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Saying Good-Bye and Good Luck to an Old Friend

2 Oct

In May 2002, Jeremy Pardo found himself between jobs.  His father worked in maintenance at Mustang at the time so Jeremy applied.  Jeremy was hired to work in the metal shop.  In an industrial accident, Jeremy drilled through his hand and was placed on light duty in the warehouse where he never left.

After approximately three years working in the warehouse, Jeremy was promoted to shipping supervisor.  He had displayed a very strong work ethic and was a natural.  Jeremy says that Mustang is a great place for people who have ambition but you have to be a hard worker and he is!  Jeremy enjoys being the Supervisor because it is a challenge every day to get everything done.  And Jeremy has gotten it all done with calm professionalism and a smile on his face no matter what.

Jeremy feels the most significant change he’s seen at Mustang over the years was the move from the old facility in Palmer to the current building in Three Rivers.  Jeremy said pretty much everything has been upgraded.  In particular, the warehouse went from cement floors to wood floors and Jeremy says it was like walking on springs at first!

Despite Jeremy’s positive experience at Mustang, he always wanted to join the army.  He did not join after high school due to the birth of his son.  He did not feel the army life would be healthy for a toddler.  His wife has always supported his desire to join the army but also wanted him to wait and then they had a second son.  Jeremy’s boys are now ages 7 and 11 years old.  Jeremy and his wife feel the boys are old enough that this won’t be traumatic for them.  On the contrary, Jeremy’s family is excited that they are going to see new places and meet new people.  “We really haven’t traveled much out of the Northeast Corridor so we are excited to see what else is out there.”  As you can imagine, the family is hoping to ultimately be stationed in Hawaii.

Jeremy’s last day at Mustang will be 11/23/2012.  He leaves for the army in January 2013 headed to Fort Jackson, SC for 9 weeks of basic training.  Basic Training will be followed by 18 weeks of education at signal corp school in Georgia.  Two weeks before he graduates from Georgia, he will be given his first communications assignment.  Once Jeremy gets his assignment, his family will most likely be able to join him.

Jeremy is most excited about the travel and education his army experience will afford him. After signal corp school, Jeremy’s title will be “multi-channel transmission systems operator maintainer”.  After his army service, Jeremy will be qualified to work on cell phone towers among other things.

Jeremy says he remembers every day he has spent at Mustang.  “I can remember things that happened the first day I was here right up until yesterday and there are no real negatives.”

Jeremy plans on using everything he has learned at Mustang in his future jobs and add to his skill set.  Jeremy regrets nothing he has done at Mustang and is proud of Mustang as a company and grateful for the skills he has learned here.  “I am proud to have worked here.” Jeremy says “I will definitely try and come back to say hello, I just don’t know how long I will be away from the area.”

Back in May 2002, Mustang was one lucky company to have Jeremy brighten our doorstep.  Mustang has benefitted immensely from Jeremy’s dedication, commitment and hard work every day of the last ten years.  No company could have asked for more than what Jeremy gave which was 110% all the time in everything he did.  Mustang’s loss is the Army’s gain.  So it is with heavy hearts and lots of good wishes that we send Jeremy and his family off to their next great adventure. Good-bye, Jeremy!  Thank you and Good Luck!  We will miss you.

Meet Mike Skoczylas, Foam Department Supervisor

3 Jul

Before coming to work at Mustang Seats over three years ago, Mike worked at a gas station and a recycling plant.  About the only thing he liked about his past jobs was having weekends off.  He applied to work at Mustang because it was a better opportunity for him and closer to home.

Mike and his two co-workers in the foam department make hundreds of foams each day.  He also enjoys cleaning the molds and making them nice and shiny.  Mike feels the best part of his job is seeing Mustang seats on the street and knowing that he made the foam for every one of those seats.

When Mike isn’t working at Mustang, he enjoys ice hockey, hiking, fishing and he also plays on a softball league.  He has also been a volunteer firefighter in Three Rivers, Massachusetts, for the past ten years.  Mike has received both First Aid and CPR certified training.  He has also been certified by the Fire Academy on Levels 1 and 2.  Mike likes helping people and says he never knows what he’s getting into when he responds to the fire alarm.  On a recent memorable rescue, Mike helped get a victim out of a car after an accident using the “Jaws of Life.”

Mike is in a committed relationship with Emily who works as a third grade teacher in Ware, MA.  They enjoy going to the nearby Yankee Candle outlet and driving to places they’ve never been before.  Given both of their busy schedules, they are really happy to just spend time together!

Trimmed to Perfection: Meet Mark Ammann, Foam Trimmer

28 Mar

Inside every Mustang seat is a foam or cushion. Every foam was created by pouring Mustang’s “secret” foam recipe into a mold to be cured. Once the newly formed foam is removed from the mold, it has to be carefully trimmed along each edge. One slip of the knife would mean the cover of the seat wouldn’t fit snugly. (If that were to happen, Mustang would scrap the foam and start over!)

Not only has Mark Ammann been Mustang’s foam trimmer for the past 13 years, Mark is Mustang’s first and only full-time foam trimmer.

Mark says that his favorite part of the job is the people with whom he works – they always lift him up when he’s feeling down. His least favorite part is the wrist pain that comes with trimming hundreds of foams each day. In addition to trimming all the foams Mustang makes, Mark also does manual cycle counting every single morning to make sure the foam inventory is accurate.

Prior to joining Mustang, Mark worked for two years with his cousin at Deluxe Check Printing as a stock collator which fed the press operator. As soon as Mark heard that Deluxe was closing their operations in Massachusetts, he went right to Mustang and applied for a job.

Mark is single and enjoys ten-pin bowling, roller skating, mountain biking, watching movies and checking out new malls. He loves doing things on the spur of the moment. For years, he has had an interest in lighthouses and all things Harry Potter. In fact, Mark is a wonderful amateur writer and is working on his 4th Harry Potter sequel where he showcases his bright imagination and keen grasp of the J.K. Rowling characters. Mark loves dogs and cats; his sister works in a veterinary office. His parents live nearby in Monson.

Mark has had a front seat noticing all the changes Mustang has gone through during his 13 years here. He enjoys the new racking system which was instituted in last fall which he believes makes it easier for him and the foreman to keep track of the foams he trims.

Mark hopes to make Mustang his home away from home for another 13 years. Why? “Mustang is a good company to work for with good benefits and good people. What more could you ask for?”

Thanks, Mark!

Mustang Employees and Families Picnic Down!

29 Jul

Mustang Employees enjoying themselves at Six Flags New England (click for larger image)

Building the best motorcycle seats in the world can be exhausting, what with all the responsibilities that entails. But that’s just part of the job description here at Mustang Motorcycle Seats. When we work, we work hard.

Ah, but when we play, we squeeze every ounce of satisfaction out of the events that are planned for us down to the finest detail by our company’s “Supervisors of Fun.”

Take our recent company picnic, for example. We didn’t just head out to the nearest city park with a volleyball net and a Weber grill. No, siree. This year’s annual company picnic was held at Six Flags New England, a water park and amusement park located in Agawam, Mass.

We had 165 employees and their family members show up for a sweltering day of riding roller coasters, careening down water slides and then careening down water slides again.

We had our own lunch pavilion where everybody gathered for a meal, compared notes on the morning’s activities and plotted the fun for the rest of the afternoon. Sort of a funfest headquarters is what it was. Six Flags fitted us out with privacy, welcome shade and plenty of (more…)

Meet The Team: Mustang Stitcher and Trim Technician, Tam Nguyen

21 Jul

Tam Nguyen, Mustang Stitcher and Trim Technician

If you look closely at just about any of our motorcycle seats, most likely you’ll see the fine craftsmanship of Tam Nguyen, a seven-year Mustang employee who patiently places those perfectly spaced stitches and conchos onto the covers of our seats and pads. She says she absolutely loves working here, and a bonus is our New England factory’s proximity to her home and two sons. Meet one of our favorite stitchers:

Mustang: What did you do prior to coming to work for Mustang?

Tam Nguyen: I worked for Cains Pickles of South Deerfield, Mass., for three and a half years. While working there, I was a machine operator running labeling machines, packing machines, packaging machines and other duties. We had five lines of manufacturing, and I even worked in inspection.

Mustang: What attracted you to work at Mustang?

TN: It was a long commute from my home in Palmer, Mass., to South Deerfield, so I was eager to get a job closer to home. Mustang was much closer, and I really liked the working schedule of 10-hour days with overtime on Fridays. I also had two friends who were in the sewing department at that time and it was comfortable for me to join a company where I already knew some people.

Mustang: What’s the best part of your job?

TN: I honestly love everything about my job. I get to sew a wide variety of seat covers, put in studs, tie conchos, make buttons from scratch and heat stamp our logo into the material. There’s such a wide variety of tasks and I really (more…)

Mustang Employees Make Great Music Together

1 Jul

During the workday, you’ll see Anton Gillylan and Mike Grimes grinding away in the fiberglass shop at Mustang Motorcycle Seats, creating the sturdy base for our company’s high-quality motorcycle seats. Anton’s a fiberglass chop technician and Mike is a fiberglass finish tech.

These two craftsmen are tasked with transforming raw materials into a motorcycle seat that is recognized around the biker community as among the best, and they perform this task day after day under one roof in Mustang’s New England-based manufacturing facility.

But it’s what these two Mustang employees do in their free time that is the topic of this blog post. Anton and Mike have talents that go far beyond the craftsmanship they display when helping build a motorcycle seat. These two bike techs are members of a band that just released its first CD out of its own studio in downtown Springfield, Mass.

The name of their seven-member band is Ryth-Mattik, and both Anton and Mike have been executive producers since the group was formed back in 2001. Anton, whose band name is A.J. or Aye Jitty, plays bass guitar. Mike’s band name is (more…)

Close Encounters of the Harley Kind

6 May

Mustang Seats employee Jason Montanari says he’s been watching our product go out the door every day for the past five years. So when the opportunity arose to see our seats on a trio of Harleys, Jason was all over it. Seems he was coming back from a hike at Quabbin Reservoir with his mother when he spotted five Harleys parked off in the distance. Noting that three of the bikes sported Mustang seats, he and Mom moseyed over for a closer view.

Unfortunately, one of the riders spotted Jason and Mom hanging around so close to his coveted ride and he approached the pair with malice written all over his face. Watch this two-minute video to see what happened when Jason tried to explain his interest in the bikes to a very suspicious rider. It’s a pretty nice story, especially when told by this veteran Mustang seat maker.

Meet the Team: Mustang Fiberglass Finish Supervisor Mike Bonneville

31 Mar

Mike Bonneville

Mike Bonneville joined our team in October of 1999, starting out in Mustang’s fiberglass finish department. Truth be told, when he got here, this former demolition subcontractor was Mustang’s fiberglass finish department. Meet Mike and read what he’s got to say about his dozen years of helping create comfy motorcycle seats.

Mustang Seats: What did you do prior to coming to work for Mustang?

Mike Bonneville: I was a demolition technician. I ripped the guts out of houses, like doors, cabinets, radiators, appliances, doorjambs  and wire. I removed metals and prepared the houses for the wreckers. I did this for about six years and it was pretty fun working with jackhammers, fork lifts and Bobcats. I started driving a big Kodiak truck — a huge flatbed with 16 gears. I got this job through a friend of mine who would subcontract demolition work. They called me “The Sawzall Man” because I would cut pipe and conduit faster than anybody else.

Mustang: What attracted you to Mustang?

MB: I worked for a company delivering u-clips to Mustang and I noticed that Mustang was building motorcycle seats, which I found fascinating.  I knew an employee who worked at Mustang who became my “in.” I wanted to be around motorcycle parts, so my friend talked with the general manager at the time and I was offered a job as a fiberglass finish technician. At first, I was the only guy in the department; today our team can do four times as many seats per day as in the “old days” – how times have changed– how times have changed!

Mustang: What’s the best part of your job?

MB: I like (more…)

Meet the Team: Mustang Operations Manager, Dave Staton

14 Jan

Mustang Employee Dave Staton (right) with Jay Barbieri

Dave Staton literally came in from the cold to work for Mustang and he’s been warming up to the task every since. He’s one of our crew that helps install the quality in our motorcycle seats and he doesn’t mind bragging about it one bit. To Dave, a good reputation is important, and that extends from his own personal life to his livelihood — Mustang Motorcycle Seats.

That being said, meet Dave:

Mustang: What did you do prior to coming to work for Mustang?

Dave Staton: Prior to working for Mustang, I held various management positions in manufacturing and warehousing with Friendly Ice Cream Corp. It was a challenging, minus-20 degrees F environment that required strict adherence to quality control standards. At one point I supervised three shifts for seven days a week and was instrumental in installing a half-million dollar package handling system.

Mustang: What attracted you to Mustang?

DS: Mustang presented me with an opportunity to get out of working in a cold freezer and take on the challenge of modernizing the shipping and receiving operations. After heading the warehouse operation for Mustang for 2.5 years, I was promoted to operations manager. My current position allows me to take the knowledge and skills I developed in the food industry — especially quality control and process management — and apply them to building motorcycle seats.

Mustang: What’s the best part of your job?

DS: The best part of my job is the satisfaction I get from (more…)

Meet the Team – Gary Kendrick, Mustang Vice President of Manufacturing

17 Nov

Mustang Vice President of Manufacturing, Gary Kendrick

It’s pretty obvious after chatting with Gary Kendrick, a Mustang Motorcycle Seat executive for the past 30 years, that he has a true passion for the design end of the motorcycle industry. And after reading the Q&A below, you might get the idea that he gets a special kick out of road testing his designs!

Mustang Motorcycle Seats: What did you do prior to coming to work for Mustang?

Gary Kendrick: It’s always been motorcycles. When I was 13, I inherited my first bike — a Honda 50cc. Also at age 13 I bought my first welder. By the time I was 18 years old in the early ’70s, I was working in a Ducati, Norton dealership, building turbo car engines and racing at Lime Rock Park in western Connecticut. I started working at Corbin-Gentry when I was 19 and was eventually responsible for full seat design. Then in June of 1981, I began building seat tooling and cover patterns for Mustang Motorcycle Seats.

MMS: What attracted you to Mustang?

GK: It was the diverse challenge of sculpting raw steel, fiberglass, foam and leather into comfortable works of art. Plus, I get to attend all the major motorcycle shows — Daytona, Myrtle Beach, Sturgis — what could be better. Oh yeah, and I get to road test everything I design!

MMS: What’s the best part of your job?

GK: That would be the freedom of getting in there hands-on and bringing ideas to life. Most people will just see a finished seat or a motorcycle accessory. I see my hefty 500-pound, steel-crushing die that formed the base of the seat plus the hand-carved foam that will be duplicated to perfection through our creative molding system. I see the curvaceous cover pattern lines critiquing every stitch, and the knowledge that I played a role in putting them there. And yes, I’ve sewn the first of almost every Mustang seat we’ve created. My job entails all aspects of building, photography and pattern making, so I’ve got no time to be bored. And again, I get to road test all that I design!

MMS: When you’re not working, what do you like to do in your spare time?

GK: Travel, photography, bicycling — I know — borrring!!! But really, I’m always building or thinking about altering anything mechanical for function, longevity or speed. Did I mention yet that I get to road test all that I design?

MMS: What’s your all-time favorite Mustang part or accessory?

GK: I would have to say the (more…)