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Metalcasting: An Olson Family Legacy

Pam Lechner

Where does the next generation of foundry workers come from? In the case of the Olsons, it’s sons who were exposed to the industry through their father and the opportunity to take metalcasting-related classes at Michigan Tech, one of FEF’s certified schools.

Erik Olson attended Michigan Tech, graduating in 1996 with a degree in Environmental Engineering. He has been at his current position as Health, Safety, Environmental Manager at Cadillac Casting for 23 years.

Erik Olson had two internships and a co-op during his college years.

“When I was ready to graduate, I interviewed for the job (at Cadillac Casting) along with nine other students from my department,” he said. “Many of them had better grades than I did, but my work experience gave me the edge. I felt a level of comfort and confidence as I started my job at the foundry and that came from my internship and coop experiences.”

And now two of his sons are following in his footsteps attending Michigan Tech—both mechanical engineering students.

When asked how he became interested in metalcasting, Seth Olson responded, “My father has always been in the metalcasting industry, but he never really pushed it on my brother or me. I got interested in metalcasting because it is very interesting to me how all of the small yet intricate processes combine to produce a final casting.”

“My college classes have helped tremendously with the internship I had this past summer. The materials science class, along with the engineering classes, helped me understand the foundry and complete the tasks that I was given during my internship.”

Leif Olson said, “I became interested in metalcasting on my first tour of Cadillac Casting as a younger high school student. I was glad to learn that my major is actually a big part of any successful casting-oriented project.”

Regarding his future in the industry, Leif Olson said, “I’d like to think that someday I can work in the metalcasting industry as an Automation Engineer, but wherever I end up, the experiences gained from my education and internship experiences have been very valuable to my development.”

Seth’s goal for the future is “to one day be an automation engineer in a large foundry setting and to optimize the ergonomics and quality of the foundry processes.”

“My two internships were the perfect opportunity to gain knowledge in that field,” he said. 

Click here to see this story as it appears in the December 2019 issue of Modern Casting.