Kyle Kulwicki, 34
Injection Molding Process Engineer
Kimball Electronics Inc.
At Kimball Electronics Inc., Kyle Kulwicki is an injection molding process engineer working on a project that will allow product to be released in real time once manufactured. Jasper, Ind.-based Kimball is a contract electronics manufacturer that specializes in the automotive, industrial, medical and public safety markets.
"This is my most exciting project that I have worked on in my career. I have been working on it since 2014," he said.
Kulwicki earned associate degrees in plastics technology and CAD drafting and tool design and a bachelor's degree in plastics engineering technology from Ferris State University. He also received a master's degree in plastics engineering, medical plastics design and manufacturing from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
He previously worked as a process engineer at PTI Engineered Plastics, manufacturing engineer at Boston Scientific and prototype production assistant at W.K. Industries.
Kulwicki was also an intern at custom molder Hicks Plastics Co. Inc. of Macomb Township, Mich., where his father worked in the receiving department.
Kulwicki was nominated for Rising Stars by Ho-Seon Jin and Louis Somlai of Eli Lilly and Co. and Lee Kemper and James McGinley of Kimball.
Plastics News: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
Kulwicki: The No. 1 thing that surprises me about the industry is the rapid change that it has been going though over the past five to 10 years. We are all about industry 4.0 right now in the industry and we are already looking at industry 5.0 without most companies conquering 4.0 yet. The vast changes in technology in a reduced time cycle surprise me the most.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Kulwicki: The best advice, this is a hard one, if I had to pick it would be "stick with it, don't quit and don't give yourself a reason to," i.e., no excuses. I can't ever remember who told me that, but it goes back to having grit. Having grit or sticking with it has really paid off for me in my professional life in the plastics industry.
Q: What steps have you taken to advance in your career?
Kulwicki: The most prevalent step I have taken to advance my career is to outwork my fellow employees. This means more education and training and working on projects with fellow employees than others have done. Granted I have started to slow down, but putting the extra effort in has really helped. I can also say that staying up to date with education and industry has helped. The education that I mention is just not universities but also certificate programs like RJG Master Molder or AIM courses.
Q: What job do you really want to have in the future?
Kulwicki: I would really like to be the director of education training or engineering in a large company with responsibilities that include training trainers for the injection molding industry. This position would not only train employees but would also continue to complete individual projects based on new technology integration. For me it is all about sharing my knowledge in the future. Plastics/injection molding has really been a passion for me and I would really like to pass it on to others. Now that does not mean that I don't want to be a CEO, but it does mean that whatever the title is I want to ensure that I am passing my knowledge on and improving people's lives.