Meet Ivan Christopherson, our Quality Inspector and longest serving employee at GWS-WI, North Lake. Ivan has been at this facility for almost 61 years!

Ivan is a staple in North Lake, Wisconsin – both at the facility and in town! Ivan’s family owned a large farm and found himself working there after graduating high school. Soon thereafter, Ivan decided to apply at the local small-town machine shop in 1963. Two weeks later, Ivan started his new career that would carry him through today.

When Ivan first started, the shop was tiny and they were still working on developing the cold-form tap. He was one of five people employed at the time, and worked 3rd shift by himself for the first few months. He spent his time repainting the machines, waiting for the cold-form tap to be fully developed. When the company started to grow, Ivan’s role also grew. He worked on the floor for almost six years, when a foreman position soon became available. Ivan applied, and eventually spent 34 years as the foreman.

When he was 70, Ivan took a step down from leadership and went into Quality Control. His current responsibilities include the first inspection of each tool, and if they pass, the rest of the tools for that order can be run. He completes all the required paperwork, and checks all the specifications. Sometimes there’s only five specs, sometimes it’s twenty. Ivan uses two separate computers to check over all the tools. One machine mainly measures odd fluted tools, while the other checks even flutes. He then does a final inspection, the most important part of his job he says. Ivan is proud that his position helps make sure the tools are 100% correct when they are shipped off to our customers. He even checks over the tool routing to make sure that the tools were made properly. If he has questions on anything, he is able to work with Gary, the 1st Shift Supervisor to figure out the solution. When Ivan is sure the tool is up to par, he signs off on the tool and it gets shipped off.

One of the perks of working at the same place for 60 years is being able to see all of the changes to the facility throughout the years. For example, Ivan remembers when he had to hand inspect all the tools, and now he is using automated machines to help him! Since his beginning days at the facility, there have been two major additions, along with the company’s acquisition by GWS Tool Group. The amount of people and machines that have been added over time is shocking as well! Ivan still comes to work not only because he likes what he does and keeps him busy, but because he likes getting to see all of his work friends.


As mentioned before, Ivan is a staple in his town. Born and raised in North Lake, Wisconsin, Ivan is a small town celebrity!

Living only four miles away from the facility, it’s not uncommon to see Ivan biking to and from work when the weather is nice. Ivan received a bike as a Christmas gift from his wife 39 years ago, and has kept track of his riding since then. In his biking notebook, Ivan has logged 61,000 miles on his bike! He still rides 10 to 12 miles on his bike every day (which he says is not very long).

Ivan married his high school sweetheart when he was 18 years old, and they built a house on his parents’ land. Ivan still lives in the house he built 55 years later. Ivan and his wife raised four children in that house, so it still is full of warm memories for him. Unfortunately, after his wife’s passing almost seven years ago, he kept on their favorite pastime, their prairie of wildflowers. Ivan says he plants thousands of flowers every year, and takes great pride in taking care of his flower garden! His favorite flower is a Zinnia, and he has a few tomato plants as well.

Ivan also loves fishing, and has two boats on two separate lakes. He is also well known on the water, and is mainly a hobby fisherman. Sometimes he’ll keep a few fish for himself or his friends, but usually throws them back. More often than not, you can find Ivan in one of his boats with a fishing rod in hand.

Interested In A Career At GWS Tool Group?

If you enjoy working with dedicated people like Ivan, consider applying to GWS Tool Group. We are always looking for talented and driven individuals to work at our facilities in Florida, California, Illinois, Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Canada. Browse open jobs here.