Recently under new leadership, Epic Machine in Fenton, Michigan, manufactures high-precision machined components using CNC, turning, and milling. The company has customers from a wide range of industries including automotive, medical, military, heavy equipment, and municipal.
“That diversity is on purpose to ensure that with the ebb and flow of demand within industries, we can keep busy,” says Melinda Keway, president and owner of Epic Machine. “We not only have diversity in our customer base but also with our employees when it comes to age. It’s valuable to bring in people of all ages and experiences to provide new perspectives.”
Keway has been with Epic Machine for 20 years under the leadership of her father who is stepping back and changing his role within the company. Currently, the company is working to become a certified woman-owned business with Keway at the helm.
“I have been running the shop for several years, learning about manufacturing and machining, so it felt like a natural progression for me to take the role,” says Keway “I went to school for journalism and never thought I would be the owner of a machine shop, but I love it!”
Other employees love working at Epic Machine as well according to Keway. One of the reasons is its size. With only 27 employees, leadership at Epic Machine can focus on training employees and growing their skillset which in turn helps grow the business.
“It is better to train and upskill our employees, and they like the fact that we challenge them to grow,” says Keway. “When they learn more and do more it’s valuable to them if they ever need to find a job elsewhere, and the more they know the more valuable they are to us in helping to achieve our goal of continuing to diversify our customer base and complexity of jobs.”
At Epic Machine, there are three tiers of employees. Entry-level employees do utility-type jobs such as working with manual machines, drilling and tapping, driving forklifts, shipping and receiving, and operating CNC machines. Mid-level employees typically set up their own machines, choose tooling, do more offsets and changes, modify programs, run multiple machines, and inspect parts. Once you reach the top tier at Epic Machine, employees continue to learn new materials, tooling, programming, and techniques to continue to grow in the trade.
As for benefits to working at Epic Machine, all employees typically work 50 hours a week on Monday through Friday from 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. However, the business has recently implemented a flexible schedule to allow employees to come in earlier or later. The company also offers full family healthcare which is paid 100% by the employer, vision, dental, and a 401k with a 4% match that is fully vested from day one.
When it comes to the employees that Epic Machine is looking for, Keway says that two things stand out.
“People who are successful here are mechanically inclined and like to work with their hands,” says Keway. “The other this is attitude, people who want to learn are far more teachable than people who just want to clock in and clock out, and then go home.”
One trait that she looks for when hiring new employees is a willingness to try something new and not stick to their old ways.
“People who come here with experience sometimes get stuck on how they’ve always done things,” says Keway. “It turns other employees off when they’re not willing to try something new.”
However, she appreciates learning from people who have been working in manufacturing for many years.
“It’s valuable because they can bring in another perspective,” says Keway. “I am stuck in these four walls, and I know what Epic does, so I like it when people can bring in fresh eyes.”
To learn more about Epic Machine and to apply, visit EpicMachine.com/Careers.