Jason Zenger: S-T-E-P, S-T-P-S-L-D-P-R-T, S-T-L, X_T, X_B, I-P-T, 3-D-X-M-L, Cat Part, P-R-T, S-A-T-
Jim Carr: What are those, Jason?
Jason Zenger: Jim, those are all of the 3D models that you could upload into the Xometry Instant Quoting Engine.
Jim Carr: Of course, they are. I knew that, I just wanted to see if you knew what that was. But yeah, Xometry is great to work with. I cannot believe, some of those I've never even heard of before.
Jason Zenger: Well, they get into a lot more stuff than just machining.
Jim Carr: Absolutely. But I guess you just drag it, drop it, right into their website, and bam! It spits out an instant quote. It's fantastic.
Jason Zenger: Yeah. I can't believe it. Drag and drop and away you go. Go to Xometry.com, X-O-M-E-T-R-Y.com.
Jim Carr: Welcome to MakingChips. We believe that manufacturing is challenging, but if you are connected to a community of leaders, you can elevate your skills, solve your problems, and grow your business. I'm your host, Jim Carr, and I'm joined by my good friend and my co-host, Mr. Jason JZ Zenger. How you doing, bud?
Jason Zenger: I'm doing great, Jim. How are you?
Jim Carr: I'm well. We are here. Beautiful-
Jason Zenger: MXD.
Jim Carr: Sunny afternoon in Chicago.
Jason Zenger: Yes. It's still 80 degrees, and summer's almost over.
Jim Carr: Well, now you're pushing it.
Jason Zenger: No, it is. It's going to be in the 80's today.
Jim Carr: Really?
Jason Zenger: It's fantastic. Chicago has the best summers. I mean, I got to say temperature wise and everything.
Jim Carr: Would you call this an Indian summer?
Jason Zenger: I don't even know what that means.
Jim Carr: It means a late summer, early fall, where it's reverting to summer temperatures.
Jason Zenger: I have four kids, I don't even remember what happened a month ago, let alone what the temperature was.
Jim Carr: Yeah. I believe that. Do you remember what happened this morning? Do you know what you had for breakfast?
Jason Zenger: Same thing I always have, a veggie shake and my bulletproof coffee.
Jim Carr: Good for you. That makes me happy. I had a glass of wine. I'm just kidding. No, I did not.
Jason Zenger: A mimosa?
Jim Carr: No. I had three cups of coffee and eggs and broccoli, quite frankly.
Jason Zenger: You had broccoli for breakfast? Good for you.
Jim Carr: I did have broccoli. I put it in my eggs.
Jason Zenger: Well, one of the important things about being a manufacturing leader is that you need to stay healthy. You need to have energy and be on the ball.
Jim Carr: Yes, no kidding.
Jason Zenger: We should do a whole episode about healthy eating for manufacturing leaders.
Jim Carr: Yeah. I mean, It goes a long way. Let me tell you.
Jason Zenger: But that's certainly not what we're talking about today.
Jim Carr: That's not what we're talking about today. I have a question for you Jason. Do you have anybody that works at Zenger's that's a veteran?
Jason Zenger: As a matter of fact, I do. It's actually-
Jim Carr: Not your dad. [crosstalk 00:02:37]
Jason Zenger: No, I know. My dad was in the National Guard and actually one of the people that you talked to Zenger's the most often is actually a veteran.
Jim Carr: Carla?
Jason Zenger: Yeah. Carla was in the army.
Jim Carr: No kidding. I did not know that.
Jason Zenger: I know you didn't.
Jim Carr: Well, I don't talk to her anymore, my son does.
Jason Zenger: Right. But yeah, Carla used to be in the Army. We had some other veterans that have retired over the year, but yeah, Carla's [crosstalk 00:02:57].
Jim Carr: And Carla is a great employee.
Jason Zenger: Yeah.
Jim Carr: She's been with you how long?
Jason Zenger: A long time. Over 10 years. You can definitely see that in her training and she talks about it quite often, when she was in the army. And She's very diligent and she gets the job done. I wish I had a couple more Carlas.
Jim Carr: Those are the characteristics veterans bring.
Jason Zenger: Yeah. Absolutely. How about you guys?
Jim Carr: And that's what we're going to talk about today, is about why should we as manufacturing leaders, as owners of companies employ vets, because those are great. We have two VIP guests with us today that are going to really do a deep dive into why it is important to invest in veterans in our companies and employ them because they bring huge, huge characteristics.
Jason Zenger: Some great characteristics.
Jim Carr: But no, to the best of my knowledge, I do not have anybody in my small company that is a veteran. My dad was, but my dad is obviously long retired. He just turned 90 yesterday, by the way.
Jason Zenger: Wow. That's awesome. [crosstalk 00:03:54] Yeah. We're having a 70th birthday party for my dad. A 70th birthday party and a retirement party for him very soon, so you will get an invite for that.
Jim Carr: When is it?
Jason Zenger: It's going to be within the next month or so.
Jim Carr: Okay. Let me know in advance.
Jason Zenger: Before he flies South for the winter.
Jim Carr: Very cool. As we always do every week on this show, tell me what's new with Zenger's. What's exciting? What's the poll?
Jason Zenger: What's new and exciting.
Jim Carr: Nothing bad.
Jason Zenger: No, I'm negotiating a very large contract for MRO supplies for a Fortune 100 company, and it's pretty stressful, but it's also exciting. And me along with several other industrial supply companies across the country-
Jim Carr: Oh, it's going to be a collaboration?
Jason Zenger: It's a collaboration because they have sites all across the country, and so we need to make sure that we can cover all of those sites. And so we're working in collaboration. We actually have a national footprint. It's an organization called Supply Force, where they take distributors like ours that are part of this other group, and they put them all together in order to provide services to companies that would require a national contract.
Jim Carr: Cool. Great. Good luck with it.
Jason Zenger: Yeah. Thank you.
Jim Carr: That's really exciting, man. I'm happy for you.
Jason Zenger: What about you?
Jim Carr: We're just busy. It's been a record year for us and it's growth problems. Let me tell you, I'm working harder now than I ever have in my entire life, and it's hard to manage growth, but we're doing it. God only gives you what you can handle, right? I know you believe in that, and we're handling it. We're just doing it and making things work.
Jim Carr: I call it a one alarm, a two alarm, and a three alarm fire, and that's how I approach my day. We work with the three alarms. Then we work down to the two alarms. Then we can work down to the one alarm, and then once they're all alarmed out, then of course, another three alarm will start. So that's how we manage our day and we actually talk about it in our production meetings, it's like, "Is it a three alarm fire or a two alarm fire?"
Jason Zenger: You and I talk about a lot of different things and I give you advice and some of it you take, and some of it you don't. Some of it you take now, and some of it you take later. And I really think that you need to figure out how to delegate and elevate some of the superfluous things you do.
Jim Carr: I know that.
Jason Zenger: And I also want you to use that word superfluous as one of your new words.
Jim Carr: Do you know what that means?
Jason Zenger: I do.
Jim Carr: What does it mean?
Jason Zenger: It's just something that is just extra not necessary to what you do on a regular basis.
Jim Carr: Okay.
Jason Zenger: Somebody verify that. [crosstalk 00:06:10].
Jim Carr: Can you spell it?
Jason Zenger: No. I do not know how to spell superfluous, but I just looked it up and I was pretty close with my definition. Unnecessary, especially being more than enough. So I would say that you do a lot of things that are unnecessary for you to do, so just hire somebody to do it.
Jim Carr: I know.
Jason Zenger: Because you kind of stress me out when you're doing some of those things.
Jim Carr: I'm working on it.
Jason Zenger: I know.
Jim Carr: I'm doing the best I can do, but yes. I totally agree. I know that's where I need help at, is to get help.
Jason Zenger: You know where you need help is to get help. There you go.
Jim Carr: So, Jason, what's going on at the Boring Bar? I mean, can I order a margarita with salt and lime there?
Jason Zenger: Yeah, eventually the Boring Bar will be an actual place. It'll be a part of the new MakingChips headquarters in Rockford. But for now, the Boring Bar is our newsletter. So it features original content that we write, and also videos that we produce. So as you know, MakingChips is more than just a podcast.
Jim Carr: It is.
Jason Zenger: So we have other content out there that is quite valuable. And the Boring Bar is our way to get that out there to the Metal Working Nation.
Jim Carr: And how do people subscribe to the Boring Bar?
Jason Zenger: Why don't you go ahead.
Jim Carr: All they have to do, it's really simple. Just take out your device and text chips, C-H-I-P-S to 38470. Boom, that's it, done. They'll subscribe, they're going to get it in their weekly newsletter, and be fantastic.
Jason Zenger: Awesome. What kind of device?
Jim Carr: I use an Android, you use an iPhone. So I think the texting aspect works just about the same.
Jason Zenger: Any kind of device that can send a text.
Jim Carr: Any kind of device. Before we bring on our guests, I want to ... I found this great article today on smallbusinesstrends.com. And it's about 15 Benefits of Hiring Military Veterans. And I thought, oh my god, I didn't even have to search very long before I found it. But I just want to go in and talk about why it's so valuable to do this. And this is the opinion of Small Business Trends. But it says, at present there are nearly 1,000,000 unemployed military veterans across United States. Many of them are desperate for work. And from an employer's perspective, the unique qualities veterans possess could make some ideal job candidates.
Jason Zenger: Yeah, I think I'm going to look at this through the lens of Carla and my dad and just try to look at these characteristics that you talk about and say, yeah, yes or no, they embody that. So go ahead.
Jim Carr: So there's 15 and I want to get through them pretty quick. Veterans are goal oriented. Very few professions focus exclusively on goal completion. But one that does is the military veterans are trained in engineered environments that target nothing but mission achievement.
Jason Zenger: I like that.
Jim Carr: And military personnel are taught to exercise, collaboration, cooperation and personal development in order to achieve their targets.
Jason Zenger: Cool.
Jim Carr: The next one veterans are trained leaders. If you'd like to foster in-house talent and hire genuine leadership candidates, veterans are a natural fit. Experts say the average marine is recruited at age 19 and by age 20, is typically promoted to become non commissioned officer and placed in high stress leadership roles. Three, veterans take responsibility seriously. From day one military personnel are trained to take their jobs extremely seriously. They have it drilled into them that stupid mistakes, bad decisions, or blatant oversights can get their comrades seriously hurt or worse.
Jason Zenger: Yeah, there's a book that I want to read and that I know was written by a veteran called Extreme Ownership. And it's one of those books that so many people have said, this is an awesome book, and actually want to bring it to the Zenger's book club eventually, because I've heard so many great things about it. I think it goes along those lines that you were just talking about.
Jim Carr: Yeah. You always say you read books, but I really wonder how many books you really do read. I mean, have you read more than 100 books?
Jason Zenger: Oh, absolutely.
Jim Carr: Okay, kudos for you.
Jason Zenger: Yeah. One year I challenged myself to read, I think it was, was it 25 books in a year? Yeah. I think I challenged myself to read 25 books a year, which is, I think a lot.
Jim Carr: I think so too. Yes, that's more than I have in my entire life.
Jason Zenger: In your life.
Jim Carr: Yeah, I know. Anyway, don't get off topic, veterans know how to make decisions. The military is strategically designed to create leaders and in doing so it forces our recruits to embrace their intuition. Veterans have been trained to absorb every single piece of information they can find before making a snap judgment, and they can typically be relied upon to make the best choice available at any given time. Veterans speak their minds, although they've been trained to obey orders. Very few veterans are yes-man.
Jason Zenger: Oh, yeah, Carla definitely speaks her mind.
Jim Carr: Because of their leadership experiences and intuition skills as employees, veterans won't shy away from flagging mistakes or asking the boss to think twice about a big decision. Veterans work well independently. If you're after an employee who'd be able to trust managing crucial processes in your business, you can't do better than a veteran. Studies indicate military personnel are more likely to take major initiative than their co-workers, which is probably why US veterans are also 45% more likely to start their own business.
Jim Carr: Veterans have a great work ethic. When you're in the military slacking off isn't an option. Every task you've been asked to do must be done for a reason. And veterans have been trained to understand that. As a result, you can expect veterans to understand the meaning of hard work.
Jason Zenger: I feel like all I've been missing in creating a high performance team at Zenger's is just more veterans.
Jim Carr: Yeah. Veterans can help you organize, the military thrives on structure and organization. It's their bread and butter and all personnel are trained from day one to embrace that organization. If your business is in need of a bit of help in terms of structure, veterans have the skills needed to steer you in the right direction.
Jim Carr: Well, at the end of the day, all the people need to do is go to this, there's about seven more bullets here. And I recommend people to go to Small Business Trends and the article headline is 15 Benefits of Hiring Military Veterans.
Jason Zenger: And you should be able to get the link to that-
Jim Carr: I'm telling you right away, it's really impressive. And I don't know why I don't have any veterans in my shop-
Jason Zenger: You should. Yeah, and if you subscribe to the Boring Bar, you can get links to articles just like this, that we talked about on the show.
Jim Carr: So Mr. Zenger, would you like to introduce our two very special VIP guests, we have in our studio today.
Jason Zenger: I'd love to. So our first guest is Andrea Biwer, who is the executive director of the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce and Industry and their educational foundation. Welcome, Andrea.
Andrea Biwer: Thank you. Glad to be here.
Jason Zenger: And our second guest is Marne Deithorn, who's also a former Marine. And she is currently the Director of Human Resources at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. Welcome, Marne.
Marne Deithorn: Welcome. Thank you.
Jason Zenger: Yeah, welcome ladies. Good to see you.
Andrea Biwer: It's great to see you.
Jason Zenger: Yeah, we're definitely interested in having this conversation about veterans in the manufacturing industry. And we know that there's a lot of manufacturing leaders out there or potential manufacturing leaders out there who are part of the veteran workforce.
Jim Carr: So Andrea, we've been friends for probably a little bit more than a decade now.
Andrea Biwer: Yeah.
Jim Carr: And you've moved roles in your career. And you ended up at the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce which is a local Chamber of Commerce, near O'Hare Airport in Chicago.
Andrea Biwer: Good job, Jim. It is, yeah.
Jim Carr: Thank you. And when you arrived there, how was this whole boot camp burst? Can you explain to the Metal Working Nation about it?
Andrea Biwer: I can, it will be my pleasure. Well, I started in 2017 in January as their new executive director, and our chamber has about 600 companies that are members. And right away, right off the bat, the first thing that I was hearing from the companies and we have a lot of manufacturers, a lot of logistic companies that are members of the chamber. When I started talking to them, we heard that there was a shortage of workforce in our region, and that they were looking for qualified workers. At the same time, just so happens, we have a very active VFW in American Legion that are in Des Plaines. And The Wall That Heals for those that are veterans of Vietnam. The Wall That Heals is a traveling memorial that travels from city to city and it was coming to Des Plaines in the fall.
Andrea Biwer: So hearing that, we have, again, several great members, some of the members, for example, Rivers Casino is a part of our chamber. And we have a foundation in the chamber. So I was trying to come up with some creative things that we could kind of help the local veterans and how we could help the business community address their problems. So we worked together a long time.
Jim Carr: Sure.
Andrea Biwer: And prior to coming to the chamber, I worked at Daily Herald and I was in charge, I helped team launch the event division for that Media Group, and we used to do events. And so kind of a lightning bulb came off my son.
Jim Carr: I call it the aha moment.
Andrea Biwer: The aha moment.
Jim Carr: Yeah.
Andrea Biwer: Well, and I'll back up briefly. My son, Brandon, he's not a veteran yet, but he proudly serves in the Air Force in DC. But a couple of his friends came back that were marines. And they were struggling finding positions. And I knew these boys since they were 13. They are fabulous. And I'm like, "Why are they having a problem finding jobs?" They just came back from serving in Afghanistan. They're great kids and all the attributes that you mentioned earlier. So again, the light bulb came off and just bringing all these pieces together, we came up with the Veterans Back to Work Boot Camp. And basically what this is, through involving several veteran business owners in the area, kind of questioning them, we came up with a 10 week program, that could help mentor veterans that are newly returning from serving, where we're going to mentor them, get the business community involved and have a curriculum. We got [inaudible 00:16:12] and Harper College, community colleges involved as well, and then we're going to give them gifts at the end.
Andrea Biwer: So I wrote up a whole proposal as part of our foundation because we have an educational foundation, and just got all the pieces together and presented it to one of our partners, Rivers Casino. And next thing I know it was summertime and I found that in talking to the people at Rivers, that they donated $69,000 to our foundation to get this program.
Jim Carr: Beautiful. Fabulous.
Jason Zenger: Wow. That's great. And that's where Marne comes in, I suppose.
Marne Deithorn: Yes. This crazy lady next to me showed up in my office one day to talk about a back to work boot camp. And I didn't know what she was talking about and I'm like, "Who are you?" How do you-
Jason Zenger: You seem to be really excited about this.
Andrea Biwer: [crosstalk 00:17:05] we're best friends right now.
Marne Deithorn: Right. I was like, "How do you know about veterans or what we go through when we transition out?" And so I started asking her some pretty pointed questions. And then she's like, "Well, how do you know?" And I said, "I'm a veteran." And she's like, "Really?"
Andrea Biwer: Okay. I did know she was a veteran, but you're trained to ask question. But not a veteran, I'm sorry.
Marne Deithorn: So from there, a relationship was developed and the program, her idea in getting other business leaders involved, HR leaders involved, veterans involved, the program's taken off, and we've kicked off our third year of the program this year.
Jim Carr: Congratulations.
Jason Zenger: That's great.
Andrea Biwer: Marne's been by my side ever since that day.
Jim Carr: Great. So I have a question. Why do veterans need to be mentored? Can you explain that to me a little bit? Tell us why they need a ten week mentoring.
Jason Zenger: I would say even when we go, before we go there, what is the actual mission of this organization?
Jim Carr: Okay, we'll start there.
Andrea Biwer: Sure. A mission of the chamber, a mission of the veterans back to work.
Jim Carr: The mission of the boot camp.
Andrea Biwer: Well, the mission is three faults. I'll say the mission is, number one, to help veterans that have proudly served our country and to try to give back to them as a community. Number two, it's to try to fill some open positions that are companies that are members of the chamber are trying to fill. And number three, it's personal, because again, I have a child that's serving and their friends. And it's something that we wanted to be able to help and to be able to draw attention to what we could do in Des Plaines as a community to come together and give back.
Jim Carr: Thank you, appreciate that. Does that answer your question?
Jason Zenger: Yeah.
Jim Carr: So why do veterans need mentoring when they come out? Why do they need a 10 week course or a boot camp as you're marketing as, tell us what the mentoring process. Well, first of all, why do they need it and then break it down to how you're mentoring them over that 10 week period.
Marne Deithorn: So transitioning out is scary. You don't know what you need to do. You don't know sometimes what career. I was military police when I was in the Marine Corps, but I knew I didn't want to go into law enforcement after I got out, it takes special people to really be in that role. But I didn't know what I wanted to do and I had a college degree. So I went to the Employment Commission when I lived in South Carolina, and turned out the gentleman that got me my first job. He's like, he was a club manager on the base where I was stationed, and we only knew each other by phone. And he says, "What do you want?" I said, "I want 35 a year." Now this was back in 1998. And he's like, "Yeah, not going to happen." And he's like, "I can get you a temp job, $10 an hour in an HR department." And I'm like, "That sounds great. What's HR?"
Andrea Biwer: That's so funny.
Marne Deithorn: Right. But I didn't know where to look. And that was back in the days when we looked in classified ads and everything for jobs.
Jim Carr: Right, in the newspaper.
Marne Deithorn: And it's sad to say we're in 2019 and the transition program still aren't great from base for people transitioning out. So it's important that veterans like myself, and those that are mentors in the program, that can show here's the steps we took to be successful, some are business owners, some are executives and companies, some have great jobs. But it's to show them these are the steps we took, so maybe you don't have to take the missteps that we took, and let's help you get on your path.
Jim Carr: Is that a fault of our government that they're not giving you, they're not setting you up for success? Or is that where we're dropping the ball as a government agency.
Jason Zenger: I think that they're setting them up for success in the military?
Marne Deithorn: Sure.
Jason Zenger: And you can only do so many things, and you need to get that, have them focused on what they're supposed to be focused on there. But they probably should have a program after they transition out.
Andrea Biwer: That's where the civilian world, what they call it, and I'm learning all the lingo, but where the business community really could come together and step up and start mentoring as and create a program like we created in Des Plaines.
Jim Carr: So tell us about the boot camp, let's break it down. What are those 10 weeks look like? What kind of skills are these vets going to learn?
Andrea Biwer: Well, first let me, if I may back it up.
Jim Carr: Sure.
Andrea Biwer: First we have to find the veterans because there's a lot of veterans out there that we might not necessarily know that are out there. There's not a list that the government gives to say all these people are returning. I know there's certain things that they do. But what we did is we did a 10 week search, which we launched it, around beginning of May. And it went through July 4th, where we searched out veterans to apply for the program.
Marne Deithorn: And this is total grassroots effort.
Andrea Biwer: Yeah, grassroots effort. And we got it out through social media, and people were passing the word, I mean just so many things. And it turned out in over the past three years, we've had over 250 veterans apply for the program. So what we do is we take the applications, this year we had about 85 apply for the program this year. We as a business community, several HR directors, that and veteran mentors, we went through the applications and we actually put the questions together. And we ended up picking 20, because we fell in the past three years.
Jason Zenger: That was all you can handle, [inaudible 00:22:24] was 20 in the beginning.
Andrea Biwer: So we can handle, plus this program we give a lot back at the end and you'll hear about that soon. And they get a lot from the program, but 20 is our magic, is our secret sauce. So we picked 20.
Jim Carr: Okay. So you got 85 applications this year and of those 85 you accepted 20.
Andrea Biwer: We accepted 20.
Jim Carr: Okay. What is the criteria for getting them accepted? May I ask. Yeah.
Andrea Biwer: Well.
Marne Deithorn: That's a tough question, it is. Because we review, you review the applications. It's not like a regular employment application. We ask questions, why you joined the military? What are you looking to get out of the program? We look for people that are going to be committed to the program.
Jim Carr: You want success, right?
Marne Deithorn: Right.
Andrea Biwer: Exactly.
Marne Deithorn: And so it's hard, we painstakingly go through every application individually, and we critique it and we talk about it as a group to really determine who will get into the program.
Jason Zenger: Yeah, because you probably want to take all 85 [crosstalk 00:23:17].
Andrea Biwer: We want to take everybody but we are, we do something for the ones that we don't take, because it's not just about 20.
Marne Deithorn: Yes.
Andrea Biwer: We do a job fair and we've done a job fair that goes along with this program. And we're going to be doing our third job fair in March 2020.
Marne Deithorn: And the other thing that we do too, is if we get an application where like, and we ask for resumes as well. When we get that application if we feel like they're employable at that time, we actually pass it around the business leaders in the community, to interview and offer jobs.
Jim Carr: No kidding, that's great. Awesome.
Andrea Biwer: We really want to pick 20 that we feel are going to benefit from the program. And the past three years, I am so proud to say we have several veterans that have been through the program, that have been hired in the area. One of them happens to be, just started in his full time Des Plaines police officer and his name is Evan and we're so proud of him.
Jim Carr: I've met him.
Andrea Biwer: Yeah, he's great guys.
Jim Carr: Yeah, he's great.
Andrea Biwer: Great young man. So through the ten weeks-
Jim Carr: Yeah, tell us what-
Jason Zenger: What happens during the 10 weeks?
Andrea Biwer: Sure. Through the 10 weeks, we have various topics each week. And we work with them, we have mentors that come and-
Jason Zenger: What are the topics on?
Marne Deithorn: We started off, who are you? We talked about introversion and extraversion.
Jason Zenger: How to present yourself.
Marne Deithorn: Yeah. We talk about persona, we just had a class last night, we talked about persona, the different personas or masks you might wear or need to wear from business to social. So it's really eye-opening, because in the military-
Andrea Biwer: Company culture.
Marne Deithorn: Company culture.
Jason Zenger: Yeah, you have one persona.
Marne Deithorn: Right, yeah. And it's kind of getting out of that rigid military mindset and knowing that you have to do different things and adapt into the civilian world.
Andrea Biwer: Because sometimes, at least what my son has said, because he's serving. And he says that, they're told to do everything, everything in the military majority.
Marne Deithorn: What to wear.
Andrea Biwer: Like what to wear, here's the guidelines. And then when they don't have that, what we've heard in the last three years and what Marne experienced, they're lost, some of them.
Marne Deithorn: Yeah, you can easily get lost. And like I said, you need that start.
Andrea Biwer: No direction.
Marne Deithorn: No direction, no career, where am I going to live? Are you going to stay where your last duty station is or are you going to move back home? Those types of things.
Andrea Biwer: [crosstalk 00:25:24] with my parents, or am I going to get my own place.
Marne Deithorn: Am I married? What about my kids, I need a job to support my kids. As you transition out, sometimes you feel, I just need the first job because I need that paycheck to continue. And then they realize they're not happy in the job. But then how do I transition or find that next job or that lifetime job that forever job. So that's what this program does. And we do mock interviewing. So we practice and work with them with the business leaders.
Andrea Biwer: HR directors, and to ask question, we have somebody that helps them with their resumes. Now, many military, they have them put together resumes before they leave. But we actually have manufacturing HR directors that, again, there's a lot of logistic people that have just gotten out. So they're actually looking at their resumes and helping them tailor towards what type of position their passion is.
Jim Carr: And industry, yes.
Jason Zenger: So what's the transformation over that 10 week period? So they start off here and they, what is different about them after they're done for the 10 week program?
Marne Deithorn: That's a great question. And you see, it's personal, you see the confidence. One of the last things we have them do about three sessions before the end of the boot camp is they have to write a letter to themselves, to their future self from five years from now. And it is the most moving thing because then at the last session, they actually read those letters to us. And there's so many different things that come out of it. And you just hear not only in their own abilities during the course and how they come out of their shells, but you just hear what their plans are, what they're going to do, how much more confidence they have in their abilities to go out into the civilian world and do what they want to do.
Andrea Biwer: And I'll tell you some other elements. So you're hearing about the classes. But we also, because we're a chamber of commerce, and we do a lot of networking events. It's very important that the veterans, a lot of them do not have experience going into a room with people from the business community and shaking hands and saying, "Hi, what do you do?" So we as part of their requirements, to get their graduation gift package, which I'll explain later at the end, they have to attend two networking events. And they have to be a participant, not just attend but be a participant.
Jim Carr: They introduce themselves, they need to-
Andrea Biwer: They practice the skills that they're learning from their mentors. And we have a lot of veteran mentors that have ... It's hard going into a group or even interviewing with a group of people. I mean, it's hard for me still and I run a chamber of commerce.
Jason Zenger: Well, I would think that with a lot of these veterans, all of their identity is baked up in being a part of this group. And they need to make this transition to you're your own person and you have an identity outside of the military.
Andrea Biwer: Right. And that's how they could find jobs, through networking. I mean, that's how I met Jim.
Jim Carr: Absolutely.
Andrea Biwer: It was through a networking event. But I will explain one other thing.
Jason Zenger: There's nobody I know that goes to more networking events than Jim does.
Andrea Biwer: [crosstalk 00:28:23] come to some of ours.
Jim Carr: Yes. I've really-
Andrea Biwer: [crosstalk 00:28:27] get any of them.
Jim Carr: Never.
Andrea Biwer: Never. But one last thing that is a requirement that we also do is we're giving to them, part of graduating is giving back even though they gave back when they served, but we do a community volunteer project and they have to do six hours of community service. And this year to celebrate the American Legion Centennial, which they turn 100 in Des Plaines.
Jim Carr: Wow.
Andrea Biwer: We are with Rivers Casino management team along with Home Depot, which is another supporter of this program. We are coming completely renovating and we started yesterday.
Marne Deithorn: The American Legion. Yeah, we started yesterday.
Andrea Biwer: Yeah.
Jim Carr: What are they completely renovating?
Marne Deithorn: The American Legion in Des Plaines. So we just ripped down a bunch of walls. And it's an exciting project, it's going to be about a teamwork project, it's teamwork. And we did something similar with the American Legion last year, we spruce it up because the American Legion that's how they rent the hall. And that's how they get a lot of money. And it's a good place for veterans to go and just relax, they talk the camaraderie and veterans to give back to veterans.
Jim Carr: Why did you introduce that giving back portion of the boot camp?
Marne Deithorn: So I will tell you as a veteran, you always still look for that sense of purpose. You had that in the military, so you're always looking for it. So it's important to us and this is a great opportunity and veterans supporting veterans is always a win-win within the communities.
Jim Carr: I love that.
Jason Zenger: So Jim, the Metal Working Nation knows that we love ProShop ERP. But did you know that ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. So it's software that helps you to plan and your whole enterprise is involved in it. So tell me what that means to you.
Jim Carr: Actually, I didn't know what ERP system.
Jason Zenger: Sure you did, Jim.
Jim Carr: That's, I love acronyms.
Jason Zenger: You know because I told you.
Jim Carr: I know, well, you refreshed my memory, let me tell you that. But what I do know about ProShop ERP, the cloud based software that we're using at Carr Machine & Tool is, it is really a customer centric platform. Everybody from the office to the guy out in the shop is engaged with the software every day. They come in, they clock in, they track their time against work orders, everyone knows when the part has to get out for maybe a five day finish. They know what the delivery date is. We are keeping the customer at the apex of importance in the company.
Jason Zenger: And everybody in the company is involved in that.
Jim Carr: Everybody knows.
Jason Zenger: That's the way they need to be-
Jim Carr: Everybody has access.
Jason Zenger: ... the whole enterprise.
Jim Carr: The entire enterprise, the entire facility. Everyone knows, there's no more mistakes. That's the deadline, everyone has access to the delivery day, and you have to be accountable for it.
Jason Zenger: So go to proshoperp.com for more information. So can we go back to that 10 week boot camp. So you mentioned that they learn-
Jim Carr: Who are you?
Jason Zenger: Yeah, who are you?
Jim Carr: Mock interviews, resume writing.
Jason Zenger: What else?
Jim Carr: Networking. [crosstalk 00:31:29].
Marne Deithorn: LinkedIn profiles.
Andrea Biwer: Yeah, LinkedIn, we actually have a LinkedIn bus at Harper College.
Jason Zenger: A LinkedIn bus?
Andrea Biwer: A LinkedIn bus where they get to go on the LinkedIn bus that has about 10 terminals on it. Some of them do get, have their own LinkedIn profile, but we have an expert that helps them make it better. And then several of them, believe it or not, know what LinkedIn is. So we work with them on that and help them set up their profiles. And Marne could speak to this as HR is critical to finding job.
Marne Deithorn: Absolutely. It's networking again, right from a social media platform. And we also talk about company culture.
Jim Carr: Oh, huge one.
Marne Deithorn: Yeah, we teach them the interviewing side that I like to say the recipe to the secret sauce. But we also talked to them, when you walk into a company, you should be interviewing that company as well. And you need to really look at that company culture. And so they do a tour, last year and this year, they'll actually tour Rivers Casino, but they're able to see and spot different things of company culture. What's on the walls, how are the team members reacting with one another. But really to teach them to look for that in an interview as well.
Andrea Biwer: Yeah. We do some happiness mapping, and really that-
Jim Carr: Happiness map?
Andrea Biwer: Yeah, we're the-
Jim Carr: I've never heard that before.
Andrea Biwer: Oh, wow. Well, basically what it is, is they see-
Marne Deithorn: It's mind mapping.
Andrea Biwer: [crosstalk 00:32:43], it's mind mapping. Maybe it's happiness in the middle, their ultimate objective, what makes them happy? Is it family? Is it a job? Is it money? Is it a girlfriend or a boyfriend? And then you kind of branch off from there and keep on branching off and eventually, again, it gives them another moment to figure out what fuels their soul. And that's really truly what the program is. And hey, this has fueled Marne and my soul. [crosstalk 00:33:11].
Jim Carr: Oh, I'm sure it has. I don't have any doubt that it has not-
Andrea Biwer: Yeah, it's incredible.
Jim Carr: ... given back to you personally.
Jason Zenger: Well, how much time are they spending during this educational part of the boot camp?
Jim Carr: I was going to ask that-
Jason Zenger: Is it an hour a week? Is it five hours a week? What is it?
Marne Deithorn: It's three hours on Wednesday nights.
Jason Zenger: Three hours on Wednesday nights, okay.
Andrea Biwer: [inaudible 00:33:27] it's Thursday today, so we were there till 10:00 last night.
Jason Zenger: Okay. And what is the mentoring program look like?
Marne Deithorn: I don't know, we make it up. Yeah.
Andrea Biwer: Yeah [crosstalk 00:33:39] chamber office. We get together, we do different seating, we [inaudible 00:33:42].
Jim Carr: So all 20 of these.
Andrea Biwer: And mentors and-
Jim Carr: Show up at the chamber on Wednesday nights for three hours and you bring in a new mentor to-
Andrea Biwer: No, all the mentors are invited to attend throughout the 10 weeks.
Jim Carr: Every single one.
Marne Deithorn: Yeah.
Andrea Biwer: Some of them attend depending on their expert. HR directors from the chamber.
Jason Zenger: Are they all connected one-on-one with-
Andrea Biwer: No, it's a group setting.
Jason Zenger: Okay.
Andrea Biwer: It's all interacting.
Marne Deithorn: Yeah, so I'll tell you, we actually have two great facilitators, Eileen Brown from the Daily Herald and Dr. Joe Coulis. And they actually facilitate the classes and talk a lot about the personas and introversion. And we actually have them do a personality assessment as well.
Jason Zenger: So they're being mentored through the education.
Marne Deithorn: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Education.
Jason Zenger: Because the reason I ask about this, so I've been involved with this organization called GRIP, and they have a similar program for youth and they call it Life-on-Life. So they each have a mentor that's with ... So an older executive that's mentor directly to a younger person.
Andrea Biwer: We don't do that. Because you know what, each veteran I think they're discovering. It's really a discovery program about themselves. And every mentor, whether they're a veteran, or whether they're a business person, your mentors can change. And you could get different things from different people, we try to incorporate that.
Marne Deithorn: Yeah, and I think there's, we have such a variety of mentors. There's five to seven of us I think, different industries, different experiences, business owners. And so as the veterans get to know us, then they kind of gravitate to the ones that they want to gravitate, ask questions are comfortable with. We're just there to answer questions, we'll come in before, between the half an hour to an hour before the class starts, and just to be there. If they need advice, then we check in on them on a regular basis to make sure they're doing. So it is a support mechanism. Like I said, we've all moved forward or taken steps in our lives, some of us have had missteps. So if we can help others avoid not making those same missteps, that's what we're there for.
Jim Carr: Fantastic.
Andrea Biwer: And I kind of serve as the mother hen, so to speak. So every week is, we're keeping in addition to running a chamber, which we do other things for the businesses. It's really keeping in touch with them and letting them know, because if they make it successful through our program, number one, our mission is for them to get a career not just a job at the end. But also we do raise and donations for this program. And whether it's cash giving back half a million dollars in three years.
Jim Carr: Congratulations.
Andrea Biwer: So something that we're really proud of.
Jim Carr: In three years you've raise half a million dollar.
Andrea Biwer: Well, in donations, time and product.
Jim Carr: So you're putting $1 amount with time, okay.
Andrea Biwer: Yeah, and education and all of that. Now, I'll tell you at the end of the program, we give the veterans once they satisfy the requirements of the volunteer, the networking and attending, we give them each an $8,000 over $1,000 gift package. That includes gift cards-
Marne Deithorn: Laptop.
Andrea Biwer: Yeah, laptop, computer with Microsoft Office, fitness packages, car maintenance packages.
Marne Deithorn: Clothing for interviewing.
Andrea Biwer: Clothing for interviewing.
Jim Carr: A lot of this is being donated or all of it is being donated.
Andrea Biwer: Well, for the funds that were donated to our foundation, we actually purchase these items through members of the chamber. So with ways that I could also give back to our community through the funds that we're raising, and then we in turn give it to the veterans.
Jim Carr: Fabulous.
Andrea Biwer: Yeah, I mean, and resume writing. I mean, that's how we also get the experts that also could come in to help them from an educational standpoint.
Jason Zenger: Do you have any great stories that you can share with the Metal Working Nation?
Jim Carr: Like a success story. I'd love to hear a success story.
Jason Zenger: Yeah. I mean, and if possible, particularly in the manufacturing industry.
Andrea Biwer: Yeah. Well, I could tell you, we've had several that have been hired. We had one of our graduates from the first year was hired in the management trainee program at LSG Sky Chefs. So they're a food manufacturer, so a little bit different. But this person had no idea really what manufacturing was. He wanted to get into what he considered a white collar job but actually he ended up getting this job in charge of all the logistics and everything at Sky Chefs and did very, very well. We've also had, as I mentioned, Evan, the police officer, we've got International Paper, which is another local manufacturing.
Jim Carr: Was a firefighter too, right?
Andrea Biwer: Yeah, firefighter-
Marne Deithorn: Grocery manager.
Andrea Biwer: Yeah, a grocery store manager of [crosstalk 00:38:13]. Press operator Daily Herald. And he wasn't sure what he wanted to do. And through the happiness mapping, through other things and mentors.
Marne Deithorn: But I think the other thing too, it's not just about employability, some of our veterans have gone through the program. And because we do financial advice as well, they've just bought their first house, and they didn't know that. So there's other things that are tangible to outside of the employment that they're able to do and have the confidence and know what to do outside of the employment.
Andrea Biwer: Several security jobs as well.
Jim Carr: So what can the general public, what can I do? What can Jason do? What can the manufacturing community that's listening to this show today do to help you be more successful on this fabulous program?
Andrea Biwer: Well, we have a great job fair that we do once a year, and we have several manufacturers that [crosstalk 00:39:03].
Jim Carr: Where's the job fair at Andrea?
Andrea Biwer: It's in Des Plaines, of course.
Jim Carr: Okay.
Andrea Biwer: We've held it for the last two years and going on the third year at the Des Plaines Public Library, they have a beautiful room, we've sold out. And again, when I say sell out, we filled up, and we've had hundreds of veterans go through the last few years. We are doing it on March 19, they could contact the chamber. Also, we are always looking for great mentors, whether it's a machinist, that is a veteran that wants to get involved and give back to our program. I could tell you, there's many machinists. We handpick the 20 veterans as part of this program each year, and we try to do a cross section of people.
Andrea Biwer: But we also do a lot of things too for the manufacturing companies and Rivers Casino and our other supporters that are out there in the media, so they could tell their story about what veterans, the success that they've had with hiring veterans with their company. So we could get the other manufacturers messages out.
Marne Deithorn: And I think the other important thing too is, in manufacturing those in HR, come on out and check out the program, understand what the veterans bring to your company, understand about the veterans. So you can come out on a Wednesday night, see what we talk about, sit in. And then really learn what military experience can add to your organization.
Jason Zenger: Is there any maybe false perceptions that a manufacturing leader has or any kind of employer would have as it relates to hiring a veteran.
Andrea Biwer: I'll say one thing from my experience at the chamber. A lot of companies think that they are line employees, or-
Jim Carr: What do you mean being [crosstalk 00:40:42].
Andrea Biwer: ... that they could fill driving positions, they're more, they're less skilled. And the thing is, I mean, veterans bring so much to the table from all the attributes that Jim mentioned. And look at Marne, amazing. The thing is, these are future leaders of your organizations. These are management trainees, not necessarily line employees. Yes, there is ... Marne could speak to it, it's just like a city, there's all sorts of people at different levels. But these are your future leaders.
Jason Zenger: Well, I mean, the military has their own way of training people to be leaders and it's quite successful.
Marne Deithorn: Yeah, it's training to be leaders. I know, Jim referenced it in the article at the beginning. We make decisions with little or no information. As a veteran, it's important to understand that. But it's not just, think about it this way, so you talked about the non commissioned officers. So in the Marine Corps, your corporals and your sergeant, they're the backbone in the Marine Corps and they're the ones that lead the troops and do a lot of things. That corporal or sergeant can come into your organization and go into a leader position and know exactly what to do, might not know your industry, or everything about that manufacturing company.
Andrea Biwer: And might not have his degree yet. [crosstalk 00:42:01].
Marne Deithorn: And might not have his degree, but they are going to do the best damn job that they can, because they know how to make decisions with little information. They have the skilled training, so depending on what school they go to, or their military occupational specialty, but they also have tangible skills, they have dedication, they have tact, they have bearing, they have integrity, loyalty. They have all these tangible skills, that as veterans, we forget that we have them because we're like, "Oh, I'm a military police. That's what I need to do." But we forget about everything else that's ingrained in us. And you have principles.
Marne Deithorn: So Marine Corps, three of the top principles, Know yourself, know your troops and know your mission. So that's all you need to know and you're going to do a heck of a job when you get into any company.
Jason Zenger: And that's great, but why is this a problem then? What are the false impressions that employers have that they're not hiring these veterans just as soon as they're available?
Marne Deithorn: Sure.
Jason Zenger: I know for me-
Andrea Biwer: It's hard for them to find them.
Jason Zenger: Well, I know for me, if I didn't know veterans myself, if I were to base my entire impression on say, like the news, you would think every single veteran has PTSD.
Marne Deithorn: I was just going to say that, I knew where you're going with that, Jason.
Jason Zenger: Well, that we need to talk about.
Marne Deithorn: Yeah.
Jason Zenger: That's bad for that to be the perception, you know what I mean?
Marne Deithorn: And that's part of our program when we do mock interviewing too, because we are rigid in the military, so getting them to loosen up somebody. It's not just PTSD though, it could be TBI.
Jason Zenger: I don't know what TBI is. [crosstalk 00:43:26].
Marne Deithorn: It could be a traumatic brain injury. It could be somebody suffering from MST, military sexual trauma. So there's different things that go on. But you're right, that negative stigmatism of PTSD is absolutely ridiculous. And guess what, even with-
Jim Carr: And we need to talk about it.
Jason Zenger: Yeah, that's why I brought it up. [crosstalk 00:43:43].
Marne Deithorn: Yeah. I mean, even with PTSD, guess what, there's treatment programs-
Jim Carr: Everyone's got something.
Marne Deithorn: [crosstalk 00:43:49] I was going to say that. Not everyone in the military, it's not just everyone in the military, people in the civilian world can have PTSD.
Jim Carr: Of course they can.
Marne Deithorn: The person sitting next to you can. And just because they're in the military, you're saying, "Oh, I don't want that person. What if they go postal on me?" I mean, that's the type of things that stereotypes, that veterans have to fight. Or is sometimes, guess what? It's sad, sometimes our veterans are homeless. And then if they're homeless, they automatically have a drinking problem, or they have a drug problem. Why do you have this gap in employment? Well, they have struggles too just like anybody else. But take a chance because you're not going to go wrong with a veteran.
Jason Zenger: Awesome. Well, this has been great. I hope that this conversation and thank you for being on MakingChips, has really opened up the eyes in the manufacturing leaders.
Jim Carr: It's all about awareness.
Jason Zenger: The one thing that I really want to make sure that we honed on was kind of squashing any kind of false impression, misperceptions of veterans and making sure that they do understand there's a lot more positive qualities that come out of former military than there are issues that you may or may not have to deal with. So I think that this has been great. So thank you, Andrea, Marne [crosstalk 00:45:00], this has been great.
Jim Carr: Yeah, it really has.
Jason Zenger: So Jim, I know Carla is one of the rock stars on my team. I know that she's the first person that your team goes to when they need to get something done at Zenger's. And I think you should consider finding a veteran.
Jim Carr: I am, I'm going to talk to these two ladies.
Jason Zenger: I know you could use their help.
Jim Carr: I know. [crosstalk 00:45:18].
Jason Zenger: You know what? Maybe you need a veteran to straighten out some of those things that you need to delegate for yourself.
Jim Carr: Maybe.
Jason Zenger: I just said it. You need to do it Jim.
Jim Carr: That's fine. No problem.
Jason Zenger: Get somebody from their boot camp.
Jim Carr: I think I can do that. So Jason, you want to tell the Metal Working Nation what they need to do to help us survive and how-
Jason Zenger: Yeah, so that's a great one, Jim. So what we would like, I think Nick [inaudible 00:45:39] mentioned this on the show before, ratings and reviews are the currency of podcast. So if you like what you hear, if you like the MakingChips podcast, Jim and I don't need you to give us any money. We just need you to go on to iTunes and rate and review the show. Give us a five star and tell us what you like, even tell us what you don't like.
Jim Carr: And tell your peers.
Jason Zenger: Yeah, or if you want to give us a bad review, I'd rather you just email us and tell us what we're doing wrong.
Jim Carr: Right.
Jason Zenger: But if you want to give us a five star, we'd love for you to go on iTunes and give us a five star and write something nice about the show and about the guests that we have on.
Jim Carr: I agree. Because at the end of the day-
Jason Zenger: If you're not MakingChips-
Jim Carr: You're not making money. Bam.
Jason Zenger: Bam.
Announcer: Thanks for listening to the MakingChips podcast. Jim and Jason knew that the Metal Working Nation, the community of world-class makers needed to commit to a new way of leading to stay ahead of the competition. So MakingChips was created to fill that void, to give you advice from other manufacturing leaders who can push you to take action. Your manufacturing challenges have a solution, and many of them are at makingchips.com.
Jason Zenger: Is it hard to apply make-up on a beard?
Jim Carr: Yes it is.
Jason Zenger: You should do a make-up tutorial about that-
Jim Carr: You're trying to be funny.
Jason Zenger: ... a MakingChips make-up tutorial.
Jim Carr: You're trying to be funny again.