Featuring Mueller & Wesley Goldston
What is your name?
My name is Wesley Goldston.
What is your position at Mueller?
I am a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Operator at Mueller.
How long have you been in this role?
I’ve been in this role nearly two years, though I’ve worked in several positions during my time with the company. I started as a Material Handler and worked as a Grinder until I had the opportunity to use my previous training as a MIG welder. From there, I’ve taken advantage of every opportunity I can which has led me to my current position as a CNC Operator.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Each day, I conduct all safety checks from passivation to the staging area. From there, I review the orders for the day and prepare them. In addition, I also handle miscellaneous orders from other departments. Some days, I change programs on my machine at least five times a day and change the tooling of the product I am running from one setup to another. I appreciate that Mueller values my opinion and allows me to work side by side with the Engineer when implementing new programs. My contribution is appreciated and respected. Finally, when different prototypes come in, I get the opportunity to experience something brand new in the programming and setup, which is very exciting.
How would you describe your career to someone unfamiliar with it?
I would describe what I do as making precision bends and manufacturing different parts using gauges, bends and precise measurements. Math is very important in this position. Being close, or good enough, won’t work. It must be exact. There is no room for error. It seems like a lot coming into this position and it is. However, once you get hands-on experience and solid training, you will become more and more familiar with the job and get better each day. I take a sense of pride in what I do. I’m building a part that is being shipped out to people across the world that will ultimately provide clean drinking water to thousands of people.
What do you enjoy about your career?
I enjoy the environment I work in. We are a tight group and I’m comfortable doing my job. My supervisor holds me to certain standards, and I take that as a daily challenge; one I accept and look forward to each day.
What kind of education or training opportunities did you do to become successful?
I took some entry-level MIG courses prior to Mueller. Since Mueller I’ve had a variety of training. I’ve learned to use stand-up lifts, some TIG welding, and I’m part of the safety team which I’m proud of. I think continual on-the-job training and learning the entire CNC spectrum has helped me the most. I routinely have one-on-one time with an Engineer who has taught me the most about the CNC process. This allowed me the understanding of the job, the critical elements required and over time, with hands-on experience, it really allowed me to thrive. I also like the continual understanding of CNC and staying on top of it evolving helps to keep us rethinking how we can continually be better.
What workforce or on-the-job training have you had?
The most important was the on-the-job training and mentorship, which helped me learn and understand how to operate and program the CNC. In addition, I’ve learned other skills like using the AMADA Break press. I helped come up with different programs and formulas to come up with automated programs rather than traditional manual programs. I enjoy being able to use my knowledge and see something created from raw material to a finished product. It is pretty amazing.
What would you tell a high school student or adult considering a career similar to yours?
I would say it is a very intriguing career. It doesn’t seem very exciting, but once you get to understand how you can create something from start to finish, it is very cool. It gives you the opportunity to expand your talents and use your mind to program and make changes. And you don’t realize how many things in the world are bent on a CNC machine or rolled on a Faccin machine. You learn to have a deep appreciation for your craft.
What training do you feel is most valuable to someone considering a career similar to yours?
I believe on-the-job training and having hands-on opportunities are so important. When you are looking at a diagram, drawing on paper or through class instructions, it gives you the foundation for understanding but doesn’t replace actually touching it and doing it yourself. If you focus on your ability to use what you’ve learned and observed, couple that while doing it, then it all comes together. I would love to observe more CNC operations at other Mueller locations. I think networking and seeing their day-to-day operations would be helpful. At some point, I would love to see one of our tapping sleeves being installed in the ground. This would be an experience we would all love. It would provide clarity on just how important our job is and why we do what we do.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about working at Mueller or your career?
I feel like working at Mueller is a privilege. Mueller carries the infrastructure of the world on their shoulders in the industry we are in. I am honored to be with such a great company that values its employees and doing great things throughout the world. I like the diversity of our Cleveland location. We have a wide variety of people of all races from regions around the world coming together for one common purpose; to build and make the best water products in the world.