This blog is about where I have worked for 43 years, the work I do there, the people I have worked with, and things that have happened. I began this blog in June of 2015, so to begin at the beginning please scroll down through the archives on the left to the bottom, where you will find June 2015. Click on it, then scroll down to reach Number 1. The posts are numbered, making them easy to read in order.
Below is an interview I did for Brighton’s newsletter.
For Mike Sherer, there’s nothing like a challenge – even after 43 years on the job.
Sherer is a flanger operator at Brighton Tru-Edge, and he started with the company in 1973. He says one of the main reasons he’s enjoyed such a long career with Brighton is the unlimited supply of challenges he has to solve in his role.
“As a flanger operator, you have to like a challenge,” Sherer says. “Nothing is automatic about a flanging machine. There are no programs to run or buttons to push. Everything you do on the machine to fashion tank ends comes from your own knowledge and experience and judgment.”
Sherer remembers one project in particular where experience was crucial. The job was ten quarter-inch thick aluminum flanged-only heads. Aluminum is a soft metal that is easy to squeeze, and flange-only heads are easy to warp if not formed correctly. The combination of these factors presented a unique challenge – the kind of job that was perfect for Sherer.
“You learn how the different metals react. For example, you can push harder on stainless steel than you can on carbon steel,” Sherer says. “While titanium has to be heated to and maintained at a certain temperature while you flange it. And you flange thick metal differently than thin metal. Another difficulty is forming heads without a center hole. And there are some heads with such tight minimum thickness requirements you can’t squeeze them at all. These are only a few of the challenges you learn to deal with. There are many more.”
Sherer says he’s benefited from Brighton’s supportive culture, and learning from the experts who were there before him. He does his part to pass along the wisdom he’s accumulated over four decades to the next generation of workers.
“I’ve worked with some teammates early in my career who inspired me,” Sherer says. “Everybody here is willing to share. You take what you know and pass it on and pass it down. You’ll never get turned away if you’re asking for help.”
Around the shop, Sherer is always setting an example for others with his strong work ethic. Brighton Plant Manager Bruce Knolle calls Sherer “Mr. Consistent” and marvels at his dedication to such a demanding craft. Hammoor knows Brighton and its customers benefit from the expertise of craftsmen such as Sherer.
“It takes years to master what Sherer does so skillfully,” Maintenance Director Matt Herdemann says. “That’s exciting to know he’s still interested in the challenges he finds on the job over the course of such a long and successful career.”
Read more about Brighton’s capabilities with flanged and dished tank heads.