As the sun began rising on a cool, crisp April morning, Hoosier Pattern employees arrived at the company’s breakroom, waiting for their bus ride to Columbus, Ohio. Typically, these HPI employees focused on their tasks and daily to-dos on a Monday, but today was different. Instead of heading to their “normal” roles and duties, these 50 employees traveled to the Buckeye State for a three-and-a-half-hour trip to the American Foundry Society’s CastExpo.
This year’s CastExpo was at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and the event focused on serving the worldwide metalcasting supply chain. This four-day tradeshow is held once every three years and draws thousands of foundry professionals to come together and display their company information and innovative technologies.
Around 10:30 AM, Hoosier Pattern employees arrived at the convention center, everyone checked-in and met with the management team near the tradeshow entrance. While at the tradeshow, these employees had a job. They split up into different teams, and their task was to walk around other booths, observe, and ask questions. The ultimate goal was for our employees to understand how other companies communicated their messages and to connect with new and current customers either about the products or services we offer or how Hoosier Pattern can help out on future projects.
Keith Gerber, President/Owner of Hoosier Pattern, came up with the idea to bring his employees to the event. “Since this event was so close, we needed to bring them out, see what we do, and hopefully get more customers. Also, to allow my employees to see what the industry is all about, so they can bring something back. ”
But wait, there was one more caveat. Each team was also part of a competition. These teams were tasked with finding something from the show that increased awareness to educate the employees or company. To find something that makes Hoosier Pattern more competitive or an idea that could bring better safety to their departments. To discover something unique that stands out or maybe learn a cool technology. After the event, each team was asked to write a report. The team with the best report, each member, received $150.
Dave Rittmeyer, Customer Care & Additive Manufacturing Manager, said, “We’re seeing many existing customers and old friends talking about printed sand and how they (customers) can apply and use this technology. We’re talking about tooling and how we can help them out. A lot of newer customers are having problems with lead times for castings or tooling. So we are going to help them out with some shorter lead times.”
Around 2:30 PM, HPI employees gathered around at the company’s booth, and everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves, learned a lot, and connected with past and present customers. Employees loaded up the bus and headed back to Decatur, Indiana. Melissa Affolder, Hoosier Pattern’s Controller, reflected on some of the event’s most uplifting parts, “Many people stopped by and said we know Hoosier, that’s a great company.”
Melissa smiled and said, “that was really wonderful to hear.”