UMC is a St. Cloud-based precision manufacturing company serving multiple markets, including industrial, commercial, aerospace and defense. About 70 percent of the products they produce are made for medical devices, everything from implantables to instrumentation.
“Our niche here is subtraction machining,” said Corey Fouquette, UMC’s manager of engineering services. “Which basically means we begin with a piece of metal and start cutting at it until we whittle out the piece that we need.”
This year, UMC, Inc. is celebrating its 50th anniversary. As a staple in the St. Cloud community, the company gives back by doing its part to foster the next generation of manufacturers through internship opportunities and industry exposure.
Programs that inspire
Apart from hosting STEM internships for the past four years, UMC supports several engineering programs around the St. Cloud area. One of their most notable projects is Formula SAE at St. Cloud State University, which was pitched to UMC by its current SciTechsperience intern Johnathan Garcia three years prior.
Through the Formula SAE program, Garcia and some of his fellow engineering students engineer and manufacture a prototype race car that’s then entered at a competition in Michigan. There the car is raced and judged on its performance, its engineering and manufacturing and how well it can be sold to potential investors.
“It’s a good competition to be in because it gives us a lot of experience in terms of time management, product design and manufacturing,” Garcia said. “And without companies like UMC, our program at St. Cloud State wouldn’t be alive.”
When not building cars, Garcia spent his time at UMC with fellow SciTech intern Ashley Triplett, a mechanical engineering major at St. Cloud State. Together they primarily worked on cooling testing but developed their skills in manual machining as well.
“When I designed something in school, I didn’t consider the machinability,” Triplett said. “This experience has really put that into my head so now, whether I’m in school or my future job, if I’m designing something, that’ll be one of the key things I consider.”
Providing their interns with experiences like these, Fouquette said, is one of the greatest takeaways as a mentor. “I really like seeing our interns take on a project from beginning to end,” he said. “Their being able to say ‘Ok, I designed something and now I actually get to see it in use.’ That’s a big deal for us.”
Small Minnesota companies receive up to $2,500 to help pay a STEM intern. At least 350 wage matches are available through the end of 2019.