177: Strengthening Your Engineering Team through Co-Ops and Employee Ownership with Marcease Warren

Well, this episode is certainly a trip down memory lane! 

Host Chris Luecke is joined by former college classmate Marcease Warren, the VP of Manufacturing at Sentry Equipment. Chris and Marcease catch up on what’s changed since they were pulling all-nighters trying to finish projects at Marquette’s College of Engineering 

In this episode, we hear about the trick to scaling a manufacturing department, leading a team of engineers, and the importance of a good company culture where everyone’s on the same page. Marcease shares his take on Industry 4.0 in the engineering space and some examples of how automation is changing things at Sentry Equipment.  

We also talk a bit about Sentry Equipment’s employee ownership program. Marcease busts some myths about this type of program and explains some of the benefits of employees having a stake in the company.  


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3 Quick Things from this Episode

  1. An employee ownership program is mutually beneficial for both employees and the company. Not only do employees get a stake in the company, but it also drives them to be more competitive and innovative. 
  2. Doing your job well as an engineer is all about eliminating your job – in other words, doing it so well that processes are replaced with something better.  
  3. If a company is ready to adopt tech that will change people’s jobs, it’s important to include everyone in the conversation. That way, you can avoid tension and resistance to the changes and get invaluable feedback from those actually doing the work. 

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Tweetable Quotes

  • “You can throw out the buzzwords, industry 4.0, IoT, whatever you want to call it. But automation is automation at the end of the day. So it’s just a matter of incorporating those various tools to automate something that is manual right now.”
  • “We had a project where we incorporated a laser into the shop, and not only did we pull in the individuals that we thought were going to be directly responsible for the equipment, we pulled in any and everybody that wanted to be an ally.” 
  • [On employee ownership] “A lot of people think that they’re putting their own money on the line and that’s not the case. You’re literally getting something for free. Your trade into the organization is your time and your commitment, not necessarily your financial contribution.

Please Scroll Down for Recommended Resources from this Episode

Do you want to connect with other leaders that are moving the needle in manufacturing everyday? Then make sure to join us in the Manufacturing Happy Hour Industry Community on LinkedIn. 

SwipeGuide is empowering frontline excellence through standard work and skills development. The clear-cut platform lets frontline teams coordinate instructions, checklists, and training to optimize processes. Hear how HEINEKEN is using SwipeGuide in Episode 167. 

What We Discuss with Marcease

  • We reminisce on college days spent designing Mars rovers at Marquette’s College of Engineering 
  • Marcease explains a little about what Sentry Equipment does  
  • How Marcease’s role has evolved in the engineering and manufacturing space 
  • How you can scale a manufacturing department  
  • What industry 4.0 really means for manufacturing and engineering 
  • Examples of how tech is changing things at Sentry Equipment 
  • Tips for smaller businesses who want to evolve but are hesitant because of the cost/time 
  • Why company culture is key in building a competitive team 
  • What people get wrong about employee ownership and the benefits of running a program 

Recommended Resources

  • Sentry Equipment, delivering true representative sampling and analysis techniques and equipment to customers around the globe 
  • Marquette University Co-Op Program, Marquette’s College of Engineering works with more than 200 leading engineering and technology companies across 25 states that hire our students for co-ops and internships, helping our students to build skills, gain invaluable professional experience and make key connections that will help them successfully launch their careers 
  • Rosati’s, Oconomowoc, WI location of the pizza joint where real engineering work gets done… 

Connect with Marcease and Sentry Equipment on LinkedIn

Marcease Warren | Sentry Equipment