MMT Retools

MoldMaking Technology expands its family with a journalist who has mold building in her blood. Cyndi Kustush joins our editorial team after growing up in her father's mold shop, pursuing her journalism degree, building her public relations experience and serving a leading mold technology supplier to our industry for 13 years. Her roots, experience and passion will surely open up new possibilities for MMT.

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Hello, MMT Readers! I’m proud and excited about joining the editorial team at MoldMaking Technology. For so long, this publication has represented an industry that I am completely passionate about: Mold Manufacturing.

You could say that I was “born into mold building”, because I am the proud daughter of a mold builder, Alan Petrucci, who founded B A Die Mold, Inc. in 1968. My sister, Francine Petrucci, works side by side with my dad at B A, too. It’s in our blood, and we have all been very actively involved in promoting U.S. mold manufacturing for many years. That’s what makes my new role as Senior Editor at MoldMaking Technology all the more special. I can indulge my fascination with, and admiration for, the people and technologies that make this industry so exceptional while pursuing my aspiration to produce content that helps to both motivate and educate.

I feel privileged to work with Christina Fuges, who started this magazine 18 years ago, as well as with publisher Ryan Delahanty and managing editor El McKenzie, to help the team grow MMT's potential even more by providing you with the tools and knowledge you need to move your operations forward. I am eager to hear from you, so I can begin generating stories for MMT as well as contribute to the development of next year's Amerimold conference program. I can be reached via email at ckustush@gardnerweb.com.

Mold manufacturing influenced my upbringing in many ways. As a child I remember my dad stopping frequently while shopping to pick up and analyze how a plastic product was molded or to let me know he built a mold for all or some of that product’s components. When visiting my dad’s shop, I saw his guys working hard at cutting steel and building beautiful molds from it. The aroma from “making chips” is one I always welcome.  It feels like home.

In addition to providing me with a secure and happy childhood, this industry made it possible for me to get an excellent education at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, from which I earned bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and English. At the time I hadn’t thought about using my newfound skills to work in this industry. I began a career as a newspaper reporter and later moved into the healthcare field in Chicago to hone my public relations skills. I also started my own PR and marketing firm and one of my first clients was Bales Mold Service. It was then that I realized that working in, and advocating for, this industry was my destiny.

When Bill Clinton became president one of his first acts was signing a so-called free trade agreement called NAFTA with Canada and Mexico. He then also made China a most-favored trading partner. The floodgates were opened and so many mold builders – even those who had been around for generations – were forced to close their doors because of the mass exodus of OEM customers to China. This affected me deeply, and I was invited to become involved with the American Mold Builders Association’s Chicago Chapter and helped found Save American Manufacturing, or SAM. With industry publications like MoldMaking Technology following our progress as we lobbied legislators in Illinois and Washington DC, SAM became a national movement. It was very exciting – a lot of hard work – and I’m proud to have been part of the effort to educate law-makers about how their ill-devised trade policies were destroying our industry and the importance of having a robust manufacturing base to keep our economy strong and our citizens gainfully employed. To us it was common sense, but we had our work cut out for us.

As the SAM campaign pushed forward so did my career. I joined the team at Progressive Components in 2003 and was privileged to lead public relations and media relations efforts with a talented, dedicated marketing team there. Progressive’s president, Glenn Starkey, had seen the many articles I had written with Bales Mold Service and enlisted my services to do the same and more for his company. So for the next 13-plus years, I became part of a fast-paced, growing organization that bloomed into not just one but four interrelated and international businesses serving the production tooling industry. It was a great proving ground for me and I further honed my journalistic and marketing communications skills.

The whole time, Progressive understood and supported my desire to help the industry however I could. From active participation in industry organizations to meeting with legislators in Washington DC to discuss challenges facing the moldmaking industry, to representing SAM and other manufacturing initiatives at trade shows, I was able to pursue it all.

Then I learned of an opportunity to work at Gardner. It’s hard to describe the excitement I feel about my new role at MMT. I can’t wait to begin meeting friends, old and new, at upcoming industry events and continuing my involvement with the AMBA, the AMBA’s Chicago Chapter, and the Society of Plastics Engineers’ newly renamed Mold Technologies Division, along with Christina.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone at Progressive Components for the support and opportunities they provided to me. I also thank Gardner Business Media for the warm welcome, and thank you, the readers, for continuing to inspire me.

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