Three hundred Daviess County High School sophomores participated in College and Career Readiness tours across the community on Friday.
According to Trey Pippen, College and Career Coordinator at Daviess County, sophomores were given the opportunity to sign up for any of the available tours.
“We used to take all of them to OCTC, but this year, we decided to try something different,” Pippen said, naming Brescia University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Owensboro Community and Technical College, Owensboro Health, Phill’s Custom Cabinets, Regional Water Resource Agency, Sun Windows, UniFirst, and U.S. Bank among the post-secondary, vocational and career options available for the tour.
Students who visited Phill’s Custom Cabinets saw what owner Phillip Crabtree II has created with management and marketing degrees from the University of Kentucky.
“It’s all about using my mind,” Crabtree said, almost as his mantra as he discussed the purpose of each piece of equipment in the factory.
With 20 students wearing safety goggles and walking en masse through the factory, Crabtree took several opportunities to not only showcase the technological advances in the machinery used to make the cabinets, but to talk to students about using their brains.
Using terms like traditional accounting, cost accounting, net profit and product, Crabtree explained his company’s success. At each stop, Crabtree explained how products used to be made and then how he changed the assembly using his critical-thinking skills.
What used to take three and a half hours for Crabtree, using his time and the specified information, he can now do with a computer and take only a few minutes, Crabtree said. This benefit is also passed on to the customer, he said, because it does not take as long for him to do it.
As students watched a cabinet maker assemble an entire cabinet with products from the earlier-viewed machines, in less than 30 minutes, Crabtree took the opportunity to interact with the students. He explained how a TED talk he had watched created his “victim vs. victor” mentality.
“A victim asks, ‘Why is this happening to me?’” Crabtree said. “But you are the only advocate for yourself. A victor says, ‘Why is this happening FOR me?’”
He continued using personal examples to explain his belief that everything happens for a reason, showcasing how, after taking his life savings to get a patent for an innovative advancement, and with companies like IKEA interested in buying his patent-pending idea, his patent attorney contacted him to say there was a problem with some wording in the patent and they had failed to get the patent, eliminating the $40 million deal.
“It’s OK to fail; it’s all about how you get up,” Crabtree said, often using the phrase of “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps” to explain to students how his failings have been positive.
Do not be the victim; fight for joy, fight to be positive, Crabtree told the students.
Crabtree explained a second-floor windowed room in the back of the factory, telling students that video games have helped them create 3D-design kitchens that clients can walk through on a screen.
“We are even trying to make that mobile,” Crabtree said. “This way, the designers can work from anywhere for the clients.”
Alyssa Peercy, one of the students on the tour signed up for Phill’s Custom Cabinets because she is interested in the arts and house structures.
“I wanted to see how they make it,” she said. Impressed by the “cool stuff” she saw, she was more impressed with Crabtree’s message.
“You don’t have to rush into what you want to do,” she said. “The cabinet guy had only been here a short time.”
DCHS sophomore Jonathan Barnes said he has always been interested in working with his hands, doing woodworking and incorporating a business plan. Visiting Phill’s Custom Cabinets showed him a “different perception” on how to do this.
“It is eye-opening,” said Barnes.
Pippen said the goal for students is a well-paying job that allows them to provide for their families and be a productive member of our community.
“The kids had a great time,” Pippen said. “They were enamored with some of the things they saw. Even if they don’t have much interest in pursuing career paths they saw today, they were still impressed by the incredible things our local manufacturers and employers are doing to serve our community and grow our local economy.”