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Q & A: Alum appreciates PCC training that molded his business
Story by Christina Holmes. Photos by Vern Uyetake.
Twenty years ago, John Mason got his first introduction to PCC. A bright 17-year-old who grew restless of high school and eventually dropped out, he excelled in college and earned top grades.
By 1996, he had both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in machine manufacturing technology. He headed straight into his family’s plastics business, a company his father — a former Tektronix employee — started in 1975. Mason quickly found that the material covered in his PCC classes applied directly to his new role.
“The courses I took allowed my company to invest in new technology, which enabled us to gain new accounts and grow our business,” Mason recounted. “One of the new machines we bought was a computerized milling/metalworking machine. The machine cost more than the total value of all the other equipment in our business at that time, but we knew that having the new equipment would allow me to start building all of our plastic injection molds in-house rather than having to deal with outside vendors. This gave us a major advantage over our competitors.”
Added Mason, “The first molds I built were crude, but with the fundamentals I learned at PCC, my skills improved quickly.”
Mason owns CF Plastics in Hillsboro, along with his two brothers, Joe and Glen, and parents, Lee and Barbara Mason.
How did you end up at PCC?
Mason: I was failing high school due to truancy and boredom. During my junior year, I met with my counselor and was told to try harder and show up to class, get a GED or drop out of school. Talking to the counselor was a reality check. I knew I had to start taking school more seriously, but I was having a hard time sitting through classes. My parents knew I was capable, but lacked motivation and focus. My mom called PCC and learned I would only have 15 hours of classes a week and I could earn both high school and college credits.
Looking back, what did you think about your time at PCC?
Mason: The combination of the condensed schedule, more interesting curriculum and the fact that the students seemed to want to be there just worked for me. The hands-on training I received in machine tech was invaluable and something I would have had a hard time finding elsewhere.
Tell us about your business.
Mason: CF Plastics is a manufacturing company making plastic injection molded parts for several industries. We make the baseball and softball bat handles for sporting goods companies such as DeMarini Sports (located in Hillsboro). We also do work for the medical, dental and vision inspection system industries.
Do you have any advice for college students today?
Mason: Find a career you enjoy and, if it’s not working out, don’t be afraid to make a change. You don’t want to be stuck doing something you hate for the rest of your life. I also would highly recommend PCC. I think the flexibility, affordability and option to transfer to a four-year colleges make PCC a great place for anyone.