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SkillsUSA Norris Chapter Spring Field Trip

SkillsUSA Norris Chapter Spring Field Trip

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 1:30pm

SkillsUSA Norris Chapter visits local Business and Industry


On March 21, 2019. Twenty one students of the SkillsUSA Norris Chapter went on their annual  spring field trip to business and industry. Because SkillsUSA is a nationally recognized Career and Technical Student Organization (CSTO) the places visited usually have some connection to the skilled trades. The first stop was at Wood Trends, Inc. located south of Cortland on Highway 77. There they met Stacy Dorn and Justin Birkett. Wood Trends is a state of the art cabinet shop using the latest technology available to make cabinet building efficient and cost effective not to mention high quality for over ten years.  Most of their business is in the residential housing market. A CNC wood router is used to cut out the cabinet pieces so there is little waste. Approximately seven people are employed full time. Justin is the owner and has been in the business for twenty years. Stacy is the designer and spends a lot of her time working with the customers. She also spoke to the group and expressed the importance of females getting involved in nontraditional careers. The students were very impressed how new technology is involved with the process.

The second stop was Neapco in Beatrice, NE where they produce light truck, heavy truck, off road ATV ujoints and driveshafts. The tour showed the manufacturing processes involved to produce the part and assembly it into a completed useful unit. Students were able to watch the operation of CNC machines, automation in assembling the product and  how quality control is incorporated. At Neapco there are jobs that require a high school diploma, a degree from a tech school or 4 years of college. The latter is usually required to be an engineer designing the equipment needed to produce the final part.The company has grown over the past few years and is an important part of the Beatrice economy.

At noon, half of the students went to dinner and the other half of the students went to Jet Racing INC. owned and operated by Johnny Saathoff. Johnny has been in dirt track racing well over 30 years. At his shop he sells speed equipment and builds IMCA modified race cars from scratch to finish. Students were allowed to see how the cars are assembled and the welding shop where his cousin Jerry is the fabricator and welder. Welding is a huge job opportunity in American industry and the students were able to see first hand how important welds are when building a car to withstand crashes and protect the driver and limit the damage to the chassis.

The last stop that the students visited was Fakler Architects LLC, where they met Michael Fakler. He talked about what it takes to become an architect. He also showed us some of his work and the amount of paperwork involved. Some of the Chapter members went up into the loft where they had a birds eye view of the ground floor.

Michael has done several jobs in the Norris School District so students felt a connection to his work. He works alone and says he puts in many eighty hour work weeks. He must really love what he does.

In all the field trip turned out to be very successful and provided the members of the Norris Chapter with a wide range of career opportunities.. Many students are not interested in pursuing post secondary education so they were able to see how you can start at the entry level and work your way up to be a machine operator or other well paying jobs. The chapter wants to thank everyone for letting us visit their business.