June 28

Episode 128: Leading with Transparency and Impact: Insights from Matt Guse


In today’s episode, Mike O’Neill sits down with Matt Guse, the owner of MRS Machining, to delve into his journey as a leader and the valuable lessons he has learned along the way.

Matt has transformed the company into a thriving manufacturing business. Through open communication and improved shift handoffs, he has successfully enhanced productivity and quality within the organization. Matt also emphasizes the importance of controlled growth, sharing insights on how to avoid common pitfalls when scaling a business.

Matt Guse’s Bio

Matt Guse is President of M.R.S. Machining Co., Inc. Matt Guse and his wife Vicki own M.R.S. Machining Co., Inc. that was started by his father in 1986 in his garage. Matt has been in the manufacturing industry for over 30 years. In 2007 M.R.S. Machining Co., Inc. was named one of American Machinist Magazines Top Ten Machine shops in the nation and most recently was named a 2017 TOP SHOP by Modern Machine Shop Magazine

Matt has also been very active in his community by serving on his local school board, he is a licensed official for both football and basketball, and serves on the Chippewa Valley Technical College Machine Tool Advisory board.

Matt Guse also was part of the startup of Cardinal Manufacturing at the Eleva-Strum school by donating equipment. He continues to donate his time and expertise to this great educational opportunity on a regular basis. He is keenly interested in developing new talent and ideas for the manufacturing industry and created two patents for cutting tools that he himself developed. Matt was also one of the faces in the IMTS 2016 and 2018 ad campaign. Recently been quoted in the New York Times and has appeared on the Fox Business News Channel with Liz Claman.

In his spare time he enjoys being a Basketball and Football official. Has passion for cycling and has successfully cycled up Pikes Peaks to elevation of 14,115 feet and this past year he put over 9,000 miles on his bike and is always up for going for ride.

In This Episode…

  • The importance of open communication and effective shift handoffs in maintaining productivity and quality in a manufacturing environment.
  • The value of participating in peer advisory groups for gaining outside perspectives, accountability, and navigating challenges in business.
  • The significance of controlled growth in order to maintain stability and avoid potential pitfalls.
  • The impact of fractional CFOs in providing strategic financial guidance to small and medium-sized businesses.
  • The power of giving back to the community, mentoring young adults, and creating opportunities for growth and success.

Links & Resources Mentioned…

Read The Transcript

O'Neill: Welcome back to the Get Unstuck and On-Target podcast. I'm Mike O'Neill with Bench Builders and with executive coaching and People Skills training. We help companies solve the nagging people problems that are slowing their growth. Joining me today is Matt Guse. Matt is the president of MRS Machining. He and his wife Vicki, owned a company that was started in 1986 in Matt's father's garage.

Since their company has been recognized by American Machine it's magazine as a top 10 machine shop and the nation, over the last 30 years, Matt has had to deal with economic downturn, losing both parents and Covid. Today we're gonna be talking a bit less about machine shop matters and more about running a family distances.

It's challenge and rewards. Welcome Matt.

Matt Guse: I'm glad to be here.

Mike O'Neill: Matt, when we spoke earlier, I was interested in speaking to you on multiple levels. The fact that one you are directly tied into manufacturing as a manufacturer, probably serving manufacturing. You've been doing this for over 30 years. What changes have you seen in manufacturing in that timeframe?

Matt Guse: Oh man, there's a lot of changes, but I think the most is technology. It seemed like when I first started, there was just certain things. There was like small, you could like put everything in your hand. Now there's so much technology, it's you're chasing it and you gotta keep up with it. And if you don't, you fall behind it in the real hurry.

Mike O'Neill: Yeah. My sense is that your industry in particular has been positively impacted by technology. That it's, it's very much an exact. Science that you're trying to do when you're machining parts for your clients?

Matt Guse: Yeah, it's the machine machining ain't just a machining no more. I mean, a machinist these days is, is like several different things.

You know, you're a science chemist, you're an engineer. You gotta motions have to get into it because things always don't go right. You're always under a lot of pressure. So it's, it's, it's very, you know, that's, it's very demanding and it's, and I just think. But it's rewarding, you know, when you make something and then take this big chunk of metal or plastic or whatever you're, you're machining and turn it into a form in art and you know, it's going into something that can save people's lives or out, you know, that helps people drive to work or help raise food.

It, it's, it can be very rewarding.

Mike O'Neill: Yes. You know, Matt, I came up through manufacturing, whereas I went to work for small companies. They got much bigger. And as they got bigger, there was a tendency to bring things in-house that was normally outsourced. How in a world in the last 30 years have y'all been able to kind of maintain a position such that companies still come to you, even though they might have the capacity to bring that capability in-house?

Matt Guse: I think the number one thing is trying to find skilled help. It's, it's, you know, the, the need for machining or manufacturing's going up and the people coming in in this trade or manufacturing is actually going down quite a bit. So it's a lot easier to, you know, to design. You can find a lot engineers and stuff.

There's a little easier to find and design a product, but manufacturing, there's so many ups and downs and variables. If, you know, if you make bad parts or you don't get material, there's so much inconsistency where it's, it's a lot easier just to order something and. It shows up and it, you know, I, it may be cost a little bit more, but in the long run it may be a lot less.

You know, I always gotta know your true costs of, because if you don't, it could, you know, let's say you, you have a great machinist or two, and then all of a sudden you leave, well, now you gotta try to fill that. And that doesn't happen overnight. I mean, that takes months to get someone up to that caliber.

So I think if you have a, you know, most of our customers now are switching that way. They're going more to just design and assemble and have someone else do all the manufacturing because you know, we do whatever we're asked, we're good at what we do and we just do strictly machining. We don't do welding or shearing or fabricating and because we're not frankly good at it.

So we just stick to what we're good at. And you know, there's a lot of people that's like, are good at a lot of different things and it's better to tap into that resource and. And know that knowledge and get your parts good and then instead of struggling yourself and your costs are uncontrollable.

Mike O'Neill: You know, I've heard the expression stick to your knitting. In this case, you've, as a company, have decided to stick to machining. Might have been tempting when a client comes to you and ask you to do something, to take on things that are not necessarily, how did you choose consistently to turn away business that was not part of your core?

Matt Guse: Well, I learned that in the early stages. We had a customer of ours that we're doing a lot of machining for, and they talked us into doing wire harnesses. And I knew nothing about wire harnesses. You know, I got the diaphragm and I thought it was just cutting some wire and putting some ends. And that's really how it started. It started easy, but it got very, very difficult towards the end.

And boy, we struggled and, and my, my dad was still around and he was kind of like his pet peeve. He kind of liked it and had interest in it, and we hired a bunch of people, but you know, we didn't have the automation of a Brady machine and we didn't have the, the, the technology engineering of reading the blueprint and trying to figure out electrical connectors and all that.

So we ended up selling that and that's when I decided, you know what dad, it was just stick to what we're good at cause that that was just every day that was more of a pain to deal with that. You know, it took my time away from what we're, we're good at. So that's when I, that's where I learned my lesson in that time.

Mike O'Neill: Over the years, I've had the opportunity to work for family owned businesses, some of which grew to be much, much larger, and it lost that family feel. Your, your dad started the business. I. Technically, I think your wife owns the business and y'all run a family business. What have been some of the challenges of being in a family business that y'all experienced?

Matt Guse: As far as family goes? You know, me and my dad were, like, most days we were best friends, but then there was, you know, the problem is we're both machinists, so we both had, you know, I always say there's more than one way to skin a cat. And So we would've differences, you know, he wanted it made this way and I wanted it made that way.

And he was more from the manual. He didn't know the computer side of it, so he was more thinking that way. Well, I'm thinking, I know computers and I know how to get. A little faster way of doing things. And so we ended up, you know, we didn't always go to bed, leave work happy at each other, but we always, somehow, every night we called each other before we went to bed and said, we're sorry.

It's tomorrow's a new day. But that was probably my biggest struggle. And then my mom, you know, she was, that time was a, The president of the company. And so here's my mom, you know, she's like, here's her son, here's her husband. Who does she stand up for? Who she pick for it? So it created a lot of stress.

My wife was involved in it a little bit. That's, she did more of that wire harnessing thing. So, but so, you know, we kind of, that that was just, you know, I always say don't hire your family and friends. And I think there's, there's a lot of truth of that. But if you manage it right, and just start out with, you know, And talk about it and before it happens and, you know, create some rules before you hire someone from family.

And then it's not as bad, but it, it's tough. It's a struggle. So, you know.

Mike O'Neill: Matt, you mentioned I'm hiring and I, I hear it also. Often how difficult it is to find quality talent. Does that apply to your business as well?

Matt Guse: Yeah, I, you know, I think every business is, ha has that happened, but you know, my best recruiters here are the people that work for me.

And, you know, kind of the rest takes care of itself. You know, we're very fortunate here that, you know, it just, we have a good, we that family is always gonna be here, that I will not change that, that family lot. Philosophy has to stay. And if it's not, you know, it's like I tell people, you know, when they come work here, you know, I want three things.

I want you here, you want to be here and we're gonna have fun. When that ever changes, we gotta sit down and talk. And probably 99% of the time, if it does come to a conversation, it's cleared up right then and there. But you know, there's some people that just wanna kind of come to a big company, be a number, and be left alone and just do their thing or.

That's not really the place for us. We're here, we get everybody involved. We have an open book. We show people the numbers, where we're going, where we're heading. If we're on track, we're off track, what we gotta do to get better or what we've done good. And you know, one person wins. We all win. And you know, every month we have cookouts and you know, we have, we have snack days, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

So, and then right now, during the summer we have ice cream sheets and we just, you know, we have we have a picnic, we have Christmas parties, and you know, most people here are here more than they're with their families. So, you know, not every day is a tropical paradise and it never will be. But you know, we just have to, if you can't, I always tell people, if you can't measure it, you can't manage it.

So those are some of the key things we tried doing here.

Mike O'Neill: You know, you mentioned having fun and you gave some examples of having fun. I too often find that in business. We get so wrapped up, we forget to enjoy ourselves, that we forget the importance of celebrating success because always it's the new challenge, you know.

Matt, you mentioned a moment ago that you're kind of an open book. Can you elaborate a little bit on that? Is that something that's always been the case or is that something that's been introduced during your time?

Matt Guse: No, that's probably started about, back in 1516 after my dad passed away. So when my dad did pass away, I was you know, you can prepare for that, but it, it hit me like a wall, like a brick.

I ran into a brick wall and I, I couldn't even walk in here for three months and. But I came back and the place was still running and it was actually running better than when I left, so I'm like, whoa, okay. I, so back in my mind I had that, I always wanted to do something back to help thank him and, and my dad was still alive.

He was always trying to, we were always trying to turn it into an ESOP business and it just never materialized or it didn't work out the way we wanted it to. So I wanted people to feel like this place was just as much their as it is mine.

Mike O'Neill: Yes.

Matt Guse: Now, how can we do that? Well, obviously if you're a business owner, you, you reap the benefits, you get the profits, and you can.

Grow your wealth with it. So I wanted to decided to, we decided to give 40% of the profit back to the folks. So that's when we start posting numbers on how much every quarter, every month we post a number, Hey, we made this much money. We lost this much money. Here's our scrap number. You know, we lost this.

We had this much bad and scrap, or we didn't have any scrap. So everybody has those key numbers. So if it affects my pocketbook, it's affecting theirs. And it just seemed to, everybody started carrying and the first thing I noticed was with the productivity that was 20 went up 20%, we got 20% of them out the door more. And.

Mike O'Neill: Goodness.

Matt Guse: Yeah, I mean I was amazing cause now everybody's making money. And then, you know, the, the quality, we never really had a quality problem, but it was more, it just seemed that it, it went down a little bit more. People like paid more attention than, you know, his scrap part, throw it away. Where's another piece of material that that kind, that now kind of went away?

It just got things dialed in, in the communication. You know, when they went from first shift to second shift, the communication was better. So you just didn't. Walk out the door and kind of leave the guy hanging and next thing you know, he craps apart. So that kind of changed a little bit too. And you know, every month we have meetings here for the whole, you know, we have full shifts, gets together.

Matter of fact, today's one of them. And we just go over the numbers and here's where we're at, here's where we're going. Here's our new, you know, some new business. Here's some business that we lost. And so everybody's on the same page. There's no surprises. I know I don't like surprises. Those are only for Christmas and birthdays on.

Speaking of birthdays, we give everybody their birthday off here, so, that's always a bonus. So everybody's recognized. We recognize their birthday, and I used to give away a subway card and a balloon, but we decided well, we'll just give you the day off. And that, that seemed to go over well, real well.

Mike O'Neill: You know, with my HR background, I'm just smiling, listening to all the things that that have been decided. To do and what you found was the employees probably appreciate a day off.

Not that they don't like coming to work, but a day off is giving something back to them. Far more. And the fact that you are having these employee meetings, you said something a moment ago that caught my attention and that is communication improved between the shifts.

Are you implying that those leaving have a vested interest to hand off to those who are coming in such that it's a smooth transition, that productivity's not negatively impacted, quality's not impacted? Is that kind of what you're seeing has happened?

Matt Guse: Yeah. You know, they would, you know, the, to say they get off at three, they're out the door, you know, when all the guys were staying five or 10 minutes later just to make sure everything was, that communication tool was great.

And then you know, we also developed some stuff internally that we wanted to make it better. We We have computer cells in all our work cells areas and you know, we, we could always document those notes and it would be on their screen just in case the guy came in later, his car broke down or dentists appointment.

You never know what happens, but it was on his screen. And you know, like me, I don't have good handwriting. And if I wrote a note, I wouldn't be, they probably wouldn't be able to read it. So we could just go over the computer real quick and the note would be on their screen and the guy could come in his work area and could see it, and he had work instructions.

And so that, that was things that we developed just to make things flow better. And through that we can we can actually stay in our work areas because now we can talk with all the different areas. We can talk to our shipping, we can talk to our SAL department, we can talk to you QC. You know, if we're not making the time, we can talk to our inside sales or we can talk to our managers.

And it's just, and it's all saved. It's, it doesn't go nowhere. We just, it automatically saves in our system every night.

Mike O'Neill: You know, I and the introduction shared some information about you that might. To the listener, be kind of private, but you're pretty open about that. The fact that you just shared how devastating the loss of your father was and that it was not ours, it was not days, it was not weeks, it was actually months.

Matt Guse: Yep.

Mike O'Neill: That you're acknowledging, do you feel that as a leader, that that willingness to be open regarding not just the financials, but to be open about. These kind of matters. Do you think that makes a difference in your ability as a leader?

Matt Guse: Oh yeah, because everybody's on the same page, you know? You know, it's not, we're not hiding nothing, and you know, it's, You know, if someone just bought a new car, a new truck, or how, whatever, they wanna make sure they have that stability, that they're gonna have a job and.

If, if you don't give that information out, well, they're questioning it and then all of a sudden it gives them an excuse to maybe go look somewhere else. And we don't want that. We want people to, once you join the team, we want you here to stay in the team because you know what? To replace an employee with knowledge and stuff.

I mean, it's, it's, you know, it costs 10, $15,000 just to hire on a new person. And people are like, well that can't be well then now you start talking about you gotta have two people in the south. You gotta train for a couple weeks and you gotta have in onboarding and there's two weeks of pay right there that really don't make a profit off them.

And it was just, you know, and every employee I have here, it generates about $300,000 in revenue and all of a sudden, you know that person, that new person ain't gonna be able to do that right away. I, I mean, you can unless you clone them and, and it, it's just everybody had every company and every customer of ours is different.

We, there's nobody the same. And that's, that's one thing that's, that's strange about this industry. You think you'd all be somewhat same, but we're, we're all a little different. Everybody does things a little bit different, but the hey, that works for them. You know, it's not, it's not like a hospital, something like a hospital has more procedures and everything's kind of the same.

But manufacturing, there's just so much, there's, everything's different. You know, some people still want, like, for example, finances. Some people still want it write a check. Some people want HCH, some people want to pay credit card. So it's all over the place.

Mike O'Neill: You know, you shared earlier, a little bit about some of the, the challenges and rewards of owning a business, sharing ownership with the employees.

Can you share an example where perhaps either you or your company got stuck and what did it take to get unstuck?

Matt Guse: I think, oh, well, I think probably the biggest, I mean, we went through so many, I mean, There's so many ups and downs. I mean, the first one, I guess was in 2000 when we moved to, into a new building.

And that's when all our computers were gonna crash in 2000.

Mike O'Neill: Yes.

Matt Guse: Really didn't get unstuck, but we, we planned for it and never happened, but that's better. And then 9/11 hit, you know, that kind of, we weren't diversified quite enough. And then when '07, '08 hit, you know, the financial. That got really scary.

That was probably the worst, scariest time besides another time. But I always joined a peer group. Back then, and that's kind of what helped me through this cause they always we have to have a plan and our goal. And I said, well, my goal's going to be get through recession. And I, everybody thought I was crazy, but I wanted to have a plan and some point something in the back of my mind that I could get through recession, you know?

Well in '07, '08 that, that saved the day. You know, we, we, we had a plan. Now when Covid hit, that's a, we didn't have a plan for that, but what things we learned from. But the hardest thing that we, I went through personally is when my dad passed away, you know, I was more of the sales and machine shop front door, and he was more of the front, you know, financials and the human resource.

And he had a, we have a manager here and well, that also got dropped to my, my basic in my lap. And we, yes, thought we had planned for it, but we didn't plan for it. Shame my, me, shame and whatever, but it happened, and you know, so you just can't sit there and you spill milk. You can't cry over, you gotta pick it up and move on.

And, and I had a friend of my dad's that who I thought was a friend who was a business consultant and which I thought was, could come in and help me. And he, he talked a smooth talk and, and I guess if anybody's out there listening before you sign something, get some illegal advice. When you got a contract that's about 10 pages long, just don't trust somebody.

Get some legal advice cause I signed it and then the guy came in and he was a total schnauzer. His goal was to get me outta here and try to put us in bankruptcy so he could turn around and buy it and 10 cents in the dollar, but.

Mike O'Neill: My goodness.

Matt Guse: Case, yeah. Wasn't good. And he always kept telling me everybody hated me here and didn't like me here.

And finally, you know, it really bothered me. I'm just like, I've been in this for 25 years or whatever it's been and. I came in one night about 11 o'clock, and there was a guy running the machine, and I went up to him and he said, you're all right, man. I said, no, actually I'm not all right. He goes, what's the matter?

I says, well, why does everybody hate me here? And he kind of stepped back and looked at me and he said, hate you. He says, the only reason people stay here man is because of you. That's when the light went off. And a few days later, he was no longer here. Watch turned into him suing me and I got my $150,000 education.

Mike O'Neill: Well, I appreciate you sharing that, that's another illustration of hard lessons learned. You know, people ask, Mike, what do you do? And if I use a word consultant, there's a little bit of dubiousness, but people like that give. Consulting, obviously a bad name. But y'all obviously have weathered that very well.

Matt, you mentioned a few minutes ago about being part of a peer group. I'd like to kind of learn a little bit more, is this a peer group of other business leaders that come together?

Matt Guse: Yeah. At that time it was called tab, it was called the alternative board. Stood for, and I don't know, I wasn't manufacturing.

We had a like a plumber in there. We had a electrician, we had a concrete guy, water care company. And then we had a facilitator, probably like you. And then we'd always bring in special guests. Like we would have our attorney, we would have a financial planner come in and they would pop in on the meetings, but we had 30 minutes to.

Talk about our problems. And then we also had to come up with some solutions or we'd take, I take advice from them board members, and then the facilitator would come down here once a month for three or four hours and make sure he's holding me accountable. That what the board suggested and that I'm getting done.

And that's kind of how, I mean, I did that for two or three years and to me it was, it really is what's kind of helped, saves. Was it cheap? No. But was it worth it? Yeah. It. And, you know what I mean? It's, I learned, I mean, I can't really put it a payback or I couldn't write it down a plan, but I knew it helped.

It helped. Yes. I mean, it got me through recession. It got me through a financial crisis. So I mean, that's, that's, that's all I needed to, you know, that's more help pay for itself. And, you know, it's nice, you know, when you're in business, you don't really, it's hard to find someone to talk to. You know, nobody really wants to talk about it.

And where do you go find that? And then you can feel comfortable finding it because, you know, it's, we all sign things and it's all confidential and. You know, we're all, we're all held accountable for it. But it was just nice to, to go someplace and. You know that someone talked my frustrations. Am I, am I crazy for doing this?

Am I crazy for buying a machine? Am I crazy for expanding or should I, you know, that was just nice to hear another opinion that someone from the outside looking in and I, I mean, I highly suggest doing that to. Especially if you're growing. You know, I guess another thing that taught me is if you're growing, if you try growing more than 15% a year, you're gonna be outta control.

So I always try, I always made, we always made sure we didn't get over that 15%, cause it, it can get real ugly in a hurry cause you know, everything, your cash flow, your, your account's receivable, payables can all get affected and it, it just kind of, hit you right in the face. Like, oops, what did I just do? And the bank, you know, the banker bank part?

I, I mean, I didn't know anything about banking and I, I mean, I didn't know much about, still really don't know a lot about it, but I've learned a lot cause the best thing I did since '15, '16 is I hired a part-time CFO.

Mike O'Neill: Yes.

Matt Guse: I didn't, don't need a full-time one.

Mike O'Neill: Right.

Matt Guse: And a company our size. But we needed, I need one for one, one or two days a week just to help me out and, and.

He started out as a consultant and he still is a consultant, but I call him my CFO because he's really, he's helped, he's helped me and everybody here and, and he is just a great asset, great guy, and, and you know, he's taught me so much and thankful for that.

Mike O'Neill: You have offered several great tips. I want to kind of recap some, you just mentioned one, you participated in a peer kind of advisory group.

Whereas other business owners came together and you learned from each other and to some extent held each other accountable. But what that did for you is it gave you an outside perspective. You also mentioned, though, you mentioned in passing, is that when you're owning a business, it's hard and often when you get to the top of the organization, you don't have the latitude.

To who do you turn to? And I'm finding in, in my coaching work, working with business owners, key leaders, it truly is lonely at the top and having someone who can kind of help break through some of the barriers that might kind of crept in. I loved your comment about controlled growth. We all want to growth, but by putting a little bit of a regulator on that, you have found 15% as a magic number not to exceed, but if you do outs, see that, it just gets out of balance quickly. Is that a fair statement there?

Matt Guse: Yep. That's very, that's very, very clear. Yep. I should, I heard, I see more people that got over the higher, well, I grew 50% and then two years later you see them struggling and.

They're gone. Oh, you kind of, you kind of seen it coming. You heard that, and it's just like, okay.

Mike O'Neill: The last thing you mentioned in rapid succession was that you have someone who kind of functions as a fractional CFO and I'm seeing that quite often. I, I know personally too, fractional CFOs. And there's a niche out there, organizations that coin, they can't quite justify a full-time, but they need the expertise.

It's expertise beyond accounting. It might even be expertise beyond a controller, but it's that strategic perspective. And so, you've embraced it. It's been helpful to you and your business. And I'm seeing more and more companies be open to bringing in a fractional CFO I've seen that in other disciplines as well.

You know, Matt, as, as I read your bio. I also picked up on some other things I'd like you to comment on, and that is you give back to your community. I know that you have served on a school board. I know that, that you and your company invest in particularly young adults who are exploring manufacturing as a profession.

Tell me a little more about that. I can understand why that might be the case in the business you're in, but on a personal level, what have you found has been most meaningful to you as you spend time? In those roles.

Matt Guse: Yeah. It's kind of my part-time job going to all the schools and talking to kids, because when I was in school I just, I was, I was heading down the wrong path because nobody only took me under mentorship and just.

A teacher just told me I was gonna be a loser and being successful and, and that, that kind of drives me still to this day. And, you know, so I want to try to help kids. You know, these days, every, I mean, what's the divorce rate? 60% now in America, if not more.

Mike O'Neill: Yes.

Matt Guse: Broken homes. Well, kids don't have, dads don't have mothers, so they're just kind of.

Out there and doing their own thing. And if, if you don't grab them and pull them in and show them a path to a career path or where they can get up in the morning and feel like they have a purpose, they, the bad things are gonna happen. So those are the kids that really attract me. And you know, once you find, show them their gifts and talents, they become so fruitful that now they're generating energy and they're, they're helping other kids and it just grows.

And I mean, We have so many stories you know, untold stories here that people that we've brought in right off the street that, you know, can't afford to go to school living at home and they're 17, 18, they don't have appearance. We brought them in here. We showed them how to get a driver's license. We showed them that we care.

We showed them that they're a person, they have a gift and talent and. They're a good, you know, we show them a career path and man, they're, now, they're got homes and they're getting married and thanking everybody and, you know, well, yeah. You know, that just, that culture just continues to develop. So, I mean, you have to get out in your community and you have to find these folks and show them, because otherwise your, your, your community's gonna die.

Schools are gonna die. Die and hurt. And I always tell people, I go see the superintendent and principal, you know, every, they're trying to hire more guidance counselors and cause you know, the Covid people, kids, but, you know, bring them into an internship. And that's the thing, you know, I bring these kids in for tours, you know, and I try to talk them into job shot and here and other places.

So when they get outta school, they don't go waste a bunch of money in the college or a career path that they, oh, why did they do this? Let's make those decisions before they get to be seniors. And so they're on the right path and they save a bunch of money. And you know, nowadays you can graduate high school with a college degree and a, and a high school degree, which is fabulous.

And everybody wins there. And cause you know, the more money you got, you know, you're gonna spend it in grocery stores, you're gonna buy some stuff, you're gonna buy toys. So, no, it's just, it drives me every day when I see here, you know, trying to help people like that. I mean, you want to get satisfaction and go help a couple kids outta school that are going down the wrong path.

And just see them blossom in a year or two. I mean, there's nothing more satisfying than seeing that I have.

Mike O'Neill: Yeah. As I listened to you, it also seems to me that given how long that y'all have been in business, you're now affecting the next generation. In a real way and leaving kind of a, a impact and opportunity for these folks cause you believe them.

Matt Guse: Yep.

Mike O'Neill: This is probably the topic for another whole podcast, but manufacturing, I think it's a bad rap. People assume things about manufacturing that's often wrong. Manufacturing can be a very rich and rewarding area to work in. It's much more diverse than people realize, but by you not just sitting on, but going into these schools, giving them opportunity to see firsthand what the real world is like.

You're making a difference. Your company's making a difference. It shows.

Matt Guse: Well, thank you. And you know, that's, that's what we're, that's really what my dad's purpose was when we started MRS, you know, most people to go get a good job had to leave in Augusta and, you know, we always wanted to give that opportunity so people could stay in the area.

And, you know, living in a big city these days is a little, a little riskier than what it used to be maybe 20, 30 years ago. So people like to. You know, like to walk out their back door and take a walk in the woods or go hunting or take their four-wheelers and just more nature and still have a good job, and make a good living and have a successful life.

That's, that's what, that's what it's all about.

Mike O'Neill: You know, as you reflect on this conversation, it's been kind of far ranging topics on that. What do you want to be the takeaways?

Matt Guse: You know, I, you know, if anybody's listening and they're struggling, you know, there's people that'll help you. I mean, it, it. It's not, there's people out there that you don't, they won't even, you know, like me, call me up, I'll help anybody.

I'm not gonna charge you thousands of dollars. I'm just here to help you. I want to see people succeed. That's, that's one of my goals. I'm, nothing makes me more happier when someone succeeds in life. And that's a success story. And then, you know, some people get jealous over it. Nah, that's not me. And, and it shouldn't be because everybody works hard and it doesn't.

To get to where you're at isn't like the one instant millionaire overnight. It's, it takes hard work and people don't see that. They just see, oh, he's got a fancy home and a fancy truck and everybody's done the work for him. That's not the case. It's so many people have helped me along the way that I can, I've had, I still have a mentor.

I call up and helps me and vice versa. People call me up and I help them. So it's just you reap what you sow. So if you do good to others, they'll do good to you. And that's what I tell kids every day. Another thing I tell people when they go to the gas station or the grocery store, just say hello.

Have a good day. And you know, it, it, well, you might have just changed someone's life, you don't know. But I can tell you, if you start doing that in about a week or two your time, you're gonna start seeing people, you're gonna be happier. People around you are gonna be happier because, you know, it just, it grows on you.

Trust me. So just, I guess that's what, that's all I can, that's, hope that answered that question.

Mike O'Neill: I think it, it answered it very, very well. If folks wanna take you up on that offer and they want to reach out to connect with you, what's the best way for them to do that?

Matt Guse: You know, I'm, I'm on a lot of the social media platforms through LinkedIn.

If you just type up Matthew Guse, you can get me there. MRS Machining in Augusta, you can. Looked up my website, you know, miss, this isn't too hard to remember and just call the front desk. You know, we don't have voicemail here. If someone's calling here, they, they want an answer. They don't want to talk to a voice machine or, so I'll get the message.

You know, I don't, some days I'm not always here and, but someday I'll make the, make a attempt to get back there. You need it one way or form.

Mike O'Neill: So let me clarify. For those who are listening, it's Matt Guse, G u s e. The name of their company is MRS Machining, and he mentioned Augusta. That's Augusta, Wisconsin.

Matt Guse: Yeah.

Mike O'Neill: That being said, Matt, you clearly do walk the talk. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us today.

Matt Guse: Well, thanks for having me on. I've always loved telling the story, and like I said, if I can help somebody get better, that's, that's what I'm all about.

Mike O'Neill: Well, it clearly show. I also wanna thank our listeners for joining us today.

If you'd like to subscribe to this podcast, you can just go to your browser and type in unstuck.show. While you're there, if you like, you can also subscribe to our weekly management blog that we call the Bottom Line. So if you've been listening and you realize I'm trying to grow my business, but the people problems have slowed me down, let's talk.

 Head over to bench-builders.com and schedule a call. I'd love to speak with you. So I wanna thank you for joining us, and I hope you have picked up on some tips from Matt that'll help you get unstuck and on target. Until next time.

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