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Customer Profile: Greg Williams, Stainless Fittings Group

Greg Williams is the CNC Supervisor at Stainless Fittings Group (SFG), Traveler’s Rest, SC, a subsidiary of Texas Pipe & Supply, Houston, TX.

Williams has been a machinist for 30 years, 6 of which have been spent at SFG. Recently, we chatted with him about his three decades in manufacturing and what led him to this field.

Why manufacturing? Why did you choose it?

I took machine shop in high school. Back then it was available as an elective. I liked it so I took it every year. That’s really the first time that I can remember knowing what I wanted to do.

After high school, I worked in heating and air for a year or so but machining kept coming back to mind. So, I enrolled in a Project STEP II program at a community college—basically a two-year program condensed into nine months. Right after that, I was hired at a tool and die shop and went on to work at a mold shop where I learned CNC machining and Mastercam. It just took off from there…The next thing I knew, I was programming molds.

In this industry, you learn that there are a hundred roads you can travel.

If you had to spend the day in someone else’s shoes, whose would they be?

I would want to spend it in the shoes of someone who struggles, may not have much money, or may be a single mother or father working two jobs to put food on the table. I think it’s important for all of us to be humbled every now and again. It gives you drive at your job and the drive to make a better life for your family.

I’ve climbed the ladder in my 30 years. That’s why I tell the young kids that work for me that no matter how high you climb, never forget where you started.

Life goes by quickly. We have goals and we spend all this time trying to achieve them, but at the end of the day, I think we all just need a reminder to take a step back and be humbled a little bit. It helps us personally and professionally.

That’s what drives it…drives me, anyway. I want to be humbled every now and again.

What was the first career that you dreamed of having?

When I was in high school, I wanted to be a machinist.

Who or what was your greatest teacher?

My greatest teacher was Mr. Diehm, my machine shop instructor at Beavercreek High School (Beavercreek, OH). I looked up to him. One thing he always said which stuck in my mind was, “If you become a machinist, you’re not going to become rich, but you’re going to have everything you want.”

As a young kid, I wanted to be him. I wanted to be that machinist instructor.

What are you most proud of professionally?

I’m probably most proud of the fact that I never settled. I became a manual machinist, but that wasn’t enough for me. I got into CNCs and started programming; that wasn’t enough for me. I’ve had supervisor roles, done all kinds of things in the same trade, and I still learn. I’ll never be done learning until I hang it up. My father instilled that in me.

I don’t want to stop learning because technology is evolving every day. If I just stop, then my company stops. In order for us to progress, I have to keep learning.

I am also proud of my work ethic, which I got from my dad. I never worked with him or in the same field as him, but I saw him get up every single morning, put on his uniform, sit at the kitchen table and have his coffee, pack his lunch, and go to work—every day. And I do that.

I’ve brought my lunch to work every day for 30 years. I learned that from my dad. His work ethic and dedication to his trade drove me to be the best that I can be.