Source: Sherman Publications

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Welcome to the real world
OMS pre-engineering students tour Orion manufacturing plant

by CJ Carnacchio

December 11, 2013

Tim Walton (left), manufacturing manager for The Complete Companies, explains one of the products the company produces for BMW. Listening are Oxford Middle School eighth-graders (from left) Samantha Baril, Sierra White, Cameron Marshall, Dakota Birr, Jeff Plonkey, Bianka Gjokaj and Madison Nicklow. Photos by C.J. Carnacchio.
Rich Russell (right), operations manager for The Complete Companies, discusses some of the work the manufacturer does with OMS eighth-graders (from left) Matt Mielnicki, Colin Shea, Clayton Hill, Natalie Beethem and Coleton Campbell.
There are times in every student's academic career when he or she sits in a classroom and wonders, "When am I ever going to use this stuff in life?"

Well, 36 eighth-graders in Oxford Middle School's pre-engineering program got the answer to that question when they visited The Complete Companies (1776 W. Clarkston Rd.) in Orion Township on Dec. 4.

"The purpose (of the field trip) is to tie what they're learning in the classroom into what's going on right now in the engineering world, (show them) what jobs are available and see how the design process works," explained teacher Natalie Daversa.

Founded in 1982, The Complete Companies provide paint and liquid circulation systems, filtration products, coolant filtration systems, machining and metal finishing services and control systems.

This group of companies' list of customers includes Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Dannon yogurt and micro-breweries.

Students spent more than an hour touring Complete's 45,000-square-foot facility.

They saw a variety of equipment and products along with the men and women who work there as engineers, CAD operators and fabrication personnel.

"They're learning CAD (computer-aided design) right now, so they're seeing how it's applied," Daversa said. "I tell them they're learning these skills to make them more competitive in the world. Instead of just competing (for jobs) against their neighbors in Oxford or Michigan or even the United States, they're competing globally against different countries."

Daversa hopes this trip will inspire her students as they prepare for their next class project, designing and building a magnetic levitation (maglev) device.

Magnetic levitation involves suspending an object in midair with no support other than magnetic fields, which are used to counteract the effects of gravity.

Daversa said the project will teach students "the whole design process," from identifying a problem to solving it.