Honoring Apprentices Builds Morale, Pride in Moldmaking

Last night I had the pleasure to attend the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) Chicago Chapter dinner meeting, during which six young apprentices were honored by the mold shops that employ them via a nomination, submitted by their supervisors, for the chapter’s Mold Your Career Award.

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Last night I had the pleasure to attend the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) Chicago Chapter dinner meeting, during which six young apprentices were honored by the mold shops that employ them via a nomination, submitted by their supervisors, for the chapter’s Mold Your Career Award.

Bryan Hale, a two-year apprentice moldmaker at Pelco Tool and Mold in Glendale Heights, Illinois, won this year’s award, including a plaque and a $1,000 gift card to DGI Supply, sponsored by Schmolz+Bickenbach and DGI Supply. There was no denying the feeling of pride Bryan felt as he went to the podium to accept his award.

Bryan is maintaining an A average at the Technology and Manufacturing Association (TMA), where he is taking formal apprentice training courses. Prior to attending TMA training, Bryan took the initiative to enroll in and complete the manufacturing certification program at Harper College to begin his career in the manufacturing industry. He is independently learning the application of G Code programming on CNC Machinery.  He has received his certification in Safety, Maintenance Awareness; Quality Practices and Measurement; Process & Production; and Certified Production Technician. Clearly he is an apprentice who has earned his recognition, but the other five candidates were equally as deserving and should be proud of themselves.

I’d like to help honor each of the apprentices that were nominated and tell MMT readers a little about them. Each of the runners-up will be receiving a $200 gift card to DGI Supply courtesy of the AMBA and Synventive Solutions.

Rogelia Estrada is a first year apprentice moldmaker at A-1 Tool Corporation in Melrose Park, Illinois. His manager says he has “a great work ethic and a drive to succeed. He has been running the grinding department, keeping up with two shifts of machining, while still managing to clean molds.”

Christopher Gill is a second year apprentice moldmaker at Electroform Company in Machesney Park, Illinois. His supervisor says he “received off-site training from CAD/CAM Plus in 2d programming using SURFCAM Software.  He is now capable of writing offline programs, setup using probe sending technology and operating the FANUC controlled vertical milling machines.  He trained himself in the use of 2D Gibbs CAM for the lathe using internet tutorials and currently holds a GPA of 4.0 while working 50 hours per week.”

Adam Walsh is a four-year apprentice moldmaker at Electroform Company. Adam was exposed to Electroform’s Carbon Cutting Department this past year. Having spent the previous year training with Delcam’s PowerMill software, the transition was seamless.  After training on the Heidenhain controls for three months, Adam offered to move to our night shift, which has increased Electrofoam’s capacity tremendously.

Mickey Given is a three-year apprentice with programming and running a CNC lathe and vertical machining center at Do-Rite Die & Engineering in South Chicago Heights, Illinois. Mickey’s manager told how Mickey had to step up and fill the slot of Do-Rite’s VMC Machinist/Programmer who was on disability and Mickey has filled the void proficiently. Mickey took the WorkKey test and earned a Gold Score.

John Provenza is a one year apprentice mold engineer at Graphic Tool in Itasca, Illinois. According to his supervisor, John received his training at TMA and Harper College and has his Manufacturing and CNC Operator 1 Certifications. He designed his first mold and designed, programmed and manufactured multi-level fixture tooling. John also has bronze casting, aluminum casting and epoxy sand casting molding experience. John rebuilds and builds car engines and has a track car.

Congratulations to each and every one of these young apprentices, and kudos to the companies that are investing time and resources to train the next generation of mold manufacturers. It is a great thing when organizations like the AMBA’s Chicago Chapter dedicate an evening to honoring apprentices who are making their mark in the industry.

Learn more about AMBA Chicago’s work promoting mold manufacturing as a viable and rewarding career here; and check out MMT’s Next Generation videos and articles here.

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