Desk of Dave Young
That’s a long time to be working at one place! I was 12 years old when I brought home my first paycheck. That $12.50 sure seemed like a lot of money, and I only had to work for 25 hours to get it! (I still have the pay stub.) My full time employment began in 1976, even though my part-time jobs (sweeping, stacking parts, etc.) started 5 years earlier.
When Dad was growing up, his father held to the idea that every boy needs to learn a trade. Grandpa made sure that my father was working (real work!) from a very early age to accomplish that objective. Finding a job can be easy when Dad owns the company, but he never forced me to work for him. He said I could work at the shop if I wanted, but assured me I was free to pursue any career I would like.
Throughout high school my goal was to get away from the noise, grease and smells of the shop. It wasn’t bad work, but my heart was set on an outdoor career far away from Grand Forks. During my senior year of high school I met a wonderful gal from Wisconsin. After graduation I needed cash to make some trips to see her, and I needed a boss who was willing to give me some occasional time off. Dad said I could continue to work for him as long as I wanted, and he was lenient with my time off. I married Beth in 1978 and settled in Grand Forks. I put my other plans on the shelf and got on with life.
I found the work to be enjoyable, and I was fairly good at it. (Dad says it’s the German blood in me). Dad was a patient teacher. He took the time to make sure I understood how to use the equipment, but more important, how to make it run efficiently. He taught me hand skills like how to use a file and sharpen a drill bit. He taught me why we do certain things, not just how. More importantly, he taught me about the importance of developing good customer relations.
When I began my career, our company was a series of old buildings and pole barns linked together to form an L-shaped facility. Floors were uneven. We heated mostly with wood, using old pallets and scrounged wood for fuel. Computers and FAX machines could be seen in Popular Science magazine, but not our shop.
Things sure have changed over the years. Computerized equipment has taken over much of the handwork we did in the past. Our facility has expanded and is more modern in design. The heat from our lasers and a few gas furnaces has replaced wood heating, and turn-around time for parts has gone from weeks to days (and sometimes hours).
The one thing that has not changed is a desire to please our customers. Without you we would not be where we are today. Thank you for your trust in us. I hope you enjoy this first issue of our company newsletter.