By Chip Chandler
The Monday after he graduated from high school in 2014, Chase Hafley was in orientation at Waupaca Foundry’s Etowah, Tennessee plant and he was thrilled to be there. Chase currently works in the core room, but he has big plans that involve continuing his education at the Athens Technical Institute where he will study electrical and mechanical maintenance. While he goes to school, he will continue working at the plant. His mother, Kelly Rief, and his step father, Steve Rief work at the plant and Chase says it’s the best opportunity he could have.
“I started working just to save up for school, but once I got in there, I got Waupaca in my blood,” he said. He had part-time jobs washing dishes in restaurants and working in construction but says the technology used in the foundry presents unlimited opportunity.“
People don’t realize how much opportunity there is here,” he said. “You can start on the bottom level and work your way up to engineering by doing something you love and learning everything about it.” For Chase, he applies that attitude every day and says he learns as much as he can. The technology used in the foundry was challenging and being exposed to lean concepts of continual improvement was new to him—but he’s excited about the future.
His goal is to continue with his technical training and learn as much as he can about maintaining the foundry’s production machinery. He’s also planning to continue his education because he says new automation and robotics used in the casting process will require continually learning new skills.