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An Insider's View - American Injection Molding Institute (AIM) Certificate Program

by Administrator28. March 2016 14:03

My name is William Allen. I have been around plastics injection molding my entire life. My parents actually met while working in an injection molding facility as young adults and I can remember recognizing the sounds and smells of a plastics plant as early as five years old. When I found myself on the hunt for a job in 2005 I made my way into the plastics world as well. Starting out as an operator I was able to see plastics manufacturing from many angles as I worked my way up through the ranks. My first formal training in the realm of processing came in the form of a two day class and a one month crash course from a newly hired engineer on staff at Nampac (North American Packaging) which, at the time, was located in East Cleveland Ohio. That was in 2007. At the time, I was strictly working with polypropylene making one product – buckets - in several sizes and colors on the 11 presses we had in house. It wasn’t until midway through 2008, when Nampac closed its doors, that I joined the Thogus Products family as a process technician. I immediately started to realize just how many different plastics there were, and how much processing variation could exist in a facility that ran so many custom jobs.

Over the course of the next six years I enrolled in three additional technical training programs and gained a great deal of invaluable experience. My experience expanded across many different machines, several types of robots and automation, and of course multiple types and grades of plastic. Fast forward to March 2015, I was then offered an opportunity to be among the inaugural class of the AIM Institute in Erie Pennsylvania - an opportunity I will be eternally thankful for and know I will benefit from for the balance of my career. 

Upon taking the entrance test for the AIM Institute (strictly for the sake of gauging current level of knowledge) I realized two things. First, this was not going to be a walk in the park. Second, I simply did not know nearly as much as I thought I did in the realm of injection molding. I was a fair mixture of nervous and excited. But, since I only had a week’s notice before the first of the four classes I was not able to do any research on what exactly I had signed up for; and therefore possibly less nervous than I would have been. Previously, I had read many articles both written by and written about John Beaumont, Mike Sepe and John Bozzelli and recognized them as leaders and pioneers in their respective corners of the plastics world. Little did I know that they would be among the instructors that would be teaching the AIM institute classes. I was a bit star-struck to say the least when I first entered the classroom and saw their name tags on the desks. I remember thinking “I might be out of my league here.” Turns out the mix of students in that class ranged from product design, to tooling, to processing and even quality control. The class, thankfully, is designed to work for anyone in the plastics world.

Throughout the next year I learned plastics - starting at the molecular level and working all the way through tool design, processing and even part review and design. The classes, while very challenging (even for the Thogus, degreed plastics engineer who was taking the class as well), were not the usual “take your information and go” type of classes. There was an enormous amount of support not only during the class and on the homework assigned between classes, but on any day of the week at any time. The instructors were just an email away and their responses were always prompt and informative. They want the students to succeed and their passion for the plastics industry was always evident. I admittedly had rough patches in some areas, but I was never completely lost. When I needed help it was always available.

In addition to the support from the instructors at the AIM Institute, the time allotted to me by my workplace to complete the WebEx classes and homework assignments was pivotal in my completion of the certification as well. Without Thogus’ support and encouragement throughout the program I may not have done as well or even have been able to complete and pass the classes. Their investment in me made an enormous difference in my ability to do well and directly impacted how much I was able to digest and retain the information. 

After my grade for the final test came in and I received my certificate in the “Plastics Engineering and Technology” program I had a great sense of pride. I finished the class tied for the top grade, and while the class was not very large, I felt very accomplished. More importantly, I had a measurable increase in confidence. I was able to step up at work and take on a new role with new responsibilities. I bring a new understanding of troubleshooting to every situation and find myself narrowing in on a particular problem so that I can quickly investigate solutions. I am able to look at new designs and recognize potential issues before products are launched, which can make a world of difference once the steel is cut and processing begins. The lessons and education I was afforded by this program have made a world of difference for me in my day-to-day work. Learning real world applications from experts in a professional setting and having the homework and reinforcement between classes made the information stick. It was an experience I will never forget, and the confidence to challenge the industry standards, ask questions and strive to solve problems will be a staple in my career. 

AIM Certificate

 

The Perks of Having My Birthday Off

by Caroline23. December 2015 08:40

There comes the day as an adult where your birthday is just not as important as it once was. Yes, you might get some phone calls, a few cards, and maybe some presents, but typically it is just another day. Other than your milestone birthdays it really isn’t that big of a deal. As adults we accept that and move on. 

Two years ago my company, Thogus, created the policy where you get your birthday off, and if your birthday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, you get to take a Friday or Monday off. My birthday is in early December and the first year this went into effect, it fell on a Tuesday. Initially, I kind of scoffed at the idea. ‘Who cares?,’ I thought. It’s just a day. No big deal. Then that Tuesday rolled around and I honestly had one of the best birthdays ever. No exaggeration, no hyperbole. It was AWESOME. 

To preface, I am a married mother of two toddlers so my free time never really feels like free time. I am always on the go. I am not whining or complaining, it is just the way it is. When that Tuesday rolled around I started my day by not waking up to my alarm. On a Tuesday. AMAZING. My husband took the kiddos to the sitter and I sat in my quiet house with a grin on my face. I decided I would head off to the local mall to do some shopping. Not worrying about crowds on a Tuesday I took my time and leisurely strolled from store to store. I enjoyed something I so rarely had, time. 

This year’s birthday rolled around and I greeted it with glee. Again to have a day to myself to do what I want, when I want, is the greatest gift I can be given. I would never use a vacation day on my birthday; It just seems wasteful. This requires me to not be at work on my birthday and I love it! I would encourage most companies out there to create a policy like this. It may seem small or insignificant, but it means so much to me because what I am getting is time and freedom and for that I am grateful. 

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Culture

Why Thogus Supports Manufacturing Day

by Administrator30. October 2015 09:14

Pumpkin Decorating!

 

Families learning about rp+mAmerica is a country of makers. We build. We design. We manufacture. Cleveland is a storied manufacturing city. Our steel helped build this nation. We built cars that transformed our economy. Our port has transported goods across our nation. Thogus is proud to be part of this history and proud to be a manufacturer.  

In recent years it seems that manufacturing has lost its allure as a career-destination. Schools are doing away with shop classes and kids look at factories as dirty and dead-end. At Thogus that is simply not true and on October 2nd we held a Manufacturing Day Family Open House for our Thogus employees and their families to show them what next-generation manufacturing looks like. 
 
Manufacturing Day is a celebration of modern manufacturing, meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. Who better to show what that looks like than our own employees and their families? With the official Manufacturing Day on Friday October 2nd, we decided to have an event showcasing what we do and why we are a career-destination!
 
The event began at 5:30 pm Friday evening. All employees and their families were invited and we had an awesome turnout of more than 100 people, and out of that we had around 40 kids! To appeal to our younger attendees we had pumpkin painting, Lego building, Play-Doh station, and coloring and crafts. What better way to emphasize manufacturing than to have the wee ones create?
 
For everyone, our inimitable Brad Krupa hosted tours of our facility to provide a first-hand view of what we do. He covered five different stations, rp+m & JALEX, tool room, Energizer, Shurtech. With his gregarious nature and humorous approach, Brad proved to be the perfect tour guide.  It's difficult be bored when he is around! 

Thogus is proud and excited to be part of this event, the Manufacturing Day. We want our future generations to know that manufacturing is an industry that is worth joining and one you can be proud to be part of! 

 

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Manufacturing

Thogus Spotlight Friday- Making Customers Happy

by Administrator21. November 2014 10:36
  • Describe your role here at Thogus : “I am a Customer Service Representative for our strategic accounts. I take care of our top customers and assist the other Customer Service Representatives when needed. I love making our customers happy, because it makes me happy and it makes us a happy Thogus. Part of our mission is to satisfy and exceed customers' expectations.  We live by this here at Thogus. I make sure that our customers orders are processed, shipped in a timely manner, and that we ship quality products every time.”
  • What do you like most about Thogus? : “I love the people who I work with. It is like coming home instead of to work. My coworkers are my second family.”
  • What does teamwork mean to you? : “To me, teamwork is a group of people working together to meet the same objectives. Putting differences aside and working as one. That is what we have here at Thogus."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rose Warington

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How Matthew K. Hlavin fosters his evolving business and creates Advanced Manufacturing Solutions...

by Christie Reznik11. September 2014 16:06
Crain's Cleveland Business featured Matt in a recent article where he talks about fostering a spirit of innovation, developing culture, engaging employees and the importance of attracting the next generation workforce of manufacturing. Ultimately, innovation creates value all around. Through the power of advanced manufacturing software and technology, and the enhanced capabilities they provide, companies like Thogus are entering into a new age of manufacturing, with their CEO Matt Hlavin, leading the charge. 

Click below to read the full article:

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Thogus' Director of Happiness

by Dana Foster23. December 2013 09:57

 

"When you have happy employees, it shows in their work and in the company's bottom line," states Lisa Lehman, Thogus' Director of Happiness. 

Click here to see what it means to be the Director of Happiness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How Many Meals Did The Avon Lake Food Fight Raise For Second Harvest?

by Dana Foster12. December 2013 13:32

Yesterday, Thogus had the revealing event of the total number of meals raised during the Second Harvest Avon Lake Food Fight.  For the second year in a row, Avon Lake companies participated in a friendly competition on raising meals for Second Harvest.  Both the overall number of meals raised and the top company was announced.  The top company received a 3D printed trophy! Click here to read the results in The Morning Journal article.   

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"Understanding Management Styles" - Dorie Clark

by Dana Foster11. December 2013 12:44

Recently, we had the pleasure of meeting a fascinating woman, Dorie Clark, Author of Reinventing You: Define You Brand, Imagine the Future. Her talking points, writing and presentation skills are absolutely phenomenal, and would recommend for you to reach out to her! Dorie recently published an article on Understanding Management Styles: Play to Strengths. As Dorie asked- What's your management style? How do you get feedback - and keep growing as a leader?

Click here to read the article.

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2013 Crain's Giving Guide

by Dana Foster2. December 2013 17:28

"'Tis An Important Season For Giving" is right.  Thogus and Second Harvest partner up again to host the 2nd Annual Food Fight on Pin Oak Parkway.  "We are all feeling very lucky at this time of year that we are employed and our company is successful and doing well, and we want to give back to the community that we live and work in," said Katie Kuczinski, Thogus' Human Capital Coordinator.  This year's goal is to provide 100,000 meals between all participating companies on Pin Oak Parkway.  The award ceremony will take place on Wednesday, December 11th at Thogus from 5-6 PM.  At the time, we will learn the total contribution of the campaign and the winner for the most donations by a company/organization.

Read Crain's Giving Guide here:

Crain's_Giving_Guide_2013_compressed.pdf (5.25 mb)

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Thogus named Smart Business SoMe Award Winner

by Dana Foster7. November 2013 20:23

 

We are proud to announce Thogus is a Smart Business SoMe Award Winner.   Dana Foster, Marketing Manager of Thogus, has grown the social media platforms to create brand awareness and draw users to the Thogus website. 

All honorees will be awarded at the Smart Business 2013 Midwest Social Media Summit on November 21st.  Click here to register.   The 2013 SoMe award winners will also be featured in Smart Business' December issue (Smart Business Cleveland, Smart Business Akron/Canton, Smart Business Cincinnati and Smart Business Columbus).


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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