Mike Werner spent the first two decades of his career working his way up the ladder at a national pizza restaurant chain. After that, he helped manage a bedroom furniture store, then a shoe store for the next decade, before transitioning to a management role overseeing a number of gas stations in the Greater Milwaukee Area.
Werner was, admittedly, burnt out. He was tired of working nights. He wanted to spend holidays with his wife and summer weekends at their family cottage.
“I certainly didn’t want to go back into the retail field,” Werner said. “I was on Facebook and I saw an ad for Kapco and I thought, ‘Well, what’s Kapco?’ So, I looked into it and I’m like, ‘Yeah, why not?’ I’ll talk to them and I’ll see if a career in manufacturing might be a fit, even though I didn’t have any experience.”
Kapco, based in Grafton, is one of the largest contract manufacturers of metal parts and components in the Midwest. With capabilities in metal stamping, fabrication, welding, and a variety of other core services, Kapco makes parts for some of the world’s biggest brands.
After applying and interviewing, Werner accepted a role on Kapco’s Laser Team, where he works with industry-leading laser technology to produce a high volume of precision parts from sheets of steel.
Between in-depth classroom education and hands-on training, Werner was up to speed on safety protocols, best practices and his job responsibilities quickly. Plus, with the help of his colleagues and mentor, he had a team and resources for asking questions and receiving guidance.
“I was trained well, and I asked a lot of questions,” Werner said. “I was made to feel like I was part of the team right away.
“I always thought I liked my other jobs, but I really like this one, and I’m appreciated. I have a role that I play. I’m productive, and I have a purpose.”
Werner is now a lead on Kapco’s laser team, but one of the things he appreciates about the organization is the mobility team members have if they choose to pursue a different role. For example, just because Werner was hired as part of the laser team, he could always choose to pursue a role in metal stamping, welding or another capability area Kapco provides its customers.
“There are so many different things that people can do with a career at Kapco,” Werner said. “They could run a laser, or be a finisher, a punch press operator, or run a brake press. They could go into welding. It’s nice to have that flexibility, even if you don’t have any experience in manufacturing.”
As a Wisconsin Top Workplace, Kapco’s rapid growth has created a variety of opportunities at its Grafton headquarters. Of course, like Werner, in many cases no manufacturing experience is required, but all roles provide on-the-job training and full benefits, including beyond-the-paycheck perks.
To learn more about modern manufacturing careers at Kapco, visit ReSkill.KapcoInc.com!