Contact: Jeff Weaver, Melony Ritter
(501) 760.6410 office

December 28, 2016


Hot Springs, Arkansas – National Park College (NPC), Airtech Supply (Airtech), Inc. and Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions Group (AMS) received a “grow-your-own” grant from the Arkansas Department of Career Education’s Office of Skills Development (OSD) to offer a LEAN Transformation series of trainings for employees. The grant is the first of its kind to be awarded since the OSD was created.

Airtech Supply, Inc. employees completed LEAN 101 training on campus in December. The two-day course provided employees with tools to help improve plant processes with the goal of creating efficiencies within the workflow.

Airtech Supply, Inc. employee and NPC Aerospace graduate, Nick Hammond Dan Mickelson and Mickey Yeager of AMS led the training. Mickelson said the training includes 15 tools employees can apply to their work. It includes a plant simulation that allows the employees to apply LEAN skills to their unique needs and observations. “It provides the employee with a sense of ownership as they are helping to preserve the work environment,” said Mickelson. The class also includes Kata methodologies to help create a routine culture of continuous process improvement. Mickelson says Kata techniques provide a communication tool that helps managers and employees on the plant floor to work in a common direction.

Airtech Supply, Inc. is committed to training and developing its workforce. Five employees were hired from NPC’s Introduction to Aerospace Manufacturing & Repair program and six existing employees are currently completing the program. Additionally, several employees and managers completed supervisory training and computer training this year.

 Airtech Supply, Inc. employees and NPC Aerospace graduates Adam Friedl and John Phillips The LEAN 101 class is the first in a series of LEAN Transformation training they plan to complete with the assistance of the OSD grant to improve their skills and increase profitability.  Additional classes in the series include Leading Change, 5S, Toyota Kata, and Training Within Industry.

“Airtech has been a significant contributor to the success of our aerospace programs here at NPC,” said Kelli Albrecht, Vice President for Workforce and Strategic Initiatives. “The partnership between Airtech Supply and National Park College is integral to the continued success of our aerospace programming. We are grateful that all of our aerospace employers support NPC programs.”

"We are pleased to be able to offer this type of training to our entire workforce. The regiment of courses we have selected are intended to educate our team in the usage of Lean and Continuous Improvement tools and concepts,” said Greg Hess, Director of Operations at Airtech Supply. “We compete locally, domestically and internationally on the Military and Commercial Aerospace product that we produce, the courses offered by Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions, the great facilities at National Park College, and the support of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission have all combined to aid in our continuous improvement journey. Companies like our own must stay competitive by reducing costs and waste, in our business you seldom get the option of raising unit prices to cover rising costs, improvements must come from within."

Photo 1: Airtech Supply, Inc. employee and NPC Aerospace graduate, Nick Hammond looks on as Lester Jinks completes an activity for the LEAN 101 time study activity.

Photo 2: Left to right, Airtech Supply, Inc. employees and NPC Aerospace graduates Adam Friedl and John Phillips work to balance the assembly line by timing each process as part of LEAN 101 training at NPC.

About Air Tech Supply

Airtech Supply, Inc., founded in Hot Springs, Arkansas, has been in business since 1996. It is a turnkey sheet metal fabrication facility with over 41,000 sq. ft. of climate controlled state of the art fabrication capabilities. It is an active member of the Arkansas Aerospace & Defense Alliance, the Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce, and the Hot Springs Metro Partnership. Airtech Supply, Inc. is the premier CNC sheet metal machining operation in the Midwest U.S.