Seguin Gazette: Ag students, Alamo Group clean the slate

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Main News Photo

The Seguin High School welding shop used to be a cluttered, unorganized safety hazard until a group of manufacturing students stepped in and cleaned it up along with the help of the Alamo Group Inc.

Through the Talent Pipeline initiative, Director of Career and Technical Education Steve Gonzalez and Mary Andrews from Alamo Group Inc. came together to create the first-ever Kaizen event, which is a project that focuses on safety and organizing various small tools in the shop.

Alamo Group Inc., located in Seguin, is a leader in the design, manufacture, distribution and service of high-quality equipment for infrastructure, maintenance, agriculture and other applications.

Andrews said she felt it was important for Alamo Group Inc. to partner with the high school so they can teach the students about how the industry works.

“For them to get that industry knowledge and real-world knowledge versus a book is a big difference,” she said. “They need to know both and the only way to get that industry knowledge is for someone to come in like Alamo and show them what the real world is and teach them.”

The 13 students from Omar Garza’s third- and fourth-period classes presented the success of the project in front of members of the Seguin Chamber of Commerce, Seguin ISD and the Alamo Group Inc. on Thursday at SHS.

During the presentation, members of the Kaizen event group discussed the eight-day process they went through to organize the shop in a timely manner.

At the beginning of the project, the students learned the basics of a Kaizen event, what it stands for, then got to work, Gonzalez said.

“We went out to the shop and saw that there was certainly a need for it,” he said. “It started as that idea and then it got practical with the students going into the shop and working hands-on. All hands were on deck, everybody played a role and it was a team that made this happen.”

When the students first entered the shop, the tools were piled on top of each other in a cabinet and on the floor. The broken tools were not removed from the shop and the floor space was cluttered, a slide on the presentation said.

Along with the tools being stacked, the fire extinguisher was blocked, wires scattered across the floor created a tripping hazard and there was an excessive amount of unneeded shelves.

After identifying the problems and going through Kaizen training, the students began to get to work with a goal in mind of creating a safer working environment.

They cleaned out the tool room, sorted through broken tools, relocated the oven to an open area, created easy access to the eyewash station and organized the common area.

“They worked effortlessly every minute of the class period,” Garza said. “Whether it be sweeping, cleaning, organizing, discarding old tools or broken tools. From installing paperwork to getting everything in order, these students were ready to go the minute the bell rang when they came into class. They worked with Alamo Group and there has been a whole bunch of improvements in this shop.”

Junior Martin Sanchez said he thinks he and the other students made the shop a safer space.

“It taught me a lot like how to keep everything organized and how to be cleaner to prevent a lot of injuries,” he said. “I think we did a great job. I think it could still get a lot better and still improve a lot, but for right now I think we did good.”

Gonzalez said he is proud of the effort and accomplishments of everyone who was involved in the project.

“We are very proud of the students for working hard through this,” he said. “They are really leading the cultural change we are implementing here. We are doing things differently now and creating these opportunities for our students.”

The director also was appreciative of the partnership with the local business.

“I also just want to thank Alamo Group and the representatives there,” he said. “I know it takes time out of their business to be a part of what we do, but in the long run, I know it’s going to pay off. So, thank you to them and thank you to our students.”

 

Priscilla Aguirre is a staff writer for the Seguin Gazette. She can be contacted by e-mail at priscilla.aguirre@seguingazette.com .

Category: Talent Pipeline

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