Dan Diamond, a service technician at AKS Cutting Systems, believes working for the company has allowed him to reach both professional and personal goals.
The Northeast Ohio native, who learned CNC manufacturing at Lorain County Community College where his father taught the subject, has worked in the industry for 15 years, spending the last seven years at AKS traveling to customer locations to install machines.
Diamond’s favorite thing about the company is its leadership and the fact that it is family-owned.
“It’s working for the Phillip family, for a family-owned business,” he said. “There’s a direct link to the owner of the company; I’m not just an employee whose name he doesn’t know. The company has done more for me on a personal level than any company I could ever imagine.”
AKS leadership is personable and accessible to employees, Diamond said, adding, “I have their cell phone number. I can call them and they’ll pick up. It’s that interpersonal connection with the actual leadership that I really like.”
While most plasma cutting system installs are pretty standard, Diamond said there have been some memorable experiences. One involved an install in a South Dakota Hutterite Colony, where the cutting system would be used to create parts for their machines.
“It was pretty cool to see the massive culture difference, how they live versus how we live,” he said. “There were about 150 people in this colony and they lived on 80,000 acres that they farmed. It was like taking a step back in time — no TVs and no paved roads. It was very traditional in the sense that they eat all together in a big food hall; all the men eat on one side, women eat on the other side, and then the kids eat afterward. I got to be a part of that and see that.”
Achieving Lifelong Goals
Diamond and his wife recently achieved their dream of relocating to Florida, where prior to leaving Northeast Ohio, the couple would travel monthly to enjoy warmer weather and the Universal Studios theme park.
“With all the traveling I do for my job, I get a ton of airline miles and hotel points,” Diamond said. “Back when we were living in Cleveland, my wife and I would fly down to Orlando for a weekend. We’d travel Friday, go to Universal Studios Saturday, and then come home Sunday. Eventually, we decided we just needed to move here.”
AKS management gave Diamond the green light to relocate and, after living in Atlanta for about a year, he and his wife moved to the Orlando area, where she works as a nurse.
“Florida’s always been our home, I guess,” he said. “My mom and her family all live in Northern Florida, so I’ve been coming here since before I knew what an airplane was, as a little baby coming down here to visit my grandparents.”
In addition to visiting theme parks, Diamond enjoys kayaking, going to the beach, cars, motorcycles and computers. He currently divides his driving time between a 2019 Subaru STI, a 2016 Subaru WRX, and a 2020 Yamaha R6.
Career Advice Given and Received
With a large amount of travel comes meeting people from a variety of backgrounds. Diamond has taken that opportunity to strike up conversations and even ask for career advice from others.
“Everybody’s equal in the airport; we’re all stuck waiting for the same planes,” he said. “But occasionally, I’ll sit next to people and notice that they have a very nice watch or that have something rather expensive. I would always ask those people, ‘What’s one piece of advice you would give somebody toward success?’ More often than not, they would tell me, ‘I never say that’s not my job,’” Diamond said. “That is one of the biggest pieces of advice that I’ve taken and run with. There’s nothing too small, nothing is beneath you. I really try to live by that.”
His advice to others? Don’t focus on your strengths; instead, focus on your weaknesses.
“If you focus on what you’re already good at, you’ll only stay good at that one thing,” Diamond said. “Learning more means you will push yourself outside of your comfort zone so that you can better yourself.”
He added, “In manufacturing, there’s a lot of little details and you want to learn them, because the little details are what make up the big picture.”
As an example, when traveling for an install, in most cases the customer has many questions — some are simple and some are very involved.
“You have to know very minute details about certain things,” Diamond said. “It’s always off-putting to a customer when you’re hesitant or you’re not sure of an answer. Learning the small things will help you greatly when it comes to actually applying that knowledge.”
Diamond has been a valued part of the AKS family since 2015 and continues to excel.
“AKS in general is just a great company to work for,” he said. “It’s been the greatest decision to advance my actual life. There’s a ton of job security — they’ve been around for more than 100 years. I never worry about my job, and that’s the most comforting thing in life: having the confidence that I don’t need to think about something happening is extremely comforting and not something that many companies can even offer.”