Page 24 - BusinessWest February 17, 2021
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precision manufacturer. We’ll get to that one in a minute. These stories help explain why Carlson has been named a Difference Maker for 2021. Indeed, while she has helped grow the company since she took over for her father, Larry Maier, as he battled and eventually succumbed to cancer, she has made an even bigger mark — on a regional and now national stage — in the ongoing effort to educate people about what gets made here and also about careers in manufacturing, thus addressing ongoing issues involving workforce and a skills gap.
“Instead of sitting idly by and talking and complainin”g, I wanted to do something about it.
“I want to make sure that kids, and adults who are looking for another career option, are aware of what we do in Western Mass.,” she said, “and they know about the viability of a career in manufacturing and what it has to offer.”
In a field where complaints about these
issues have been going on for decades involving generations of shop owners and managers, she has distinguished herself by going beyond complaining. Well beyond. In fact, in many ways, she has become the face of manufacturing in Western Mass. — a much different face than has ever been associated with this sector locally.
“Instead of sitting idly by and talking and complaining, I wanted to do something about
it,” said Carlson, who was recently appointed to the state’s Workforce Training Advisory Board and also sits on the National Tooling and Machining
Association’s AMPED (Advanced Manufacturing Practices and Educational Development) Board. And while there’s still much work to be done,
she has, indeed, done something about it, and that’s why she’s a Difference Maker for 2021.
Making Her Mark
Despite everything you’ve read already in this piece about manufacturing, what a good career it is, and how Carlson has thrived in it, she readily admits she had to be talked into coming back to this this region and Peerless Precision after her father got sick.
And it took a lot of talk.
She was living in San Diego at the time, working for a fire-alarm contractor, handling everything from inside sales to building websites to being the runner to go to City Hall and get the fire-alarm building permits for new construction.
In 2009, her father was diagnosed with colon cancer. “At the time, he asked me ... if something ever happened, would I come home from California and help my mom either decide to keep the company or sell it,” she recalled. “My dad always wanted me to be doing what I’m doing now, and I was pretty much in a place at that point in my life where I needed to decide what my path was going to be on my own; I didn’t want someone else to define that for me.
“Because he was stubborn and I’m just as stubborn as he was, I fought what he wanted tooth and nail until it came time for me to make that decision,” she went on. “So when he asked me if I would come home if something happened, I said ‘yes.’”
Something did happen. After undergoing surgery and chemotherapy and eventually earning a clean
Kristin Carlson holds up one of the parts her company, Peerless Precision, makes for thermal-imaging cameras, like the one used to locate one of the Boston Marathon bombers.
bill of health, her father’s cancer not only returned but spread to other parts of his body. And Carlson kept her promise to her dad, even if he didn’t remember her making that promise.
     Congratulations Kristin
  on being named a 2021 Difference Maker! You deserve this and we are so proud of you!
Love Mom, Ethan,
and the entire team at Peerless!
And congratulations to AIM member Kristin Maier Carlson, of Peerless Precision.
Thank you for all that you do! | 617.262.1180
    24 FEBRUARY 17, 2021

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