Industrial Leader Helping College, Industry Grow in NW Georgia
With graduates of Georgia Northwestern Technical College manning the machines at Densmore Machine in Dalton, Georgia on a daily basis, it’s easy to see where donations to the region’s largest college actually go in the end. Industry and local leaders stopped in at Densmore Machine on July 17 to celebrate a special gift from an industry leader.
After committing $20,000 to Phil Shirley’s Machine Tool Technology program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College in 2016, Jeffreys Manufacturing Solutions has presented the college with the Gene Haas Scholarship award for the second straight year. This time, the industrial machining giant donated $17,500 to the college’s program, benefitting the college’s program and the workforce it’s training.
The Gene Haas Foundation Machining Technology Scholarship is awarded to institutions which teach Machine Tool Technology and similar areas of study. The primary goal of the award is to help ease the financial burden of qualified students, allowing them to successfully complete their education and earn employment within their expertise. The award can also help purchase equipment for colleges which teach these programs.
“It’s all about the workers,” said Jimmy Densmore, Densmore Machine Operations Manager. “We have one man working the HAAS equipment right now that is a recent graduate of Georgia Northwestern. I’m also a graduate of Georgia Northwestern. The Machine Tool program at the college is a lot like our business. We need to be able to prepare for work that needs to be done or we go out of business.”
Densmore graduated from Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Drafting Technology program. “I realized that working in my family’s business, I could use that drafting education to help us grow,” said Densmore. “I could draw up parts companies were ordering in 3-D. Then, I could have the machines make the parts to order.”
Two decades after first opening its doors, Densmore Machine would take a new direction. Starting out in a modest 4,500-square-foot building in the Dawnville Community of Whitfield County, this family-owned business made a decision. The economic collapse of the housing industry nearly a decade ago pushed companies across the country, including Densmore, to look at things with a whole new perspective.
“We learned we would have to be able to do a lot of things for a lot of companies to survive,” said Densmore. “It would require new equipment to do jobs we never had to do before. Jobs which required machines we never had to purchase before. We’ve been buying machines from HAAS ever since as the workload demands it. Of course, a change like that requires trained staff. We know GNTC’s Machine Tool program works closely with HAAS. It’s really kind of a partnership.”
A company that thrives today on the coming together of companies, a college, and a workforce, was little more than an idea just 33 years ago. One born in the mind of Densmore’s Grandfather, John Densmore, Sr. Shortly before the current Operations Manager was born, his grandfather made the decision to go into business for himself. With all the money he could gather, Densmore, Sr. hit the road to Detroit, Michigan to a closed down auto plant. It was there he would purchase the North Georgia company’s first two pieces of equipment.
Today, three generations of Densmore machinists later, the company has grown from its original rural machine shop in the outskirts of Dalton, Georgia to a 12,500-square foot facility right on Interstate 75 in South Whitfield County. Georgia Northwestern offers campuses in Dalton (Whitfield Murray Campus), Ringgold (Catoosa County Campus), Rome (Floyd County Campus), Calhoun (Gordon County Campus), Rockmart (Polk County Campus), and Rock Spring (Walker County Campus.)
GNTC offers more than 200 programs online and on-campus. Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 14,151 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,956 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 6,195 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start. For more information about GNTC, visit us at GNTC.edu or contact a Student Help Center on any one of our six campus locations at 866-983-4682. For information online, visit the college at GNTC.edu, as well as on GNTC’s Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, WordPress, and YouTube channels. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.
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Assistant Director, Marketing and PR