Rockford Chamber of Commerce 2013 Manufacturer of the Year Award Header Die & Tool featured prominently in recent Rockford area news stories about Manufacturing Day, a national event designed to provide the next generation of machine operators and engineers a personal look at the industry. This year on October 1st, Header was one of a few dozen companies throughout the Rock River Valley region to open its doors in welcome to middle and high school students, for tours and demonstrations.

Said one student from Winnebago High School, “It’s really nice to see everything happening in real life. It’s not just a shop in school. It’s cool to think this is what you could be doing in a few years.”

David Stack, a second-year manufacturing instructor but first-year participating in Manufacturing Day pointed out during the tour how tidy the work stations are on Header’s shop floor.

Lucas Derry, owner and president of Header Die & Tool said clean workstations are critically important when a company sells products or services based on time estimates.

“We’re selling time more than anything. We estimate every project and the time it will take to make certain parts,” he said. “If you’re fumbling through clutter, it’s going to take you longer.”

As an employee, a messy workstation will not look as good to the boss. “And there is a higher chance for scrap,” he said, which can waste materials and cut into a company’s profits.

Header Die & Tool has participated in previous Manufacturing Day events hosting student tours. “I know the students enjoy their time here, but I think we enjoy it even more,” said Derry. “Their enthusiasm and interest helps us reignite our passion for what we do. And the domestic manufacturing sector needs bright young individuals like these students in order to thrive and remain competitive in a global marketplace.”

Approximately 450 students from 13 schools participated in Manufacturing Day tours. The event was organized by area manufacturing leaders and a number of organizations including the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, Rock Valley College Career Education Associates of North Central Illinois and area school districts.