2017 Editorial Advisory Board: Ryan Katen

The 2017 version of MoldMaking Technology's EAB features a new crew of 10 industry professionals. Here's one of them.

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Ryan Katen is general manager of Micro Mold Co., MoldMaking Technology’s 2013 Leadtime Leader Award Honorable Mention winner, which continues to grow by viewing its customers, sister molding company Plastikos and industry associations as true partners. This team mentality has helped the 20 employees of this second-generation, family-owned company consistently design and build primarily one- to 16-cavity, tight-tolerance, high-precision injection molds for the medical, aerospace and electronic connector industries in eight to 14 weeks. Ryan is committed to driving this team. 

He holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering from Purdue University. After graduation, he worked as an industrial engineer at Boston Scientific Corp. for two years. He then joined the Plastikos/Micro Mold team as an engineering manager and has remained there for the past 10 years. However, for more than six of those years, he has been the general manager of Micro Mold.

As GM, Ryan is focused on ensuring the right decisions are made regarding significant capital investments in new equipment and proper talent, as well as internal and external training. He believes his experience with advanced automated manufacturing cells, lights-out machining, value-added sampling services, new-product risk assessment strategies, upfront collaboration, committed sales and marketing efforts, and a “train-your-own” employee approach can help other shops learn to compete. 

Ryan’s career has allowed him to hone his skills for developing, executing and completing plans, as well as leading the company and molding its culture. He believes working within a family-owned business affords him a unique perspective on managing a business while maintaining the successful culture started by his father. He is passionate about the benefits of pursuing an organic growth strategy with a conservative fiscal management approach and believes that has enabled the company to steadily grow during positive economic periods and also effectively weather economic slowdowns.

He attributes much of the success of Micro Mold to its partnership with Plastikos. He says that when your sister company is a molder, you can look at the big picture on a project: the total potential revenue stream rather than just the tool build. Ryan brings this perspective and his passion for finding and training qualified individuals to be toolmakers to his new MMT EAB position.

He is eager to offer insight on culture, shop floor/process/workflow, and education and workforce development, which are key areas for our moldmaking community.