AMBA Announces 2023 Mold Builder and Tooling Trailblazer of the Year Award Recipients

The American Mold Builders Association (AMBA), Indianapolis, Indiana, proudly presented Justin McPhee, Mold Craft, Inc., a Westfall Technik Company, Willernie, Minnesota, with the 2023 Mold Builder of the Year Award and TK Mold & Engineering, Romeo, Michigan, with the Tooling Trailblazer of the Year Award during the AMBA Conference 2023, May 10-12, 2023, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The awards, sponsored by Progressive Components, 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.

Justin McPhee has been a leader and educator in the mold building industry for decades. With a degree in design engineering, he started at Mold Craft right out of college in 1999, and quickly advanced to management. In 2007, McPhee and partner Tim Bartz assumed ownership of Mold Craft. Standardizing processes to create greater design efficiencies and advancements in the mold build process were key factors in the company’s ability to build extremely tight tolerance molds. In his ‘spare time,’ McPhee channeled his passion for manufacturing into education – promoting careers in the industry to high school and college students, sitting on numerous advisory boards for various educational institutions, participating in mentorship programs, raising scholarship funds and organizing plant tour events. When he wasn’t working with students, he was advocating for US mold manufacturing in Washington D.C., on several fronts. Whether eagerly sharing ideas with other AMBA members or giving his time on numerous boards, including the AMBA Board of Directors, Justin McPhee continues to be an influencer for the US mold manufacturing industry at large.

TK Mold & Engineering was awarded the 2023 AMBA Tooling Trailblazer of the Year Award, established to recognize AMBA member accomplishments that have resulted in a notable impact in education. TK Mold was recognized for its extreme involvement with local community colleges and high schools to shine a bright light on manufacturing. Through its involvement with advisory boards, career fairs, CTE programs, guest speaking, plant tours, hands-on projects with high school students and the creation of a registered apprenticeship program, from which seven apprentices have graduated since its inception in 2017, TK Mold has made it its mission to cultivate the next generation of mold builders in its community.

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