Category “Humor”

Working at the Same Place as Your Husband

September 2, 2010 by Setpoint

When they first talked about having my husband come and work for Setpoint Systems I wasn’t sure how that would work.  Seeing him all day at work and then going home and being with him all night, just seemed weird.  The reason being is when he and I go home a lot of times we will talk about work and things that happened during the day.  Sometimes it would be just to vent or sometimes just to have conversation.

In some ways having him here at work has been nice because we have the same days off. It’s nice having the three day weekend that we can spend together.  I have loved working for Setpoint for that reason and he loves it too.  This summer when we wanted to go camping we could leave early and get a good camping spot, and have an extra long weekend.

I do all the travel for work and he has been going to a customer’s site out of state so I know when he will leave, when he comes home, and where he is staying.  I know that the guys hate to travel so I want to make it as comfortable as I can.  He is MY guy after all.

Working with my husband and working right next to him we actually talk more at work than we do at home.  When he gets home he loves to be out in his shop and so I forget to tell him things.  At work when I see him I remember to tell him things and he does the same.  I was worried about not having our own space, but we have been able to go about our own jobs just fine.

I’m very grateful that both my husband and I have a job.  He has a lot to offer a company and has lot of knowledge in a lot of different areas, so I know that Setpoint will benefit from having him here.  Working with him has been so far a good thing.  (As long as he does what I tell him to do).

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He Said What?

March 18, 2010 by Joe Knight

During the first 12 years at Setpoint, all of the collections and much of the purchasing at Setpoint was handled by Joe Cornwell’s father Ben Cornwell.  Ben is a crusty retired Allis Chalmer equipment salesmen and manager. Ben is ‘old school’ when it comes to business.  If you did not pay a bill on time, you would know about it from Ben.  He is a great part of the Setpoint family.  While he is not currently working directly with Setpoint Systems, he still manages our building and does purchasing and collections for Joe Cornwell and Joe VanDenBerghe in their amusement park ride business.

Ben could get pretty aggressive when it comes to collections.  One time a customer called me to let me know that if Ben didn’t stop calling and harassing his accounting manager about a late unpaid invoice she might end up in therapy.  Of course, I told the customer that there was an easy way to avoid therapy for his accounting manager…PAY YOUR BILL.  As the company has grown I have loved the persistence and dedication that Ben provided to Setpoint companies over the years.  It was also entertaining to hear him on the phone trying to collect or get parts in on time.

After listening to him over the years I finally kept a file of all the things I have heard him say either on the phone or in meetings.  Ben is from the south and a lot of his phrases seem to come from that part of the country.  Below are some of the most memorable quotes:

The first is a family of quotes to companies usually suppliers and customers who Ben viewed as incompetent:

  • ‘We ain’t no chicken S— outfit and don’t intend to deal with any outfit that’s is’
  • ‘Let me know what pawn shop your check printing machine is in because I’ll bet our check is still stuck in it and I’d like to pick it up.’
  • ‘That company is as screwed up as the a kid who lost his chewing gum in a chicken coop.’
  • ‘What are you going to do tie it to a hog’s back and send him here to Ogden?’
  • ‘Your word isn’t worth a cup of horse piss.’
  • ‘They are so messed up they don’t know if their rear end is punched or bored.’
  • When an owner of a vendor offered Ben a job he said ‘If I took the job I don’t think you’d like who I’d fire the first day.’
  • ‘We got messed up by that supplier when they went into early menopause.’
  • ‘That vendor is harder to get rid of than a summer cold.’
  • When a vendor delivered a large component Ben said: ‘Can you believe it’s that big and it won’t even cool beer.’
  • ‘If you sweep a skunk under a rug it still stinks.’
  • When discussing a problem with collections Ben said ‘It’s just like stirring a turd, the more you stir it the worse it stinks.’

 

These next quotes are more general:

  • ‘I’ll have that done faster than a minnow swims a dipper.’
  • ‘We lived so far back behind the sticks no one lived behind us.’
  • When asked what he did at Setpoint, Ben said ‘I’m the fender executive, I catch the crap off the back wheels.’
  • ‘You can’t win a pissing contest with a skunk.’
  • ‘We’re spending money like a bunch of drunk sailors.’
  • When Ben was asked how he got married, he said ‘I finished second in a race.’
  • When the bank dropped us because they had some loans go bad, Ben said “When Johnny poops his pants I guess the whole class gets whipped.’
  • We had hired a new CEO and Ben came in with a band aid on his nose.  When he was accused of ‘brown nosing the CEO’ Ben said ‘yeah he made a sharp turn on me’ as he pointed to the band aid.
  • ‘We’ll sift all of that rat manure out of the pepper.’

 

This is just a sample of what I have heard over the years.  I’m sure there will continue to be more in the future.

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Being the “mother” at Setpoint

January 5, 2010 by Setpoint

I’m not sure I like the title of Mother at Setpoint. I guess because then I am the oldest female working here. Aside from that it has its advantages. Sitting at the front desk and being in charge of the candy dish people come to my desk often. So while they are there they will tell me about their family and what they did over the weekend or what their plans are for a vacation. I know most of their family and now I can ask how they are doing. Most people like to talk about their family and so it’s been fun to get to know them in a more personal way. Being the mother of 4 children it’s a natural thing for me to get involved in all the employees personal lives.

I think being older and having raised a family sometimes people will come to you with questions and ask for advice or some input on a situation. Just watching them with their kids makes me smile to see what good parents we have at Setpoint. They are all striving to become great parents.

Being the mother also means that you see the kitchen and think that someone will clean that mess up but after a couple of days and it is still there you just clean it up because it’s easier than finding out who made the mess and will I ever find out who did it? Probably not. Whenever we have a Setpoint party it seems that the girls always seem to get the clean up job so I do have some help there.

My job at Setpoint is to hand out the checks so it’s kind of like allowance that a mother will give her kids. So everyone likes to see me coming when I have checks that’s always a plus.

I like my job at Setpoint and it is my family away from home since we spend a lot of time at work. There is a special bond and we are all concerned about everyone else. Last year my husband lost his job and everyone was so concerned about me I knew that if I needed anything they would be there for me.

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An interns view of Setpoint

May 27, 2009 by Setpoint

Hi everyone, it’s Ross the intern…just kidding, it’s Jake the intern.  I just started here at Setpoint and have found that it is unlike any other company I have ever worked for.  This company is a tight knit group of friends.  The company is more like a family than a group of co-workers.  Because of this, it is very easy to come in and feel accepted.  You don’t have worry about what you say or if you will look stupid.

My first day of work was quite hectic. Roger took me around and introduced me to everybody.  I experienced information overload and forgot most everybody’s names.  “I am sorry, I’m not that good with names, work with me.”  Everyone seems really nice and easy to get along with.

Jumping back into SolidWorks has been a little bit challenging.  It seems like I am learning a lot more than I am remembering.  Thankfully there are a lot people here who are nice enough to help me learn.  Bryan, Justin, Mark, Bob, and Nate have all helped me get back into the swing of things.  If you have not helped me yet it is likely you will have to. 

The atmosphere at Setpoint is very laidback.  It is not the regular shirt and tie I was expecting.  It is common to see a couple rifles in any given week. You can lean a lot by simply listening in on ongoing conversations about the quest for extreme accuracy at the shooting range.  Shooting is one of my favorite hobbies and I enjoy learning the finer aspects of it.

All in all Setpoint is a great company and I think I will greatly enjoy working here.  The people are great and the work isn’t bad.  Thanks to everyone for helping me get set.

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Using Creative Thinking Every Day to Solve Problems

April 9, 2009 by Bryan

Who has heard of the acronym TRIZ?  Until a few months ago, it would have meant nothing to me except as four nicely arranged capital letters.  Honestly I still don’t know what the terminology of the acronym is because it is derived from a Russian phrase meaning “Theory of Solving Inventor’s Problems.”  I do, however, have a basic understanding of the principles of TRIZ and how to apply them.  TRIZ is a bunch of principles that can be used to solve any problem that you may encounter.  This applies to work, home, play, or anywhere else.  TRIZ was developed by G.S. Altshuller, a Russian, as a means to solve problems.  There are 40 TRIZ principles that can help you out.  You can Google TRIZ to find out more about TRIZ and its uses.  For now, I am going to relate a recent example where we have used the principles of TRIZ.

We are currently in the design phase on a fairly large machine.  Space and cost are issues with this project.  The machine will be building parts that have a very defined manufacturing process with many steps.  For us, we have mimicked the original process as best as we could.  Our machine started out with 3 dial tables, with each one costing a sizeable chunk of cash.  After laying out the machine and realizing that we had many open stations, we decided to change the order of operations, cleared this with our customer, and placed a particular operation up closer to the front of the process.  This allowed us to remove a dial table from the machine saving us some much-needed real estate, and a bunch of money. 

These principles have become a part of our culture here at Setpoint.  I am quite certain that when this decision was made we were not intentionally applying a TRIZ principle, even though we did.  The principle we applied was Merging.  We took a similar process and placed them side-by-side.

There are many more examples of where we solved a problem by applying a TRIZ principle on this project.  What we have learned is if you get to a place where you are stuck, pull up the TRIZ principles on the net and go through them one by one and see if one of them will help solve your problem.

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Open Book Finance – The Board

March 5, 2009 by Kara

What do your numbers mean?  Here at Setpoint we practice Open Book Finances.  Every week we look at the numbers that show us how far along we are on our projects.  In our newest YouTube video Joe Knight, our CFO, talks about how we know if we are making money.  He shows some key ratios that can be used in any industry to measure this.

 

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The Brainstorm King

June 26, 2008 by MarkM

 

its-good-to-be-king

“Let’s go to the whiteboard.”

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Leak Check Gripper Retrofit

June 24, 2008 by Justin

4upgripper_01Setpoint was asked to retrofit a two up pick and place to a four up pick and place on a leak check machine.  This would be no problem, but due to space constraints we were only allowed to use one gripper. One gripper gripping four pars is not trivial due to the fact that the world is not perfect and every thing is not exactly the same size and shape.  We quickly made a prototype to see if this was even going to be possible. 

When we got the grippers in we tested them on some parts given to us by the customer. The test showed potential. We did, however, see that some parts if rotated became loose.  To solve this, we made some UHMW inserts that would give some compliance to the grippers.  After bench testing the UHMW gripper inserts on the parts given to us it looked as if the grippers would work.  The machine that we were retrofitting ran parts with three different heights.  After retrofitting the machine and running it we found that for the two taller parts the grippers worked fine, but for the smaller one the gripper did not work. 

To make the grippers work on the smaller parts Warren suggested using O-rings.  Instead of using O-rings we went one step further and made the UHMW gripper inserts out of polyurethane.  The polyurethane were more compliant and we could 4upgripper_02shape it to hug the whole part unlike an O-ring.  This gave us our best result yet.  The only problem with the polyurethane is that it would wear too fast and the gripper inserts were being replaced every three days.  This was unacceptable so we went back to the drawing board. 

We decided to make the gripper a three-point gripper.  This helped, but then we were told that we could not use polyurethane any more due to its poor wear properties.  We were so close to making the grippers work, but if we could not use polyurethane then this 4 up gripper tooling was not going to work.  Then it just so happened that I found an O-ring that worked perfectly with the current configuration of our gripper.  I quickly put them on and found they worked great.  I knew that I was going get an “I told you so” from Warren… and I did.  I took the grippers up to the customer and put them on and they ran fine.  I guess the moral of all this bla bla bla is listen to your shop guys.

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It Tastes Like Elmers School Glue

June 18, 2008 by MarkM

Saturday night I sat down on my nice futon in front of a good movie.  Changing an inner tube can be a very mundane experience unless accompanied by a series of unexpected events.  I had my road bike tire (flat), the new inner tube, tire tool, my pump, and I even had a great movie on.  No hurry, I will just take my time and enjoy the movie while I’m working.

The inner tube I put in was one of those goop filled tubes.  They build these inner tubes differently than the “Non-goop” innertubes, because there has to be a way to get the stuff into the tube.  The presta valve has a removable core in it that is threaded into the valve stem. 

So. . . I get this goop filled inner tube into the tire.  I’m sitting on my futon with this tire in my lap occasionaly peering through the spokes of my wheel at my movie.  Before I pump, I recall the advice Steve Nuetzman gave me to keep the stem up on top so the goop won’t leak out if air does escape.  I turn the wheel until the valve is up and proceed to attach the pump clamp to the presta valve.  At about 85 psi, the clamp starts to leak heavily – so I unclamped it, forced it on further and reclamped it.  At about 95 psi the air began leaking so excessively that I knew something was wrong.  The pump clamp was stuck and refused to disengage but was still bleeding air. 

Everything happened quickly after this and became a blur, so I can’t remember the exact reason why – but somewhere in the process of trying to remove the pump clamp I rotated the wheel back down so the valve stem was at the bottom.  I couldn’t get the clamp off with just one hand, so I leaned the wheel spokes against my forehead and employed both hands to remove this stubborn clamp.  Well, it came off.

In the split second it took to blink – the valve core shot out with a loud blast.  My forehead was still on the spokes, eyes down.  That valve core shot out like a bullet and caught me square in the forehead.  If it was only the valve core it wouldn’t have been a problem.  But by now all the goop had worked its way back down to the bottom.  Don’t let them lie to you when they tell you how much goop they put into the these tires.  “It’s only about a tablespoon, barely enough to lightly coat the tube.”  I am willing to bet money on about 1/2 cup.  This yellow stuff came spewing out of the stem like the snorkel of an angry diver that just swalled salt water.

Trying to protect my face, I lost grip of the wheel and it fell to the carpet.  It didn’t just fall, it rolled and danced like a quarter on a table top.  The first sensation I remember is the taste.  Classic Elemers school glue flavor.  I looked down at the wheel on the floor, still slowly spitting this yellow goop onto my carpet with no remorse.  I got up and walked to the bathroom to wipe off my face.  It was all over, my eyes, my hair, my ears, my teeth.  When I saw myself in the mirror, it was mixed emotions.  Next, I saw the carpet.  Glad my wife wasn’t home.  Next I noticed the futon, and the ceiling, and the wall, the tv, and the speaker up in the CORNER of the room, all spotted with this evil stuff. 

I woke up at about 2:30 am, and brushed my teeth again because every breath still hinted of rubber cement and Elmers school glue.

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