New SMACNA National Staff Visit T.H. Martin and Cleveland JATC

Recent additions to SMACNA staff get the opportunity to learn more about the operations of a sheet metal shop and about the process developing new industry talent.

Several staffers from SMACNA National ventured to Cleveland, OH, to visit T.H. Martin as part of an effort to develop a strong industry knowledge base within the growing SMACNA team. Throughout the last two years, the office in Chantilly, Virginia, has welcomed several new faces, many of whom have not seen the operation of a sheet metal facility firsthand. To close this education gap, Tom Martin, T.H. Martin's President, invited this group of new staffers to tour his facility.

During the first part of their visit, Martin gave the group a tour of his shop and discussed the fabrication process and the different methods and techniques used to meet the needs of specific jobs. Staffers had the opportunity to ask T.H. Martin staff questions on particular aspects of the fabrication process. After their time on the floor, the group learned about T.H. Martin's costing and estimating procedures. They also got the chance to learn more about BIM and how it helps the company accurately forecast the requirements of a job.

The visit made an impression on SMACNA Project Specialist Valerie McLane: "My visit to TH Martin, Inc. provided a great introduction into the world of sheet metal. The BIM 3D Modeling technology presentation was impressive, and demonstrations of the coil line machines gave me insight into the fabrication process. Tom and his staff's warm hospitality made this a great educational experience." Abbie de Pano Sanchez, Administrative Assistant, Department of Labor Relations and Operations, echoed these thoughts, saying, "I learned a lot during this site visit at TH Martin. Having limited knowledge of sheet metal fabrication, being there allowed me to better understand the whole process from start to finish. A lot goes on before fabrication, from when the sales/estimating team receives the quote request and creates a 3D model in REVIT while collaborating with the customer, project managers, engineers, architects, and vendors, to ordering materials, managing worker schedules, and programming machines."

After their time at the shop, the group ventured to the Cleveland JATC. Here, the group learned more about how iTi looks to educate the next generation of sheet metal and HVAC workers. They had the opportunity to try out some of the training apparatus used by the JATC staff. They got a tour of the entire facility and learned more about the apprenticeship process. 

Discussing the entire visit, Jen Squirewell, Manager, Chapter Relations, said, "Touring TH Martin and the Cleveland JATC gave me a front-row seat to intricate behind-the-scenes processes that left me thoroughly impressed. As someone who never worked in the trade, it was invaluable to witness firsthand what our contractors and their employees do daily – and no two days are ever the same. I appreciate the opportunity to go on these kinds of visits outside my traditional staff role. It has motivated me to continue learning and will equip me to serve better and bring value to our contractors and chapters."

Tom Martin reflected on the day, saying, "Offering tours and visits of our shop and BIM departments brings tremendous value to SMACNA Staff. We, as Contractors, see it daily, working on improving efficiency and productivity – the newest technology and tools in both our shop and BIM department. Showing Staff fabrication and prefabrication from start to finish gives insight into our thought process and methods. It provides staff with informative knowledge and understanding of our business. It helps staff with industry terminology. I think they must have opportunities to visit shops (and job sites) to better themselves within SMACNA and help support our Contractors and SMACNA Leadership."

If your company is interested in hosting a follow-up event in the future, please do not hesitate to reach out to Seth Lennon.