When we spoke with Astro Metal Craft in June, the metal fabrication company had recently completed one of their largest projects yet: a 12-foot-high perimeter fence for the federal reserve. Specializing in stainless steel, Astro manufactures a variety of products, from water storage tanks for the New York subway system, to the wire frames used for decorative trees at Disney parks. They’ve been so busy in fact that the company is currently looking to acquire more land for a facility expansion.
With this growth comes the need for more workers. For several years now, the team at Astro has turned to the SciTech Internship Program, to find and hire bright STEM talent to assist them with the summer workflow. Chris Bingea is an Engineering Manager at Astro and helped see to the interview process to select this year’s intern.
“When looking for an intern, we’re looking for high energy and a willingness to get a little dirty and get out on the [manufacturing] floor,” said Bingea. “They also need to be willing to communicate with others, so some of those soft skills are important too.” Of all the students that applied, Mechanical Engineering Major Shelby Stoll had all that and more.
“Shelby is challenging my manufacturing engineer, in a good way,” Bingea affirmed. “Her detail-oriented side is pushing our manufacturing toward where we need it.”
Getting to know you
Since starting in May, Stoll has worked closely with the laser and punch-out machines, learning how to program them. She even started making a guidebook for one of the machines, to help others operate it properly.
“It’s been a good learning experience,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed programming and doing that side of it. And just being able to go down and actually see the final product.”
As a junior at the University of Northwestern -St. Paul, this was Stoll’s first time working in her industry. She was pleasantly surprised, she said, by the amount of autonomy she received. With the freedom to move around the company and interact with coworkers from every department, Stoll was exposed to more aspects of the job.
“I’ve really enjoyed working for a small company,” Said Stoll. “Just walking around, you pretty much get to know everyone. In just the month I’ve been here, I’ve gotten to know almost everyone’s name. Seeing the same people every day, that’s been really nice.”
Stoll’s contributions have helped a lot, Bingea said, adding, “We’re always looking for talented people to fill more spots. If Shelby is interested and can work into those spots, that would be awesome long-term.”