It's the end of July, and for me this month conjures up feelings of patriotism and pride (as well as beaches, BBQs, and watermelon!). There's no better time of year to express our dedication to American makers. In honor of our manufacturing partnerships, I'm posting a mini-series featuring three interviews with some of our local manufacturers and artisans - the people that help make what we make possible!
I hope you enjoy this final installment, an interview with Bud Saggal of Precision Laser.
Q: When was the business established?
Q: Tell us your story - what inspired you to go into this line of work and how did you get started?
A: I was trained and working as a mechanical engineer. Working for companies, making them lots of money, developing new technologies and patents. When I asked for a raise, time and time again I was turned down and realized it was time to start my own thing. My passion to start my own business was to provide services to the little guys that couldn't get laser cutting services on a small scale. I've dedicated myself to small businesses. I don't work with the big guys.
Q: Why Rhode Island? And how has Rhode Island influenced your business/work?
A: I was living in Rhode Island and I love Rhode Island. There's nothing more too it.
Q: What materials do you work with?
A: Everything except copper, silver, and gold. These three metals are conductors and hard to cut with a CO2 laser. Thicknesses that I can cut on the laser depends on the material - for example, wood up to 2" thick, plastic up to 1.5", steel up to 3/8", stainless up to a 1/4".
Q: What's your favorite material to work with/why?
A: Stainless [steel] because it cuts like butter. I can't engrave metals with this laser, but I can engrave wood and do some unique things with it.
Q: What are the most interesting projects that have come through your doors?
A: All sorts! Of course, the RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) student projects are always interesting and unique. I've worked on hull forms for the America's Cup boats and blade forms for power generating windmills.
Q: What's your favorite part of what you do?
A: Showing up to work. I love going to work every morning and working with my customers. I like the daily feeling of opening up the doors to something I started and created. I like being my own boss and the freedoms that it provides me. When you're a small business, you do what you need to do to build strong relationships with your customers. I have flexibility, but I am also happy to come in early or stay late because my customers are #1.
Q: How do you approach projects with new clients (what is your process)?
A: Every project is unique. I listen, see what they are looking for, and try to provide guidance to help them succeed.