To Keith Erickson, seeing his name in the long, rolling credits at the end of the movie would be more than enough. That, and the satisfaction of knowing he built the sets that framed all of the action and drama.
Keith did get a taste of working in show business when he worked on set construction for some commercials and for one season of the television program, “The Game.” Today he works in the slightly less glamorous world of trade show exhibits as our CNC router operator.
Don’t get him wrong, he loves building trade show exhibits for many of the same reasons he finds set building appealing. “I like that every job is different,” Keith said. “We’re not building the same thing over and over again. There’s always a new challenge that we have to find solutions for.”
In his role as the CNC router operator, Keith is responsible for making exhibit parts and components that are designed by the engineers, then handing them off to the fabricators. He programs the CNC router to cut pieces out of wood, laminate, acrylic or plastic, making clean cuts and using material as efficiently as possible.
Operating the CNC router combines Keith’s love of building with his love of computers. When he first took over the job as the CNC operator, he took the time to learn the software so he could make it work better. “I was able to spend a week or two to understand how it all worked,” he said. “Then tweaked the settings to get better results.”
The parts he makes with his machine vary widely in size and shape. He especially enjoys the challenging jobs, like cutting custom logos or designs out of a panel.
While he still dreams of Hollywood, he’s enjoying his work in our shop. “I like being in the shop environment,” he said. “I enjoy contributing as part of a team, solving problems and building things.”
But what he enjoys most is knowing that people enjoy his work, even if he doesn’t get a lot of recognition for it. Whether it’s the on the floor of a trade show or something less exciting, like a sci-fi thriller.