PowerSpot: December

December 17, 2019


This month’s PowerSpot celebrates the accomplishments of three members of our Production team, who recently graduated from the SUNY Certified Production Technician program:

  •   Desiree Yurcik, Senior Production Technician for our hydrogen skids
  •   Jeremy Tibbetts, Senior Production Technician for hydrogen piping
  •   Scott McGuire, Senior Production Technician for our hydrogen tank assembly line

The Certified Production Technician (CPT) program was developed through the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) system.  The CPT consisted of four critical production functions common to all sectors of manufacturing: Safety; Quality Practices & Measurement; Manufacturing Processes & Production; and Maintenance Awareness. Candidates were required to earn four certificates to receive the full nationally-accredited CPT certification. 

Our employee-students successfully completed all four modules at the top of their class, and also provided additional feedback to improve the program for its next launch.

This program was funded through Workforce Development grants, and working with local college, SUNY Schenectady, Center for Economic Growth of the capital region, and the Albany Business Council.

We asked the graduates a little about themselves.

Please explain what you do for Plug Power in 20 words or less.

  • Desiree: I make all the electrical harnesses for hydrogen skids and dispensers.
  • Jeremy: I’m primarily the pipe bender, bending tubes to engineering drawing specifications or custom fitting them.
  • Scott: I direct the activity in the tank assembly department while maintaining parts and production flow to the main line.

What prompted you to work through the Certified Production Technician program?

  • Desiree: I always love learning new things that will help me to do my job better and more efficiently.
  • Jeremy: I saw it as a good opportunity to learn more about manufacturing and become a greater asset to my company.
  • Scott: It was offered to all production employees as a chance to better our knowledge of manufacturing and the processes associated with a large scale production facility.

What was the most valuable thing you learned in the program?

  • Desiree: How to read all the different diagrams on blueprints and how technical the CNC machines are (a CNC machine is a computer-controlled high precision tool).
  • Jeremy: I think the most valuable thing I learned in the program was problem solving tools and learning to piggyback ideas and put focus on the most important tasks at hand and weigh the benefits vs. the amount of effort applied.
  • Scott: The most valuable things I feel I picked up from the CPT course were a lot of the “hidden” processes in manufacturing such as managing personnel, understanding better the ways in which they plan our workflow and trying to come up with improvements in the way we get the job done as well as improving our concurrent engineering which I am strongly in favor of as it can only help the company if engineering and production techs can work together better.

How will it impact / how has it impacted your work with Plug Power?

  • Desiree: Hopefully, more advanced opportunities become available… example: new departments or new careers
  • Jeremy: It greatly impacted my work with Plug Power, because I see things from a very different and more educated perspective than I did before and can make better decisions and be more helpful with my input.
  • Scott: The program has just given me a better overall understanding of manufacturing and has given me some insight as to why the company does things the way that they do to reach its goals. Getting a look at other parts of the process, such as quality assurance and even the Training and Leadership sections, will help play a role in my advancement within the company.

Desiree, what about hydrogen and fuel cells inspires you most? What inspires me the most about hydrogen and fuel cells is they are reliable, efficient, and clean fuel for the environment.

Jeremy, what is your proudest accomplishment? For me the proudest accomplishment was seeing some recognition in all the effort I put in by graduating at the top of the class.

Scott, what is the most interesting thing about your role at Plug Power? I think the most interesting thing about my role, currently, is how much more responsibility I have recently taken on since graduating. I have taken on a larger part in leading my department’s daily workflow and maintaining a steady supply of work to the two production lines that feed from us. Being the first step in our building process holds a high level of, not only responsibility, but also pride in knowing that each system we build starts out with the best quality we can give to not only our customers but to the team in front of us who continue the build process all the way to those customers.

Plug Power is actively reviewing production technicians in Latham for the next CPT Program launch and also working with the team to improve the course study going forward. Just another example of Plug Power investing in the employees who are helping us change the world. Congratulations, team!