Vern Kreckel III gave the staff members of Living Greener a tour of Kreckel Enterprises Inc. Walking into his well-organized office, we discovered historic photos of St Marys and classic cars. Vern is obviously a man who runs a tight ship and has deep connections to the community. Kreckel specializes in secondary machining, which means his company takes the powder formed parts from powdered metal plants and finishes them by hand shaping the parts too delicate for a mold. They drill holes and add threads, they chamfer, and tap out parts for everything from copy machines to clothes washers.
The St. Marys area has an impeccable manufacturing heritage going back to the turn of the last century. It was so important that during World War II, windows were blacked out so manufacturing could continue without fear of bombing. The parts made in this area and the processes that were pioneered here are in products in every corner of the earth. During our visit, Vern Krekel II, father of the current company president, was hard at work putting decades of experience to use making a high-precision measurement tool. Most importantly, the shop is certified to ISO 9001 standards, which means they recycle 100% of their scrap materials locally and dump no toxic chemicals.
What does it take to work at a place like Kreckel Enterprises? You don’t need an advanced degree or technical certificate to get started. Drill press work starts above minimum wage, and with experience and a willingness to learn it is not uncommon for employees to establish a career as a machinist.
We were told again and again that the biggest key to success is to be a quality employee. Show up on time, stay your full shift, and keep busy! The Living Greener Life Skills Curriculum is designed to help develop these skills. It’s not hard to see yourself working a shift with the loading bay doors open looking out over rolling farmland and some tunes on the radio playing in the background. Manufacturing isn’t a dirty, dead end, job. It’s a team of dedicated people using skilled labor, technology, and precision instruments to make the parts and tools necessary for modern living. To do all these things takes time and training. There is a career path that will provide a nice living to those who work hard.