Quality Products Tabs Veteran Machinist for Outstanding Employee Recognition

Minh Hong joined Quality Products just a few weeks into the 21st century. His path to employment with this unit of Compass Precision was long and arduous. But his contributions for the past twenty-two have been nothing short of exemplary. And for this, he has been selected as Compass’s Employee of the Month for January.

Minh was seven when Saigon and the rest of South Vietnam fell to the North Vietnamese army in 1975. His father had served in the Military Police supporting the South Vietnam military while his mother worked for the South Vietnam government. His family lost everything when the war ended. They were forced to leave their home in Saigon and move to a rural area less under the scrunty of the new communist government.

Minh left his family at age 19 and fled Vietnam on a tiny boat with nine other people. The boat was so small that a passenger could sit in the middle while touching both sides with outstretched arms. The boat made the dangerous journey across the South China Sea and reached an oil rig off the coast of Malaysia.

The Malaysian government transported Minh and the other nine passengers to a refugee camp in Malaysia where he remained for nearly a year-and-a-half. He was then taken to the Philippines for another six months until he was permitted to enter the United States. While in the Philippines, Minh took English lessons, a language he was already familiar with from school in Vietnam.

The United States government settled Minh in Jersey City, NJ in late 1989. When he went there, he knew no one and had no family anywhere in the United States. He quickly found work doing odd jobs in and around New York City. But before long, a new friend introduced him to American Products Company, a machine shop in northern New Jersey. Once there, Minh took advantage of his strong math stills and quickly learned how to run lathes.

After working at American Products for about eight years, and becoming an American citizen during that time, Minh was able to arrange for his mother to join him in this country. Then, in order to provide her with more job opportunities, he moved to Charlotte, again without a job. Minh found employment at the Hilton in Uptown Charlotte and worked there until getting the opportunity to interview for a machinist position with Quality Products. The interview with then-owner Chip Schachner went well and Minh soon found himself making chips once again, this time running mills.

“I have been here at Quality Products since early 2000,” explained Minh. “I have seen many changes and worked for three different owners. Each of them have been very good to me. I try every day to work as hard as I can and make as many good parts as possible.”

“Minh is a wonderful employee,” said Kevin Farmer, President of Quality Products. “He typically runs several CNC mills making parts for gas turbines out of very expensive, difficult-to-work-with metals. We simply can’t afford to scrap any of this costly material. With Minh on these tough jobs, he always comes through for us.”

“We have hired a number of inexperienced machinists over the years,” added Greg Donaldson, Quality’s Operations Manager. “Minh has taught many of them how to set up our machines. This has really helped us out.”

“Give me a bunch of people like Minh,” stated Dwayne Davis, Machining Manager at Quality Products. “And there isn’t anything we can’t accomplish!”

Minh has truly found a new home, not only at Quality Products but also in the Charlotte community. He and his wife Marianne live in Charlotte about 15 minutes from Quality’s facility on Westinghouse Boulevard. They have a 17-year-old daughter named Anna who lives with them. In addition to Minh’s mother, two of Minh’s three sisters now also live in the Charlotte area while his father, brother, and third sister remain in Vietnam.

“I really like working at Quality Products,” said Minh. “I am honored to be picked as employee of the month. We are growing and adding more equipment. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”