Akkerman Inc. opened its doors Dec. 21 to high school students from LeRoy-Ostrander, Southland and Kingsland school districts in southern Minnesota for tours of the Akkerman manufacturing facilities in Brownsdale, Minnesota.
The purpose of the event was to provide an opportunity to learn more about modern manufacturing processes to inspire future generations to consider manufacturing careers. The event was held in the spirit of Minnesota Manufacturing Week and National Manufacturing Day, initiatives which occur in October.
After a brief presentation and overview by Justin Akkerman, operations manager, the 70 students were divided into small groups and guided through the plant, highlighting all facets of the production process from engineering to finished assemblies. The tours concluded with lunch where Akkerman staff members representing various manufacturing career paths mingled with students for conversation about their professions.
“I believe that it’s our responsibility [as a local manufacturer] to do our part to address the shortage of talent in manufacturing careers that currently exists,” Akkerman said. “The students were engaged and asked lots of great questions. Many students reported that the most interesting stop on the tour was of an 84-in. mixed ground cutter head in the welding department which will be used on a microtunneling sanitary sewer project in Ohio.”
Akkerman was established in 1973 and manufactures four distinct product lines for the accurate underground installation of 4-in. through 14-ft pipe diameters for water, sewer and other infrastructure. Their state-of-the-art 65,000-sq-ft manufacturing facility contains a wide range of steel processing solutions including heavy manual and CNC machining, welding, saw cutting, plasma/flame cutting, hydraulics, mechanical and electrical assembly and in-house engineering services.