Fired Up For Education

It’s all about the ballpark hotdog.

Thanks to a team of manufacturing-minded high school students — and a Sargento sponsorship — baseball fans attending Wildwood Baseball Park in Sheboygan can enjoy the snap of a well-cooked hot dog this summer.

The team of students, advised by Hilbert Plant Manager Tedd Guttmann, built the grill over the last several months as part of Project G.R.I.L.L. (Growing Readiness in Learning and Leading). Sargento, and several other Sheboygan County companies, support the program, which exposes students to manufacturing and business principles. Each team is paired with a corporate sponsor and a mentor.

“Project GRILL is a great opportunity to experience the real world. It is not something I would trade for another class,” said Samantha Doying, Sargento Team Lead from Sheboygan Falls High School.

The team members, all students at Sheboygan Falls High School, included Dakota Machtig, Jacob Krueger, Garret Rau, Noah Sellin, Brandon Bruss, Colby Grams, Garret Brumirski and Devon Jones.

The students were drawn together through a shared passion to learn new skills in manufacturing.

“I liked how a couple of pieces of raw stock aluminum could be formed into something useful,” said Jacob Krueger, who also currently works as a welder apprentice at HUI Manufacturing in Kiel.

Krueger said opportunities like Project GRILL have drawn him toward a future career in manufacturing.

“It’s developing the leaders of the future,” Guttmann said. “These kids are learning engineering skills and maintenance skills. The hope is, by participating in these programs, they could become future employees.”

The lead for the Sargento team was Junior Samantha Doying, one of the few girls involved with Project GRILL.

“This is not something a lot of girls are in to, but it is something we can do,” Doying said. “You can come in and show everybody, you may have the muscles but I can do the job just as well as you can.”

The team worked with local manufactures to get material donations. Utilizing a CAD, the students designed the grill before building it.

“Everyone in the group has their roles and they run it just like a business,” Guttmann said. “It teaches them skills and teaches them about real world situations. They had material delays, just as they might in the real world, and the customer requested design changes. They’d have to adjust designs to these real-world scenarios.”

With a budget of $2,500 donated by Sargento, the students then manufactured the grill by hand, eventually presenting a grill valued at over $3,500 to the Sheboygan A’s Baseball team.

“Knowing this project had to be properly made and properly manufactured, we knew we had to get good materials and our budget would not be enough to make this project successful,” Doying said, noting that the finished grill came in well under-budget.

The Sargento grill this year was selected the winning design among those constructed by all participating schools.

Sargento has been involved with Project GRILL for several years, utilizing the program as an opportunity to teach students — and prospective future employees — about the company and our manufacturing process.

“Sargento has always been a supporter of the community. Our Involvement in Project GRILL is an investment in the future,” Guttmann said. “Let’s face it, we are short staffed. If we can get the kids excited about manufacturing, get them excited about technology and drive them into tech schools, the schools will drive them to us. These kids will be our workforce of the future.”