Cami Lewis’s 2014 Nomination

I Cami Lewis, nominate myself for the Machinist tool box giveaway.

                Worthiness to me is everything that Keith Fenner described in his video and on his page and then some. Strength, energy, stamina, courage and determination. All those attributes are in my shadow that follow me from the moment I wake up and even as I sleep. (because I often have dreams of machining lol) His description really hit home and so that’s why I know I need to nominate myself and show my worthiness. I am not very good at putting things into words because I don’t feel that most words are strong enough to describe the way I feel inside. I guess If I had to pick one word it would be passion. It’s this drive inside you that no matter how big the challenge, you never want to quit. In fact, the bigger the challenge, the more you want to keep pushing forward.

                This is the perfect description for how I feel about the machinist trade. I was that kid that worked many different types of jobs, and also quit many types of jobs. I guess it was because I was searching for that career that makes me look forward to each day and the challenges it brings. I never knew it until I discovered machining. I’ve never felt a passion for what I do quite like this. That is how I know this is my forever career.

                I nominated myself last year so I guess I will do a little update to where I currently am. Last year when I nominated myself, I was still a student. I attended a community college where they have a short term machinist program. It teaches the very basics of the trade. I loved every minute of it! I graduated the 20th of March 2014. Then, the 24th of March 2014 I started my new job with the title of Machinist! Talk about a great feeling! The company I got a job at is called Next Line Manufacturing. (www.nextlinemfg.com) Please feel free to visit the website. This is a brand new company as well. Their doors had just opened the 27th of January 2014. So they had been opened for approx 2 months before they decided to hire me. I felt a great opportunity walking through these doors. Since I have been working there, employees have come and gone as the company searches for the best machinists they can find. The point in that statement is to show that I am still there. I have received praise numerous times for my good and hard work I put in each day. Many days I work extra hours to help make sure parts get done and most importantly, meet the tolerance specifications. I don’t get paid overtime because we are a new company and OT is just not in the budget. My boss pretty much works every Saturday and I have at times come in to help for no extra pay. I do it because I want to. I want to help ensure good parts are being sent to customers and because If I have the opportunity to maybe learn something new then I want to take it. When I first started I would mainly set up and run parts on the CNC Mill and make adjustments to the program or the offsets as needed to complete a good part. (I don’t have the programming knowledge yet although that is something I work on during my free time. I will get into that more later.)  The part would be inspected as we went along.  I also do most of the manual work. Most of the guys at the shop are programmers and have only really operated CNC machines. So pretty much if there is a pretty simple part that can be made on the manual mill or manual lathe, I will be the one to make that part. Since being hired I have already received a promotion, and my duties in the shop have increased. I am not only a machinist but I am also the official inspector. We have created a slightly better inspection area from when I started and every part is inspected by either myself or my boss (if I am not there) before it can be shipped to the customer. To me this shows that I am trusted enough to deem a part worthy to be sent out the door. My boss tells me that I have a “good eye” and I pay attention to detail a little more than some of the other guys. So there are the basics. there are also other things I do around the shop but those are my main duties. We recently just got a Wire EDM and I am learning all about that along with the guys on the additive side. So all in all we have some great machinists at our shop for me to learn from, along with me just learning from experience and teaching myself as I go.  There’s no greater text book then Google! lol This company seems to be growing rapidly and I look forward growing with it.

                So I think I will say a little about my home life and hobbies now. There are many many times at work when I have a question about something or want to learn more about something. I write a lot of things down and bring them home to research. I also am doing my best to learn how to use a software called MasterCam X7. In school we learned basic programming so I understand G code for the most part, so I can edit already written programs but it would take too long to manually hand write most programs with the type of detailed parts we make so the programs are created in CAM software. I was lucky enough to get a copy of MasterCam on my personal computer and I have purchased some video tutorials that teach it. I try to take at least an hour out of each day to sit and go over something I want to learn whether it be CAM software, basic skills/techniques, info about tooling, speeds and feeds, ect. I guess you could say continuing my education is defiantly a hobby. I also have a more leisurely hobby which is doing wood work. I often make things for family members or friends. I have a small wood shop (which is really just a small spare bedroom). I have a small lathe I like to do some turning on. A grinder for sharpening my tools and various cutting devices lol. What I do in that shop is pure pleasure. sometimes there is nothing like turning a little wooden bowl to help relieve some of the stress of day to day life.  We have plans for a bigger, better shed to be built in the back yard so whenever that gets done Maybe I can get some metal working equipment to work with at home. That is defiantly an ultimate goal of mine.

                So I guess I will finish off with what a new box of machinist tools would mean to me. Well it would mean so much to me. It would mean being able to do that much better of a job because there would be something in there I could use that I didn’t have before. It would be a start in most of the basic tools that I don’t currently have. It would mean checking the depth of a part with a depth gauge rather a pair or calipers. It would mean not having to ask someone “can I borrow your..” Not having to ask to borrow a tool or not having to look for a company provided tool means getting work done faster and at a higher quality. It means I could be a better inspector and machinist. Most of all If I was picked for the giveaway it would mean that someone understands me and knows the passion I feel for this trade. It would mean that someone out there actually believes in me and that’s enough to keep me pushing as hard as I can every single day.  thank you for taking the time to read my nomination.