Get to Know Groov-Pin: Heather O'Connell

3/6/18

Get to Know Groov-Pin: Heather O'Connell

Heather O'Connell is a new member of Groov-Pin's quality assurance team at Precision Turned Components and a student in the Community College of Rhode Island's (CCRI) Fast Track to CNC Manufacturing Program.

Heather has been working as a quality assurance tech for the past three months, learning from our quality assurance manager Gini Weston. As part of the Fast Track program, she shadowed Gini six times after visiting Groov-Pin on a tour with other CCRI students.

"I was filling in at another local manufacturing company when I learned about CCRI's program," she said. She applied and was accepted to the program, which is comprised of two phases: a 10-week, 10-credit introduction to fundamentals of manufacturing and a 6-credit period to gain additional skills and learn advanced manufacturing processes.

"In Phase I, we learned how to read micrometers and other measuring instruments and had hands-on experience with milling machines," she said. These technical skills gave Heather a helpful start for her day-to-day responsibilities in the quality department, which include in-process audits and inspecting pieces. "I'm still learning," she said. "I ask a lot of questions, watch Gini, and take a lot of notes."

There are challenging aspects of every position and for Heather, the challenge comes when pieces or dimensions are incorrect. However, every challenge presents a learning opportunity and when an issue arises, quality will work with other departments to determine the best solution. 

In addition to her role at Groov-Pin, Heather is also enrolled in Phase II of the Fast Track Program, where she will learn how to create assemblies and prints in SolidWorks and set up CNC machines. "You have to be willing to dedicate a lot of time to the program," she said. During the first phase of the program, she balanced her responsibilities with her two children with 40 hours of school and an additional 20 hours of studying per week.

The program teaches students skills that employers need and introduces them to potential careers. Heather found a perfect fit with the collaborative environment at Groov-Pin. "Groov-Pin is different from anywhere else I've worked," she said. "It felt right to be here. You can tell it's really a team."

Author: Lauren Ciuba

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