regional economy
The award is named after long-time Board member, chairman and activist Kent Olson of Olson Tire and Auto, who served from 2000 to 2018.
Pointe Precision Inc. was established in June 1995 following the closure of a large manufacturing facility in Stevens Point. Founder and Chairman of the Board, Joe Kinsella, saw an opportunity to start something new, providing an opportunity to keep experienced employees within the community. Pointe Precision began operations with 94 employees in a leased building in Stevens Point, manufacturing high tolerance components for the Aerospace and Industrial markets, eventually expanding into the Medical and Recreational industries.
The company began to grow almost immediately by adhering to its core philosophy of providing customers the ultimate manufacturing experience – top notch customer service paired with exacting tolerances, consistency, and quality. The company built a new 60,000 square foot facility in neighboring Plover in 2004 and expanded to 85,000 square feet in 2014. Today, Pointe Precision has grown to $34 million in sales and employs 180 people
Pointe Precision has been an enthusiastic supporter of the public workforce development system. It has hired numerous technical college graduates which were participants in NCWWDB’s Adult and Dislocated Worker employment and training programs. Pointe Precision has helped design curriculum for customized short-term training programs in machine tool, then hired and provided additional support for those graduates with challenging barriers. Pointe Precision has also stepped forward to help NCWWDB build the framework for and lead the implementation of the first pre-apprenticeship machine tool training with Mid-State Technical College.
Pointe Precision has been a leader in building its skilled workforce through transformation and innovation. It has been a pioneer in the creation and ongoing development of youth apprenticeship in the manufacturing sector as a feeder into a skilled workforce. Youth apprentices work with committed mentors, are offered flexible schedules and good wages, and take advantage of contextualized learning at their schools. Since 1997, Pointe Precision has had about 40 youth apprentices, with almost one-third still employed by the company. Pointe Precision has also been the leader in building the first machine tool “bridge” from youth apprenticeship to adult registered apprenticeship in Wisconsin.
Pointe Precision has embraced collaborative community and sector workforce strategies to help build the regional economy. In 2013, it was one of the founding members of the Central Wisconsin Metal Manufacturers Alliance (CWIMMA) and has been actively working to build a skilled manufacturing workforce and position the region Central Wisconsin as a hub for manufacturing opportunities. Specifically, Pointe Precision has been an active collaborator and mentor in the CWIMMA high school welding competition and soon-to-be machine tool competition, as well as avid participant in the Heavy Metal Tour for 8th graders. It also led discussions with partners to create and implement the first “Metal Mania” summer career exploration and skills training program for high school students. Via company scholarships, students earned machine tool credits at Mid-State Technical College and the vast majority plan to continue onto its full machine tool program. And, Pointe Precision continues to serve as leading employer voice on the Mid-State Machining Advisory Committee and as an avid supporter of local high schools as they continue to build pipelines into manufacturing careers.
As if that wasn’t enough, Pointe Precision has created a company culture where community activism is encouraged and supported. Pointe Precision employees are involved in a myriad of local, regional, and statewide efforts to improve communities and the lives of people who live and work in those communities. And, Pointe Precision continues to serve as an exemplary model of successful family business transition and transformation.
Congratulations to Pointe Precision!