Employer Success Stories

Proto 1 Designs

Proto 1 Designs creates mechanical solutions and prototypes for both businesses and individuals. Some of the industries they work closest with include auto shops, breweries, and construction companies. When a business comes to them needing a solution, Proto 1 Designs will come up with a concept, design and assemble the parts needed in 3D CAD, evaluate the design using computer modeling and simulation, and create and test a prototype.

Workshops for Warriors graduate Kendell was hired in April, 2016 as a CNC Programmer and Machinist. We talked to his employer, CEO Jeremy Richter, about his experience finding skilled workers and how Kendell proved to be the best fit.

“We had multiple applicants with varying skillsets, so I think we got fortunate, but the talent pool could have been better. We got résumés full of incorrect spelling and sentences that didn’t even make sense. We got about 40 applicants, I called about 10, and we interviewed 3.”

According to Jeremy, there were multiple factors for hiring Kendell, and it was just as much about his demeanor as it was the credentials he earned at Workshops for Warriors.

“My first impression of Kendell was that he was clean-cut and I could read his résumé. We advertised through Craigslist and Indeed.com and he applied through both, so that said something to us. He was making the effort and he was well spoken.” He added, “During the first discussion we had at the interview, you could really tell that he did research on the company and what we had done in the past. He showed interest and put the groundwork in.”

For Richter, he wanted to hire someone who had skills and an attitude that could be molded into what worked for his business. He explained that Proto 1 Designs is not a typical machine shop where they do productions runs. Often their quantities are 50 or less, so it’s not the easiest for someone to come into the company and be able to do everything like they would in your typical machine shop.

“To give you an idea, I made the job posting very vague because I could use anyone from an expert programmer to a basic machine operator. I was trying to cast a wide net to see what I was able to pull in.”

“Kendell had a foundational knowledge, but it was a lot of intangibles like work ethic and willingness to learn that sealed the deal. We said ‘hey, we can teach you and you’ll be a very valuable asset for us.’”

When asked if he would consider hiring more Workshops for Warriors graduates, Richter explained that he would, but he wanted to learn more about the program. Once he learned that we only accept honorably discharged Veterans and have an interview process to make sure we’re selecting the best of the best, he added,

“That’s phenomenal that you have an interview process to get in. It’s easy to train programming and machining skills to those going through programs, but those who are well-spoken with a good attitude is what has been harder for me to find.”

–Jeremy Richter, CEO of Proto1 Designs