Graham Hargreaves grew up around people who are passionate about spreading the word for building up manufacturing. But Hargreaves, currently marketing manager for CAM software developer CNC Software Inc. (Tolland, CT), developer of the Mastercam manufacturing software, didn’t really decide upon manufacturing as his field of choice until sometime in high school.
“I’ve been around the company for almost 24 years,” Hargreaves said of CNC Software/Mastercam, where his dad, Gary Hargreaves, a CNC Software vice president who is a former machinist and programmer, has worked since 1992. “I’ve come to care a lot about the company itself.
“I think it has to strike a chord with people,” Hargreaves said. “I’m not a machinist. I’m not from a mathematical background or an engineering background, but just to be exposed to the amount of things you can create in the manufacturing field, and in Mastercam, that was really what drew me in. If you can think it, you can do it, you can make it. That always amazed me.”
As a youngster, Hargreaves would see some of those things firsthand, as his father tried to pique his interest in manufacturing, showing him wireframe models of parts and asking him to try to guess what it was.
At CNC Software where he’s worked in marketing now for eight and a half years, Hargreaves has gained a wide exposure and appreciation for all things manufacturing, being heavily involved in high-profile manufacturing efforts with his company, including corporate sponsorships of the manufacturing show EdgeFactor, events like Manufacturing Day, and also the software developer’s support of a vast array of K–12 and post-secondary manufacturing education programs.
“Graham has literally grown up in our offices, absorbing animated conversations about CNC programming software and the challenges that our customers [manufacturers of all sizes around the globe] face each day,” said Meghan S. West, president of CNC Software.
“Graham is a fresh-idea generator and right now he is helping to address and solve a major issue that affects everyone in our industry: bridging the skills gap,” said West, who was among the 2014 “30 Under 30” honorees. “Our company has a significant investment in the K–12 and post-secondary education sectors and also in many adult training programs throughout the country, such as Workshops For Warriors. Graham, as one of our team leaders, has become an ambassador representing our industry to those audiences and is an active advocate for recruitment. He and his team have developed marketing campaigns and stories that are attractive to young people and persuasive to parents, teachers, and guidance counselors.”
While in college and initially undecided on his career path, Graham took graphic design and drafting courses before receiving his BA in business administration, marketing, at Central Connecticut State University. While not a programmer, he’s taken online training with Mastercam University and developed a deep appreciation for manufacturing technology and how it impacts the economy.
“For us right now, the most important thing is filling the skills gap,” Hargreaves said. “There’s a stigma against the industry, that it’s dirty and dingy.”
The way to combat that image is to show administrators at the high school level that that simply isn’t the case, Hargreaves added, and with more work to build up apprenticeships in manufacturing and with stronger support of machining programs in secondary and technical schools.
This article was first published in the July 2016 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Read all of the 2016 30 Under 30 Profiles as a PDF.