Educating the Next Generation of Manufacturing Engineers

Inductive Conversations

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Jake Hall, also known as the Manufacturing Millennial joins David Grussenmeyer for a great discussion on the outlook on education within the manufacturing industry. They dive in and discuss the effects of the OT and IT convergence in manufacturing, the new generation of manufacturing engineers, and how education is evolving to meet today’s manufacturing needs. Jake and David also talk about the challenges of education and how the pandemic revealed opportunities in manufacturing.

You can access the video version of the podcast here.

“The culture is changing where there is a lot more communication and a lot more drive of communication between OT and Sales, OT and Management, OT and Marketing… We’re seeing younger generations wanting to collaborate and cross-communicate with all the different organizations or divisions within a company.”  - Jake Hall


Jake Hall (aka Manufacturing Millennial) 
Business Development Manager, ATS Global

Jake Hall is the Manufacturing Millennial. With over a decade of experience working with

manufacturers, system integrators, and distributors in the manufacturing and automation industry, he understands the importance of advocating Industry 4.0, digital technology, robotics, and automation solutions. But more importantly, he recognizes the need and demand for companies and organizations to begin attracting and mentoring the future skilled workforce of upcoming generations.

With Jake’s personal brand, the “Manufacturing Millennial,” he has created an audience of 50,000+ followers with over 50 million views on social media in less than two years. But Jake’s advocacy doesn’t stop online; he has given dozens of high-energy keynote presentations discussing the future of our manufacturing industry and how it needs to change through technology, culture, and workforce.

When Jake isn’t advocating manufacturing, you’ll find him at a Chicago Cubs game, smoking BBQ, fishing, or building Lego with his two daughters.



David: All right. Hey, everyone. My name is David Grussenmeyer. I'm the Industry & Education Engagement Manager here at Inductive Automation. I got Jake Hall here, the Manufacturing Millennial himself. Jake, why don't you go ahead and tell our audience a little bit more about yourself? 

Jake: Yeah, thanks. Well, first of all, great to be on. Great to have another amazing conversation together. But yeah, my name is Jake Hall. I go by another name in the industry that probably more people are familiar with me as is the Manufacturing Millennial. What that means is I'm a millennial and, you know, who's super passionate about the manufacturing industry and everything it has to offer. I've been in the industry for 16, almost 17 years now. I started working for a small machine builder at the time, JR Automation, when I was in high school, now they're a much bigger machine builder in the automation space. But went to college, got my manufacturing and product design engineering degrees and really been within the systems integrator side, the end user side, the automation distributor side of things. And, you know, had a lot of experience. But what I do now is advocating the industry, advocating how manufacturers can leverage technology to make them more productive and then also use that technology as a way to attract a future workforce, which we'll talk about more later today in the conversation. But when I'm not doing all that stuff, I also do have a job where I'm still, you know, knee deep in the real world of stuff where I work for a company called ATS Global.

Jake: We're an automation information integrator for... We do a lot of stuff in the industry, just look us up. But I do business development for them. So I really go in from a high level perspective and figure out what companies can do to change their outlook. And I guess you could say the roadmap on how to move and combine OT-IT systems together and how we can take these individual silos that have been in the industry forever and really get more information out of it to make us more competitive. And that's kind of my role within ATS.

David: All right, that's great. So we met a while ago, I think when I started out in Inductive Automation and we met and we talked a little bit and I felt like that was a little bit into you starting this persona, the Manufacturing Millennial. How did you start it and what inspired you to kind of... To spotlight the industry in this way? 

Jake: Yeah, so it goes back to 2019, fall of that year. I was going to a professional conference and I was sitting in a room listening to a keynote speaker. And as I looked across that room, there was maybe one or two of the 400 attendees under the age of 40 there. And I said, this is a ridiculous misrepresentation and lack of opportunity to have younger generations and younger people be a part of these industry in this conference. And I said, we need to change how we get younger youth involved in manufacturing. And so the Manufacturing Millennial came about and that's how the idea and the name started. I really didn't capitalize on what I was doing or making a push on social media until the pandemic hit. And, you know, spring of 2020 where everyone was going to work from home. We had this idea of, you know, stay home. Was it lower the line? There was some terminology around there around the pandemic. And I said, well, I'm just gonna start creating content and having conversations on social media with really no goal to say I want hundreds and thousands of followers on my channel, my platform.

Jake: I just said, “I like what manufacturing is and I want to share it from an educational and a thought leadership perspective on all the cool stuff we're doing in the industry.” And I chose LinkedIn as the platform. And over the couple of years that I've been doing it so far from when you and I first met, it's grown to just, you know, at the time, a couple hundred followers to now well over 50, 60, 70,000 followers across all my platforms. So it's really exciting to see that, just the reach of being able to reach on average around 700,000 to a million people a week on my social media content. It's really exciting because that's driving awareness to how cool manufacturing is.

David: Absolutely. I think that looking on LinkedIn, looking at several thought leaders and yours always pops up in my feed probably 'cause I interact with you the most. But it's always fun to hear the podcasts that you do and the webinars that you participate in and get a sense of your perspective.

Jake: Yeah.

David: So kind of switching more to the industry side of things. Let's talk about the convergence of OT and IT. You know, we talk about that a lot in the industry and I just want to hear from you. How have you experienced it or how has it impacted the current industry that we have in manufacturing? 

Jake: Yeah, I mean, I'll take a different perspective on it 'cause we could talk about like the silos and how we've seen this transition of OT and the machine side of things and its own... It's the manufacturing versus the IT. There's millions of articles on all of that. But what I want to bring into perspective is how it relates to our future workforce. And I think what we're seeing now is when younger generations, millennials who aren't even necessarily young anymore, they're as old as 40 and Gen Zs grow up in these industries, they're very familiar with accessibility of information instantaneously. And what we're seeing now is when they want to go out there and they want to set their thermostat, they can go on their phone or when they want to understand how much power is being drawn on their gaming PC, they have instant access to information on the processes that are running within their home or their car or their daily lives.

Jake: When we grew up with being able to turn lights on and open garage doors, I bought a cottage recently and I have a button now on my phone that will turn up the thermostat, turn all the lights on, get the water heater up and going, get the lights on in the garage, turn on the back porch lights, and all that with a single push of a button, that's accessibility to the way I live.

Jake: And what manufacturers, and this is kind of tying in probably what we'll talk about later on with the workforce, but what manufacturers need to realize is the way newer generations live is completely different than what manufacturing is viewed today as what we as manufacturers are going. So going back to the conversation of IT and OT, we need to have better access to information to the way we do things in our daily lives in manufacturing. And it goes to being able to make decisions, it's being able to solve problems quicker and we can't do those things unless we have access to what's happening on the shop floor, the OT side of the things. And the only way we're going to be able to get that accessibility is through the IT. And I think that's what we're seeing now is that convergence is giving, manufacturing has always been making parts for a long time, but we just never had any information on how much it was being made, how good it was being made, the quality, the OEE, the productivity, all the buzzwords that are out there. Through IT now we can see that and through IT now we can see the changes of how we can make those changes.

Jake: And I think that's just what we're seeing from a convergence perspective. And what we're seeing now is for the longest time you always had the roadblocks in manufacturing where companies didn't want to give access and information to the other side of, I guess you could say, the wall that was built between OT and IT. They never wanted to throw ropes over, they never wanted to throw ladders over, they never wanted to do a handshake through that wall. I think what we're seeing now is younger youth are willing to break down that wall and no longer have these individual land masses of where information and processes are done and they're saying we can make this together. And I think a lot of that has to do with because younger generations and youth are not intimidated by accessibility and information the way older generations were. And not saying that older generations aren't that way, not saying all younger generations are that way either. It's just what I think we're seeing is we're seeing a trend and how is manufacturing going to change and how is it going to attract... How are we going to get more people involved? 

Jake: Honestly, the sooner you can get younger generations in leadership positions to make changes at your company, the sooner it's gonna happen. And I think that's what we're seeing in the IT-OT world.

David: Yeah, yeah. And going to that and talking about that new generation of engineers, as these new engineers, this new generation of engineers enter the manufacturing industry, what are you seeing out there? Like you said, as soon as we see that new generation start to make those decisions, but what are you seeing currently right now? Is it kind of like 50-50 or are we seeing more decisions being made with those new engineers in mind? 

Jake: The one thing I am seeing is younger generations are not afraid to fail. And I think that's one reason why we've had such a hard time seeing progress in the industry is because for so long we had to make sure way too many things were in line and signatures and stuff signed off in order to make a decision or to make a move. When we're seeing younger generations come up, I think they have the mindset of “Fail quickly, learn quickly, change quickly.” That's what we're seeing with these younger generations. And I think it's just their comfort level of adapting new technology and change is what we're seeing with that younger. Did I answer your question? I can't remember answering your question. 

David: Yep, yeah. No, I think you did. Well, we're gonna jump and we're gonna continue talking about that new generation of engineers. And we're gonna talk about education surrounding that new generation 'cause that's a big topic here and really what we're getting at here. Has education evolved to accommodate the shift in manufacturing? And if they have or if the education has evolved, what are some of the things schools have been implementing that you've seen? 

Jake: Yeah. Well, I think the first thing is it's not just new engineers anymore. What we're seeing in the industry to integrate solutions like Ignition, for example, you don't need to be an electrical engineer. You don't need to be a controls engineer to be able to do this stuff. I recently spoke at my university to a controls class and I said, listen, the availability of training and free information now to educate yourself to be more valuable in the industry is extremely accessible. You know, you can go online. This is, I guess, a plug and a selfish one at that, you can go online, you can get trained for free and take training for free on a lot of software, including Ignition. And I think what we're seeing now is the barrier to entry is a lot less than what it was before. You don't need to have a four-year engineering education to be in high demand in our industry. And I think that's what makes manufacturing extremely exciting. I can go to college for a two-year local associate's degree and get a job immediately that I can have growth in for years to come within a manufacturer.

Jake: You know, and even when you're to look at the job descriptions and a lot of manufacturers are pushing out there when they say we need help within our manufacturing side, before it was five-years experience, a four-year engineering degree with mechanical or electrical or controls, you know, and that's changing now. Part of it is because just the labor demand is out there and they gotta find people. But I think what we're finding now is, people don't need to get a four-year degree to make an impact and help a company grow. And I think that's what we're seeing from the educational perspective now is go work for a company, get an internship and you know, you can go to a local community college at nighttime and get PLC, you know, training and courses and get certified to do that. You can go get a FANUC, you know, robot certification programming course and you do that at nighttime. And I think it just reduces the barrier to entry for our industry, but it also reduces the cost and reduces the debt people are in. And I think that's where we are going to see more attraction to younger generations entering our industry because people are finding out going to go get a four-year degree in some liberal program, liberal arts program, they're finding out they can't find jobs.

Jake: Or if the immediate definition of science, technology, engineering, and math and they said, “Well, I'm not good at math, so therefore I can't enter this workforce,” is it necessarily true? Because you don't need to be great at math to be good in manufacturing. And I think that's what we're seeing, you know, from the educational perspective is trying to remove this isolation that you need to have this in order to join us. And that's just not the case anymore. And I think what we're seeing globally now is access to free training is abundant and all you need is self motivation to see that growth happening.

David: Yeah, absolutely. I see that, you know, with the academic institutions that I work with time and time again, I see that with two-year schools, you know, whether it's community colleges, JC's, vocational schools, you know, technical schools, their programs are much more adapted to what's happening out in industry these days. I mean, not to say that the four-year schools don't have, you know, the means and the, you know, they're changing their curriculum to keep up with industry, but I just see it more adopted among those schools.

Jake: And you hit it on the head there. Like one thing is, when I went and talked to the professor of our controls class at Grand Valley, he said, “I'm not just teaching them PLC programming anymore. I'm teaching them how to set up a network, how to now make changes on programs over the network.” So if you want to run a job, you're not just taking your ethernet cable and plugging it into the front of the PLC. No, you need to go and create a network, set up a network and do it that way. And I think that's just where we're seeing manufacturers putting demand on educational systems to say, this is what we need, make a change. And I laugh at this, and maybe this is, we can talk about this later in the conversation, but I always laugh when manufacturers are saying we can't find the correct skills for our job. And then I ask, "So what are you doing to be engaged in the local education around you, either through universities, colleges, you know, vocational schools?” "Well, we're not active." So, you know, you're out here complaining, but you're not willing to invest to see that change.

Jake: You know, I could tell you right now, your competitors are willing to invest to see that change. And when those kids are graduating, they see that this company XYZ was sponsoring them, investing in them, coming to their events, creating sponsored projects for them to learn. Where do you think they're going to go? They're not gonna go work for a brand new company they never heard of. They're gonna work for the companies that they were invested in. And that's just another massive missed opportunity is, you know, from the educational perspective, David, which you work heavily in, if manufacturers are not involved in asking for this change, this change is never going to happen. And I think we, as an industry, are at fault for that because we have for so long tried to silo ourselves, just like in OT world, of not willing to branch out and expand and invest outside of the immediate four walls of a manufacturing facility. And that's just not the case anymore. That's not going to drive success. That's not going to drive productivity. And that's not going to drive engagement of a future workforce.

David: Yeah, yeah. And I, you know, my work with education and working with these academic institutions, a big avenue that I take is working with our systems integrators and our end users side by side to actively work with the academic institutions within the region because it's so imperative that, like you said, they're looking for a specific skill set. You know, and I constantly tell them this, what you put in is what you get out of this system. So if you put in a ton of effort into education in your region, well, guess what? You're gonna get some great candidates coming out of there. But until you take that step forward, you're really gonna suffer from what's been taught for the last 20 years because they just, a lot of the times they don't know any better. And that's what we're trying to help out here. So going and talking about those silos again, and, you know, as we move forward in industry, those walls are being broken down. But what do you see as a difference in approach from OT engineers who have been in the industry for decades versus incoming OT engineers? And what are those differences? Do you see differences there? And what are those differences? Or do you see more of a kind of that stereotypical OT engineer from 20 or 30 years ago kind of doesn't exist in the new engineers coming into the field? They have a broader skill set now. Go ahead.

Jake: Yeah. Yeah. That's a good point. I loved your last comment. The younger generations definitely have a larger, I guess you could say, broader skill set coming in. And I think that's extremely important right now because no longer are we just doing one thing. We're doing a lot of things in the industry. Everyone who's listening to this podcast right now or watching, I'm not for sure if it's gonna be watched or not, but we're all doing more tasks today than we were doing two years ago before the pandemic started. And I think what we're seeing now is we are no longer within our shop floor walls of sales and management is in the front office. And there's that door with that sign that says, shop floor workers, you don't use the office bathroom. And we have all seen that. And I think that just relates to the way the culture is changing where there's a lot more communication and there's a lot more drive of communication between the different and not even just OT-IT. It's OT and Sales. It's OT and Management. It's OT and Marketing. When we're going out there, we're seeing younger generations wanting to collaborate and cross-communicate with all the different organizations or I guess you could say divisions within a company.

Jake: And I think a lot of that has to do with younger engineers are a lot more social. If you speak through social media, I think we're seeing that as an impact, but we're also wanting to be a lot more connected to everything else that's going on. So I think what we're seeing on the OT versus old engineers to new engineers is a lot of younger engineers are wanting to engage with new technology, which I would say is being pushed from the IT side of things into the OT. And I think they're a lot more willing to accept that type of process, especially just from the cloud perspective. And I know this is another buzz word that's out there and things, but I think everyone has a Dropbox. Everyone has a Google Drive. Everyone just fully accepts that it makes more sense for my information to be online to be accessible from wherever I need it to be than siloed into a specific server rack within a building that never gets touched. From a long time, there was a lot of older engineers saying, no, I want to compartmentalize. It's not safe. All this stuff.

Jake: What we're finding out really quickly actually is it's actually safer to be alive than it is actually to be within your own siloed, you know, nest within your own little server rack room. That's actually not as safe as it is being on the cloud. And I think what we're seeing now is those misconceptions are being broken down. They're being understood and they're being communicated from a younger audience into the older one. I think that's what's really exciting about that.

David: So Indiana is the home of over 8,000 manufacturing organizations, right? You've been working with a lot of those companies over the years in Indiana. What are some of the challenges these companies are facing currently in industry? 

Jake: Yeah, I think the first one is workforce. And everyone, we can talk about that later, but the first one is, every manufacturer that we've talked to within Indiana is running into a skill problem and either if it's general labor, if it's engineers, if it's management, if it's leadership, we're all trying to find more people to come and work for us. That's the first thing. The other thing is the pressure of sustainability within manufacturing right now as the world becomes more aware of what does the impact of manufacturing and processes create on an environmental, a cultural, a climate view. More companies are being aware of what their specific impact is within those areas. I would say that's number two. Number three is the competition of a workforce is no longer just within manufacturing, it's within many other industries as well. Your general labor pool that you had 20 years ago was within manufacturing. Now it's within logistics or e-commerce distribution centers or it's within home delivery, food and travel services. That's where a lot of these younger generations are working now that at one point in time would have worked in manufacturing 15-20 years ago, but hey, as new industries develop, your labor gets more competitive.

Jake: And I think what we're seeing now is manufacturers need to say how do we drive better productivity with what we're doing. I think also what we're seeing is how do manufacturers as reshoring becomes a higher discussion within the US, more and more companies as the tiers go up within that, if it's automotive, you have now companies requesting information to get better visibility of what your manufacturing processes look like, what your production looks like, what is your quality control and traceability of that product through that manufacturing process all the way to the installation of its final product. That is what we're seeing now and the pressure is on manufacturers locally to say, here's the value stream that I can bring more manufacturing back domestically here in North America. And so we could dive more down into each one of those, but I think that's just the general summary of what we're seeing now in manufacturers in Indiana, but really every state across the US and even into Canada and down to Mexico. It's a visibility of your processes and visibility of your people and what they're doing.

David: Okay, yeah, absolutely. Let's look at that and I think your number one point there was workforce. You're competing with all these different industries, especially as we start to have more IT centric skills being put into manufacturing. Well, then you got competition with, I mean, in this day and age, almost every industry. Every industry needs a developer of some sort, whether it's a database admin or anything underneath the sun and that includes manufacturing. So what is the... You know, manufacturing education looks to be a priority in Indiana for a lot of the reasons that you just stated, especially with the completion of the emerging manufacturing collaboration center, EMC squared or EMC2. However you want to say it in 2020, can you talk more about the importance of EMC2

Jake: Yeah, I mean, I think the biggest thing is, how do we take local to small to medium-sized manufacturers and even the larger manufacturers and the state of Indiana did an amazing job. I think it was a $10 million ease initiative to help stimulate manufacturing investments in Indiana and the goal for that is to help manufacturers, I would say, take that first step into new technology.

Jake: I think the first step is always the hardest within manufacturing to say there's a lot of intimidation when it comes to adopting new technology and I think when the state of Indiana went out and said we'll reduce the risk 'cause we're gonna fund these processes, I think that's what we see is really exciting and that's what EMC2 is doing with that area and the beautiful building that's out there and they also have the electric race cars within that building. There's a lot of cool stuff happening at that facility, but I think what we're seeing now is the state of Indiana said in order for us to be more competitive, in order for us to support our manufacturing businesses, we need to invest in them for them to be able to feel the opportunity that they can become more productive, they can invest in something new with minimizing the risk and I think more states should also take that initiative.

David: Yeah, and along those same lines, you have Purdue, Notre Dame, you have these large educational institutions in Indiana that kind of lead the way on educating, but then you also have I believe it's what the Ivy Community College system throughout Indiana which is a really great community college system. I think it's one of the largest in the United States. What are some of the challenges that educational institutions have when it comes to manufacturing and with these kind of initiatives, not just the big ones 'cause the big ones they play, but what about the smaller academic institutions? 

Jake: Yeah, I think the biggest challenge right away is a lot of these times the small, medium-size manufacturers, the person who will be taking that initiative for growth is also the person who's the maintenance manager, the operations manager, or the engineering manager who doesn't have the time or the investment to be able to put in the energy to see what they can do to make changes, and that's why we're seeing from the top, that's why all these, the larger the manufacturer, the more likely they are to have an Industry 4.0 or Digital Transformation roadmap or a plan because they see that initiative and they can hire companies and they can hire individuals and consultants to help guide them along that path. While manufacturers, they say, I don't have the time for that. I'm just trying to make sure that I have my shift show up for work and we're getting products out the door.

Jake: I think what we're seeing, though, with this is, especially with this initiative, is it's not just the solution that they provide, they're also providing the team that can come in and install that for you. And I think what we're seeing from the educational perspective of things is, and this is kind of tying a little bit to what your question was, David, but I think what we're seeing now is a lot of these smaller educational facilities and all that stuff, they are making it so small, they can be more accessible to small and medium companies through training, through local resources to help them better understand what solutions are available.

Jake: And I think that I would say is one of the biggest impacts that we're seeing with smaller educational facilities working alongside smaller and medium-sized manufacturers.

David: Perfect. So looking out into the future, we look at, you know, 5, 10, even 20 years down the road, what kind of trends do you foresee in the industry and, you know, moving forward? 

Jake: AI, machine learning, collaborative solutions, the growth of robotics, accessibility to information to make changes. I think those are gonna be your biggest trends in the next few years. I mean, what... Chat, chat, what is the new chat bot that everyone's talking about right now? 

David: Yeah, I was gonna bring it up, the ChatGPT.

Jake: Yeah, it's just like that, for example, right now. Every time I've logged into a couple of times, it's always been full. So I need to go back and try and find a spot to get into it. But it just shows how much AI and machine learning is going to impact the way we make decisions. I was in Chicago earlier this year at a digital summit and there was a company that was developing an AI and machine learning productivity scheduling program. So it will look at all the assets in your building, all of the material that's in your building, all the workforce that showed up to work today, all of the skills and training that each of your employees have, the demand of where that each job is, and it would create routines and it would plug out the entire basically productivity of what you should do that day as a company. Like that used to be a person's job where they would be taking sticky notes, literally off whiteboards and placing it around. Now that's being auto-generated through software.

Jake: But just AI in general, AI is impacting so many different things from vision systems to robotics to the way we process information to the way we predict future demand. I would say that's gonna be the biggest thing. And when people say AI is going to come in and replace people's jobs, no, it's not. AI is going to come in and make it so people can do their job better when it comes to critical thinking and brainstorming the future of how we want to do business. And with 800,000 open jobs right now in manufacturing and 2.4 million projected by 2030, AI is here designed to make us more competitive in a global economy. All these tools are here to make it so the jobs that we have allow us to stay competitive globally. And I think that's one time when we miss is we were siloed so long within just US manufacturing or US manufacturers competing against other small businesses, that's no longer the case anymore. We're in a global economy. And these tools and technology allows us to enable our workforce. It allows us to be more productive.

Jake: It allows us to continue to have success for years to come. And 5-10 years from now as AI machine learning, robotics take the dull, boring, tedious tasks out of what a manufacturing processes are, I think we're just gonna see it where a lot more reshoring can happen, a lot more jobs can come back here, and a lot more value-created purpose-driven jobs are going to be enabled that way. And I think it's one of those things where talking with guys who have a high school education, went to college to get a PLC class, once again, plug for Ignition, got Gold Certified, and now they're making well over six figures a year working a lot of times remotely developing systems. That is how technology has enabled a person where you could not have done that job, you could not have been paid the way that job does with the education that you have. Technology has enabled people to be more productive and more value-driven, and that's what we're gonna see in five, 10, 15 years. It's not gonna be the scare of technology is going to completely destroy the workforce of manufacturing. It's to stop watching Hollywood movies and maybe a little less news. That's this reality of what we're seeing going to move forward. Technology is the best tool and value that we can have to make us more competitive for years to come.

David: Yeah, absolutely. And like you said, that job didn't exist 10 years ago, or 15. You know what I mean? Like being able to remotely develop systems and being able to deploy those systems, it didn't exist. And because of technology and leveraging that technology, we have that capability, especially, and we're moving to kind of talk a little bit about the pandemic now, but with the pandemic hitting, it kind of forced us as a society, as a group of people, to leverage these technologies that had existed in that way to be more effective at your current role or to not even be more effective, but evolve your current role, I should say.

Jake: And I would say more accepting of what things are moving.

David: Yes.

Jake: This idea of having to fly to a different state just to have a proposal review meeting was one of the dumbest things that existed before the pandemic or to have a meeting... Everyone loves it. It's so much more enjoyable. Not saying face-to-face isn't valuable. It's extremely valuable and there's always a time and place for that. But having a general discovery meeting or weekly meetings to go over current processes, it's dumb not to do it virtually now. It makes... Everyone's more productive. Everyone's more comfortable. It just makes sense. And I think the pandemic really has helped us push in the right direction to make everyone... I'm meeting this afternoon at 2:30. Technically I'm on vacation today, but I'm going to the 30-minute meeting 'cause honestly, it takes me 31 minutes to commit to it during the day and I don't have to worry about it then. I don't have to spend 45 minutes getting in a car to drive there to sit for a meeting to then drive 45 minutes back. So it takes me 30 minutes, not a huge deal. And that's how technology is enabling us to do a lot better at our jobs and support manufacturers in their growth.

David: Absolutely. So, talking about the pandemic, a lot of things have changed globally, including manufacturing and supply chains. And we're gonna go into the dreaded supply chain topic. With these disruptions in mind, what opportunities have risen from these recent events? 

Jake: Yeah. I mean, I think we talked a lot about them already. The opportunity for new jobs is I would say the biggest thing where we have removed the boundaries and the walls for people to enter the industry, where you no longer need to have this, this, and this, and this, or to be viewed. I would say the pandemic has invited a lot more people in. It's created more culture. It's created more diversity in our industry as a result of the pandemic. I think those are all phenomenal things that have needed to happen for decades and they haven't. But I think the pandemic has also driven the understanding of accessibility. And going back to our first topic of IT and OT, accessibility to better understanding what is happening anywhere you are is important, especially from an enterprise level. You know, we've been talking a lot about small to medium-sized businesses, but for larger manufacturers, you need to have better accessibility of what's happening, especially from a leadership perspective at all your facilities any time of the day.

Jake: And if you don't know what has happened at your facility until you get a report that was generated through an Excel sheet, sent to your inbox at 8 o'clock at night, because that's finally when things are done and you lost a week of production 'cause you might not have known something was down, that is your own fault because you should be able to instantly know what productivity looks like anywhere that things are happening. I think the pandemic has really driven a light to what that could be now.

David: Yep, yeah. All right. Great, great. Well, I think that's all the time we have for today. Jake, I really appreciate you, the Manufacturing Millennial. I appreciate you coming on and talking with me a little bit today. And it's always a pleasure getting to talk to you, getting some face time with you.

Jake: It's great, David.

David: How do you... Last and final question? 

Jake: Yeah.

David: How do you feel about your Cubs this year? 

Jake: You know, okay, to make things even worse, Willson Contreras went to the St. Louis Cardinals this week, so we went through a divorce a couple of years ago, if everyone leaves... It's just, it's not a great time. You know, I'm still riding high on my 2016 World Series. I still have my wall of all my Chicago Cubs hats that I wear through all that stuff. So... But we got some really good young talents that hopefully we can build up and not get rid of and trade for, you know, and like I said, by the time I'm a grandparent and I got kids in 60-70 years from now, we'll get another World Series and it'll be the best day ever.

David: Awesome. Awesome. That's what I wanted to hear. Positivity, optimism.

Jake: Exactly. That's how you got to look at things.

David: I'm a Giants fan. So, you know, obviously we went through a little bit of heartbreak here in the last couple of weeks, but that's all right. Moving forward.

Jake: Yeah. It's either... There's always next year, right? 

David: Absolutely.

Jake: But I do appreciate that when, you know, the Detroit Lions, you know, beating you guys, you guys kind of got us kicked off to start winning some games. So I appreciate that.

David: Well, Jake, it was a pleasure getting to talk with you. Again, I appreciate it. Anytime I can sit down and bend your ear, I love it.

Jake: Wow, thanks so much.

David: So I hope you have a great rest of the day and a great rest of your week. And thank you so much for coming on.

Jake: Yeah. Awesome. We'll see you guys soon. Thanks so much for having me.

David: Thanks a lot.

Posted on January 9, 2023