manufacturing services

Craig Thompson, Engineering Technician Supervisor

I started my journey with Columbia Tech and the Coghlin Companies as part of an acquisition 10 years ago of Stonebridge Inc.  Stonebridge Inc. was a precision machine and weld shop where I was the certified welder for eight years prior to the acquisition by Columbia Tech.

At Stonebridge our main customers were in the military and oceanographic industries where I fabricated and welded a variety of projects. I was, at that time, one of a few in all of New England who were certified to weld for certain military and DOD customers. I trained directly with our biggest military customer and became certified for Visual Weld Inspection per Mil. Std. 2219.

I was also able to learn CNC machine set up and was a CNC operator at a time when welding was slow.

After about two years, it became clear to the Coghlin Companies and Columbia Tech Executive Team that performing in-house machining and welding was not cost effective for the company’s model of Concept to Commercialization™ for the global market, so my job description began to morph.

I was approached by my supervisor at the time and asked what I thought about assembly work. I had no idea what was really involved, and only had a video like the one below in my mind as a frame of reference. My views were certainly about to change!

gif of charlie chaplin movie assembly line

I have now been deeply involved in electromechanical assembly work on several very interesting projects over the past eight years and have been able to learn a variety of new skills.  I have been exposed to many different types of innovative technologies and have worked on projects from large capacity printers to data servers (where even my welding skills were required), to a 750kw wind turbine. The wind turbine houses 60’ long blades and weighs 60,000 pounds! After the completion of the large scale wind turbine, I moved to a project the very next day working with MIT graduate engineers on a small print head for a groundbreaking 3D printer.

I have worked with the Columbia Tech manufacturing team and, more recently, the engineering team. I love the diversification of projects and working side by side with a group of very talented engineers. I have been able to help develop work instructions and add my perspective, having been part of the manufacturing group for so long. 

For me it’s all about being able to be a part of a team and doing whatever it takes to get the job done, even learning new skills. “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome”.

Thank you Columbia Tech for offering me that opportunity. Semper Fi USMC 72-76.