When creating flatware we start with a single piece of stainless steel. That piece of steel is cut and crafted to become something strong. It’s built to withstand rust, wear and time. And at Liberty Tabletop our employees are similar. Just like any other person, they go through tough times but they continue to stay strong and that’s what keeps them going.
Jeromy Fitch has been working at Liberty Tabletop/Sherrill Manufacturing for about seven years. During that time he has helped the factory grow to become more efficient. Fitch spends most of his days working on the shank and edge.
The Edger is used to smooth the burr on the edges of the handles of our forks and spoons. The machine runs four different processes.
• Phases one and two work on rough cutting the handle
• Phase three finishes the cut and
• Phase four colors and polishes the handle.
Through this process Fitch says he is able to run 30 to 40 flatware pieces through the machine at one time. After the shank and edge cell is loaded with 8 racks, one for each machine, a rack comes out every 30-60 seconds. Fitch admits that edging the flatware wasn’t always as easy. This process used to be completed by hand rather than using the help of a machine.
“About a year ago we used to use emery and compound to smooth the bowls by hand and it was tough.” Not only was it hard on the workers body but it took more time to complete. It used to take an hour to run 30 pieces,” said Fitch. Seeking a better process to smooth out the flatware Fitch realized that he could use the Edger machine to smooth the flatware. The Edger increased production and made it easier on the workers body to run the machine.
Since joining the team Fitch has worked his way up, learning the ropes to specialize on the Edger but, he admits that his life has not always been this smooth.
Growing up as a teen Fitch struggled with substance abuse. Through this he distanced himself away from his family and didn’t have anyone to turn too. His struggle continued into his early 20’s until he realized he hit the end of the line. Fitch knew things were not going to turn out well for him if he continued down the path he was going on, so he reached out for help. Through counseling, enrolling in college and finding work, Fitch was able to get himself back on track.
Just before he went to school at Onondaga Community College he met his wife Haley. Through their relationship Fitch learned a valuable lesson. “My wife came from a good family and when I saw that, I was able to see how to live normally.”
Fitch and his wife Haley are the proud parents of their three children, Landon 9, Blake 6, and Porter 4. Fitch’s wife also recently joined the Liberty Tabletop team. Fitch say’s she likes it!
Haley also helped Fitch find his current job here at Liberty Tabletop. At a point when Fitch was down on his luck and out of work, a family connection led him here. “My wife’s father knew Matt Roberts so I decided to reach out and apply.” Fitch got the job. His first job in the factory was working on Joulies, which are small stainless steel coolants that are designed to cool hot beverages. According to Fitch it’s a job that many newcomers begin on.
In 2011, Liberty Tabletop hit a bit of a rough patch and some employees were laid off. Fortunately the company was learning and continued to move forward. Three months later, Fitch said he got the call and was back on the team. Once he was back at the factory, he began his specializing in buffing flatware, which, ultimately led him to his current role, running the Edger Machine.
Looking back at all he’s done Fitch say’s he’s happy working here. He enjoys his work and said he gets along great with management. “The boss’s are friendly and I can stop and talk to them at any time.” Fitch said that working here has helped him to stay on a good path and it has helped his family. “I’m very thankful that Sherrill Manufacturing looks at me for who I am and not who I was.”