Tom on his final day with one of the machines he helped develop
Last week was a bittersweet one here at Precision Automation, as dedicated assembly machinist Tom Gliko retired after 22 years at our company. Universally known as an excellent employee with an easygoing attitude, Tom rescinded the duty of leader of the Zoetis assembly group which has been a cornerstone project for Precision Automation for the last 27 years.
Hailing originally from Great Falls, Montana, Tom grew up with a passion for playing music. His talents on the pedal steel guitar are published in “Montana Americana Music: Boot Stomping in Big Sky Country” (also the source for the picture below). After making his way to the east coast and working at a variety of different companies including Omega Controls and Advanced Development and Engineering Center (ADEC), he was able to network with fellow Precision retiree Steve Schmidt. Steve knew a reliable hard worker when he met one, so he helped facilitate the hiring of Tom into the machine shop and the business has been grateful for the addition ever since.
Tom (2nd from the left) and The Buckskins, circa 1965
The company bid farewell to Tom with a luncheon on Thursday April 27, where he was honored for his diligence and staunch loyalty among all of his colleagues. Dave O’Reilly addressed Tom’s work ethic at the gathering and discussed how he was always willing to go the extra mile for the good of the team, and to ultimately meet the customer’s needs. Dave also spoke candidly afterward about how detail-oriented Tom was in his quality control of the equipment he helped developed. “Several times we received back 100% write-up evaluations from the inspection of our equipment, due largely to Tom’s commitment; and the times we didn’t, he was integral in making sure we corrected our faults and achieved that goal.” Dave proudly described how Tom’s heavy involvement and tireless work ethic deserves much of the credit for the more than 1,150 Zoetis machines that have been manufactured at Precision Automation.
Dave O’Reilly addresses Tom with Fred Rexon on deck
Jeff Salabritas also recalled some of the finer points of Tom’s enthusiasm for his work and how friendly he always was with everyone in the shop. “He was a great coworker to have around here, especially for instructing some of our younger crowd in learning some of these systems that he’s been so familiar with” Jeff beamed. “I would give him a task and fully know that it would be completed on time. Every time.”
Tom was kind enough to answer a few questions on his way out:
How long have you been with our company?
- I’ve been at Precision for 22 years. I started out working in machine assembly all around the shop, helping out with any project that came up that I was able to assist with.
Are there any projects you have been most focused on recently?
- I’ve worked on the Zoetis group, which used to be called Embrex, and have been spending most of my time on that project for over 10 years now.
Do you have any distinct memories from your time here at Precision Automation that stand out to you?
- Well I’ll never forget working some late nights as a result of Hurricane Sandy (back in 2012) and coming in during the day without lights on- that was certainly a unique experience. And there were a handful of other late nights waiting for delivery drivers to show up, but no matter the time of day, we were here to get the job done.
What do you feel sets Precision Automation apart from other companies that you’ve spent time with?
- The personnel here, as well as how this company is run. It’s a laid back atmosphere but one in which you’re expected to do your job. Fred takes care of his employees, and Jeff ensures the shop is very clean- multiple customers have commented on this when they visited us. It really is a great work environment.
What are some of your personal hobbies?
- Music and art are the biggest ones. My wife and I have both always appreciated music, I’m a guitar player myself. And I enjoy still life & portrait art, preferring to work with watercolors.
Do you have a favorite band or artist you’d like to highlight?
- I’d have to say October Project, though I listen to a lot of every kind of sound. I mostly prefer 90s alternative rock and New Age music. As for art, I like the work of John Constable; as well as the aviation prints of Frank Wootten. Any kind of old portrait work stands out to me.
What are you looking forward to most in retirement?
- Spending more time with the grandkids, I’ve got 6 ranging in age from 1 ½ to 9. And having the free time to get back into the music and art that I love. I’m looking forward to it!
Do you have any parting words you’d like to add?
- This place has been like another family to me, just the respect between all the employees. It’s unusual compared to most other places to work, and one of the first things I noticed when I began working here, that everyone works to their full potential but is also treated like an equal. It’s truly unlike any other company and I’ll really miss that.
Tom and Jeff Salabritas
Comment below and send your best wishes to Tom in his retirement!