The end of the school year at Kiel High School resulted in a shiny, stainless steel gift for Sargento. Three seniors, Emma Hughes, Emily Dreger and Jake Kraus, worked all year designing and forging a charcoal grill.
“I’ve always been involved in shop classes and currently I’m a welder so this was right up my alley!” said Emily. “My teacher approached me because I’ve been in so many shop classes and it’s been a great experience.”
Their experience was with Project G.R.I.L.L. which stands for “Growing Readiness in Learning and Leading.” Sargento and several other Sheboygan County, Wisconsin companies support the program that exposes students to manufacturing and business principles. Each team is paired with corporate sponsor and a mentor. Sargento Kiel Plant Engineer Seth Wallander was their mentor.
“I met with the team about once a month. They are great kids. They’re very smart and talented. They were so competent, I didn’t even have to do much which was a bit disappointing,” he laughed. “I thought I was going to have to do more, but they had skills.”
Emily Dreger is already a welder through the Wisconsin Youth Apprentice program. She plans to attend the Milwaukee School of Engineering in the fall. Emma Hughes wants to be a bush pilot and will attend Western Michigan University’s School of Aviation.
“When we were approached by Sargento, they said they wanted a grill that was very functional, and able to fit on two pallets and through a doorway,” said Emma. “So, what we did was make it as compact and expandable as possible. We put a cooler underneath, grill covers that slide back and forth and pods that open and close on the sides for storage,” she said.
Being the only male on the team was no problem for Jake Kraus.
“Umm, it was good!” he smiled. “We worked well together. Seth gave us the design parameters and we went from there. This is the first time we’re firing it up, so I hope it doesn’t blow up on us!” he laughed.
After pouring in the coals, Jake lit the fire. Team Kiel quickly huddled around the flames warming their fingertips against the cold Lake Michigan breeze blowing through Wildwood Park in Sheboygan at the end of May.
“Thank you to Sargento! It’s been great opportunity to do this,” said Emily. “Seth was very nice. It was great working with him. He was a really good mentor to us. He would ask if we thought about certain things which helped us a lot. He was very good with his time,” she said.
“This has been a fun experience and I’m glad Sargento was able to help them reach for a goal,” said Seth.