We’re honored to share our team’s stories with you through the kubik Storyteller Series! Join us as we sit down with the people who make experiences memorable, get to know them a little better, and hear their stories as they told them to us. Then, stay tuned for more employee spotlights on other members of our team. This week, we interviewed William Pechmann, who works as a CNC Operator at the kubik Toronto office.
William has been a pivotal part of kubik for five years, bringing his expertise in CNC operations, particularly on the 5-axis machine, to the forefront of our projects. His role involves meticulous planning, programming, and actualizing parts from drawings, ensuring precision and quality in every piece produced. Let’s learn more about William, his journey, and his day-to-day experiences at kubik.
What is your role as a CNC Operator?
William: Daily, I take our digital designs from programming and detailing and translate them into physical parts by programming tooling to the files and running our CNC machine. We cut various materials, from plywood and MDF to solid surface (Corian), crafting parts for booths, museums, and trade shows. My role isn’t just about cutting; it’s also about ensuring the accurate creation of elements from our AutoCAD or Inventor files and maintaining our machinery. It might seem like our designs come together quickly, but moving from a digital format to a physical piece often involves real-time problem-solving and adjustments to ensure everything fits perfectly in the 3D world as it did digitally.
What does an average day look like for you?
William: Since kubik does custom work, no two days are the same. When dealing with museums or trade shows, everyone will have their little flair and difference. We do any cabinetry work that needs to be done.
I mainly run the five-axis machine. So, we have two CNC machines in the shop, there’s a three-axis and a five-axis. The three-axis machine is basic; it moves left and right up and down. With the five-axis, I can do curves, mitres, and the fancy custom stuff on the machine. So, when we’re making big, curved walls, I program all the angles, details, and all that!
Every day is different; we’ll have days where we’re not busy at all, and then some days, we’re working 12/13 hours a day just pumping out parts and trying to get stuff done for tight timelines.
What educational and professional experience did you have prior to joining kubik?
William: I went to Humber College for their industrial woodworking technician course, where I learned a lot of my woodworking skills. I did have some prior experience in high school, but a lot of it came from Humber College.
After Humber College, I worked in a kitchen shop for a few years, running their CNC alongside building and installing the kitchens. Interestingly, as good as I was at making kitchen cabinets when I came here, it was the same as coming out of school. When I came out of school and went into the field, what I learned in school was very different. When I went from kitchens to very much custom work like we do here at kubik, it was a whole new learning curve that I had to experience. I knew how to use a drill, but the way they put stuff together, the quality they expected and the different materials they used put me back in that school mindset, learning it all again.
What led you to join the kubik team?
William: When I started at Humber, I expected to be in kitchens my entire life. I was looking for a new job and found kubik. It was just another job that I applied to at the time, but when I came in for the interview, I saw many things they do, and they offered me a position, so I took it almost immediately because this is a different type of work. Something new is happening daily; it constantly changes, keeping my mind happy and active.
What kind of projects do you work on?
William: Since I’m in the shop at kubik, we see a little bit of everything here. We do stuff for contractors that create various trade show booths, or other permanent installs. So, we’re doing wall panels, cabinets for different retail stores, cabinetry for museums, significant display cases, boxes, and countertops. It varies a lot, but we do a lot of museums and trade shows as our primary focus.
Some of these trade show elements must be taken down, put in a crate, and moved to the next venue, so they must be built strong and light. When we make a unit in the shop, it’s simplified so that when somebody else gets it, whether it’s our installers or someone else’s installers, they can see it and go, “Okay, this makes sense.” We do assemble things, but very rarely do we leave the shop.
Everything we do in the shop is fully laminated and finished before it leaves so we can quality control, check it all, and ensure it works. For example, if there are five wall panels that must go together, and we build them separately and then never test them, once they get on-site, they likely won’t work, which would be a big problem. Everything we make, we put together and set up in the shop, and we have a fully finished display to quality check; then we tear it down, pack it up, and send it out.
How has your career grown since starting at kubik?
William: I’ve only been on the CNC team for about a year. I’ve been a kubik for five years, but I was initially a cabinet maker on the floor building the units, and now I’m making the pieces needed to build the units.
When I started, we had two three-axis machines; from there, one was replaced with a new machine. I went on to learn and work on that machine because I was one of the only operators for them at the time. I had prior experience from my last job and offered to help, and since I helped out and they needed a new operator, I applied for the position. Eventually, I’d like to get into programming a bit more, be in the office and deal with more of the actual drawings rather than just cutting.
What is your favorite thing about working at kubik?
William: kubik has always been good to me since I’ve been here. Anytime I’ve been sick, have had a problem at home, or need some time off, there’s never been an issue. The whole team has always been willing to work with me if any situation arises. So, I’ve had no problems managing my work-life balance. kubik has also always had their barbecues and their Christmas party, that’s always fun. So, we’re always taking care of in that sense. As for the team I work with within the shop, all the guys there get along well. Everyone converses and chats, and there are never any arguments or fights. I’ve seen shops where they’re always yelling at each other because someone messed something up. Here, it’s okay if we make a mistake; we fix it and get it done. We move on because we’ve got to get it out of here, and we always figure it out. It’s always busy, but at the same time, it’s a very calm environment.
Which project has had the greatest impact on you?
William: One of my favorite projects here was probably the arcade machines I made for INFINITI. A few years ago, we made some arcade machines for INFINITI at the Toronto International Auto Show. Those machines were a lot of fun to build, and I saw them from start to finish. I went to the Toronto Auto Show, and I got to see them set up and being used as well.
What inspires you to be creative in what you do?
William: I’m not the most creative person, which is funny for the type of work that I do. If you ask me to try and design something, I can’t do it. I’m not a designer, but I love tearing stuff apart and fixing it up. So, if you ask me to reverse engineer something or take something down and rebuild it and fix it, I can. The fact that I can take these parts, cut them, and make sure they work, that’s what I enjoy most and where I excel.
If something breaks down on the machine, something falls off, or something’s not working correctly, I can trace it back to find out the issue and fix it. I try to fix any issues without having to call in a service technician so that we can save the company time and money and get the machine running again as fast as possible. It’s our money maker, so if the machine’s not running, we’re not producing anything, and then we’re not efficient.
What is something fun you like to do in your spare time?
William: I’m a nerd myself. I love computers, I love to work on computers, and I like to game a lot. I can’t sit in an office where they’re sitting for long hours of the day, so this is a perfect medium for me because I get to work with computers and machines, but I’m also up and moving.
I’m all over the place in my spare time with what I do. My ADHD brain doesn’t let me sit still, so I always learn new stuff. So, I’ve got a custom-built computer that I play video games on all the time, or I’m cleaning and working on my car or motorcycle. I’m currently trying to get a new bike. I’m always trying new things to learn. I can never sit still, so if something new and exciting happens, I’m probably out there trying to do it.
What does the kubik team do for fun as a workplace activity or event?
William: We recently had a big smoke-off where many people brought in their own smoked meat. We had a big barbecue outside, where we sat outside for a little bit and played some outdoor games.
Our social committee also holds in-house challenges; we just completed a step challenge. So, everyone in the building is tracking their steps as they walk throughout the day, and there are prizes for whoever has the most steps or has the most improved.
What is one of your biggest accomplishments at kubik individually or as a team?
William: There’d be too many at this point, just because of the type of work that we do. Some of these big museums we’ve done, like the International Spy Museum, down in Washington DC, were cool and pretty extensive. Any of these larger projects are sort of a big accomplishment because there are so many things that can go wrong. When something does go wrong, we ask ourselves how we get it corrected, and then we find a solution.
It’s hard to pinpoint just one because each is different and has challenges. Each one is sort of its version of an accomplishment.
Thanks to Fabia for sharing her story and taking the time to let us learn more about them. We appreciate everything they bring to the kubik team, and we can’t wait to see what they will do next. If you’re looking to join the kubik team, visit our Careers page for opportunities or visit our website to see some of the amazing project stories our team has helped bring to life.