As he congratulated a graduating class of machinists, Ed Maier, president of G.W. Lisk Co., announced that his company made more than 50 components for the SpaceX Fusion Heavy rocket.
It was that kind of work that drew the seven students who completed the six-month advanced manufacturing machinist training program operated jointly by Finger Lakes Community College and G.W. Lisk. The company and college celebrated with a recent lunch and ceremony at Warfield’s Restaurant in Clifton Springs.
“You’re making something,” said David Calderwood, a graduate from Honeoye Falls, in reference to high-precision parts for aerospace, military and other industries.
“I like working with my hands,” said Karen Kollie, of East Rochester, who already worked as an assembler at G.W. Lisk, but wanted the higher pay and advancement potential of machining. “This was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Frederick Enamait, of East Rochester, thanked his teachers for their encouragement and patience as the class learned print reading, measuring techniques, machine tool operation and how to analyze a manufacturing problem.
“They didn’t give us the answers, they gave us the ability to get the answers,” Enamait said. “I learned a different way of looking at the world.”
Robert Nye, president of FLCC, echoed Maier as he told graduates, “The products you make will make a difference in the world.”
Most graduates were hired by G.W. Lisk Co., a maker of solenoids, valves and flame arrestors with more than 600 employees at the Clifton Springs plant.
Garrett Flower, of Clifton Springs, simultaneously enrolled in the FLCC instrumentation and control technologies program and will graduate with a two-year degree in December, in addition to his machining credentials.
Future students who enroll in both programs will make faster progress on an associate degree. Machinist program graduates can get 12 college credits toward a instrumentation and control technologies degree, a related FLCC manufacturing technology program. Under a separate arrangement with Monroe Community College, they can apply 15 credits toward the MCC precision machining and tooling certificate and degree programs.
Calvin Alexander, of Farmington; William Grube, of Fairport; and Forrest Macaluso, of Palmyra, also completed the six-month program.
A new class will start in September. Previous manufacturing experience is not necessary, and grant funding to cover full tuition is available for eligible applicants.
Call (585) 785-1906 or email andrea.badger@flcc.edu for information.