Ac convocation

Making a difference in student’s lives, AWMA’s convocation series

Manufacturing companies representing Hoosier Pattern, Micromactics, LLC., ETI – Elkhart Tri-Went Products (formerly Elkhart Products), and Smith Brothers just arrived at the Adams Central High School’s Fieldhouse. Within minutes of completing their initial setup, these representatives were ready and patiently waiting for students to come in and hear their informative (hopefully, life-changing) presentation.

At this mid-April convocation event sponsored by the Adams Wells Manufacturing Alliance (AWMA), each company had representatives preparing to speak to students about PRIDE, an acronym standing for Persistence, Respectfulness, Initiative, Dependability, and Efficiency. These “soft skills” represent vital information that every student needs to hear so they can apply these life skills to their lives — specifically when entering the workforce.

Moments later, the electronic bell rang, and over 370 students came pouring into the fieldhouse bleachers.

The presentation began with Joe Elkins, executive director of AWMA, explaining, “the purpose is to talk to students (who have a skill) about the opportunities with local companies in Adams and Wells counties.” But more importantly, Joe wanted students to understand that by applying these “soft skills” to their daily lives, whether entering the local job market, the military, or continuing education with a college or university, having these skills is an essential part of the student’s success.

After Joe gave his introduction and warmed up the crowd, he presented his panel of speakers.


The talk began with Hoosier Pattern’s Apprentice Patternmaker, Kyle Rittmeyer, and he focused on Persistence. Persistence is the completion of the task at hand regardless of the obstacles. Kyle said that having Persistence positively affects his job and then transitioned to why he enjoys working at Hoosier Pattern. “Sometimes, driving down the road, I get to see parts of a semi, and I know that I touched that before anyone else knew those products existed.”


Next, Micromactics’ HR Director, Chanda Bennett, talked about Respectfulness. Respectfulness is a demonstration and promotion of a spirit of cooperation within and outside the workplace. Bennett further explains, “Sometimes, when you are on a team, someone might screw up. At our company, we have Respectfulness towards each other and work to solve whatever problems that may arise.”


Joe takes the stage to talk about Initiative, which is becoming a self-starter and a problem solver. Joe spoke about personal experiences that he had seen of Initiative throughout his life. “I encourage you all to go out on the road and see what you can find.”


Next, ETI’s Plant Manager, Chris Scott, talked about the value of Dependability. Dependability is the demonstration of academic readiness, reliability, and demonstrates responsibility. Chris further explains that Dependability means, “if you’re going to be there, then be there, if you’re going to do it, then do it.”


Finally, Smith Brother’s Onboarding Specialist, Austin Hitchcock, focuses on Efficiency, which states being organized, punctual, and demonstrating self-management. Austin continues, “being punctual is what you do with everyday life; those who are late every day will result in a long period of job-hopping.” Austin says that you should practice being punctual in school and teach yourself to arrive at gatherings and events on time.

After the “soft skills” presentation, Joe explains to the AC students that they can approach these local employers and manufacturers during their lunch period. To see what they do and ask them about employment opportunities because all these companies are looking to hire new talent. To entice these students to come up and ask questions, Joe tells the students if they visit all the displays, they will have a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card — which certainly got everyone’s attention.

Joe concluded with a simple piece of advice. “Think about what you enjoy doing when it comes to a career or going to college. If you go to your job and it’s fun, it’s not working!” That’s the secret to having a fulfilled and enjoyable career.

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