Women in Model Making

submitted by Audrey Farrell

 

Meet Becky Tappe of Herman Miller

 

What Becky Tappe loves best about her career in model making is the variety. "You could be machining a part one day, making a mold, or welding the next. Nothing is the same and it always keeps you busy."

 

Becky has been a model maker for 15 years. She attended Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and received an Associates Degree in Model Making and then went on to earn her Bachelors in Business Management while working.

 

We asked Becky how she first learned of the field of model making. She said, "I actually heard about it from my mom.  She was working at the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College while I was in High School and suggested the program to me.  She thought it would be something that I would be interested in.  Turns out she was right!  I always loved art classes but excelled at building (clay/sculpture or jewelry) more than painting and drawing.  I started out with a tour of the program and decided to give it a try.  We started with 24 people at the beginning and 6 of us graduated.  As far as I know, 2 of us still work in the field." 

 

Becky no longer works on the shop floor, but while she did, most of her projects revolved around CNC machining, mold/cast parts, and running the 3-D printing machines.  Her current role involves working with vendors when there is an overflow of work or if there is a need for a process that they don’t have in-house.  Becky also orders supplies for jobs and makes sure everything is ready for the model maker when they start a job.

 

Becky's advice to young women who may be starting school to learn model making is to work hard, and don't be intimidated by the shop machinery and tools. She says to find an internship! "I really think internships can open your eyes to what your career will be like.  And there are so many good ones out there."  For women starting a new job, Becky says, "Be sure to ask questions, learn from everyone around you, and take your time to do it right the first time.  Rushing always seems to end in mistakes and puts that much more pressure on you." 

       

                                                                                                                       

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Association of Professional Model Makers Summer 2017 Newsletter

 
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