A season for everything

Posted on Nov 12, 2019 :: Editors Note
Jessica Thiel
Posted by , Insight on Manufacturing Staff Writer

Retirement is one of those hallowed milestones. Many workers begin dreaming about it after they’ve only just entered the workforce. Like any major life event, though, impending retirement can bring as many anxieties as joys.

Pondering transitions as I wrote this month’s cover story, I thought of the arrival of my first son. Lost in the excitement of welcoming my first child, I failed to consider how challenging and life-changing parenting would be. Of course, I learned quickly that parenting a newborn brings joy and anxiety in equal — or sometimes disproportionate — measure. That baby boy turned 17 last month and is a senior in high school, and I’m staring down another transition that’s at once exciting and melancholy.

I’m guessing that many of those preparing to transition to retirement feel that same combination of emotions. Yes, there’s great joy in reaching a long-awaited milestone, but there’s also often fear and uncertainty. Retiring workers may worry about whether they’ve saved enough, if they’ll have adequate health care or how they’ll spend their time when they’ve devoted the last three or four decades to a career. Replacing all those experienced workers also brings about anxiety for manufacturers. Read this month’s cover story on page 8 to learn how employers and employees alike can prepare for retirement.

As employees exit the workforce following retirement, employers need to find avenues to replace them. One of those is high school students, and the NEW Manufacturing Alliance recently recognized outstanding companies, schools and educators that work together to expose students to manufacturing careers. One of those leading companies is D&S Machine Service of Luxemburg, which has donated equipment and time to several schools. It’s a smart strategy, and you can read about it and learn about some of the NEWMA Excellence in Manufacturing & K-12 Partnerships Award winners in Nikki Kallio’s story on page 19.

Thanksgiving is just a couple of weeks away, and I was filled with gratitude to see a record crowd turn out at the Manufacturing First Expo & Conference last month. The positive energy was palpable, and the day’s two keynote speakers — Kohler Co. President and CEO David Kohler and author Mike Staver — delivered talks that complemented each other perfectly. Kohler spoke first about how the company innovates while maintaining a dedication to craftsmanship. Kohler has established itself as a leader on many fronts, and that segued into Staver’s talk on leadership. His speech included healthy doses of humor that had the audience roaring with laughter, but he also left people with a thought-provoking message and actionable steps to improve their leadership skills. Check out the recap — in words and pictures — on page 15.

Savor and enjoy the approaching holiday season with your loved ones and friends, and I’ll see you in 2020!