The American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) proudly presented Tom Barr, TK Mold & Engineering, Inc., Romeo, Michigan, with the 2022 Mold Builder of the Year Award and Compumold Tool & Design, Inc., Phillips, Wisconsin, with the 2022 Tooling Trailblazer of the Year Award. These prestigious awards were given during the AMBA Conference held May 11 – 13, 2022, in Itasca, Illinois. The awards, sponsored by Progressive Components, Wauconda, Illinois, include a $5,000 endowment to each winner for continuing education in mold building, to be presented to the educational institution of the recipient’s choice.
A 3rd generation moldmaker with more than 40 years of industry experience, Tom Barr and his wife, Krista, created TK Mold & Engineering in 2003. Prior to starting his own company, he worked in the family business alongside his father and uncles, learning the craft and feeding his passion for the trade. His proudest moment was earning his journeyman’s certificate in the early 90s. Surviving the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009, he realized that to mitigate a maturing workforce, he would need to invest in developing the company’s next generation of employees. In 2017, Barr officially registered his apprenticeship program designed specifically for his company, which to date, has generated significant returns for his business. Today, TK Mold & Engineering, Inc. has 24 employees, a bevy of which are current or past apprentices. Whether sitting on advisory boards for Macomb Community College and Romeo High School or being an active participant on the AMBA Board of Directors, Barr’s passion for the moldmaking industry is demonstrated through his hands-on interactions with students and with industry peers.
Compumold Tool & Design, Inc. has earned recognition for their intimate involvement in the local school system, where company employees have demonstrated the range of jobs available in the industry and provided real on-the-job experiences to students interested in the trade. Whether through their investment in the industrial arts and fabrication classes at the local high school, their offering of a Student Assistantship Program (through which local Wisconsin high school students can job shadow at the facility), or their recent hiring of apprentices through the Department of Labor certified Wisconsin Apprenticeship Program, Compumold has made it their mission to cultivate the next generation of moldmakers in its community.
For more details on the AMBA Mold Builder of the Year and Tooling Trailblazer of the Year awards, visit www.amba.org.