Steve Seon

Steve Seon

CNC Machinist

Keats Manufacturing Co.

Chicago, IL USA

Once you find something that you love and are passionate about, don’t coast. Don’t slow down. Keep the momentum going and push even more.


By Roadtrip Nation

Steve Seon


My road in life has taken me all over.
I was born in Chicago, but my family moved to the suburbs when I was about three years old to give me and my brother a better life and education.
My dad was diagnosed with cancer when I was young—we sought treatment for him through all avenues and even went to Korea for treatment, but he unfortunately passed away.
After my dad’s death, I lost interest in everything—I was smart enough to get by in school and work the system, but I didn’t have the drive or passion to be there.
I was able to get into a four-year college but didn’t do well and eventually dropped out.
I didn’t want to burden my mom with more stress, so I moved in with a friend to learn how to be independent and navigate the world on my own.
I picked my old high school job at Ben & Jerry’s back up to gain experience working with people and develop my soft skills—however, I wasn’t making enough money and would go days without eating.
A friend of mine offered me an opportunity at the Illinois workNet Manufacturing Career Internship Program—it opened my eyes to manufacturing and was one of the most life-changing experiences.
I started with an internship at Keats Manufacturing Co., transitioned to a full-time position, and eventually got promoted to a CNC machinist due to my newfound determination to learn and move up!
Keep following my journey


High School
Illinois workNet Manufacturing Career Internship Program
CNC Programming
TMA (Technology & Manufacturing Association)


CNC Machinist

I work and maintain manufacturing machines for metal parts.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Building Things

Day to Day

I come into work, power up my machine, and go over what my day is going to look like and what I want to get done that day. I'm given projects but I do most of the start-to-finish planning on my own. This includes determining which tools I need, what the time window looks like, and planning all steps involved. I then get to work on the project. I have to constantly look over everything and make sure I'm double checking the work to prevent mistakes.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

Look into trade schools and certification programs. I've found that these options have a more direct delivery into careers than some other options.


The Noise I Shed

From Society in General:

"You have to go to college to be successful."

Challenges I Overcame

Death and Loss
School Drop Out