Grand Rapids, Mich. — Justin McPhee, vice president of engineering at Willernie, Minn.-based Mold Craft Inc., was named Mold Maker of the Year for his commitment to the industry, education and innovation.
The recognition came May 11 from the Indianapolis-based American Mold Builders Association during its annual conference in Grand Rapids.
McPhee promotes manufacturing careers to students and advocates for U.S. mold manufacturers in Washington, D.C., fighting for causes such as tax reform, open competition for materials on federally funded projects and stronger free trade policies to open international markets to U.S. exports, according to Tom Barr, president of TK Mold & Engineering Inc., in Romeo, Mich.
Barr, the recipient of the award last year, presented McPhee with the glass trophy.
"From forming an alliance with other AMBA members to better the customer experience to storming Capitol Hill for the betterment of the industry — I don't think that was Jan. 6 — to creating a family culture at work to provide a better work environment for his team, Justin McPhee is always there with an attitude of go bigger or go home," Barr said.
Founded in 1964, Mold Craft is a medical equipment manufacturer of high-volume, single- or multicavity injection molds that produce small, intricate plastic, silicone, ceramic and metal molded parts.
In his position, McPhee has been a leader, educator and true ambassador of promoting careers in the mold building industry for decades, Barr said.
"It's not just an endeavor. No, it's a commitment. He takes it to the extreme like all aspects of his life. It's how he rolls," Barr added.
A third-generation mold maker, Barr and his staff at TK Mold were named AMBA's Trail Blazer of the Year for making a notable impact in areas of education and workforce development.
Company employees, which include apprentices and journeymen, are involved with community colleges and high school, speak at events, participate on advisory boards, attend career days, conduct tours at their facility, and do hands-on projects with students each year.
"It's all in an effort to shine a bright light on the manufacturing industry we love," said Glenn Starkey, a 40-year AMBA member who passed out the award.
Starkey is president of Progressive Components, a Wauconda, Ill.-based company that sells components and monitoring systems for mold making and molding.
Progressive Components sponsors the awards, which include a $5,000 endowment to each winner to be presented to the educational institution of the recipient's choice.