JR Machine creates own pipeline for workers

Posted on Jun 30, 2020 :: Editor
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Tim Tumanic, owner of JR Machine in Shawano, clearly understands college isn’t for everyone. He experienced it first-hand with his son, Parker, who struggled in high school. Tumanic decided to bring his son to work with him, where he excelled. His son’s friend also struggled in school and Tumanic brought him on board too.

“They were great workers and it got me thinking there’s quite a few hard-working farm kids in Shawano, and if they aren’t interested in college, maybe I could interest them in working for me,” Tumanic told me during the photo shoot for this month’s cover. “I realized if they had exposure to a CNC machine while still in high school, I could get them interested in a manufacturing career.”

Tumanic’s idea paid off. Since 2012, he has donated about $100,000 worth of equipment to both Shawano and Bonduel high schools as a way to expose students to a career in manufacturing, whether it’s working on a CNC machine or programming. While larger manufacturers have invested in their local high schools, I had never seen a company of JR Machine’s size manage to do the same. To read more about how a small manufacturer can make a big difference, turn to Nikki Kallio’s cover story on page 18.

Whether it is deciding when to reopen — if that’s even financially possible — or when to bring employees back into the office, businesses are still grappling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this month’s issue, Jessica Thiel looks at how businesses are reopening safely in the New North feature on page 14. She also takes a look at how the pandemic has changed the way businesses are hiring in this month’s Pipeline feature on page 29.

The pandemic upended New North Inc.’s plans for 2020. The regional economic development corporation was focused on talent attraction and retention as many employers struggled to find workers. In mid-March, that all changed when the COVID-19 pandemic brought many businesses to a standstill. In this month’s Personalities feature on page 12, New North’s Executive Director Barb LaMue discusses how the organization is helping businesses and the regional economy get back on track. To learn more about what’s happening in the New North, please see the New North Mid-Year Report, which is inserted after page 24.

Coming up

Insight Women of Influence Awards

Insight’s Women of Influence Awards event will be held at 4 p.m. on July 29. The virtual event will honor eight women from throughout the region for their efforts to make their communities a better place. In addition, the more than 80 women nominated for the awards will be recognized. To register for the event and receive information on how to access the Women of Influence Awards directly from your inbox, please visit insightonbusiness.com/women.

An extra dose of Insight

Watch JR Machine President Tim Tumanic discuss his decision to purchase CNC equipment for Bonduel and Shawano high schools.

Tumanic’s interview is just one of many you will find online at insightonbusiness.com/home/cover-story-videos.