Dawn Hughes never expected to find a career in machining. The mother of three boys, Dawn had no formal manufacturing training when her aunt approached her about an open position at Controlled Fluidics, a company that machines parts for aerospace, biomedical, diagnostic, defense and other critical performance applications.
She began her work at the company in the wash room and, inspired by the prospect of accelerating her career and earning potential, enrolled in the Precision Manufacturing program
at Nashua Community College (NCC), part of the Community College System of New Hampshire
. The program, which trains workers in specialized areas such as production machining and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) programming, was eager to help her find a path to a degree that would work for her schedule. “I worked with an advisor who helped me decide which classes to take and how to fit my class schedule in around work and my kids’ activities,” she said.
In the year and a half that Dawn has been at Controlled Fluidics, she has seen rapid growth thanks to her continued training at NCC. She now works as a machinist in the finishing department. “Going back to school has given me the skills and the knowledge I need to run a machine without having to rely on others to get the job done,” she said.
Dawn now works between 40 and 50 hours per week at Controlled Fluids, while keeping up with two classes per semester at NCC. With her current class schedule, she travels to Nashua one day a week for machining class and takes the other class online, at her convenience.
“This is by far one of the best jobs I have had,” she said. “It’s a great environment and the people are fantastic, so I look forward to coming to work.”
When she’s not working at Controlled Fluidics or making progress toward her degree, Dawn is enjoying New Hampshire’s great outdoors with her three sons. “It’s absolutely beautiful here,” she said. “We do a lot of fishing and camping. We have a kayak and canoe that we like to take out.”
Dawn recently acquired a New Hampshire State Park License Plate
for her truck, so she and her boys can explore the state’s 93 state parks
with no entrance fee. “With all the camping, fishing and hiking we do, it’s definitely worth it,” she said. “It’s a great benefit that the state has.”
Other benefits to living in New Hampshire from Dawn’s perspective? “There are no taxes, it’s kid-friendly and there are so many beautiful places and things to do here,” she said. “Whether it’s hiking, camping, fishing, snowshoeing … we have a cool, old drive-in movie theater right in town. You name it, we’ve got it.”
Two of her sons hold the first and third positions in the state for wrestling, and the other is a star on his baseball team, so Dawn also spends a good amount of time at wrestling matches and baseball games. “They definitely keep me busy,” she said. Luckily for Dawn, almost everything she needs is within reach. “It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to get to work, which is super easy,” she said. “It’s a very convenient location.”
- Company: Controlled Fluidics
- Industry: Precision Machining
- Hometown: Lowell, Massachusetts
- Current Location: Lyndeborough, New Hampshire
- Favorite Local Spots: Milford Drive-In Theater and Greenfield State Park