By Karen Snyder
An amusement park couldn’t be less like a foundry, but for Chelsey Hazelip, they are both part of where she is today. Chelsey started working as the mascot for the regional amusement park (she spent the summer dressed as a big, furry dog), but realized she needed to earn more to pay for college. Shortly after she enrolled at Western Kentucky University, she started working part-time at Waupaca Foundry’s plant 5 in Tell City, Indiana. The metalcaster produces ductile iron and gray iron castings for automotive, commercial vehicle, and off highway segments.
“It’s nice to come to a job where I’m able to almost pay for my school in full and it’s flexible to fit my class schedule,” Chelsey said. When she graduates in December of 2015, she will do so with much less debt than the average college student.
Although her dad, Brett Hazelip, worked at the foundry for years, Chelsey didn’t know what to expect when she was assigned to work in maintenance with him. “Some people thought I wouldn’t make it because I was a girl, but I worked harder and faster and realized there’s no reason I can’t do this.” She started in 2012 and has worked in the core room, and now does training videotaping of the vertical molding machines.
She has had first-hand instruction on how a foundry runs and what is expected of employees. She urges women to re-think careers in manufacturing and explains that a large part of her work deals with technology. “There are so many roles for women here--gender roles don’t necessarily apply anymore,” she said.
Chelsey will graduate with a degree in business infomatics—a hybrid field of study that combines business, computers and data analysis. She has her eyes on a future at Waupaca Foundry that includes the corporate office and contributing to the business operations. “It’s truly a blessing to work here for almost three years,” she said. “I would recommend all college kids work here throughout the summer; it really is an eye-opening experience.