Precise. Meticulous. The belief that a job should be done with care and tact. These things have kept The Machining Center open for business since 1988. The Machining Center is a customer-machining shop. But to look at where this cornerstone of the region’s manufacturing sector is, you have to first look at the man behind it all.
Dick Wolters opened up the Machining Center in 1988, located at 582, Hamilton Road in Belleville. And while it started as a one-man-show, it certainly hasn’t stayed like that.
“We now employ 20 people in the Quinte area,” Wolters says. “We’re a niche business that has an ability to change with the needs of the community, clients and the economic situation.
“We service our customer with whatever their needs are.”
The Machining Center is incredibly versatile, working in packaging, wire and cable, food processing, plastics, medical, automotive, aerospace, nuclear, and paper just to name a few.
“While the industries are vastly different, the disciplines of mechanical design run throughout all of them,” Wolters says.
Wolters is the quintessential machinist; he really has done it all.
“I can remember a customer walking in one day in misery over his new denture,” he says. “After going to the dentist several times he couldn’t get the adjustment right with them. It’s not my field of expertise, but I did take the time to listen to what he was describing and made the adjustment for him right then and there.
“After a few tries, he left smiling. I’ve tried to give all of our customers the same kind of service over the years.”
By all measures, Wolters has been successful in that endeavor. Among glowing reviews online, they’ve also won the Quinte Manufacturing Business of the Year Award, among others.
To Wolters, quantifying success is more than awards.
“For me it’s the ability to make a difference and see the tangible results. I like applying my experience to challenges, and coming up with potential solutions,” he says.
But like any true entrepreneur, time hasn’t eased the tension that comes with the territory.
“Even after 29 years I can still get that same feeling about ‘have we got everything right?’,” he says. “Are we accessible? Is there value in our service? Ask any business owner about what it feels like if things are a little slow for a while. Is it me or is the situation? It always goes back to day one.”
“Maybe that’s what keeps us sharp.”