May 30, 2017 – Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, US Congressman for Illinois’ 8th district, visited Pioneer Service along with his Chief of Staff, Steven Baskin, and Constituent Service Liaison Douglas McGinnis as part of his effort to better understand the needs of small manufacturers in his district. His visit was particularly timely since funding for MEP is at risk in the most recent Presidential Budget Proposal p.17, published on May 22, 2017.
Addison, Illinois Mayor Rich Veenstra joined the tour, to support the congressman and Pioneer Service Owner and President, Aneesa Muthana. Mayor Veenstra has been a strong advocate efforts to connect local manufacturers with each other, the workforce and students who may be interested in a manufacturing career.
The group heard and saw first-hand the story of a company which, when faced with competition from Asia, found the right partnerships and re-invented itself. The necessity for change began in 2010, when Pioneer Service’s top three customers consolidated and started outsourcing the precision shafts that Pioneer had been making since 1990, causing sales to plummet. In 2014, John Bradarich of IMEC visited and began to open doors to jump start the change. He provided connections to supporting grants that helped Pioneer Service develop a new, stronger customer base in a variety of industries, train employees on new equipment, and implement new software and processes.
Other key support came in 2015 when Pioneer Service became actively engaged with the Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA), which provided technical expertise and training, as well as political advocacy for manufacturing issues. The congressman and mayor were able to see and hear how networking with these organizations and others has led to resources which facilitated the change in product line from simple shafts to complex CNC machined parts, keeping over 30 people employed.
The group takes the tour through the Swiss CNC department to see how parts are machined. It takes both mechanical ability and computer programing expertise to drop complete parts off these machines.
Quality Manager James Rewis explains to Congressman Raja the importance of quality inspection for the automotive and medical industries.
Congressman Raja walks with Aneesa Muthana outside the Quality Room.
It took a comprehensive plan to retain and re-train valuable employees, buy new equipment, upgrade quality systems, and install a new ERP system. For Pioneer Service and IMEC, this visit was a wonderful opportunity to thank the congressman for his support of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership which funds IMEC, and in-turn, helped Pioneer Service enact their plan for success.