Something we’re all proud of here at MakingChips is that each of us comes from a multi-generational, family-owned manufacturing business background. And just as those who have come before us took the time to teach and guide us in this business, at our very cores, we each hope to use our experience to do the same for the next generation coming up.
Today we’re excited to give you a name and a face for what that next generation looks like through our latest segment, Raising Kane.
We met Brandon Kane a few months back. Now we want to share his story with you, and follow along as he learns the ropes and grows his new business. We’d love to hear back from you too, with any advice you have for Brandon as he begins his career as a small manufacturing business owner.
From a young age my parents instilled in me and my brother the value of having a work ethic -- that nothing in life comes easy but you can achieve a lot if you are willing to work for it.
With my father having a background in manufacturing and engineering, I grew up always in the garage, doing small projects, building things, designing things, fixing things -- like many of you, I’m sure. I loved it!
This lead me to pursue an education at a technical high school where, ironically, I didn’t study machine tools. Academics were never my strong suit, but working with my hands, learning and applying technical skills around electrical, pneumatics, hydraulics, and many other engineering aspects is something I really enjoyed.
I finished high school knowing a four-year college wasn’t for me. I also knew I wanted something more than just working 9-to-5 sitting at a desk all day. The only clear vision I had was that I wanted to build something for myself, my family, and my future.
I worked various side jobs and retail while I bounced around in community college for a few years, taking business and engineering classes to try and narrow down what I wanted to pursue. When the retail clothing store I worked at was being liquidated, I was going to be without a job. This was the perfect time for me to get focused on my next step. I felt I had two options: either take a leap on building something for myself, or go get another job.
I took the leap! I talked to my parents and they supported me. I sat down with my father and we discussed what I enjoyed doing, as well as the skills and knowledge he obtained over his career. We came up with ideas for what made sense for us to build a business around.
It took some time but we tightened our focus on CNC machining. I had a basic knowledge and understanding of machining, but other than a few weeks of classes in high school and making small stuff on a Bridgeport we had in our garage, it was all new to me.
I started doing research, and spent nights brainstorming with my father, mapping out what needed to be done to put this idea into action. We purchased a CAD-CAM software package and for a good month I spent most of my days learning all I could, familiarizing myself with the process without actually having a machine to start “making chips”.
In November 2017 our first machine arrived and things really started to get serious for me and my new business, MFGSolutions. All I could think was: “This is happening!” My parents made a big investment, and I needed to execute. Spending nights with my father after he got home from work, I familiarized myself with the machine as he taught me the many aspects that go into machining and making parts.
My mind was blown away with the intricacies of this industry. “Test and learn, test and learn, test and learn”, that was my day-to-day ritual. By January 2018 I was comfortable enough and confident enough to program a part, set up, and run a job by myself. That’s when things started to pick up. That was also when I really narrowed down my education, only taking classes I could directly apply to my business goals.
Once I was comfortable working on my own, my father used his connections in the industry to bring in the first few jobs. As I continued to learn and become efficient in the space we were in, we took on more work and things began to snowball from there. By December 2018 the garage was no longer efficient enough for the work we were taking on. We moved the shop into a bigger space and bought another 3 axis mill.
Back to making chips, I went.
Seeing my progression over the last year, from never cutting metal before, to being able to utilize CAD-CAM software to produce programs, setup and run jobs, and be fully operational with help from my father on things such as machining strategies and fixture design, is something I’m so proud of and has proven to me the power of consistency and execution. It’s crazy to think we’ve only just begun.
Expanding my vision regarding what I can learn, how I can become better, how we help more people, and how we can grow this company is always on my mind. I am so grateful for the opportunities my parents have provided me with, and ultimately my goal at this stage in my life is to give back to them by building this business as big as I can.
I feel there are limitless opportunities to share stories about our industry, who we are and what we do, to connect and help each other, and to bring more awareness to our industry. That is why I am very excited to see where the road will take MFGSolutions and MakingChips, given this opportunity to connect and collaborate with one another.
Thanks to everyone who is reading, and I look forward to hearing back from you soon.