Established in Orange County, California, in 1986, Ricaurte Precision Inc. (RPI) produces more than 10,000 parts each month for high-performance industries such as defense, medical, food packaging, energy, and aerospace.
We spoke with the precision machining company’s second-generation president, Hernan Ricaurte, about his transition into manufacturing and how NTMA empoweredhim with support and camaraderie when he needed it most.
Ricaurte Precision Inc: Technology-Driven and Ready to Scale
In 2016, Hernan’s dad had run RPI for 30 years and was ready to retire. Selling was an option, but the senior Ricaurte had a better idea: to convince his son to leave his healthcare industry profession and take over the family business.
Hernan agreed to consider the offer but never expected what happened next. “This was the first time I’d really looked at my dad’s business and began to understand what my father did,” Hernan acknowledges. “RPI wasn’t some dark, oily garage. It was a thriving precision machining company with computers, programmers, expensive equipment, and incredibly skilled employees making very complex parts.”
A complete outsider to the machining industry, Hernan nevertheless decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. “I haven’t looked back since,” he says.
Today, RPI’s cutting-edge technologies enable the industry’s highest quality, most cost-effective machining solutions. Boasting 26 CNC machines, the precision machining company also houses live tooling lathes, Swiss screw machines, and wire EDM technology—and nearly every process is available with 24/7 lights-out automation.
NTMA Inspires RPI to Connect and Collaborate
From day one, Hernan knew he needed a community of other machine shop management professionals. His father was always willing to talk shop, but Hernan also sought connections with other active owners who could offer first-hand advice on the latest practices and advances.
RPI has been an NTMA member since 2007. “So I went to an LA/NTMA meeting,” Hernan says. ”I realized other people were in the same boat as me. We’re all struggling with HR issues. We’re all working nonstop to manage machines, maintenance, quality, customers, payment terms, and other things modern CNC machine shop owners have to deal with.”
There, at his first NTMA chapter meeting, Hernan found the connections he’d been seeking. “Everyone understands how important it is for us not only to work in our businesses but also to work on our businesses and to gain insight from others in similar situations.”
NTMA inspires knowledge-sharing
CNC machine business owners often hesitate to share their knowledge because they’re worried about losing customers to the competition. Hernan quickly discovered NTMA members to be fearless sharers. “The more we share, the more we gain,” he explains. “If I can help an NTMA member, I wholeheartedly share what I know. And I can reach out and receive help when I need it, too.”
The RPI owner credits NTMA’s culture of knowledge-sharing for his ever-expanding network. “I have great relationships with awesome companies, owners, and leaders from precision machining companies nationwide.”
NTMA offers safe spaces for connection and collaboration
After progressing from new manufacturer to LA/NTMA treasurer, Hernan will attend NTMA’s 2024 Leadership Summit as the chapter’s president!
“I’ve been proud to watch NTMA actively work to become a more collaborative, open, and inclusive organization,” he says. “The simple fact that you can connect and interact with other manufacturing companies of different sizes, with different technologies, offering different services throughout different industries…I gain so much perspective.”
In person at events or online via NTMA Connect, Hernan takes advantage of every opportunity to engage with other manufacturing professionals. “NTMA is truly a safe space because you can ask questions, have open discussions, and not feel weird about it,” he shares. “The value of NTMA really is rooted in the people and the learning.”
NTMA connects shops to cutting-edge tools and partnerships
Machine shop management faces pressure from all sides: customer requirements are increasingly complex, industry regulations are constantly changing, and technological advancement is moving faster and faster. “It’s very easy to get trapped inside your business, trying to juggle things, put out fires, and drive change,” Hernan acknowledges.
With so much at stake, he’s grateful to NTMA for effortlessly connecting him with excellent resources. “If a company shows up on NTMA, I’ll consider working with them,” he says. “That’s how I found ProShop, Paperless Parts, and many other great vendors.”
Even when a professional connection doesn’t lead to a contract, Hernan values the opportunity to share information and gain insight. “Without NTMA, Ricaurte Precision would not be where it is today. We’ve only experienced positive results from our NTMA membership.”
Manufacturers Like RPI Grow Faster with NTMA
Hernan is confident that attending that first LA/NTMA meeting set him on the right path. “I may have figured out some stuff on my own,” he considers, “but it would have taken me a lot more time, a lot more sweat, and a lot more tears to get to where we are now.”
A passionate advocate for community engagement, workforce development, and promoting the manufacturing industry, Hernan’s influence is felt throughout NTMA and the broader industry. And it all started because he was brave enough to dive into a brand-new career—and to ask for help.
“Sometimes, we just need to get out of our comfort zones and admit that we don’t know everything—that maybe we can use some help,” he asserts. “Because the help is out there, and there are a lot of really good people who are willing to share it.”
Get help when you need it; give help when you have it. Join NTMA!