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Dodge County Women Part of Manufacturing Growth Story

This article is featured in the October issue of Inspire Magazine.

Manufacturing is a big part of the growth story for Beaver Dam and the greater Dodge County region. With the hope of growth come challenges for manufacturers. As of March 2018, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was 2.9%, the lowest in years.  What’s more, manufacturing jobs require technical skills, training or experience, and Dodge County, as well as the entire nation, is experiencing a shortage of skilled trades.   According to the United States Census Bureau, women hold 29% of the manufacturing jobs in the US, but they represent almost half (47.5%) of the working population. Women are an untapped resource to fill manufacturing jobs.

The state of Wisconsin has invested over $200 million from 2014 – 2018 to support workforce development. Locally, this investment helps manufacturers right here in Dodge County.  Moraine Park Technical College (with campuses in Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend) can offer manufacturing courses and boot camp programs using grant funding that lowers training costs for companies to send employees and individuals interested in manufacturing careers. In addition to low tuition fees, students can often choose a fast track option for learning a skilled trade, reducing the time to get access to family-supporting jobs in manufacturing.

With all the energy from manufacturers, our technical college system and the state, why aren’t more women interested in manufacturing? One report by the Institute for Women’s Policy said that women and girls drop out or avoid STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education because of a “lack of role models, manufacturing stereotyping and the perception that jobs are less family-friendly and flexible.”

Perception is something that the Manufacturing Business Alliance (MBA) of the greater Dodge County region is trying to change:  The perception that manufacturing jobs are misrepresented as being repetitive, low-skilled and dull, not to mention requiring a lot of physical strength.  Pam Korth, Chairperson of the MBA states, “Most of the time, this is not the case, computers and automation are common parts of manufacturing facilities, which is why we need skilled workers.”  The MBA is a 40+ member group of businesses, organizations, schools and state agencies that work to grow the appreciation of manufacturing careers through promotion and important alliances.  

Retaining a quality workforce is on the mind of every manufacturer in Dodge County. Women and millennials overall are looking at culture and flexibility in their career and employer choices.  More and more manufacturers are trying to innovate around work flexibility, mentorship and career development.  Pam Korth adds, “If you are looking for an opportunity to choose your own career path and enjoy variety in your work, manufacturing is a great career choice.  Being able to come to work knowing that you will make a difference and that you will have opportunities to perform a variety of work that includes critical thinking, communications and teamwork is exciting!  Manufacturers understand that work-life balance is important and opportunities for flexible work schedules and generous paid time off programs are definitely available.”

Todd Hayes is the Economic & Workforce Development Specialist for Moraine Park Technical College; he says “Women are absolutely a good fit for Moraine Park’s boot camps! Our goal is to provide training and experience to get started in a career they might’ve otherwise never considered. Women are often able to bring a different perspective to the job and workplace, in addition to being highly capable employees.” Moraine Park Boot Camps are supported by state grants and are low or no-cost programs in welding and CNC (Computer Numerical Control). The college also offers 15 manufacturing programs in areas ranging from Manufacturing Fundamentals and Fabrication to Electromechanical and Industrial Maintenance.

The advantages to a manufacturing career are many. Manufacturing has among the highest paying jobs for non-college degreed workers. There are also STEM manufacturing careers available that require either technical or college degrees. Further, the employer-provided benefits, including health insurance, retirement and paid time off, is a premium over non-manufacturing jobs. There are real opportunities for career development from process improvement positions to supervision and tech support, and there are real opportunities for women.

Each year during Manufacturing Month in October, the MBA has a series of events involving many area schools and technical education students with tours of area manufacturers and team building activities. All students are encouraged to tour the facilities of participating area manufacturers to see people working and manufacturing products.  These programs help build awareness with students and families. In Dodge County, manufacturing is the largest employment sector with 27% of the area’s population working in the industry. Ultimately, the goal is to expand the skilled labor pool for area manufacturers and female workers are needed which will help grow the manufacturing sector.  As manufacturers grow and prosper, so will the economy of the greater Dodge County region. 

When do you need an R-stamp for repairs to an ASME tank?

The National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessels requires a Certificate of Authorization and R-Stamp for the repair or alteration of boilers, pressure vessels and other pressure retaining equipment.

Any repairs to the ASME pressure zones on tanks require an R-Stamp. Any repairs not in that designated area will not require an R-Stamp.

Apache's Field Service Technicians are fully certified ASME welders. For over 40 years, Apache continues to maintain rounds of audits and inspections from ASME compliance and safety professionals that speak to the consistency of the welders and the effectiveness of the quality control department.

Our Field Service team are  R-Stamp certified. Apache will also provide all compliance addendum documentation required for ASME repairs of modifications in the field.

A host of modifications are available to ASME and non-ASME tanks and vessels. We offer a feasibility audit to compare field modifications to the cost of a new system.

Call Joe Hertel, Field Services Manager,  at 920-356-7334 to discuss your application.

The Specialty Services of Apache's Contract Group

Apache has extensive in-house fabrication processes and machines that are required to make our vessels, tanks and custom equipment.  The same machines and know-how are used in our contract manufacturing group to produce anything from repeatable parts to full assemblies.


  • Parts requiring multiple processes
  • Heavy industrial components
  • Large format fabrication
  • High compliance metal finishing
  • Sanitary equipment fabrication
  • Quality and specialized weldments
  • Grinding and polishing
  • Low volume full assemblies

For more information, call Ryan Metzdorf at 920.342.1186 

Sometimes Tank Damage Isn't as Bad as You Think

Sometimes things just happen, like a tool accidentally falling into the tank and causing damage.  The damage might be a bent agitator or it might be damage to a side wall or baffles.  We see these kinds of things all the time and we can fix them most of the time.

Repair and refurbish experience:
  • Repair and replace agitator shafts
  • Add agitation to a non-agitation vessel
  • Refurbish outlet valves, seals, or-rings and gaskets
  • Relocate nozzles and fittings
  • Replace manways
  • Repair jackets (conventional, dimple, half-pipe)
  • Add cooling or heating coils
  • Detect and repair leaks
  • Refinish product contact surfaces
  • Repair sidewalls
  • Change bottom head configurations
  • Modify tanks, platforms, catwalks for repurposing
  • Convert non-pressured vessel to pressurized (if approved by engineering)

Download the Tank Group Field Services flyer

New E-Book: Factory Tests and ASME Certifications Explained

An important part of quality assurance is the process of manufacturing a vessel and the completion of required certifications to meet ASME compliance.  Equally important is the understanding of these processes and procedures, by all parties from project engineering manager to purchasing teams.

Apache's quality experts have put together a informative resource on factory tests and certifications for ASME tanks and vessels. It is important to have an understanding with customers about what is involved with testing and documentation requirements.

Highlights include:

A review of factory tests
Manufacturing process that require reporting
An overview of certifications
The TOP (Turn Over Packet) Documentation Package


Bob Dolan is Retiring from Field Services after 22 1/2 Years at Apache


After 22 ½ years in Apache’s field services group, Bob Dolan is retiring! Apache Stainless is grateful for Bob’s many years of service and sharing his expertise with engineering, sales and customers.   

Bob recounts some memories through the years with one of his first jobs completing assembly of six tanks (partially built at Apache) in 1996.  It was extremely hot with a tight timeline. When the tank arrived, the roof was already off for it and other equipment to be set. The team worked through the night to set and weld the vessel to be out of the way of the day shift millwrights.

“I enjoy the work.  It is gratifying to help customers and I enjoy meeting people,” Bob expressed.  “In the first 18 months, I went from a beginner to a STEP 7 certified welder.  After 22 ½ years, I believe I’ve welded and serviced tanks throughout the entire U.S.”

“The most challenging job I was on was a tank with a cone bottom.  At first sight, it looked like maybe it couldn’t be done. The bottom had to be cut off to get inside.  Then I had to service and polish it while hanging upside down.  I made a platform to lay upside down, 25 ft. off the floor.  That project took one week.”

Bob recalls another project where an extremely heavy 32” flange wasn't lining up with the pump.  The company had an option to bring in new equipment which would have been costly and time-consuming. Bob modified an elbow pipe leading to the flange that ultimately allowed a perfect fit with the pump.

“They didn’t think I could do that one, but we did it. My advice to serving customers and creating solutions is to ‘keep it simple’. Don’t overthink it, most of the time a solution is more cost and time effective for the customer and Apache with a simple approach and customers will agree.”

Bob has been a member of the Free Masons for over 33 years. “Free Masons are guided by a code of morals, type of lifestyle, honesty and integrity. I think that it fits in well with the service industry and I’ve tried to do my best to live up to that code.” Bob adds.

In his retirement, Bob is going to get to his rebuilding work on the five antique Harley Davidson motorcycles in his home shop. He is planning time for more travel and spend time with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

“It has been rewarding working for a company that holds itself to high standards. I’ve always enjoyed working at Apache and the feeling of self-satisfaction of helping customers. One time, I had a customer say, ‘When I saw you walk through the door, I know everything was going to be okay’.” 

All of us at Apache Stainless wish Bob a happy and healthy retirement!

It's Manufacturing Day at Apache Stainless

Apache Stainless is excited to once again host Tech Ed students at one of three different "Manufacturing Day" events.  These events are organized by the Manufacturing Business Alliance (MBA) of the Dodge County Region to include area high schools, area manufacturers and the Moraine Park Technical College. 

The Manufacturing Business Alliance of the Dodge County Region was formed in 2013. The group has been engaged in providing networking between manufacturers, business and educational institutions and works directly with the Wisconsin Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin for resources and support. MBA's activities include marketing and communication programs and public events to promote manufacturing in the greater Dodge County, Wisconsin region.

Tours and presentations are followed by lunch and an overview of technical education courses and programs, given by Moraine Park Technical College.  In the video, the students compete for prizes in a popular activity to work on team problem solving and time management.

Apache Exhibits at FEW (Fuel Ethanol Workshop) Booth 1637

Apache Stainless is exhibiting at the FEW (Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo) on Jun 19 - 21st, 2017 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minnesota. This is the 33rd year that the show has been running, where everyone in the industry from scientists to vendors can hear about future trends, learn about new technology and network with experts in the industry. And this is the 18th year that Mike Peterson is exhibiting , Apache's expert in tank and vessel sales support for the industry. Visit Mike at Apache's booth, #1637.

Ethanol is a renewable fuel made from corn and other plant materials known as "biomass". More than 95% of US gasoline contains ethanol which oxygenates the fuel and reduces air pollution.  Apache Stainless has proudly been supplying this environmentally driven and innovative industry since 1975.  We fabricate Mix, Tanks, CO2 Scrubbers, Yeast Tanks, Distillation Columns, Atmospheric Tanks and ASME Vessels to the Biofuel and Ethanol industry.

Visit Mike Peterson at Booth #1637 or give him a call at 920-356-7337.

Benefits of Passivation and Electropolishing

Pickle passivation is the immersion of metal in a nitric-hydrofluoric acid bath. Pickled stainless material has a light matte appearance. Benefits include ease of sterilization and corrosion resistance.

Electropolishing is the immersion of metal in a charged bath of sulfuric and phosphoric acid. Benefits include ease of sterilization, improved cleaning properties, corrosion resistance and a mirror finish look.

Apache is a manufacturer of small and large vessels and food processing equipment. We can handle small parts or assemblies as large as our tanks that we build, with larger pieces possible with the use of fixtures or double dipping.

Visit STAINLESS FINISHING to download our brochures, white papers and watch videos on material finishing.

Spin the Wheel - Learn about our groups!

Apache Stainless has four different product groups, each specializing in working with stainless steel: Large ASME Tanks, Small / Portable Vessels, Contract Manufacturing and Mepaco - food processing equipment.

Our technicians and fabricators are versed in working across all product groups, which provides efficient production and creates a very skilled and knowledgeable production team. Apache's welders are ASME certified and newly hired welders are supported and trained to get their certification.

The Large ASME Tank group produces tanks in many industries using stainless and other high alloys. These tanks and vessels are constructed for fuel refineries, ethanol plants, chemical industries, food and beverage processing facilities, biotechnology companies, health and beauty plants and in water treatment facilities.

The Small/Portable Vessel group offers both a standard line and customized tanks and vessels, ranging from a few ounces to 100 gallons. These tanks and vessels serve industries that are highly regulated in terms of material, traceability, welds and governmental certifications.

The Contract Manufacturing group offers custom fabrication, assembly, gantry drilling, laser cutting, welding and metal finishing. Our in-house metal finishing includes pickle passivation and electropolishing. We can handle small parts and larger components, like our tanks, with the use of fixtures or double dipping techniques.

The Mepaco group offers a proprietary line of food processing equipment. With modifiable options, Mepaco's product line includes: cookers, mixers, blenders, augers, dumpers, sanitary conveyors and material handling systems.

Learn more about Apache's product groups on About Us!

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