Meet Ernie Allen, a Jack of all Trades in the Sheet Metal Industry
A self-proclaimed Jack of all trades, Ernie Allen recently celebrated his 41st anniversary with Eagle Metalcraft. Ernie currently serves as a Laser and Press Punch Operator and is a valued member of the Eagle Metalcraft team.
With 41 years under his belt, Ernie has first-hand experience with the company’s growing pains as the sheet metal industry changed over the years. One of the most exciting changes has been watching technologically advanced newer equipment replace older machines. When Ernie first started in 1982, he operated a 1972 punch press, which was retired about 30 years ago.
The company eventually transitioned to machines with lasers, which has been a game changer, especially as the technology continues to advance.
Ernie has decades of experience with laser machinery and will be one of Eagle Metalcraft’s first employees to train on a new machine featuring the latest laser technology. Known as the LVD 3015 PUMA, the machine will be operational in April doubling Eagle Metalcraft’s capacity and adding capability.
“Michael wants cross-training on machines so other people can run them in case people are out sick,” Ernie said, noting that it is a great idea that will help keep production going. He added that the company struggled a bit before Michael took over and that they could have used him about 10 to 15 years ago. “It’s 1,000% better now that [Michael] is here.”
EMBRACING CHALLENGE IN THE SHEET METAL INDUSTRY
While Ernie sees the new technology’s positive impact, he admits that change can be tough. But he is not one to turn down a challenge. In fact, it is what he most enjoys about his position.
“We do a lot of repeat jobs that have a set program, but when we get new jobs, there is a new challenge, and I love to overcome the challenge,” Ernie said. “It makes me feel a sense of accomplishment.”
He says that not everyone can handle these challenges – he has seen many people come and go over the years. “Certain jobs are a pain in the ass, but therein comes the challenge,” Ernie said, adding that he loves his job and the people he has worked with over the years have been great.
When asked about his favorite memories with coworkers, Ernie talks about the clambakes the company used to host at Hinerwadels. “There were a lot of stories from when people got ‘over-exposed to alcohol,’ too many to tell,” he recalled fondly. The group also enjoyed bowling at the Ukrainian club for Christmas parties years ago.
FAMILY, CAMPING, AND ‘ANYTHING OLD’
Outside of work, Ernie spends a lot of time with his family. He and his wife, Lisa, have three children in their 30s and six grandchildren. They are all local, so he spends as much time with them as possible.
He is also an avid camper. Along with their dog (Baxter), Ernie and Lisa try to camp at state parks 8-9 times per year in their camping trailer. He also enjoys deer hunting and “anything old,” like trucks and motorcycles. While he claims he isn’t a motorhead, he can fix most anything if given the right tools. “I like to putter around in the garage,” he said.
When asked for advice to give to new employees at Eagle Metalcraft, Ernie said:
“Do the best that you can with what you have to work with! I don’t say it a lot, but that’s my motto.”
ABOUT EAGLE METALCRAFT
Founded in 1953 as Eagle Manufacturing Company, Jack Helmer and his sons developed Eagle Metalcraft into what it is today. In 2022, veteran-owned Bower Industries Inc. acquired the company to carry on the legacy of quality work in sheet metal, machining, welding, powder coating, and finishing artwork.
As the premiere sheet metal fabricator, Eagle Metalcraft maintains an “old world craftsmanship” using state-of-the-art capital equipment to improve quality and productivity. Whether you are in the Northeast or anywhere in the United States, we look forward to teaming up with you to produce the highest quality precision metal products – contact us today!