Precision Machining Alumnus Launches Career at Hartwig
Manufacturing success has been a constant for Ricky Hochecker, a 2016 Precision Machining South Tech graduate from Parkway South. As a recently hired Applications Engineer, he is now enjoying a rewarding career with Hartwig, Inc. of St. Louis.
Hochecker was a star student and strong competitor during his high school and college career. He earned first place medals in SkillsUSA CNC Turning competitions at both the district and state levels for South Tech, then went on to place 2nd in the country at the national competition in 2016. At Ranken, he continued his winning streak and earned 1st and 2nd place medals in 2017 and 2018 at both state and national competitions. “Ricky was an excellent student who was extremely dedicated to his education. He always pushed himself to be the best he could be and worked very hard to hone his machining skills while here at South Technical High School. I was confident he was going to be successful,” said Bob Arcipowski, Precision Machining instructor.
Exploring his interest in machining during high school paid off for Hochecker as his South Tech program more than prepared him for Ranken. “I was helping other students in the beginning a lot,” he said. Arcipowski guides his students through many post-secondary projects to ensure they know what to expect and ready for success at the college level.
Hochecker’s profession wasn’t on his own radar until he was recruited by Hartwig during a career fair at Ranken. Application Engineers provide the support required by clients before and after purchasing a computer numerated controller (CNC) machine for advanced manufacturing. Automotive, aerospace, construction, agriculture, fluid power, medical, and oil and energy industries use CNC technology for a wide variety of production tasks. Careers in this field are expected to grow slightly faster than average over the next decade and offer a solid salary starting around $50,000 which goes up from there, all dependent upon years of experience and capabilities.
At Hartwig, Hochecker serves clients in Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa, but the company’s reach also extends to Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. His job requires some travel and he will often stay in a city for a few weeks as he is training employees. Additionally, he offers training at the company’s “Hartwig University” and strives to provide excellent customer service.
Craig Jung, STL Regional President for Hartwig, stated: “We are very fortunate to have Ricky on our team. His knowledge, and desire to help our customers is unique for someone his age. The education he received in high school and technical college did a great job preparing him for the real world of manufacturing. We’re looking forward to a long term career with Ricky at Hartwig.”