Winegar Inc. is a contract machining company in Waseca, Minnesota, specializing in CNC work for original equipment manufacturers. This small business, which has been a staple in the area since 1979, is modernizing. The time has come to convert their old design drawings to 3D rendered digital models using SolidWorks. Tim Wenzel, Winegar’s President, decided that the best way to do that was by hiring an intern for the summer.

As it turned out,  Winegar needed to look no further than its own community to find the right person for the job. Jaime Herrera, a mechanical engineering major at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, grew up in Waseca. Herrera was familiar with Winegar and looked forward to refining his skills in the machining industry with the company.

Support for Small Businesses
Even though this was Herrera’s first internship, Wenzel and the Winegar team did not hold back when it came to his tasks and responsibilities. Herrera tackled measurement projects using CMM, worked with Quality Control to analyze collected data and helped run tests to identify the fastest, most efficient way for Winegar to manufacture their parts. Overseeing the research and development of purchasing for an off-line engraving machine, he said, was one of his favorite tasks.

All of this may not have been possible if not for the SciTech Internship Program, which helped Winegar offer Herrera competitive pay by reimbursing them for half his wages (up to $2,500). Senator John Jasinski, who joined the SciTech team during a virtual site visit with Winegar this August, was pleased to see a local Waseca small business getting the talent and support they need.

“I think it’s a great program,” Jasinski said, “It’s nice to see people like yourselves helped, and getting internships. I think hands-on work is a huge thing and I’m definitely supportive of what’s going on here.”

Where tricks of the trade meet new ideas
When it comes down to it, internships are about learning; for the intern and for their mentor as well.

“I learned a bit about coding from Jaime in return,” Wenzel said, “as did quite a few of our other workers. Individuals that he’s worked with on the floor made comments about how he’s showing them things, mainly with computers. Working with someone younger with new ideas is certainly beneficial.”

Herrera reflected on all the unique techniques and tricks of the trade that he learned while working with Winegar. One the most memorable, he recalled, was how to check for “exact flatness” using a perfect piece of glass to see how the light reflected off its surface. These are solutions from the field not covered in school.

“To be honest, by the time I was finished in school I didn’t think I was going to have an internship. So I’m really grateful and I learned a lot,” Herrera said.

Get involved
Make an impact on a young professional’s life and strengthen your talent pipeline. Start planning your internship today at At least 200 wage matches are available on a first come, first hire basis between now and August 2021.

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