We are excited to announce our new blog series: People of Manufacturing, which will be written by Greg Serio of G-Rex Enterprise, LLC. Month-to-month, he will feature an individual in manufacturing and share their stories in the manufacturing industry. What better way to start the series, than with sharing Greg’s story?
Name: Greg Serio
Occupation: Manufacturing Consultant
Company: G-Rex Enterprise, LLC
Years of Industry Experience: 8 Years
As a 19 year-old, I found myself freshly kicked out of college, void of all my scholarships, working part-time as a bouncer, and having my own family and son to take care of in an instant. This is not how I envisioned my future while graduating with honors and a scholarship to the University of South Florida. Earning AP credits with high grades focused on a bright future was my vision. My present self could never convince that former self I would find my passion in life from manufacturing.
I found my passion amidst working as a bouncer at my father’s night club in New Port Richey, Florida, while attending college. If not for this beautiful place, I would not have learned some of life’s hardest lessons. Yet, this is what paved the way towards my new life.
One of the promoters at the night club became a great friend of mine, and is still one to this day. He told me about a part-time counter/warehouse job at a local industrial supply distributor. I applied and showed up to my interview 15 minutes late wearing plaid shorts, a Rehab band t-shirt, a baseball cap with Rehab written across the forehead of a skull, and flip-flops. My hair was long and my beard started to grow as I cheered it on in the mirror every day. Low and behold, I got the job. I couldn’t believe it and just like that, I got another chance.
I had neither an idea of what I was getting into or anything about manufacturing. But by day 2 on the job, I was hooked. I delivered a big stock order to one of the areas’ large manufacturers and while holding a small box of triangles and shook them. I assumed they were packs of gum. When I was told they cut metal and each one was $15 I almost shit myself; that was the cost of two new Xbox games!
As time progressed, work became enjoyable, second nature, and easy. Learning about these intricate parts, I particularly remember a neighbor of mine (who remains a great friend 8 years later) showing me an end mill and dropping it; I watched the metal shatter like glass. That blew my mind that an expensive piece of metal could break like that.
Every day it felt like I learned something new. I had to know more about this world of moving parts and robotic arms. My natural curiosity and willingness to learn made me easy to teach from those above and around me. If it was not for the many great influencers and teachers I have in my life, I would be nowhere close to where I am now, let alone having a presence at a young age in this trade.
After my 24th birthday and three hard-earned promotions later, I became a metalworking specialist. I thought I could kill it on the job, but I was quickly humbled and finding myself way over my head. It was either LEARN or find a different job. The person that promoted me and the support network around me saw my potential. They saw potential that I hadn’t yet discovered in myself. They saw that I was willing to put in the work to learn and continued to provide opportunities to learn more.
After about a month in, I was on a giant lathe talking to a machinist about turning 440 cast stainless (the nasty scale stuff). He was telling me words like “thou” and “tenths” and I can imagine the look on my face, he recognized my ignorance immediately when I asked, “How many decimal points are that?” He quizzically replied, “YOU… are the tooling guy?” I answered, “Yep,” with sweaty palms and forehead. He told me to “find an adult or someone that knows about tooling.” I hate being talked down to, but at the end of the day, he was right. I had no way to add value to him or his job at that point in time.
After that, I hit the books for the next four years, working closely with a team of industry application engineers who took the time to teach me this trade and build my confidence. By my fourth year as a specialist I had traveled over 250,000 miles focusing on nothing but the success of my company and the people that made it run. I took pride in what I did there, but I was ready to take the leap of faith and be a good example to my sons. I wanted to be near my kids more and establish my home as the epicenter of my business. If I grew big, then right here at home in Clearwater, Florida is where it would start.
In March of this year, I started my company to help bring work back to my home town and pay forward the knowledge that was trusted to me by some incredible people. I found what makes me get out of bed in the morning and keep me up at night: knowing there are so many people out there just like me that did not know what direction was up. I want to positively impact those people and manufacturers around me through education about this wonderful industry. I was passionate about helping manufacturers build talented and skilled workforces to bring more manufacturing jobs back to the United States.
There are many more layers to my story, but I would rather share the stories of the people that made me so passionate about this industry. Part of my company’s future and my personal mission is to tell the stories of those that did it before me. I hope to accomplish my goals by sharing stories with youth that need answers and help to provide a solution to one of the industry’s biggest problems.
Just as my journey started, my stories will begin with the major influences in my life and career. By sharing their hard knocks, pains, and triumphs I hope to encourage younger generations. I am excited to share their stories through The People of Manufacturing. I hope you enjoy hearing their stories as much as I do.