If you recently met Avenel, NJ resident Jonathan Cruz, ZAGO Manufacturing Co.’s Lead Machinist and Robot Specialist, you’d say he has a clear career path. Jonathan aspires to be an Engineer within the manufacturing industry. While Jonathan has an idea of what he’d like to accomplish professionally, he didn’t always have tunnel vision or a clear lane to success.
At 23 years old, Jonathan joined ZAGO (Newark, NJ) looking for work without knowing what tasks he’d be asked to perform. ZAGO, an award-winning, family-owned manufacturer of sealing fasteners and components, takes pride in hiring young professionals with little to no experience with hopes of developing them professionally through education and experience. “When I first started working at ZAGO, I didn't know anything about the type of work that was done here,” says Jonathan. “Sealing screws and switch boots were new for me but I have always been a person that liked to work with my hands to fix things,” he added. Like some young individuals, knowing what you want to do professionally, may not be a sure thing. However, you can be influenced when you least expect it.
This is true for Jonathan who came to ZAGO just looking to earn an honest living. Working at ZAGO helped Jonathan develop a passion for manufacturing. Jonathan came into ZAGO, operating machines used to produce sealing screws. He was astonished by some of the operating tools he was designated to work with. “When I first learned about Numerical Control Machines, I was amazed, so I did some research and learned more about them,” said Jonathan. Jonathan’s passion for manufacturing and engineering prompted him to earn an engineering certificate from Bergen Community College. Jonathan’s commute from Newark to BCC took dedication, determination, and it was necessary since it was the closest school that offered the certificate. Jonathan also credits leadership at ZAGO for playing a major role in his development. “My bosses continuously encourage me to learn, and ZAGO is paying the way for me to pursue a degree in manufacturing,” said Jonathan.
While Jonathan is driven and determined, he is also beloved and valued at ZAGO because of his leadership. Jackie Luciano, Vice President of ZAGO, appreciates Jonathan for being a mentor to aspiring engineers like Gino Lindor, whom like Jonathan, is taking the necessary steps to be an engineer within the industry. “He has really become a leader in our shop,” said Jackie. “He is extremely helpful, assisting Gino every step of the way, and we value his mentorship.”
During the peak of the pandemic in 2020, Jonathan was able to continue working at ZAGO, contributing to the essential manufacturer by assisting with production of sealing fasteners used in medical ventilators. During that time, Jonathan was able to apply credits earned from his certificate towards earning his associate degree in Manufacturing from BCC. Today with the help of ZAGO, Jonathan is continuing his education at New Jersey Institute of Technology, pursuing a degree in Engineering Technology, Manufacturing. Jonathan described his experience at ZAGO as a “supportive” journey and is appreciative to be a part of ZAGO. ZAGO Manufacturing Co. provides a limitless ceiling for its employees. Offering growth within the company, emphasizing education, and giving young professionals an opportunity to develop a passion, is what allows young professionals like Jonathan Cruz to have a clear lane to success.