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Summer job at Trident led to big opportunities

(October 21, 2007) — The summer of 1990 has never ended for Dan Nuijens. What started out as a summer job at Trident Precision Manufacturing in Webster turned into a full-fledged career.

When Nuijens made his career plans fresh out of high school, he wanted to do something exciting, so he chose law enforcement.

While studying to be a police officer, he was gaining a valuable skill set that he had not thought to cultivate.

He worked in a variety of departments at Trident that included assembly, welding, press braking and laser operations. For Nuijens, it was just a job to help pay for school at Finger Lakes Community College and State University College at Brockport.

He didn't realize his efforts were catching the attention of some top management people, including the owner of the company, Nicholas Juskiw.

Advanced manufacturing has struggled to attract young people to the industry, which made Nuijens that more appealing.

He put in long hours, added input to the decision-making process where applicable and tossed out new ideas for his managers to consider.

"I think its good to be in an environment where young people get to express their ideas and get to act on them," said Joseph Miran, vice president at the company.

Just when Nuijens was making the transition to an officer's uniform, Trident offered him a full-time job.

He had a lot to weigh. Should he give up following up on the degree he worked so hard to obtain or see where this job at Trident would lead?

Though he had his heart set on becoming a police officer, this opportunity appealed to him as well.

He made them an offer. If they could promise him a management position, he was sold.

But they did better than that — they offered Nuijens an overnight supervisory shift.

"I kind of had to draw a line in the sand and bag that whole criminal justice thing," said Nuijens.

He said he found excitement in managing the production of parts used in a variety of applications that included copiers, automobiles and military equipment.

"Every day we were producing something different," he added.

In an attempt to make more money, he went back to school and got his MBA from SUNY Brockport and was promoted to the day shift supervisor, a position in which he oversees 18 people from two departments: the tool room shop, which repairs and monitors the tool-making equipment; and Quickturn, where new design phases and prototypes are produced.

Nuijens started out as a floater in floor operations, but now is involved in the engineering and design of the very parts he used to make.

In 2006, he was promoted again to the senior management team, a significant milestone for his career, he said.

"He's taken on many challenges," said Peter Collins, director of operations at Trident. "He's succeeded at many of them and failed at a few, and those that he's not succeeded in, he's learned from."

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