2020-2023 Editorial Advisory Board: Meet New Board Member Don Smith

The 2020-2023 version of MoldMaking Technology's EAB features a new crew of 12 industry professionals. Here's one of them.


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The next member of our new Editorial Advisory Board is Don Smith. 

Don comes to the board with 45 years of moldmaking experience and a passion for new technology and process development, which include lean manufacturing strategies and principles, predictive quoting software for injection mold tooling and molding cycle optimization, and additive manufacturing methodologies for prototyping and production of injection molds. 

His moldmaking career began after completing the Tooling and Manufacturing Association (Park Ridge, Illinois; now Technology & Manufacturing Association-TMA) four-year Related Theory and Industrial Design, Injection Mold Design programs. Don is also a certified Lean Black Belt and a Six Sigma Green Belt.

Today, as Scholle IPN Packaging Inc.’s (Northlake, Illnois) North American Senor Tooling Manager, Don provides direction to the injection molding tooling team with a specific focus on preventative and timely corrective maintenance, injection molds, tooling and tooling repair. Scholle is a global packaging company that engineers and manufactures flexible packaging materials that are safe, natural, economic and sustainable for 22 different markets.

Don is responsible for project leadership on new product development collaboration with facilities in North America. He also actively participates in capital planning and implementation and new process development scale-up efforts.

Don joined MMT’s EAB to “give back” to the industry and share his experience.

Before Scholle, Don built his experience and knowledge working for a variety of mold builders. He was an engineering manager for Spectra Tool Industries in Wheeling, Illinois, where his primary duties included quoting new projects, scheduling workflow throughout the plant, and creating a budget, timeline and progress reports for each tooling program. He then moved to Rexam Corp. in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, to be the engineering manager for global tooling. Don created workflow procedures with lean tools, managed tooling engineers/program managers, coordinated sales activities and managed quoting. He was then president/general manager for Graphic Tool Corp. in Itasca, Illinois, for which he had full business/plant responsibilities. Duties included creating the budget, P&L, along with analysis and reporting to the Board of Directors. He created and monitored business/plant KPIs and was responsible for all finance and manufacturing operations.

Don has been actively involved in the industry as an instructor and author at the Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA) Oakton Community College Des Plaines Campus for its Advanced Moldmaking and Mold Design Courses. He authored and instructed this completely original course for TMA’s School of Design, which is a CAD-based, two-year, four-semester program. He is also an adjunct Faculty member teaching adult education courses. After 10 years, he was asked to develop and teach a unique Engineering class for the TMA School of Design program.      

Don is also a member of the TMA (Manufacturing & Education Career) Apprentice Training Committee, American Mold Builders Association (Chicago Chapter) Education Committee and the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) committee.

His area of expertise includes mold engineering and problem-solving techniques, as well as business skills for operating a data-driven business and bringing automation into the mold manufacturing world.

Don joined MMT’s EAB to “give back” to the industry and share his experience. When not working, Don enjoys golf, traveling and generally spending time with family. One of his fondest childhood memories is spending time with his father on the golf course, and he was the varsity captain of his high school golf team. For the past 20 years, Don has been a Marshal at PGA Tour events in Chicago. In September 2020, he is looking forward to, again, marshaling at the BMW Championship.

Don has been married to his high school sweetheart for 43 years and has two grown children and one grandson.