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Hillman Students Tour Reacher Manufacturing in Alpena

May 9, 2024 – Reacher Mfg in Alpena, an IBU (Individual Business Unit) of Omni hosted 13 students, grades 9-12 from Hillman High School for a talent tour in the manufacturing industry. Reacher Mfg was previously located in the Kmart building but moved to the Alpena Mall more than a year ago. Students were met by Ken Adair, Safety Director at Reacher, who provided everyone a pair of safety glasses stating this facility is a live assembly plant so safety is crucial. Tony Ommani, ESI Human Resource Director, then talked to the students about the hiring process into any of the affiliating companies through Omni.  They are the hub for entry or pre-employment services; they set up the interviews and all paperwork is done through their office, as well as setting up each employees training through the Center for Competency Development, which is Reacher Mfg. Reacher is a light duty assembly plant where they assemble a couple different kinds of conveyors.  When new employees start at Reacher, they progress through a 30-day program via computer modules as well as hands on training working on the floor in each department.  All training is paid and after the 30 days, employees could try on other Omni shops for a certain period of time before landing where they feel comfortable. 


Operations Manager Jeff Giordano then spoke to the students about the history of Omni and their numerous (over 120) IBU’s. He stated you could start off with literally no manufacturing experience, and advance to the top if you wanted to. Reacher builds power flex conveyors as well as other mod conveyors  Cam Kruse, Shop Foreman, then took the students throughout each department explaining each process. Steel parts come in the door through the Receiving Department, some are made from other IBUs, and some are purchased via outside sources. These parts are checked for quality and correctness before they are received into stock. Those parts then go to the certain departments who are projected to assemble certain conveyors. 


Students then transitioned down to the Flex Department where the majority of the assembled parts take place. Cam explained how each part is put together based upon the zones or parts stations for the components of the conveyors. Those components are then all assembled to make flex conveyors. Every employee at Reacher was working on this large order to the tune of hundreds of flex conveyors. Cam explained there’s plenty of work and plenty of overtime to get these conveyors built on time. We all made our way to the Shipping Department where they either skid conveyors or roll them directly onto the semi-trucks. As Cam was explaining the process, the students witnessed a couple flex conveyors being moved and loaded onto a semi-truck for shipment. Cam wrapped up the tour by explaining a new conveyor being built in the Mod Department.


Students were very impressed with the operation. Many of their comments were:  I didn’t realize they produced conveyors nor did I realize they had so many pieces of steel in the mall, it’s a great option for those who don’t want to go to college, didn’t know they send stuff to Amazon, they sure have a lot of equipment/parts, I found it very interesting what JC Penney’s turned into, there’s a lot of opportunity at Reacher, you could have zero experience and they will train you, and there’s a lot of Omni companies. Reacher staff also made the offer to host more talent tours for any of the schools in the future.


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