Dedicated CNC Operator: “I Have Found My Passion at Arthrex”

Leidys Guerra never thought she would have a career in medical device manufacturing.

Moving to Southwest Florida from Cuba three years ago, she initially worked as a mail inserter for a local newspaper when family members told her she should take her knowledge of machines and apply to Arthrex Manufacturing Inc. in Ave Maria, Florida.

 “I’m glad I [applied]. It has been an amazing opportunity,” she said. “I see every day what I do helps surgeons treat their patients better.”

Leidys initially was hired to work in assembly for Arthrex’s imaging and resection tools division. After seven months on the job, she had learned all of the machines in that division and told her supervisor that she wanted a new challenge.

“I was given the opportunity to learn new machines and become a 5-axis milling machine operator,” she said. “And I loved it, but then I wanted to learn more.”

Leidys currently works as a computer numerical control (CNC) operator, controlling CNC machines by feeding stock to the machine, making tooling offsets, changing cutting tools, checking quality and ensuring the machine is clean and lubricated.

Coming into work each morning, Leidys checks her machines, her paperwork and all of the parts made in the machine overnight. The parts must be inspected visually, as well as with precision measuring equipment to assure that every dimension on the product adheres to the blueprint specification. Once she has checked the parts from the previous night, she reloads the machine and begins processing more parts, including Arthrex’s ankle fusion plate.

“Every cycle, you have to check all the parts. You’re busy all the time and I like that,” she said.  

The best advice she had been given at Arthrex, she said, was that she should not stop from going after what she wants. Heeding that recommendation, she asked for a new challenge after seven months on the job, and she is currently working towards the next level of CNC operator. 

“If you want a job, and you show the desire, ambition and drive, you will get your opportunity. Once you have the opportunity, never stop doing your best to further develop your skills. My first trainer told me that I learn fast, but also that I listened well and she saw I was trying to do my best. I never want to stop doing and I always want to get better,” she said.

Leidys said she takes away three things from working at Arthrex: Enjoy what you are doing; do your best; and quality is more important than quantity.

“I always say, you should make these parts as if you are doing it for your own family members, relatives or friends because one day, you may need one yourself,” she said.

The best thing about working for Arthrex, Leidys said, is that you have the opportunity to learn as much as you want, and you can grow not only professionally, but personally as well.

“On breaks, you can share what you are doing with the other operators and learn from their experience,” she said. “I wanted to learn about new machines, and my supervisor gave me the opportunity. And if I don’t understand something, someone is always willing to help me.”

Leidys said she likes the team atmosphere at Arthrex.

“Every department contributes,” she said. “When it comes to the machines, we are supportive; we give our opinion to help make things better. Everyone works as a team, even if we are not in the same area.”

If she could have any other job at Arthrex for one day, Leidys said she would like to work prototyping the parts.  

“I want that job because you take a proposed product design and develop the final component and process to manufacture it,” she said.

And while she loves benefits like the daily free lunch at Arthrex Manufacturing Inc., she said it was the support and growth opportunities that she really values.

“The knowledge that you get here, no one can take that from you. When I was ready to become [a CNC operator], my supervisor told me that I was ready, and was supportive of me applying for the new position. I come every day and I try to do my best. And people notice and say, ‘Hey, you’re doing a great job,’” she said. “It’s very rewarding. I have found my passion with Arthrex.”

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