Path Home Shows 2014 Show Archive September 2014 Show 1439 Oklahoma’s Manufacturing Workforce Is Ready

Oklahoma’s Manufacturing Workforce Is Ready

Winter Fabrication is recognized nationally as a highly successful metal manufacturing company that’s building its brand one skilled employee at a time.
Oklahoma’s Manufacturing Workforce Is Ready

Oklahoma’s Manufacturing Workforce is Ready

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Winter Fabrication

Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance

Manufacturing Day

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Show Details

Show 1439: Oklahoma’s Manufacturing Workforce is Ready
Air Date: September 28, 2014



Rob McClendon: Here’s what we know. At the height of American manufacturing jobs, the average U.S. worker produced roughly $28,000 of value-added input into our economy annually which is less than one-fourth as productive in real terms as today’s annual per worker output of $170,000. And here’s the difference. Today, we manufacture much more high-value products, which means a skilled workforce is vital to manufacturing’s future. Joining me now is our Courtney Maye.

Courtney Maye: Well, with only eight employees and two years of existence, Winter Fabrication is recognized nationwide as a highly successful metal manufacturing company. Yet it is always looking to make improvements, and President of Winter Fabrication Vince Williams says quality is better than quantity when it comes to adding an employee to the team.

Courtney: Serving the oilfield, pipeline and mobile equipment industries, Winter Fabrication in Tulsa, Okla., is a metal manufacturing company that’s building its brand one skilled employee at a time.

Vince Williams: We’re still building our culture here at Winter Fab. We’re only two years old, and we’re still developing who we are. We’re still building our team, but really it’s built around skilled, skilled workforce, the skill of the individual.

Courtney: Williams says there’s one skill in particular that he looks for in a potential employee.

Williams: Really the biggest skill that students could, could come to us with is math and being able to do simple arithmetic, multiplication, division, addition, working with areas and trigonometry. That’s very important. I mean, that’s the foundation for really for all manufacturing.

Courtney: And Community Affairs Director Stephanie Cameron says math skills will only take an employee so far.

Stephanie Cameron: Showing up on time, being respectful, those are all things that will get you through the door of a company and will open up opportunities for advancement for you.

Courtney: An advancement in a company that cares about building the future of its employees.

Williams: We really believe in investing in our employees and trying to get the best and the most out of them so they can develop, and so for me the challenge is figuring out, you know, what different people’s skills are, where do they best fit and then how can we develop those so they can improve and get better.

Courtney: Williams says a strong work ethic is the key to moving up in the industry.

Williams: When you have a good skilled employee that really wants to work hard and get ahead, then they flourish in an environment that we provide.

Courtney: Yet Cameron says there is a common misconception about manufacturing that might hold potential employees back from being interested in a job in the industry.

Cameron: I think when people think about manufacturing, they picture the industrial revolution, like your grandfather’s dirty factory, and now it’s changed dramatically. It’s high-tech, it’s sophisticated, it’s clean, it’s well-lit, it’s safe, all of these things. So there’s a little bit of a perception gap there, and I think we need to overcome that.

Williams: These machines have touch screens and programs, and they’re all networked together. We have Wi-Fi controlling some of these machines. It’s very advanced, and it’s not what a lot of people think, and I don’t think there is enough communication to the younger generations that that’s really a good career path.

Courtney: Aside from the top of the line technology, Williams says nothing can take away from the relationships the employees have with each other. It’s like a family.

Williams: The ones that have been there a long time, what they realize is that we’re a family. I mean, it’s easy to say it’s a family-oriented company. It’s still owned by the son of the gentlemen that founded it, and his sister works there, his wife works there, his son has worked there. And with the tenure that you have, naturally you get that spirit of kinship.

Courtney: And at Winter Fabrication, the company believes in continued education. If an employee wants to get a degree or take classes in a field that would benefit the company, Winter Fabrication will pay for the employee’s school because Williams said you are never done learning.

Rob: Now, I did notice a bit of an accent in Mr. Williams’ voice – why did Winter Fab decide to locate here in the middle of America, here in Oklahoma?

Courtney: Well, when I spoke to the president of Winter Fabrication, Vince Williams, who is from Europe originally, he said Oklahoma is one of the most economical places to live, and its central location allows them to ship product north, south, east and west very easily.

Rob: All right. Thank you so much, Courtney.

Courtney: You’re welcome, Rob.

Rob McClendon: Well, October is National Manufacturing Month, and here in Oklahoma there are 13 separate events and tours taking place leading up to Manufacturing Day on Oct. 3. And we do have that complete list on our website. Just go to to see how you can take part.