EFCO Corporation turns to high school students for problem solving

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A Monett manufacturer turns to high school students to solve a problem. Employees at EFCO Corporation say it began with needing to move window screens.

Trevor Kingry admits that there were times he had his doubts.

“There might have been one or two into the project where I was like, maybe this doesn’t seem like the best idea,” says Kingry.

He and other students were given the job of making a new cart for employees at EFCO in Monett.

“Their screening line had a problem with one of their carts, or with their carts, and that they were having trouble with larger screens fitting inside of the cart,” says Kingry.

Those screens are for windows, and production coordinator Jorge Vazquez says the carts are used to move them around the plant.

“We have our screen materials, it can be various sizes based on the windows,” says Jorge Vazquez, Production Coordinator, EFCO Screen Line.

And when he heard that Trevor and other students from the Monett GO CAPS Program were on the job, he knew exactly what that would mean.

“New minds, new ideas. You tend to work in the same place, from time to time, you often don’t see things that could become an issue, or things that we think are fine, and so I think it was a great idea bringing some new guys in, some new girls in,” says Vazquez.

Wednesday, Jorge was among a group from EFCO that got to see the solution the students came up with.

“We started out with just a plain cart, and like, how do we make this better, how can we improve it?” says Gregory Brown.

Gregory Brown says the new cart is nearly all metal, and extends out to accommodate the bigger screens. But along the way, they faced challenges.

“I think initially it was learning how to use the machines, because we had never touched a mill, or a lathe, or a horizontal bandsaw, and it was just we didn’t know how to machine,” says Brown.

And believe it or not, challenges like that are exactly what the GO CAPS program is designed to provide for students.

“I think giving our students these opportunities to interact with professionals, they’re going to get the best view they can,” says Marty Lewis, GOCAPS Engineering and Manufacturing Instructor, Monett School District.

Oh, and the cart was a hit. In fact, Jorge and some of the other workers wheeled it out to the production floor just minutes after the presentation.

“It’s awesome to know that something that I had a part in making is going to be making a difference in a company,” says Gregory Brown.

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