Learning the ropes through Cadet U

There’s a lot to process and learn when starting a new job.  Here at Cadet, part of that new job experience is getting to learn what everyone else does around the building. We call it Cadet U, a program that’s been offered to all new employees for the past two years. The idea is to allow everyone to obtain a solid grasp on our core business.

Naturally as one of the new guys around the office, I recently went through the program. I spent several hours in our fabrication, paint and shipping departments. As a guy who usually deals with digital content, spending time building stuff in a warehouse was a big change of pace. It was pretty darn fun too.

OK. So this isn't me, it's XX from fabrication. He's one of the guys who got me started working on this press where I produced a few different parts, including end-caps for our softheat baseboards.
OK. So this isn’t me, it’s Louis one of our material handlers in the plant. He’s one of the guys who got me started working on this press where I produced a few different parts, including end-caps for our Softheat baseboards.

My first foray into fabrication was making parts for our Softheat baseboard using a 43-ton press. I’ll be honest, at first I was a little worried that I’d finish the day with fewer fingers than when I started. After running through the paces for five or so parts, that fear went away and I was able to start getting into the groove.

I’m happy to say that my mentors, Louis and Lane, said I have what it takes. In fact, they said that if things don’t work out in this social media position, they’d be happy to have me in fabrication. I’m hoping to stay right here in my current job but was certainly flattered by their offer.

I worked on about a hundred of these bad boys, that is end caps for our softheat baseboards.
I worked on about a hundred of these bad boys, which are end caps for our Softheat baseboards.

Next up was the paint shop where I worked on a line for a few hours putting unpainted parts on a conveyor belt. First off I’d like to point out that the paint shop is hotter than any other part of our plant and I was there on a 90 degree day.

It. Was. Hot.

Heat aside, it’s tough to keep up with these guys. They’d pull a large cart filled with unpainted parts up next to me and I’d have to grab them and attach them to small hooks on a continuously moving belt that then takes the parts through a wash, paint and curing. I’ll just say that they had to stop the line at least once to fix my mistakes.

The next day I spent several hours preparing Home Depot orders in the shipping department. That means finding product, grouping it together and making sure it is ready to ship via UPS.

Kristin works the baseboard line in shipping. She was one of the folks who was nice enough to let me "help" on my Cadet U adventure.
Kristin works the baseboard line in shipping. She was one of the folks who was nice enough to let me “help” on my Cadet U adventure.

I was also able to observe our assembly lines where the heaters that our customers use in their homes are built. (I would have felt bad for whoever bought a product that was assembled by me instead of one of our top-notch staffers.)

As someone who is moving into a new job (not to mention a new industry), I feel like Cadet U was just what I needed to get a bigger picture of what happens inside our building. It also gave me a few ideas that will likely turn into future blog posts.

Thanks everyone for the great experience.

Paul Suarez

Paul Suarez

Paul is a highly caffeinated, uber organized family man that keeps himself busy finding and sharing the stories that make Cadet a great company. When he isn't writing, or shooting photos and videos, you'll likely find him searching for killer deals on Craigslist, playing classic Nintendo games or quoting his favorite movies and TV shows.

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