October 29, 2020
Get to Know: Matt Simpson, Trane Engineer Unites Educators and Manufacturers
Matt Simpson (center)
Matt Simpson is deeply passionate about manufacturing, especially when it comes to helping the next generation of skilled workers see the endless possibilities a career in the field can offer.
The quality and manufacturing engineering leader, based in La Crosse, has been involved with The Upper Mississippi Manufacturer’s Alliance (TUMMA) for several years, and currently serves as the organization’s board chairman.
When Matt noticed difficulties filling open welding and machining positions, he wondered if it was just a Trane problem, or if a wider trend was occurring.
“For a long time, there was a strong push for students to seek out traditional four year degrees,” he says. “After researching, I realized the declining interest in technical trades was actually a nationwide problem – and I knew I had to help where I could.”
A revamp towards unification
As TUMMA started meeting more regularly, the group recognized they all had the same shared resource gap – a diminishing pipeline of individuals coming into the manufacturing workforce.
“We formed a K-12 education task force to discuss our shared difficulties, student and school needs, best practices and how to develop more coordinated curriculum,” Matt says. “That quickly generated a lot of interest from local educators.”
With information from the task force, the TUMMA Board knew a revamp of their mission and vision statements would help their goal of aligning local employers in order to work together and bolster the pipeline of future employees. And so the new statements were born –
Vision: “Connecting the Employees of Tomorrow with the Manufacturers of Today”
Mission: “To build a strong manufacturing workforce of the future by uniting manufacturers, educators, and students.”
While TUMMA continuously finds new ways to evolve, they remain focused on strong collaboration with local schools to not only show what their needs are as manufacturers, but also to help schools unite and develop a continuous pipeline of skilled technical workers – together.
Support from the La Crosse leadership team has also proven to be a key accomplishment for both TUMMA, and Matt personally.
“I knew I had a passion for this and wanted to make it work,” says Matt. “With a reputation for servant leadership, I reached out to a few members of our local leadership team to learn how I could reach a larger audience. Acting on their advice and suggestions, I started connecting with more schools, more frequently and was able to really reach students – getting them truly excited about the opportunities available in the manufacturing sector.”
Seeing student’s flourish keeps Matt motivated, and propels him to succeed in his own career as well.
“Being able to showcase Trane’s culture and who we really are boosts the way you feel about your work, and speaks volumes about the importance of joining these types of organizations,” he says.
Get to know Matt:
Where are you from?
Onalaska, WI – Went to Holmen High School
Who would you most like to have dinner with, dead or alive?
Albert Einstein – My undergraduate degree was in Physics but I believe Albert Einstein’s wisdom extended beyond science.
How would your best friend describe you?
Honest, straightforward, trustworthy, speaks from the heart, kind, funny, good natured guy
What do you do in your free time (aside from TUMMA, should you have any free time after that J)?
During the summer months I love spending time with family and friends on the Mississippi River. If you have never been to La Crosse, WI, it is a beautiful part of the country.
If you could invent anything, what would it be?
Create a food generator - In Star Trek they could generate food like a 3D printer which would solve all world hunger.
What’s an accomplishment in life you’re most proud of? (professionally or personally)
Raising my two boys and being a great husband is my proudest accomplishment.
You’re a new addition the crayon box. What color are you and why?
You are asking an introverted engineer what color he would be, that is funny in itself! My favorite color is blue as I am color blind and blue is one of the only colors that stands out to me.