New Richmond team at Westfall Technik goes on site
Jul 15, 2022
The plastic pieces Kristen Carlson and a supported employment Rise team handle inside Westfall Technik eventually find their way to manufactured products worldwide. On this day, the group is working with parts that will make up the engine and mechanical components of Powersports and outdoor machines.
“They’ve been teaching me a lot lately,” Carlson said. “They’ve been trusting me to do more on my own, including weighing out boxes and setting the scale. This way, I don’t have to ask for help anymore.”
Carlson is one of about 10 Rise workers on-site at Westfall Technik in New Richmond, Wisconsin. Westfall is a one-stop shop for manufacturers looking for suppliers to guide them through the process, including tooling, automation, molding, assembly, and shipping.
The team began working about a year ago during the COVID-19 pandemic as they transitioned to community-based employment from our New Richmond production floor. They are now supporting the business five days per week.
“The arrangement we currently have with Rise is a new concept for both of our businesses,” said Westfall Technik General Manager Mark Fagerland. “For years we’ve had Rise do work for our company primarily at the Rise facility. But having the Rise crew come to our site makes for a more efficient and cost-effective production schedule.”
There’s a lot of work to do, and each day is different. Many days during the past year have been an experiment to learn which tasks the crew can take on. Fagerland says working with Rise to place the “right crew” for the job gives the team opportunities to excel at their jobs and grow. It also gives him confidence that the work is correct. “I’ve told many businesses about the relationship we have with Rise and highly suggest that they should reach out to Rise if they have a labor need,” Fagerland said.
John Brinkman, who spent years working with his hands on the farm, says the job is a
natural fit. “We do different things every day. I like it. It keeps you busy!” Brinkman said.
He and the crew help manage the production output, which Fagerland says is essential as the company works to reach monthly sales goals. “The Rise crew that comes to our facility daily is an integral part of our day-to-day operation,” he said.
“People enjoy my company and are nice to me, Carlson said. “They’re always willing to answer my questions and teach me a lot more than I expected. I feel very welcome here.”