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MFGMonkey Episode 7: Matt Guse – Fail Fast, Fix Fast, Forget Fast.

MFG Monkey | Building Culture


Episode 7 – Building a Job Shop in High School and Getting Youth Involved in Manufacturing.

Matt Guse, the President and Owner of MRS Machining, discusses the 3 Fs—Fail Fast, Fix Fast, and Forget Fast—and what that means to building people up and building an amazing culture in his shop.

We also discuss how he built his shop in high school and how he is so successful at getting the youth involved in manufacturing at a young age and how he maintains a youthful team in a small town of 1,500 people in Augusta, Wisconsin. 


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MFGMonkey Episode 7: Matt Guse – Fail Fast, Fix Fast, Forget Fast.

Today’s episode we’re at episode seven. We have Matt Guse. Matt is the president and owner of MRS Machining in Augusta, Wisconsin. is how you can check him out. You can always reach out to us at for our MFG monkey podcast. Let’s get going, Matt. We have a few things that you and I discussed that we wanted to talk about and a lot of that is around education and how you’ve been so successful recruiting folks in your little town up in Wisconsin. 

It’s always been fun. I guess if I wasn’t a machine shop owner, I’d probably become a teacher of education. I enjoy it. It’s fun working with kids. 

You’ve done an amazing job recruiting. What’s the population in Augusta, Wisconsin, like 1, 200 people? 

Augusta is 1,500. 

I was talking about you on another podcast in May. I think I said something about there being 30,000 or 20,000 people in Augusta. I was way off. 

I’m glad you’re not a machinist then. 

Me too. I’m good at sales. I’d be a horrible machinist. That’s for sure. 

I can tell you why I got into education so heavily if you like it.

Yeah, let’s do it.

Matt’s Origin Story

I’ll go back to my high school days like everybody else. I struggled in the classroom having someone tell me to do this and do that and here’s the book, and I’m a hands-on guy. I struggled in high school. I came close to not passing some grades. I’m good with my hands. I’m good with my mind. Once someone shows me something, I can do it and excel at it. When I was done with school, I was told I was going to end up on the streets and be a nobody someday. I’m always taken over an answer or I’d try to wiggle my way around it to get to where I want to go. 

Fortunately, I was raised on the farm and that closed down, my dad worked at a machine shop, and I started sweeping the floors. That’s how I got into machining. There was a guy there one night, who did not show up for work. They allowed me to run a fancy CNC horizontal machining center. I looked at that machine and he asked me to run it. My eyes probably got bigger, pretty big. I said I’ll give it a shot. I ran it that night and I enjoyed it. I got asked to run that the whole week and then it was the whole summer. 

I had to go to school and after school, I’d come and still sweep my floor, do my routine but I’d continually keep that machine going for an hour or two. The guy started teaching me programming and, “This is cool.” That’s how I got into it. My boss said to me, “You’re going to go to school. I’m going to pay for it.” Eventually, he ended up getting killed in a car accident and that place ended up closing down. That’s how MRS got formed. 

I remember you telling me a story when you and I first met. It’s been about a year or so ago when I drove up. You and your father started it in your garage. Is that correct? 

Yes, my dad’s garage. That was in ’86. They came down and closed the building that day, “Get your stuff out of here.” My dad was with friends are going to the customers. It was an expensive material. It was Inconel and Hasselite. They asked my dad to put it in the garage and said, “By the way, can you machine it?” To this day, he has this little benchtop lathe. That’s how we got into it. I could tell you my story probably an hour long. I’ll advance to where I got into education or why I got into education.

Back in 2000, when all our computers were going to crash and, the world was going to blow up and that was the end, that never happened. I knew from there that we were going to do everything over the internet or do marketing. I knew there was something and I kept hearing that word about people who can’t find skilled help. I knew I had to do something. I tried to work with schools. You call up the guidance counselor. 

It’s the first thing you do when they don’t have time to talk to you. I went to the principal, got doors slammed in my face, and went to the superintendent, they don’t have time for you. I would get frustrated, but I knew there were kids. I know there were kids out there that needed the exposure. When the financial crisis hit, everybody shut down their programs. I was very fortunate to run into a guy down at IMTS. IMTS is where all great things happen down in Chicago. 

That’s coming up in September, right?

Yeah, we’re still on. That’s where I met a guy who was going to school part-time. He had started a similar program. He told me he was going to start a job shop in high school and he was like, “How’s that going to work?” I said, “I’ll be willing to listen to you. I mean, my dad, when you get it up and going or started or you need help.” That was in the fall. I think it was that spring he called us up and that summer came over and visited us. He said, “You got a job at Segerstrom High School. ” I’m going to go ahead and do this. 

My dad always had a saying, one hand for receiving and one hand for giving. My dad goes, “What do you need?” He goes, “I don’t know.” He goes, “I got an STC mill and a lathe here and I got a saw you can have.” That’s how it’s evolved. He’s a superstar. That’s why a good program takes a great teacher. He started doing it and started asking me questions and I go over and help him. All my success with working with kids hasn’t been me. It’s a team effort. It’s the school and the teachers.

A good program takes a great teacher. Share on X

I think it’s neat. It’s a good platform for people like your daughter too to have that exposure for people to hear her sing. I mean, how many views does she have on TikTok? Do you have any idea? 

The last little thing we did, she got 50, 000 likes or whatever. I had to get her a goat now.

That’s right. That was your bet. You bet her that she could get a go if she got so many likes. 

She got her goat. I’m going to get her a goat. I’m glad I live in a country. 

If you lived in a city, your neighbors would probably be a little pissed off that you had a goat in the backyard. Out in the country, you can do whatever you want. What all was involved for you starting your machine shop in high school? You were going to school and started ramping up a machine shop all at the same time.

When I started, I graduated high school. My dad was 40 years old, and what a step to take a leap of faith like that. I wanted to get away from Augusta and I did. I went to school. I’d help them on the weekends. When I graduated from Tech College, that’s where I met my wife. I moved away for two and a half years. Still, I worked there full time, and then I came over the weekends to work. I got old and then I remember the day of my wedding. Right before I’m getting married, my dad says, “You’re going to come to work with me full-time after you get married.” 

I’m like, “No, I’m happy, Dad. I’m going to stay up here.” Three months later, I was gone, moved back to Augusta, and started working full-time. My dad wanted to stay small. He wanted it to be a father’s son and another person. MRS is a woman-owned company. That had to do with the government contracts we were getting when we first started but it was funny because it was always Matt, Roger, and Sharon who we worked for full time. That’s what they thought it stood for and they thought Sharon was my mom, which wasn’t.

Here I was at 21, 22? I remember the day I was running an interlayer. We had all the manual equipment. I shut my lathe off. If you ever met my dad, he likes to poke the stick, get stuff done, and get busy. He told me to get the lathe going. I said, “No, dad. We are going with MRF.” He goes, “I don’t know. I’m happy where I’m at. Get busy.” I said, “No, dad. I’m going to grow.” He says, “Okay. If you grow it, I’ll back you.” Here’s this 22-year-old kid knocking on doors, picking the phone up, and calling people. 

I got a lot of closed-door, shut phones, hung up. I met this great guy Dave and he’d come to Eggerton here. If I didn’t have a twin, I do now. His stories are almost similar. His mom and dad. I started making phone calls and I found a couple of people that believed in me. When you’re 22 years old, that was the first thing. “You’re only 22. You’re immature. I don’t know if I can trust you with my heart,” and so I would go knock on doors. I’d get the drawings. I’d get the material.

I’d go back home that night, work until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, make the cards, drive in the car, and deliver them the next day. That’s how I succeeded but I had help along the way. It’s not just me. I had a good friend who helped me. He was a workaholic like me. My dad helped out. I then started hiring people smarter than me. To be honest, when you started, how do you keep track of running a 47 multi-million-dollar company, you hire good people smarter than you and get out of the way.

That’s the only thing I’m capable of doing. It is getting out of the way. If I get too involved, I screw it up.

We’re not perfect. We make mistakes. We just have to admit to them. We make a mistake. We’re getting it fixed and ask questions later. That’s what I always call the QVS. It stands for quality, value, and service. If you stick to those three fundamentals, you’ll be successful in any business. 

MFG Monkey | Building Culture
QVS: Quality, value, and service. You stick to those three fundamentals and you’ll be successful in your business.


I totally agree with you. It’s not about if you screw up, it’s about when you screw up. We’ve all done it. The successful companies that I work with, they take ownership of it and they fix it and they move on. Us included, we’ve made our fair share of mistakes and we do whatever we need to do to help resolve it and move on and make the customer happy and spend that extra time. 

An unsuccessful partnership is when there’s a mistake made, everyone wants to point fingers and not take ownership of it and it turns into a disaster. It’s a personal thing in my eyes an individual that takes ownership of an issue and it’s a company, a culture that you breed. That theory is extremely important to me and I think that me dealing with so many companies, I see that with a lot of them and in your customers. If your customers see you fix an issue, they’re more than willing to stick around with you.

We see that. I have had customers where we’ve made a mistake and it’s ended the relationship and we’ve lost that customer. At the end of the day, I look back on it like, “Maybe that was the best.” If we can’t make a mistake and work together and get through it, maybe we shouldn’t be working with them. Maybe they aren’t a good partner for us. What are your thoughts on that?

Fail Fast, Fix Fast, Forget Fast

Very true. I look for true partnerships. I fire customers over things like this. When you’re making a good quality part, you ship it on time and all of a sudden, they want a big humongous price increase. It’s all about price, but price is sensitive. If you’re getting a good quality product on time, that’s what it’s all about.

One thing I take from our officiating is I use the three Fs. It’s called Bill Fast, Fix Fast, and Forget Fast. You can apply that to your employees. You can play it to your customers. You can apply it to your life. I have kids. My average age is 30. I have 32 machinists. I have 47 people working here. When they make a mistake, I don’t go up to them and yap and yell at them. The first thing I tell them is what did he learn? They failed fast. Now, we’re going to fix that thing on what they learned and then we’re going to forget about it. You don’t dwell on it for the next two weeks and think you’re a horrible machinist. That’s the key.

I love it. We’ll make sure that we write that in the description here. What you said is fail fast, fix fast, and forget fast. That has to lead to how you’re able to get the youth involved in manufacturing. Won’t you talk to us a bit about that because you’re extremely successful at getting the youth involved with your company and with manufacturing in general?

First of all, you have to be a likable person. You cannot run around thinking it’s all about you. You have to show that you care about them. There are so many kids that are from broken homes. I worked with kids that can’t say two words. They have such low self-esteem. I’m going to bring up a lady’s name by the name of Maddie. I have several stories with her. She’s come from a broken home Her mom and dad were divorced. She had a very low self-esteem. 

When I first met her, she couldn’t say hi to me. She couldn’t look me in the eyes and say hi to me. Just like in any business, communication is huge. When someone’s feeling down and having problems, you have to show you care for them and see how you can help. One of the things I do every day when I’m here is all shifts, I walk around and try to meet everybody and talk to them. If they have a problem, it’s going to affect the quality of work or your production. With the kids, that’s the thing that I do. I stay in contact with them.

I give them my cell number so that they can text me. I’m all text-savvy now. I got a little bit of Snapchat thing going on because that tends to be a little easier. Especially if they’re having a problem, they can take a picture of the part and circle the area or the question, but stay in communication with them, show them your care, and show them they have a passion for manufacturing. When you show them that you have a passion, they can feel that energy, and then it spins off on them. Show them that they can do things with their hands.

We’re a farming community based here in Augusta and we have the work ethic here. We know how to work. We know how to get up early, get up late, and do whatever through the night. We know how to get things done. It’s that you have to show them the emotional side. These days there’s a lot more peer pressure on kids. When I grew up we didn’t have cell phones. Now, someone could say something and it instantly spread throughout the world and you have to shut that stuff down as fast as you can. 

That’s the big thing. That’s why I do a lot of officiating because you get to see kids on the field and the court. If they have strong good leadership skills and hard work and trying. Those are the kinds of boys you want. You don’t want the one that’s talking back to you, snapping, and complaining about every phone call or foul call or penalty and carrying on back at their coaches. That’s the kinds of kids that you don’t want on your team someday. That’s the big thing. Be in there for them and show them you care. We have a thing over at the leadership called the Ten Commandments of Soft Skills. 

I don’t know if I sent that to you yet, but I can send it to you. Always go back to those ten things. Kids don’t like to play nice together in a sandbox. Some days so we have to get them together and set them down and talk to them. Usually, 99 % of the time, it’s a miscommunication. I don’t if you did this back in school. We did this thing where you started on one end of the classroom. You say hi and that gets passed up to everybody in the class, and when it gets to the other end, it is bye.

What did we call that? It was the telephone or something, but it proved the point that the more people that are involved in communication, it changes. It morphs from person 1 to person 10.

That’s correct. That’s why I say communication is always the key to anything. Usually, if there’s a problem, it’s something to do with communication. It’s no different to when you send me a drawing. That’s where it comes to, drawings and models, these days. Someone will send you a model. That’s great, but what are the close dimensions of that model? Is it varying? Is it appropriate? That’s the stuff where you got to get the communication part involved in it. 

Communication is always the key to anything. Usually if there's a problem, it's something to do with communication. Share on X

We’d never send you bad drawings, do we? 


I think that’s all we send you.

I see them anywhere from chicken scratching on a napkin to a whole 3D solid module with a whole dimension. 

It seems like what we get our hands on is a drawing that’s 50 years old that’s been photocopied 72 times and there’s missing everything on it. A lot of back and forth. I totally agree with the communication. Communication builds trust and the lack of communication destroys trust. That’s with business, personal life, school, and anything that you do.

I don’t know if I answered that question very well or not.

I think it’s very helpful. When you and I first met, you sent me a coloring book to pass out because you started recruiting in kindergarten or something. You created this coloring book and you pass it out and you get kids involved as early as you can, which I think is phenomenal. 

That stemmed from a meeting I was in one day. There was a company up here in Eau Claire. The reason they moved to Eau Claire is the tech in the college. I began to get kids from college and go work for us. I chuckled and laughed at him a little bit. He was like, “What’s so funny?” I said, “College?” He goes, “Well, I’m going to go to the high school” I chuckle at him again. I said, “It’s middle school. It’s even elementary school now. You have to start recruiting your employees in middle school for sure. That’s where the coloring book came in and that’s part of a thing we call local careers up here. That’s where that whole thing came from.

Maintaining A Youthful Team

I’m talking on the same subject with one of my best friends that I grew up with since junior high. His name is Eric Bargees, a mechanical engineer, and he’s a teacher at a tech school. He’s a football coach, he coaches for the high school that we went to school at and is very passionate about coaching and education like you are. I wish that we were closer to you because I think that you and Eric would mesh well together. With the kids that he is teaching at the tech school, I think that it would be phenomenal for him to get some of his students into your shop and to work with you as well. 

That’ll be a fun conversation with Eric based on what you’re doing and how you keep your team so youthful. I’ve been in the companies all over the world, machining, and so forth, a majority of them have an aging workforce in our industry. They do and companies struggle. Even here in Columbus, Ohio, I forget how many people we have in Columbus, Ohio. 

It’s well over a million. I should probably look that up so I can speak educationally about it. When I worked for a manufacturing firm here or company here, we had a horrible time recruiting. The average age in that shop was 55 or something insane. The HR and the president at the time, 7 years, 8 years, and 9 years ago, could not figure out how to recruit youth and get them to stay around. The culture was awful. Now that I know what I know, it was a huge part of it, but you’re able to have a very youthful staff. What’s your average age in your shop? You said you have 45 folks? 

47 and our average age is 30.

That’s amazing. A lot of shops around here you go in and the average shop or the average age is in the 50s. How do you maintain such a youthful team at your company?

Here’s what you got to do. I can give you some tips and pointers but I’m going to go back to my youthfulness. Maddie and Alex both come out of high school. They’re 19 years old and they’re running my five-axis IntergrX which cost a half million dollars. You have to build some trust in people. Especially you’re that age, you’re a teenager, 20 years old, and you’re running the five-axis IntergrX. That’s a scary move for a business owner. I started working with both of those in 7th and 8th grade. I knew who they were. My team believes in that. 

Most people, want to go to the high school and talk to the kids. You go to the high school, you talk to the kids and tell them all how great and wonderful manufacturing is, and you go home and that’s the end of that. That doesn’t work. Here’s what we say in one of our workshops and I want things to get back rolling again. I would suggest you guys come to one of our workshops and learn about our program and how to do it. We have a template, but the first thing you have to do is leave your building. You have to leave your building. You can’t pick up the phone or call somebody. 

You have to leave your building. Leave your building go to their building, go to their school, and then you start out saying, “You’re important to me because,” and that starts out nice. You don’t start out mean. Get their attention. Get the guidance counselors, meet the teachers, talk to the kids, and then you turn on and guide them to your building, and show them around, and show them the cool stuff you make. 

MFG Monkey | Building Culture
You got to leave your building. You just can’t pick up the phone and call somebody.


I had a school that I went and spoke to, They’re like, “We can’t afford to.” “Afford the what?” “We can’t afford to get a bus to come over to your building because it will cost us $200 to send a bus driver and a bus over.” I said, “I’ll pay for that, and on top of that I’ll throw in a meal.” Don’t ever take no for an answer. Once you get them in to explore, give them a business card, give them some literature, and ask them if they want to come in and spend half a day or a couple of hours to have a shot at it. That usually gets people’s interest. Tell them you’ll give them a free meal for coming and doing that or give them a shirt or something free. I’ll be honest because that works. Do you know what’s my biggest problem, Dustin?

What’s that?

I get so many kids in here applying for jobs that I have to turn some away because I can’t have 25 kids in there working. I take 2 for sure if not 3 throughout the year. That’s all I can take because otherwise, they’re not getting the full benefit of the learning. How many people is the problem.

How young are you starting that when you’re inviting students in?

We’d invite them in freshman and high school, but they can’t work here. They can work if they get a permit in their 16 or 17, but they can’t run any equipment. At 17, through an apprenticeship program, we can have them run the machine with someone to mentor them. 

Is that a Wisconsin law? Is that something that could possibly be different from state to state or is that across the board?

It’s probably state to state a little different, but it’s pretty much a the board. There’s actually in Ohio. There are a couple of schools, and I know one’s called Cub Manufacturing that’s doing the same thing we’re doing in Wisconsin. I don’t know what town it’s in. Indiana has a whole bunch.

Indiana has a whole group as well.

They got they got Eagle Manufacturing and two great schools that we’ve been working with. 

This of one of the interesting facts that I’ve learned over the last few weeks. We’ve been doing a series of podcasts with Rich Brown, one of my buddies here in Columbus, Ohio. He runs a recruiting firm. He and his wife have a very successful recruiting firm. They specialize in recruiting engineers, very specifically engineers for manufacturing. He told me the fact that Kentucky is the number one state in the US for grooming youth into the skilled workforce. Have you heard that same statistic or is that something that’s on your radar?

I haven’t heard that statistic. First, I buy a lot of my machine tools from Kentucky, Florence. When things are busy, they have a hard time finding and recruiting help. There’s a lot of industry in Kentucky. I know that. I’ve been there several times.

I have to look that up. Rich was saying that they lead the US for skilled labor and educating skilled labor. I have no idea. We were so close to Kentucky that it wouldn’t surprise me at all. I’m sure Rich is going to listen to this and correct me. If that fact is true, it’ll be interesting to see over the next decade how many manufacturing companies end up setting up shop in Kentucky, or how many students are recruited out of Kentucky to work at different manufacturing facilities over the next years. We spend a fair amount of time in Kentucky as well. My son is going to the UK next year, so he’s excited about that. We love Lexington. Also, we always drive right through Florence and get down to Lexington, but that’ll be interesting to learn more about that.

He’ll become a Wildcat, huh?

He’ll become a Wildcat. It is one of the very first colleges that he visited and he fell in love with it. He had a school center. Have you heard of Center College, Center University in Danville, Kentucky? They came to him and wanted him to play lacrosse down there and very small 1, 500 student school, private, very expensive. I left it up to him. I’m like, “You can do either one. Whatever you want to do, I’ll support you.” He ended up coming back and he’s going to try and walk on to the UK for lacrosse senior year. They played one lacrosse game and that was it. We’ll see what happens but he’s going to the UK, got accepted, and he’s excited about that. 

That’s what breaks my heart. That’s one thing I like. These kids I work with if they don’t get one thing out of it, the only thing I want them to get out of it is expose them into manufacturing. If they don’t want to go into manufacturing, I’m happy with that. I don’t want them to go to manufacturing spend tens of thousands of dollars and then get out and waste that money. I can’t tell you how many people I have working here. I know at least six that went to a four-year college, if not six years of college, and have $100,000 of debt for liberal arts or history major. There’s nothing wrong with all of them. For example, my brother-in-law went to college for six years. He couldn’t find a job that paid more than 30,000 a year. 


That’s a very interesting subject that we touched on that works for me. He has his master’s degree. Same thing. He has I don’t know how much money and school debt. When we were growing up, we were pushed to go to college. I know me personally, I was in the same boat that you were. I nearly didn’t graduate in high school. I was a horrible test taker, absolutely horrible test taker. I struggled with one of the tests. They came to my parents and said, “You have all the credits that you need, but you may not be able to graduate because of this one test.” I ended up graduating, I squeaked through and ended up going to college for a few months and it wasn’t for me.

I remember my uncle coming to me and saying, “You’re never going to make over X number of dollars a year if you don’t go to college.” I always took that as a personal challenge and that is not going to college to see how far I could go. I see those tables turning because there are so many kids coming out of college who have $100,000 in student debt and can’t get a $ 30,000-a-year job. What’s the return on investment on that, where they can go be a machinist or a pipe fitter or an electrician or you name the skilled labor, and make $50,000, $60,000 a year starting out.

That’s correct because the good thing about Cardinal, the kids get out of there, but they don’t realize the biggest benefit for them is their colleges are paid for. They go into manufacturing. We have enough partners that are 100% paid for, so when I get them, or if you get them or whoever gets them, they don’t have college debt. That’s why I have kids here who are buying homes at 22 years old, 23 years old. They don’t have any debt. It’s all gone. 

One of the things that inspired me to start this podcast is to hopefully inspire kids that listen to it by getting people like you on, getting people like my buddy Eric on that can pass this and say, “Listen to this podcast and listen to these guys that have companies that are successful and what they have to say.” My cousin, my aunt Shelly, and her daughter did not want to school and Honda’s close to us. She went to work at Honda. Lauren, if I screw your age up, I’m sorry.

She’s probably 22. Bought a home last year, and love working at Honda. Constantly moving up, getting re-certified, doing all the things that Honda does. The Japanese have a good culture and you either love that culture, you hate that culture. What she does have is zero debt and an education where if she wants to go work at any manufacturing company in the US, she’ll be able to go do it. They’re grooming her to do things that no college graduate will ever going to be able to walk into a shop and do.

The biggest thing to me that blows my mind to this day is I always tell the story about the Department of Public Institute. We got to do two things in our high schools. We got to teach them benefits and soft skills. I can’t tell you how many people come in here and I talk to them about benefits. They look at me like a deer in a headlight. I had this kid come in here. I worked with him, I knew him a little bit. He applied and I said, “I like to hire you.” 

He goes, “I’m going to turn you down.” I go, “Why?” “I can go over to this other shop, and make a dollar more an hour.” I go, “First of all, I’m happy for you, but second of all, what’s your benefit?” He’s like, “I don’t need benefits.” I said, “You’re 20 years old so you’re not thinking of benefit. When you’re 50 years old, when you start thinking about retirement like me, benefits are going to be a huge thing.” I explained it to him, but he didn’t get it. That 401(k) and health insurance and dental are a lot.

MFG Monkey | Building Culture
You may not need benefits when your 20 years old, but when you’re 50 and start thinking about retirement, benefits is a good thing.


The thing about kids like that is they probably need to go work somewhere else and figure that out. That kid may end up coming to work for you one day. Who knows. I know my dad tried to tell me a lot of things when I was a kid and I didn’t listen, then twenty years later, I’m like, “Dad was right or mom was right. Maybe I should have listened to him.”

I hear you’re there, but I tell kids, “If you want to become a millionaire by the time you’re 50, that’s easy.” “What do I do?” I told them, “Sign up for your 401(k) and if your employer is going to match 3% to 6%, you’ll be a millionaire by the time you’re 50.” They’re like, “Really. Is that easy?” “Yeah, it’s that easy.” You have to sign up for it or find it.

Looking Ahead

You got to sign up for it and you got to put money into it. I know when I was a kid I looked at that and I probably should have done a lot better job plugging money away, but I wanted to go buy cars and trucks and have fun like living life. What do you guys have on the horizon for this year? Let’s talk about what you guys are doing. I know with this whole China virus thing, it’s stifled a lot of things going on. I know you’re the type of person who’s not going to let you push the pause button for too long.

We’re working continuously on our business normal. We’re essential. We touch on every industry besides it’s probably nuclear and not a whole lot of automotive. Right now we’re holding our own. Do you invest? Do you not invest? The machine tools, it’s almost like your mom would give them away. We’re looking at more Five-axis and automation. That’s the area we’re already setting on now, but we don’t do a lot of long-run stuff. It’s 50 pieces or up is our niche. Looking forward to the IMTS show in September. That’s where the new technology is and get to meet a lot of cool people. 

We’ll see you there for sure. That’s great. I should have asked you this offline before I put you on the spot. I know you have some cool projects going on. Can you talk about those or is that all hush? 

It’s not too much hush. I want to specifically see names, but we do a lot of aerospace stuff. We’re making a lot of cool rocket parts. I never dreamed of making rocket parts here, but it’s some pretty intense stuff. It’s a lot of exotic materials, a lot of close tolerance, a lot of five-axis contouring, and 3D machining. It’s wild. Up to like two months ago or a month ago, that software was weak or we couldn’t make it fast enough. It takes high skill to do that stuff. It’s like making a space or anything. It’s amazing what we can do here as a team. We’re trying to build that a little bit. We’re doing a lot of cool medical stuff right now. We’re not tapping into the coronavirus thing yet, but we were more of a hands-medical stuff we make here.

Tell us about the size envelope and what all you guys can handle. I know that you machine parts that are tiny little jewelry-type things and you’re turning. You posted something about a big ring, pretty simple, but what was the diameter of that thing, 35 inches or something?

Yep, 35 inches. Also, we can turn up to 3 feet in diameter, and 80 inches long. We do a lot of cool stuff, we can do a lot of deep bores. We bore into 32 inches deep. A lot of our dynamic and divide bars or shaft-wise, we do there. I always tell people from 8 inches to 3 feet in diameter, turning-wise, and basically, our mill supports that. We can do something about 3 feet, 8 inches long. A lot of five-axis IntergrX. That’s our niche. We like pulling parts off completely. We like to burn them in the machine. Anything with side features and complexities, that’s where our niche is. 

Do you have any machinery being delivered this year? Are you guys pulling the reins back on adding anything new now?

No. We bought another Mazak VTC vertical mill. I wanted to go with the very axis in the worst way but didn’t have the room for it. My next thing to be is real estate. I don’t like real estate because all you do is pay more tax and costs you more money. You got to have it to have the equipment and get the people in here. I own 70 acres here. Up in Wisconsin, the real estate is pretty cheap. I could go on a couple of stories about that, but I won’t. We have room to expand. I have a four plan right now on a building plan for another 22, 000 square feet next to me. 

It’ll be interesting to hear when you do pull that plug. I’d love to get back up there. It’s been a while since I’ve been in your shop. It’s definitely by far one of the nicest shops that I’ve been into. It shows well, it functions well. Your quality lab is great. The guys and girls that are in the quality lab and out on the floor all get it. They’re all on the same page. Everyone is on the same page and everyone that I’ve talked to, from you all the way to the person putting together the report has always been extremely helpful. It’s a lot of fun working with you guys. 

Hiring Your Team And Building Your Culture

Thank you. That’s another thing. I want to throw it in there if you don’t mind. When you hire somebody, I’ll tell you some of the things I do. We hire the team. I don’t have a person to sit in my office and I can tell how wonderful and great I am and how wonderful MRS is. I suggest that they go talk to that person, another person that works here, that’s the same question. If you get the same answers, then you probably feel the same. I say, “MRS is great.” He’s out there saying, “It sucks here. Don’t listen to him.” Now you have a little bit of discrepancy. That’s another thing to look at if someone is looking for a job. 

That’s a very good point. It helps build that culture and it helps make your folks feel like they’re part of that decision-making process instead of you hiring somebody in a silo, and you put them out on the floor, and the people may resent that decision, or they don’t get along with them, or the person acts one way towards you being the owner, but acts a different way out on the floor towards somebody. That’s a very good move.

I also asked to bring their wife or their partner in to get the work environment they’re working in. That’s important too. 

I’ve never heard of anyone else doing that. That’s awesome. Once they get to a certain stage, you’re having them bring their significant other and see the shop as well to do a tour. 

Yep, so they know the work environment. They come home this fall like a coolant or if they see the light, you see the air conditioning, they see the work environment. They meet some of the people like, “I think my husband or my wife will be happy working there.” It’s got to be a mutual agreement. 

I would think during Christmas parties or other gatherings that you’re doing, and I don’t know the answer to this, but I would be willing to guess you have a strong show when you have a Christmas party or any company gathering or whatever it is. I’m guessing that a huge majority of your folks are showing up to that. 

Yeah, we have our annual Christmas party every year and you get to hear me sing. If we have 47 people here, I have over 40 show up. We have our monthly cookouts but that’s more for our employees. We have that every month. Those are the team-building things. I’m going to throw this in here. If you want to build company morale and I haven’t told so many people this, I have been starting to try modern machine shops. 

They’re going to write a story on it. One thing about how to build culture and good moralism is my candy dish. I have to say candy dish. When I walk around every day and talk to people, I have four pieces of candy with me. I have a Rootbeer burrel candy. I have a Jolly Rancher. I have a lemon drop, and I have a sour apple. I walk around. Around here, everybody runs two machines. You can’t have one guy running the machine. I know if there’s a one-piece, a little different, but our average here is 1.75 boys run two machines, and 1.75 is the factor. 

MFG Monkey | Building Culture
You just can’t have one guy running a machine.


If I run around near and yourselves, then I look at their inspection sheets, I look at their parts, “It’s all good.” They get a Rootbeer burrel or they get a Jolly Rancher. If they’re not there and the machines are not running, they get a sour apple or green apple. If their part comes in inspection and it’s good, I usually give them a good piece of candy. little things like that say a lot to people, “Matt’s checking up on me or I’m doing good, I got a good piece of candy.” It’s something to think about. 

It’s so simple, but it seems so effective. Those are the little things that help that culture like you’re mentioning your monthly cookoffs. You do it because it’s natural to you and it’s something so many shops might do once a year have a cookout and it’s a task. I’ve been in shops where they’ll come to me and they’re like, “We don’t know what’s going on, but we had a Christmas party and out of 50 employees, we had 10 show up or 20 show up. Why won’t these guys show up to a Christmas party?” I’m like, “What are you doing in the other 364 days a year?” 

It’s not about the one day a year that you expect everyone to show up and act like they like each other. If the company culture isn’t supportive of that, then why would they come to your Christmas party? People aren’t going to show up for free food. They want to show up because they feel appreciated and they get along with the other people that they like. All the things that you do throughout the year build that culture in your shop or in your firm or whatever you’re running. I think that so many people are so short-sighted of that. They want to do one event once a year and they expect their culture to be awesome because they do that. The rest of the time they lead with a big stick. 

That’s correct. Another thing I did here is 40% of our profits go back to our employees. They’re true partners, true owners. One person fails everybody fails here. A face got a part. That’s going to affect their pocketbook just like it’s going to affect Matt’s pocketbook. In the last few years, our economy has been booming and they’ve had some nice bonus checks. 

One person fails, everybody fails here. Share on X

One of my fears was I was going to give some of my bonus check and they were going to leave. Their bonus check was so great and granted, he was 60 years old when he retired. He got his check at 9:00 in the morning and we mailed it to him, but the next day he came in and 9:00 in the morning to my desk and said, “He’s done.” I’m happy for him. Great guy.

That guy, how many years did he give you? 

He gave me fifteen. He’s a Buckeye fan. 

Good for him.

He came from Columbus, Ohio and he moved to Wisconsin because he loved football and basketball. He came to cheer for us. I’m kidding. He came to us and said, “I’m an operator. I can only operate.” I said, “Yeah, that’s cool.” That didn’t take very long in the team here. The next thing I know he was a setup person. He thanked me for that. 

I know we’re around that 45-minute mark. I know that that’s all my attention span can hold on to. We’re a little over that. I appreciate you taking time out of your day to chat with me and do this over a Zoom meeting. We’ll continue to work together. I’ll see you at IMTS, hopefully, and keep doing our thing. I think I am going to get you hooked up with Eric Bargy and you guys can chat and maybe help each other out in some way. Both of you guys have a big passion for developing kids. We need more of that in our society. Great job on that. 

Thank you. 

I’ll let you go so you can go do your thing and we’ll talk to you again. Thanks again, buddy.

Thanks a lot, Dustin. 


For those who have been tuning in, you guys can reach out to Matt Goosey president and owner of MRS machine and tool at and we’ll put that information in the bio. If you’re driving or whatnot and you didn’t catch that, feel free to scroll through the bio at the bottom of the description and we’ll have that for you. He’s on LinkedIn. What a great website. What a great guy. Thanks again, Matt. We’ll talk to everyone soon. Bye.


Important Links

LinkedIn – Matt Guse

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