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Badger benefits from Precision internship

BADGER SENIOR BRITTANY CAMPBELL, center, is taking an internship through her school at Precision Plus Inc., Elkhorn, doing hands-on learning about modern, computer-guided precision manufacturing. Michael Reader, left, is president of Precision Plus. Barry Butters, right, is in charge of the company's training and education program.

January 07, 2014 | 03:54 PM
When Badger High School senior Brittany Campbell visited Precision Plus Inc., Elkhorn, last summer with her mom, she was looking for a sponsor for her Mazda Miata racecar.

What she found was a career track. Brittany, daughter of Rick and Nancy Campbell, Pell Lake, races in the Midwest sports car circuit. Michael Reader, president of Precision Plus, offered Brittany a chance to learn precision engineering through Badger.

In a recent interview, Brittany said she acquired an interest in cars and racing from her father. Brittany said she’s been admitted to Milwaukee School of Engineering.

But she added she is considering entering the summer internship at Precision Plus before she attends MSOE.

Brittany said that during middle school, she was pulled toward fashion design, because that was what interested her friends. But after taking several art classes, she said, she realized that’s not what she wanted to do.

Through her father, she got involved in go-kart racing and then graduated to sports car racing. She and her father tuned up and repaired go-kart and car engines together, Brittany said.

She said she would occasionally hold a car component and wonder how it was made and how it fit into to the function of the car engine.

“I finally learned to read blueprints, and now I see the part in relation to the blueprint, and that is so neat,” she said. She’s still interested in design, but not in fashion. “I want to go into automotive design,” she said.

Brittany started her internship on the first day of school. She begins her day 6:30 a.m. at Precision Plus, works there until 9 a.m., and then drives to Badger for her third-hour class.

After six hours in class, her school day ends at 2:45 p.m.

Brittany then goes home, does homework and prepares for another day starting at 6 a.m. The early start hasn’t been that much of a problem, Brittany said.

“I worked at McDonald’s this summer and started at 5 a.m.,” Brittany said.

What’s more, she said, the internship pays $8.50 an hour, more than she made McDonald’s. Reader said the summer interns, who worked eight-hour days, made $10 an hour, which is more than the school-year interns.

But he said the company is considering an adjustment to that rate for Brittany.

So far, Brittany has worked at finishing, which takes off the small grit and excess oil on components, and then polishes them.

She’s also worked on one of the company’s computer numeric control (CNC) lathes, making handles for Snap On Tools.

CNC lathes are the industry standard for cutting precision components from bar stock.

The machines’ computers are programmed in advance, and the programs control cutter arms that shape the final product.

Reader said that the CNC machine Brittany worked on was one of the more advanced lathes in the shop. But, he said, he was confident Brittany was ready to take on more advanced work. Meanwhile, Brittany has 10 races on her card for this summer, as well.

And she is still looking for sponsors.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the Britt Campbell racing team can call (262) 729-6162, (262) 729-0422. Emails may be sent to its.britt.campbell@gmail.com or to her mother at n.campbell@wppallets.com.

Brittany said the names of sponsors will be displayed on her car or trailer, and the donors will be presented with a plaque showing each one is a supporter of Britt Campbell Racing.

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