Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Machinist At Devine Hydraulics?

a machinist job being performed on a manual lathe

Devine Hydraulics has built a reputation for excellence in hydraulic design, repair, and maintenance. At the heart of that reputation is the team of machinists, welders, and hydraulic systems experts that keep our clients’ hydraulic systems operating at maximum efficiency. They’re not afraid to get their hands dirty and go the extra mile to get the job done.

Today we’re shining the spotlight on Aaron, a machinist and shop supervisor at DHI who exemplifies the kind of dedicated, talented individuals that help us provide world-class hydraulic service and repairs.

How did you begin your career as a machinist? 

Aaron: I’ve always enjoyed building things, and wanted to make a career out of it. I studied Mechanical Engineering in college, and wanted a job where I could use that knowledge in a hands-on way. Learning how machines work has always been interesting to me, and DHI was a place where I could put my skills to use while learning from Brian [Devine], who has an enormous wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to hydraulics. 

When did you join the team at DHI, and what has been the secret to your success there?   

I started in 2010 as a welder and worked my way up to machinist. The money was what got my attention at first, but the chance to learn and build on the skills I had was just as valuable. I already had some experience in welding, machining, and mechanic work, but I was able to hone my skills and get better because of the experience and knowledge that was available to me on the floor.  

One area where I learned a lot of new skills was in hydraulics— it’s not something you learn a lot of specific details about in school, so I was always asking Brian questions and trying to learn everything I could.  If you haven’t worked in the field, that hands-on experience is pretty rare, and it’s important to have people you can turn to who will show you the right way to do things and make sure you understand why. 

The work environment and relationship with my coworkers is important, too. Brian treats his employees well, like we’re more than just cogs in the machine. We get together after work, we take fishing trips together, we have BBQ’s— in a lot of ways we’re like a family. It’s more than just the fun, though. The amount of trust that Brian puts in his employees was a big selling point. One of the first jobs I did on my own here was rebuilding some special pumps and motors— about $100K worth of equipment— and installing them.  

Brian pushes us to learn what we need to work independently but he also knows when to step back and lets us do the job, which made me feel valued and important because of the trust that was placed in me and my skills. 

Describe a typical day at DHI. 

First thing in the morning, Guy, our shop foreman, will go over the jobs, prioritizing them and making sure everyone knows what they need to do, then everyone gets to work.  I’ll usually head over to the machine shop and make parts, help with welding, and answer questions.  A lot of our work is mostly working on various sizes of hydraulic cylinders, but we’re also manufacturing new parts, replacement parts, really whatever is needed to get the job done.

We’re usually in the shop, but there are times when you have to go on the road and make your way to the customer. Those jobs can be the most exciting and adrenaline-fueled because you are working in a different environment on important jobs requiring a lot of skill and concentration. Whether we’re in the shop or on-site with a customer, there’s always that thought in the back of your mind that someone is relying on you to get that equipment working and help them do their job, and that keeps the energy up and pushes us all to stay on our toes. 

What does it take for someone to succeed as a machinist at Devine Hydraulics? 

Well, obviously you’ve got to have some skills as a machinist, especially running a manual lathe, milling machines, threading, that kind of stuff. You have to read CAD drawings and sketches and know what machines or processes will be able to make it happen. 

An eye for detail is important, too, along with a real thirst for knowledge. You have to be curious— one of my favorite things about working for DHI is the opportunity to take things apart and learn how they work— but you also have to have a lot of mechanical sense to understand what you’re seeing and how to fix it. 

If you’ve got the skills as a machinist, you can learn everything you need to know about hydraulics from Brian, and from the other employees here. Everyone here is happy to share what they know, but you have to be willing to ask.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to join the DHI team? 

This is a great place for someone who understands mechanical concepts and machining, even if they don’t have the hydraulic experience yet. Don’t feel like you can’t ask questions. Asking questions is always better than doing something that results in a mistake just to save your ego.  Be humble, know that you don’t know everything, spend time on the floor, and listen as much as you can.  Try to enhance your skills in any way you can. And finally, you have to be self-motivated, so ask what you can do, don’t wait for someone to approach you. 

Do you have what it takes to make it as a machinist at Devine Hydraulics? Apply today and join our team of talented hydraulic service professionals!