In 1986, Roger Guse started his own custom machine shop in his Augusta, Wisconsin garage. He called it M.R.S. Machining. In 1989 his son Matthew joined him in the business and together they grew it and moved twice on their way to its present location in the Augusta Industrial Park. The business that he first started in his small garage now employs more than 50 people, and has been nationally recognized in 2007 as one of the top 10 machine shops in the country. M.R.S. Machining provides precision machined parts for oil & gas, energy, transportation, medical, food preparation, and consumer products, touching millions of lives around the world every day.
Throughout the years, education and training meant a lot to Roger Guse. He lived by the words "God gave us two hands: one for helping others and one for helping ourselves." When the skilled workers weren't available, Roger set aside a classroom area in the shop with a CNC lathe and a CNC machining center.When he learned of the Cardinal Manufacturing program, Roger donated time and equipment to the Eleva-Strum High School including the CNC mill and lathe he had used to train others. Many in the community look back today at how Roger Guse helped them to build a meaningful career.
Today, Eleva-Strum's innovative Cardinal Manufacturing program is attracting national attention as a model for technical education in high schools. Typically under- or unfunded, machine shop training has dwindled nationally. Cardinal Mfg's Craig Cegielski set out on a different path, asking not for funding, but only for permission to create a program that would fund itself by doing work for area manufacturers as training material for the students. Equally important is the premise that the work is being done for profit. In this way, the school can buy materials for the projects and fund the purchase of new tooling and equipment. Donations of time and materials from area manufacturers round out the program, providing major equipment and keeping the program relevant to train the crucially important local workforce.
And that's where the story comes full-circle. Roger Guse's generous donation of their first two pieces of CNC machinery helped set the stage for a Cardinal Manufacturing's evolution into the educational powerhouse it is today. Each year, students from Cardinal Manufacturing intern at MRS Machining and other local companies during the summers, and some stay on for lucrative careers in precision machining. Many go on to two-year and four-year colleges, equipped with the skills to earn their way through college.
The program Roger Guse helped nurture with its first CNC machinery can be proud of his contribution to its success, but to know Roger Guse, he wouldn't want the story to stop here in accolades. Rather, he'd ask you to get involved and use that other hand to help others too.