Production workers know only too well that only the most stable, successful and ambitious businesses can promote evolution of true labour dynasties. Karaganda Casting and Mechanical Engineering Plant, KLMZ in local parlance, can boast 28 of such labour dynasties among its employees. The following story is about one of such dynasties.
The Kumpan dynasty, father and sons who are mechanical technicians by profession, are known and respected by all and everyone at the plant. Each member of this wonderful dynasty is always ready to lend a helping hand in case of a slightest malfunction in complex plant equipment. As a medical doctor, they will carefully examine machinery, carry out diagnostics, identify causes of the trouble with the iron "patient" and deftly eliminate the cause of the trouble.
Naturally enough, the most experienced and top-most specialist in the family trio is Pavel Kumpan, the founder of the family dynasty, Grade 5 mechanical technician. As long as Pavel Alexandrovich can remember himself, he was always fascinated by complex machinery. He always aspired not only to figure out what the motors are made of, but to learn how to repair them. This is probably why the question of choosing a profession for him was resolved long before school graduation. And then, later on, in the years most critical for the evolution of the young Republic of Kazakhstan, when national industries had to overcome all types of hardships, Pavel Kumpan always stayed loyal to his profession once chosen.
- ‘I came to KLMZ in 2006’, - recalls Pavel Alexandrovich. – ‘Before that, I worked as a mechanic at another plant, but the working environment there did not really suit me. I had to do random jobs of all types not related to my professional pursuits, while what I really wanted to do was to apply my professional skills in real-life situations. That's the reason I finally sought and found a job at KLMZ’.
After a successful job interview he was officially employed by KLMZ. Pavel Kumpan, with his usual diligence, was in no rush in making hasty conclusions, but for some time he was just evaluating the work environment trying to understand whether his job at this new plant was what he was really looking for. Six months later, he realized that this job suited his needs perfectly.
- ‘First of all, I liked equal and respectful treatment of employees as well as personal involvement of personnel at KLMZ’. – head of the dynasty admits – ‘Very good working environment and stable wages. The main thing is that we can do our work as trained professionals. Of course, at first, when modernisation of production facilities started, I was a little confused, because I had never seen such machines before and had no idea how to do maintenance and repair work. Luckily, the plant managers had it all there planned out beforehand – at the moment when super-modern equipment was installed in the workshops, we had already been trained by experts from the Czech Republic and Italy’.
As Pavel recalls, the training process was not difficult. Translators, his prior experience and ingenuity helped him to understand foreign mentors well. In a short time the process of repairing modern CNC, numerically controlled machine tools, which initially kept him in awe and timidity, became the same routine for Pavel Alexandrovich as repairing any another piece of machinery.
- ‘Of course, formal knowledge alone is not enough to become a good mechanical technician. You also need to have abilities and skills, have dexterity in hands and love for your work and a lot of other things as well’.
All of the above mentioned traits, either genetically or socially, Pavel Kumpan has managed to pass on to his sons.
- ‘When my boys were just growing up, I already saw that they were really interested in mechanics. They would tinker with a bicycle, all sorts of motors, and then a motorcycle. They would ask me for advice, and I would give them tips as to how fix things. Of course, deep in my heart I dreamed that Maxim and Ilya would follow in my footsteps, but I never put pressure on them in that respect. They made their choices on their own’.
Maxim Kumpan is 31 years old now, and 14 years of his life he has been working at KLMZ, the fact he does not regret at all.
- ‘After school graduation, I was enrolled for internship here, at the plant. I was 18 years old at the time. I then completed a three-month training course at the Training Center, got myself professional Grade 2 and began to work. Having gained some experience three years later, I submitted an application and continued my studies at the Training Center to get the Grade 3 qualification’.
After promotion to the position of mechanical technician of Grade 3, Maxim admits he felt so much more confident since he was granted access to complex equipment maintenance operations. A year and a half later, he felt the strength to take yet another height and submitted another application for a professional upgrade.
- ‘When I got Grade 4 qualification, I was allowed to repair presses, forge hammers and other such types of machinery. Having mastered this new professional grade, I did not wait for long, and soon thereafter got myself Grade 5. Now I do maintenance and overhauls of the most sophisticated types of modern machinery. It's easy for me, because my father will always prompt and help me. When I got a job at the Maintenance Site, many highly qualified workers with huge experiences and knowledge worked there. I learned from them, and eagerly absorbed knowledge. Today, many of them have already retired, but I always feel myself responsible because I understand that I am here to replace the older generation.
The decision of Ilya, the youngest son and sibling in the Kumpan family, to become a mechanical technician, father and brother took seriously, and as a matter of fact.
- ‘At the time when I had to choose my future profession, I decided first of all to take advice from my father. He and my older brother had already been working together at KLMZ, so they mentioned the advantages of their profession. I set myself a goal – not just simply follow in their footsteps, but to pick up the ball, so to speak, at the same facility where they worked. And so I applied for the course of training at Vocational School No.15’.
Ilya’s persistence helped him to achieve the goal finally. He enrolled at the vocational school, and went for his first practical training to KLMZ, Karaganda Casting and Mechanical Engineering Plant. His father was his first mentor.
- ‘I am so very grateful to him, because I got my first experience under his mentorship, he taught me very well. Unfortunately, I failed to get employment at KLMZ. So, I started my working career at another plant’.
However, Ilya did not give up, and 3 years later, having gained certain experience, he achieved his goal and got employed by KLMZ.
- ‘After I was employed as mechanical technician, I was assigned to Workshop No. 1, where the most sophisticated, state-of-the-art CNC, computer controlled machine tools, are operated. Naturally enough, I felt pretty much scared at first, since I had never seen such machines before. What really helped me to feel aspired was the fact that I could always ask my father and brother for advice and help’.
Four years have passed by since, and today the 27-year-old Ilya is just as a sought-after specialist at the plant as his father and brother. But at the same time, the younger Kumpan always listens to their opinions both in work and in life.
- ‘When our opinions concerning our work differ, I prefer the principle that elders are always right’ – smiles Ilya.
According to the Kumpan dynasty admissions, they feel comfortably at home at KLMZ – not only did it give them professional growth perspectives and stable high earnings – but also opportunities to realise their hidden talents.
- ‘Working environment at the plant is beneficial for the harmonious development and growth of each and every staff worker’, – remark Pavel Alexandrovich, Maxim and Ilya – ‘Competitions, sporting and cultural events of all kinds are held regularly’.
In their spare time Maxim and Ilya play in the Night Hockey League. Pavel Alexandrovich spends his off-time hours in hunting and fishing. Together they take part in professional competitions for mechanics.
At home, men use their knowledge and skills to help their best-out-of-best mother – they repair small household appliances and help with other chores.
- ‘The only thing we have not done yet – we haven’t yet created our own families, - Maxim and Ilya are smiling. – ‘But there’s so much to look forward to yet. We will get married and have children ultimately. We wish our family dynasty would grow and develop further’.
Photo by Alexey Baranov