July 10, 2013
Sheri Dron

Precision Machining Student Builds on Legacy

Sheri Dron is building a legacy as she improves her skills in precision machining. A look at the modern Okuma Howa Knee Mill and Mori Seiki CNC Mill, high-quality precision machines in the machine shop at her acreage, shows the progress toward her goal. The photo of her late husband on a shelf in the machine shop is the start of a new journey.

Learning machining skills.

Sheri met Ken Dron when she was 10 and he was 12. She was 19 when they married. He was a craftsman, a machinist. She, too, was skilled in crafts, by the look of her home and the machine shop, both of which she renovated, from carpentry to plumbing to electric.

She was learning machining from Ken, working part time in their shop on some projects. Ken also worked at St. Vrain Manufacturing in Longmont as a skilled machinist. Their dream was to make their machine shop their business.

But Ken died suddenly while doing a workout in October 2012. He was 53.

Starting anew.

“I had to figure out what to do,” Sheri says. “My greatest joy will be to complete what we started together.”

She had to find a new teacher. Chantelle, one of her daughters, was looking at Front Range for its Emergency Medical Technician Program, and she saw that a non-credit Precision Machining Program was offered.

The timing was right. Sheri signed up, went before a scholarship committee, and was awarded a scholarship.

Learning in every class.

“It’s been amazing,” she says. “There wasn’t a night that I didn’t learn something new. I am very thankful for the opportunity to take these classes and am really excited to continue.” As one who had some experience on lathes and mills, Sheri even found the first module – Shop Safety – one in which she could learn new skills.

Students in the class manufactured an aluminum and brass hammer and a stainless steel bench block.

A paid machining internship.

Sheri completed the Introductory course and will enter the Intermediate course this summer. In the meantime, she has a paid internship with Whip Mix in Fort Collins, a company whose products are distributed worldwide to dental laboratories, schools, governments, institutions, and individual dental offices. She will be working as a temporary replacement for a machinist who was called to military duty.

Work from machine shop at home.

As Sheri learns more skills as she progresses through the Precision Machining Program, she intends to work for a company. “I’d like to work for a place, then have my shop be an extension of where I work,” she says. She’d like to work from home.

That way, she would build the legacy on the foundation she and Ken started.

About the author:

John Feeley is director of public relations at Front Range Community College. He’s a retired soccer referee and newspaper editor whose subscription ran out.