Situated southwest of Akron, Ohio, Wagner Machine’s 35,000-square-foot facility spans three buildings and a plethora of high-performance industries.
We talked with third-generation manufacturer and Wagner Machine vice president Abram Wagner to learn how the precision machine shop benefits from its 11-year NTMA membership.
Wagner Machine: Three Generations, One Purpose
Founded by Abram’s grandfather, Wagner Machine is in its 67th year of manufacturing single-piece and mid-volume part runs. The machine shop management team is helmed by Abram’s father, CEO Michael Wagner.
With CNC machining, welding and fabrication, and engineering support available in-house, the contract manufacturing shop makes parts as small as a thumbnail and as large as a semi-truck.
The job shop boasts an expert team of highly skilled craftspeople and a comprehensive array of ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100 Rev. D turnkey solutions.
Wagner Machine’s Experience with NTMA
Abram first came across NTMA while working in sales of CNC machines, and he quickly recognized how his family’s shop could benefit from membership. “Manufacturing is a small, tight-knit industry, and it’s healthy to connect and communicate with other shops,” says Abram. “Here at Wagner Machine, we’ve met a ton of really good people who we can call with questions or just to discuss industry issues. We all have tremendous respect for one another’s companies.”
Previously on the board of NTMA’s Los Angeles chapter, Abram now serves his local Akron chapter as president.
NTMA delivers deep discounts
Both national and local NTMA partners provide significant discounts to the association’s members by negotiating group rates that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible to small shops. “The discounts we get through NTMA more than pay for our membership,” explains Abram. “The financial benefits alone make membership worthwhile.”
NTMA hosts high-impact events
Wagner Machine’s decades of success are bolstered by NTMA’s national events, such as ENGAGE, where machine shop presidents, owners, and C-level executives enjoy extensive networking and in-depth learning focused on manufacturing improvement. “These events are extremely valuable to machine shop management,” Abram says. “It’s important to step out of your everyday work environment and see what else is happening in the industry.
Abram and his father, Michael, are repeat guests at NTMA’s national conferences and NTMA Akron Chapter gatherings. “Technology is always changing, and the manufacturing industry is facing major changes right now, so we need to be ready to adapt and overcome,” Abram acknowledges. As a Marine Corps veteran, he embraces a “knowledge is power” mindset that drives him to explore, learn, and grow along with the industry he serves.
NTMA cultivates community, not competition
Joining a national trade association intimidates some shop owners who worry about competition within the community. What if another shop steals their employees, their customers, or their proprietary processes? Abram just shrugs. “There’s more than enough work to go around,” he says. “And the benefits of having a community to lean on are invaluable. I love that I can pick up the phone and get advice from a fellow member.”
NTMA members quickly adopt the association’s mindset that manufacturers grow better together. “I’m focused on my shop, my customers, and my employees,” Abram explains, “and so is everyone else. We’re all here to see the industry succeed.”
Manufacturers Like Wagner Machine Drive Manufacturing Improvement with NTMA
When we ask Abram if he’d recommend NTMA membership to others in machine shop management, his response is an enthusiastic YES.
“I talk to a lot of third-generation and fourth-generation shop owners who remember their grandfathers going to networking dinners and industry events. They all believe deeply in the importance of in-person connections,” Abram explains. “Our industry is very tactile. We rely on our senses to guide our work. And those same senses are what bind us together when we get out of our offices and interact in person.”
He also expresses appreciation for the NTMA community’s efforts to grow more diverse, with advocacy efforts and outreach campaigns targeting US military veterans, women, and machining enthusiasts with physical and cognitive differences. “NTMA is making a real push for inclusivity,” he says. “I’m proud to be part of a good, respectful community that’s committed to helping each other, working together, and building one another up.”