Today we’ll put our spotlight on Doug Binkley, an Estimator for Swanton Welding Company. Doug reviews blueprints, when quoting for customers in order to determine materials involved, labor required, machining necessary, finishing needed, and any assembly involved. With this information, he helps develop an accurate quote for our customers. As such, he is an invaluable member of the Swanton Welding family.
How Doug joined Swanton Welding Company
Doug started working at Swanton Welding Company nearly 36 years ago, following a chance encounter with Norm Zeiter. His brother-in-law needed a sprocket cover welded, and brought it to Swanton Welding with Doug riding along. His brother-in-law mentioned to Norm that Doug was looking for work—he started work the next day. Early in his time at Swanton Welding, he handled a variety of non-welding jobs, including deliveries, clean-up, parts testing, painting, and other tasks. Within a year, Doug had learned enough welding and fabricating through work and self-teaching that he could assist on builds and welding. By the end of his second year with Swanton Welding, he’d learned enough to take over as shop foreman, a position he held for the next 13 years. In 1995, Doug moved over to the machine shop, where he acted as crew leader and helped out with maintenance. He remained in that position until moved into Estimating in 2014.
What makes Doug so good at what he does?
34 years of shop experience gives Doug extensive insight into what work, materials, and headaches one can expect on a project. Because he’s worked at every level of the process over his years with Swanton Welding, he understands better than most, what’s necessary for each job. Doug has an eye for the long term experience and opportunities that Swanton Welding has to offer. Being a part of the company since its early days as a small operation, lending his hands-on expertise to Norm’s vision in growing the company, and a strong friendship with Norm, until the time of his passing, all make Swanton Welding an important part of Doug’s life.
With such an intimate understanding of the company, it’s no surprise that Doug can provide accurate estimates for all of Swanton Welding customers.
What keeps Doug busy when he’s off the clock?
While facing a rough series of losses, Doug took up biking to occupy his mind. He started with the intention of completing the Bike to the Bay event, but that challenge grew into a true love of riding, culminating in a 200 mile ride in 2010. His love for biking led to a love for running as well. So far, Doug has ran five marathons. Just recently, Doug completed his first Ironman in Muncie, Indiana, beating out his goal time by over an hour. Doug’s competitive spirit isn’t limited to physical challenges. He also helps his friend Grace, a talented pie maker, with her competitions. She recently won the American Pie Council Amateur Division Championship, qualifying her to compete in the World Food Championships in Alabama this coming November.
Few employees at Swanton Welding have been as integral to the development of the company as Doug Binkley. His time with the company has led to lifelong friendships, constant learning, and no small amount of satisfaction for a job well done. Like his training for the Ironman competition, his work at Swanton has taken dedication, effort, sweat, and no small amount of pain—but it’s been well worth the effort, producing a result he can look back on with pride.