Austin Gilman could not see himself going to college and loved to make things and work with his hands, so he attended Pathfinder Vocational Technical High School in Palmer.

After graduation, he went to work as a machinist and continues to be passionate about his job.

“You’re taking this block of steel or aluminum or whatever you have, and you’re transforming it into a part or component to build [something] even larger,” said Gilman. 

Starting out as a computer numerical control (CNC) machinist, he moved more toward the manual side of things because being a CNC was not as hands-on as he wanted. As a manual machinist, he gets to work with a material to form it into whatever part is needed. 

“I love taking that block of nothing and making it into something,” said Gilman. 

It’s a precise process and takes a lot of work, but he takes satisfaction out of the process and pride in his work. 

For Gilman, the most satisfying part is working with a part or on a project and seeing it through completion. 

“I get to say, ‘Hey, I did that, and I get to see it put together into that giant final product,’” said Gilman. 

At CIRCOR, many of the parts he creates go into U.S. submarines or are parts of large pumps. 

His passion bleeds into his life outside of work. Gilman owns some of his own machines and a 3D printer he uses for other projects and to freelance. 

“There’s a lot of kids who haven’t even tried industry or getting into a trade,” said Gilman.

But the opportunities he has had through his industry job have led to a lot of success. He’s a homeowner with a 401(k) at 22. 

“I never thought I would be in this position,” said Gilman, “All my life I’ve been told you can’t succeed in life unless you have a college degree … but there’s so many other ways.” 

In the future, he looks forward to growing his skill set and moving up at CIRCOR.

“I would love to stay at what I’m doing and get better at it,” said Gilman. “In the shop we have so much going on … it’s a great atmosphere.”