manufacturing field trip

It’s never too early to start thinking about what you want to do for a career, even if you’re just in eighth grade. That’s why students from Tecumseh Middle School recently witnessed firsthand what local manufacturing companies do and how they impact everyday life.

Eighth graders from TMS spent the entire day visiting manufacturing companies, including Wacker Chemie, Ervin Industries, Artonic, Ididit, and Timbercraft. Located in Adrian is Wacker and the four other companies call Tecumseh home.

These students take part in Eryn Stamper and Jon Way’s Project Lead the Way classes. PLTW is an innovative project-based learning program incorporating science, technology, engineering, and math. Each company offered a different look of manufacturing, encompassing the PLTW model.

“We are so proud of the way our program is progressing,” said Stamper. “It is awesome to take the career connections we talk about in our lessons and let our students see them first-hand and in action at local businesses. For this specific field trip, we focused on taking students who had expressed an interest in the manufacturing field.”

The day had a busy itinerary with students split into two groups, each going to their own locations and then rotating spots. The first two stops were Wacker and Ervin. 

At Wacker, students learned more about the process of creating silicone and its uses for it. Students quickly realized how much silicone affects their lives, as it’s in everyday products we use. Over at Ervin, armed with hard hats, goggles, and earplugs, students were introduced to metal blasting materials. Students had to keep an eye out as the product was being melted down, and some areas were extremely hot.

After those stops, it was time for lunch at County National Bank, which was provided by the Kiwanis Club of Tecumseh. However, the education didn’t stop during this break. Matt Harper from Artonic stopped by to talk to the group. Artonic is a digital marketing and web design company. Harper spoke about the company, which was founded in 2005 and is Tecumseh based. Students learned about what goes into building this type of company through web design.

From there, the final two stops for the students. They were split back into groups and headed to Ididit and Timbercraft.

Ididit is an auto parts manufacturer. During this tour, students learned more about the product that Ididit designs right here in Tecumseh. The company has been making steering columns and numerous accessories for hot rod and muscle car enthusiasts for over 30 years.

Over at Timbercraft, students learned about the building and engineering side of things when it comes to timber framing. Timbercraft incorporates heavy timber into projects, which include custom homes, commercial buildings, pavilions, barns, and more. 

When it was all said and done, the students were able to observe mechanical, electrical, computer, robotic systems, and other equipment, as well as the engineers, technicians, and operators who keep all those systems running.

“As a teacher, it is always rewarding to see our students interact with community members and local businesses in such a positive way,” Way said. “It is a special moment when your students ask the type of questions that really impress those members of the community and prompt them to invite us back time and time again, extending that experience and opportunity to future classes.”

However, it wasn’t just an educational field trip for the students; the adult chaperones took in the sights and sounds of these companies.

Along for the ride were TPS Superintendent Rick Hilderley, Board of Education president Tony Rebottaro, and TMS counselor Deb Followell, all made a guest appearance. Joining them were volunteers Spencer Ruffner, Ron Publiski, Mike Morast, and Dennis Chambo. They listened attentively like the students and even asked some of their own questions.

It’s great to see companies that are making such a difference, and they’re located in Tecumseh and Adrian. As a school district, we’re proud to see former students take on these important roles. Thank you to Tecumseh grads Dave Marcum (Timbercraft), Matt Harper (Artonic), and Brent Mostowy (Ervin Industries) for giving our students the insightful knowledge that could shape their futures.

“Our students represented the program and our school in an amazing way – from the questions they asked at the various facilities to the attentive and respectful way they treated our hosts,” said Stamper. “We truly appreciate our local businesses taking the time to build relationships with our students and continuing to develop these community partnerships.”

Thank you to folks at Wacker, Ervin Industries, Artonic, Ididit, Timbercraft, and County National Bank for hosting our students, staff, and volunteers. We also want to thank the Kiwanis Club of Tecumseh for supplying the food and Board of Education secretary Mary Tommelein for helping set up this wonderful manufacturing field trip.