After graduating from Arsenal Technical High School and earning an electrical engineering degree from Purdue, my dad started a business in 1959 to calibrate equipment to verify that the equipment met standards established by what is now the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). 

The first two decades were not easy, which is true for many new ventures. But in recent years, the company he started is working harder than ever to keep up with the demand to serve advanced manufacturing companies in Indiana and throughout the Midwest — the same advanced manufacturing businesses that Indiana wants to attract and nurture.

What changed?

#1: To state the obvious, manufacturing is more sophisticated that it was in 1959. Whether you are assembling a diesel engine or a car or servicing an airplane, it’s not good enough to say, “that bolt looks tight to me.” You need to be able to document that the torque wrench you used applied the right amount of force. For the biotech sector, refrigeration equipment is calibrated to ensure it is within the right temperature range to preserve stored blood, vaccines, tissue for transplant or cells for research. My favorite example is calibrating altimeters. If there’s one instrument you want to rely on when you fly, it’s an altimeter!

#2: Earning an ISO makes your company competitive. Various manufacturing groups have established their own benchmarks to certify that the companies they deal with meet high standards. As you drive through Indiana up and down I-65 or I-69, notice how many companies proudly display banners saying ISO 9000 Certified — and that ISO number continues to increase.  

The manufacturing and biotech firms you want to attract and retain in Indiana are accustomed to adhering to high standards.

This is no time to abandon the academic standards Indiana has created. A high school diploma – even one for an ESA student — should mean something. 

If you unleash universal Education Scholarship Accounts, you are moving backward, not forward, at a time when Indiana is already at the bottom of too many lists.   

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