Shaping a Career
This machinist put FVTC first in his plans for success.
Hortonville native Tanner Buchman graduated debt-free from Fox Valley Technical College’s Machine Tool Technician program in 2007 and returned a year later to become a journeyman machinist. Today, he and his business partner, Ben Romenesko, own and operate Wolf River Machine in Greenville, Wisconsin. “I’m in charge of the shop and Ben manages the office,” says the 32-year-old Buchman.
Wolf River Machine specializes in working with aluminum, stainless steel and brass for the food and paper industries. “We started out in 2014 working in a small shed with manual equipment,” Buchman states. “Today, we have four full-time employees, a new 6,000-square-foot facility and five CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines.”
Buchman credits FVTC for providing him with the right tools to succeed. “The instructors have worked in every aspect of the industry, and they give you insight on what to expect when receiving real jobs,” he says. “You learn how to handle programming, set up machines and inspect parts while graduating well prepared for the industry.”
Machinists are critical to today’s economy. “Machined molds are used in making parts for everything from phones to cars,” adds Buchman. “Working as a machinist today is not just a job but a career. Good machinists are professionals who often start with a better salary than four-year grads.”
Today there is a serious shortage of skilled machinists. “We are always looking for skilled employees,” says Buchman. “There is a misconception about what machinists do, and that is leading to a shortage of people entering the field,” he says. “Machining is not lifting heavy equipment in a dark dungeon; it’s working on computers in air-conditioned spaces.”
Quick Facts: Machine Tool Technician
- 7 consecutive years of 100% graduate employment for FVTC Machine Tool Technician grads
- 128 skilled machinists added to area workforce since 2012
Source: FVTC’s Graduate Employment Research Reports, 2012-2018