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[caption id="attachment_36648" align="alignright" width="360" caption="Datum Technologies machinist Justin Hunt examines a part to ensure it meets exacting specifications."][/caption]

SANTA ROSA -- The precision machining and manufacturing industry is viewed by many as a bellwether of the economy and a precursor of changing times, since the volume of prototypes it creates can signal a change in the health of the manufacturing sector.

Datum Technologies

Address: 327 O’Hair Court, Suite D, Santa Rosa 95407

Phone: 707-738-3914

Website: datumtech-cnc.com

Employees: 10

Having survived one of the worst recessions in U.S. history, Datum Technologies, Inc., is back to full production, evidenced by 12 months of confirmed order backlog.

The company provides close tolerance, highly technical, precision machining and manufacturing services to original equipment manufacturers -- such as CNC (computer numerical control) turning, Swiss turning and vertical CNC milling.

Customers include those producing optical and semiconductor equipment, analytical test instruments and medical instrumentation.

The firm performs new product introduction prototyping and tooling capabilities with in-plant engineering and design for manufacturability services.

Datum Technologies is privately owned and operated by Analisa E. Hunt, CEO/CFO, who directs the company’s strategic planning, financial and human resources, and by husband Richard F. Hunt Sr., president, responsible for sales, marketing and technical manufacturing operations.

The company is a Latina-owned California “S” corporation located at 327 O’Hair Court, Suite D, in Santa Rosa.

[caption id="attachment_36649" align="alignright" width="360" caption="Datum Technologies, Inc., employees (back row from left): machinists Scott Schepplemann, Chris Mount, Justin Hunt, Jordan Hunt and leadman Mike Hennington; (front row, from left) John Bailey, foreman; Juan Madrigal, machinist; Analisa Hunt, CEO; Richard Hunt, president and Miguel Caballero, machinist."][/caption]

The key to the firm’s strength and resilience is found in its nurturing culture that binds employees and management together and maintains customer loyalty.

“One of our core values is to treat employees like family. We place high emphasis on training and development and offer a broad compensation package that includes a monthly allowance for medical, dental and vision care as well as life insurance,” said Ms. Hunt.  “Our turnover is very low and we didn’t lay off employees during the worst of the downturn in 2008-‘09.”

The Hunts base their corporate culture on the Hewlett-Packard model, where they worked for a total of 27 years.

“HP’s employee relations practices are worth replicating, such as MBWA (Management by Walking Around) and Coffee Talks, where supervisors meet informally with workers to see how things are going and to offer assistance. Employees value these connections to management and this rapport building pays off in terms of greater productivity and job satisfaction,” Mr. Hunt said.

“When workers stay with us for many years, their skills increase and work quality improves. Customers get to know and trust them and this pays off in terms of repeat business.”

Mr. Hunt entered the industry through an apprenticeship program that led to his first job in the Norfolk, Va., shipyards. “My dad and brother were machinists and I wanted to follow in their footsteps.”

He is one of the founders and a past president for 15 years of the North Bay Chapter of the California Tooling and Machining Apprenticeship Association -- the only program of its kind in the region.

“We could not find qualified people, so forming an apprenticeship program was the logical thing to do,” he said.

This program, at the Petaluma High School, has graduated more than 100 apprentices in Sonoma County, including Datum’s second shift lead man and its shop foreman, who is also a first year instructor for the program.

The company plans to become ISO 9001-2000 certified during the next few months. “We are ISO compliant today and want to improve our ability to attract clients in the aerospace industry by having this certification,” Mr. Hunt said.

“As parents, we care about our kids, and our employees become part of our extended family. We care about their accomplishments, their ability to have a home, car and other essentials. Consequently, we care about their compensation package and personal development and want to see them excel. This philosophy is not just a strategic business decision, it is the responsible thing to do.”