Catching Up With...George Trout, Class of '75
George Trout is a graduate of Redland High School and what was once Machine Shop, and is now Precision Machine Technology. George still supports CPAVTS and imparts wisdom to our future students as a member of PMT’s Occupational Advisory Committee. He was gracious enough to share that wisdom with our readers as well. Here is just a small portion of his expertise in the PMT industry.
Describe the company or industry in which you currently work.
“I currently work for the TE Connectivity (formally TYCO Electronics and AMP Incorporated) and manage the Product Development Center. We are the largest connector company in the world and employ 78,000 employees, working in 150 countries worldwide. In my area we make prototypes of new products for costumers. This can be samples for customers to look at or put directly into testing. All the products we make must be completed to a high degree of accuracy, at a very quick pace, in order to get them to our customers before our competitors. This is important to insuring we can win a new business opportunity with each new product.”
What is your job title and what do you do?
“My current title is Manager of Operations. I manage the day-to-day running of our Product Development Center with my three supervisors, and 21 employees. I am involved with expediting jobs for our many engineering customers around the globe, outside procurement of tools, keeping our many pieces of equipment operational, and making sure I am on track to meet budget, as well as training for my associates. I attend engineering meetings to make recommendations for improvements to their designs to make them more manufactural.
I have various other duties within the building where I work, such as environmental, health, safety, emergency management programs and compliance with State and Federal regulations. I started as a Model Maker Trainee, I was then promoted to Model Maker B, Model Maker A, Project Model Maker, which is where I led teams of other model makers on larger projects. At one point I was a Manufacturing Engineer and then an Engineering Supervisor, and now I am the manager of the shop where I started.”
What other employment have you had related to your program areas at CPAVTS?
“While I was attending Williamsport Area Community College, I worked at a local shop during the summers and semester breaks. This experience helped me to gain additional hands-on experience and knowledge.”
What additional education and training did you receive after leaving CPAVTS?
“After CPAVTS, I attended Williamsport Area Community College (now Penn College of Technology) for an Associate Degree in Toolmaking Technology. With my experience from CPAVTS I was able to pass an advanced placement test in the Toolmaking Technology curriculum, which enabled me to bypass the first two semesters and go directly into my third semester. To fill the extra time, I enrolled in the Die Design class, which has really helped me in my career over the years.
At that point in time I had originally only wanted to take the “shop” portion of the curriculum and not take all the other classes like English, Physics, Metallurgy, etc. …but to get the Associates Degree, these courses had to be taken. I am so glad that I took everything now! As a manager I use most of these skills in one way or another, and I feel that I would not have been promoted over the years without taking all the extra classes.”
How was Cumberland Perry different than your regular high school?
“I was in the “general” classes at my high school. I feel that if I didn’t have the opportunity to go to CPAVTS, I would not have had a chance to be involved in the creative and rewarding career that I am in today. I have been at the same company for over 41 years and I have never had a “boring” day.
There is always something new coming to us from engineering, and we take on the challenge to figure out a way to make it into a real product. I feel that I owe a huge portion of my success to CPAVTS for giving me a solid background in this field. There have also been a lot of great people since then who saw potential in me. I saw students at college who were only there to put in the time and not really take something real away from that experience. I wanted something more, and I tried to apply myself in every way I could to take as much from my learning experiences as I could. My belief over the years continues to be, “You will only get out of it, what you put into it”.
How has your industry changed since your time at Cumberland Perry?
“This industry (Machining) has NEVER stopped changing. In 1975 most of the equipment at CPAVTS was manually operated as was also the case in industry. Today if you don’t have CNC equipment running you are way behind the curve of industry. We have a lot of CNC equipment where I work, and I am always looking for the next generation of machines that will enable our work to run faster and more productive. What has really changed is that parents today do not encourage their kids to get into this field. If you really love to work with your hands and are mechanically inclined, this could be a great, well-paying career for you! There are many opportunities out here in the industry for you now. Most tooling shops that I know of are struggling to find entry level people who have good basic knowledge of machining.”
What is your favorite CPAVTS memory?
“The students in our class were great when I was at CPAVTS. Looking back, I feel the best thing now is seeing some of my classmates from time-to-time, working with others who graduated from CPAVTS, and talking about the good times we had together. Some of us graduates are on the Occupational Advisory Committee and have the opportunity to work with the current PMT Instructor, Mr. Fogleman, and other faculty to keep advancing the Precision Machine Technology program.”