A Place for Professional Growth
Some years ago at SHOT Show, H&H range founder Miles Hall conducted a seminar for the National Shooting Sports Foundation on the growth of firearms businesses. Mr. Hall was a perfect choice as he was the first gun business owner recognized by the NSSF as a “Five Star” range. Hall emphasized the advantages of organized events, calling them, “A-Plus necessities.” Events for a community are critical as they pool talent and allow interested persons to congregate and learn from each other.
A good example of such an event for gunsmiths is hosted by Brownells. This April 23rd – 24th the gunsmith supply company is hosting the fourth annual Gunsmith Career Fair at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown in Iowa. All gunsmiths, whether currently employed, enrolled in a gunsmithing course or recent graduates, are invited to attend. Firearms manufacturers and custom firms from around the United States at the event will be scouting potential employees and gunsmith business owners will have the opportunity to make contacts with many potential applicants.
Based on registrations and numbers from previous events, over 150 qualified gunsmiths are expected to be on-site. Attendees with unique techniques for accomplishing specialized jobs will share with others during the event. In addition to giving gunsmithing students, experienced gunsmiths and business owners the opportunity to interact, the event includes seminars tailored around career development, starting or expanding a gunsmithing operation, and improving business procedures. Seminar subjects for the event include: Obtaining a Small Business Loan; Creating A Business Plan; Accepting a Job Offer, and Marketing Your Business. These seminars will be followed with a question and answer session from a selected panel of experienced gunsmithing professionals.
Brownells chose Chuck Grace, Vice President of the American Custom Gunmaker’s Guild, as the keynote speaker. After years of self-study, Grace formally studied gunsmithing at Trinidad State Junior College and worked the field full-time after graduating in 1973. The American Custom Gunmaker’s Guild came to being at the 1983 NRA convention in Phoenix, AZ. A group of stockmakers and metalsmiths recognized the need for an organization to preserve and expand the craft of custom gunmaking. In addition to serving as Vice President of the Guild, Grace is also the Chairman of the Education Committee where he puts into action his belief that the key to preserving this honorable occupation is through the exchange of information. His goal is to inspire those attending the Career Fair to advance their skills and share their techniques with other gunsmiths. Brownells CEO Frank Brownell said of Grace, “The man is a great gunmaker, a great representative for the Guild and I’m absolutely certain he will be a real inspiration for the attendees.”
This is a tremendous opportunity for manufacturers to further their staff, for smaller shops to possibly expand and for individual ‘smiths to find new or better employment. As with any well-organized, formal event, the real value is what knowledge the attendees can learn from each other. That is truly “A-Plus.”