It’s a rare thing in today’s world for a person to spend their entire professional career at a single company. Companies get bought, merge, and fold. They change focus so they wind up as something quite different over time. Let’s be honest, the CNC machinist starting out in the 1980s could hardly imagine the degree of sophistication and accuracy that’s standard on the shop floor today. Then life happens. People get married, make families, and all of the other things that occur during our lives. They move to support a spouse, follow the kids, or take care of their own parents. Fortunes, good and bad, can interrupt any life plan.
At the end of April, Ben Machine will say goodbye to our Vice President of Production, Ivan Del Giudice. Ivan started with Ben Machine in 1984 when the company was just about 12 years old. And while we’d like to think that Ivan stayed with us through it all because Ben Machine is just such an amazing place to work, it’s closer to the truth to say that Ivan is the kind of man that any company would have been lucky to employ.
Ivan effectively started at the bottom of the ladder. He went to Humber College down the road and graduated with a diploma in Tool and Die Engineering. He was 1 of only 9 students to graduate out of a class of 100. Almost immediately after starting, he moved into managing the company’s purchasing. That job dealt with securing raw materials, hardware, and the ancillary supplies it takes to run a precision CNC machine shop. In the days before computerized inventory control, he had to balance budgets, schedules, and needs.
From there, Ivan added process planning and scheduling to his repertoire of responsibilities. With a decent knowledge of CNC machining and purchasing, process planning was natural. He applied his expertise to developing plans on how to manufacture a machined part from start to finish. He knew how to align operations and processes to tweak the speed and precision of a job through the facility.
If that wasn’t enough, Ivan also served for a number of years as our quality manager. That’s never been a low-pressure job at Ben Machine. Our involvement with CNC machining for the aerospace, defense, medical, and nuclear industries has meant Ben Machine has never known a day when we weren’t working for that extra ten-thousandth of an inch on something. Ivan brought a level head and keen eye to bear on the quality of the product coming off the CNC machines he knew so well.
Those insights and calm approach made Ivan a terrific mentor as well. There is hardly a person on the floor that doesn’t owe him a debt of gratitude for teaching them how to be better at their jobs.
So, one of the most senior people in the company is leaving us. We will carry on without an irreplaceable body of institutional knowledge that we have relied on for the last 38 years. More importantly, perhaps, we’ll carry on without our friend that we have known and respected for so many years. Not a lot of people have what it takes to be a great machinist and manager. Even fewer can pass that skill on to others. Ivan Del Giudice is one of those guys. We will miss him, but we’ll never be able to replace him. In the end, all we can do is wish Ivan a terrific retirement!
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