A Man Humbled by the AMBA's Mold Builder of the Year Award

“I have big shoes to fill to keep company with the people who have won this award in the past. I will do my best to live up to the award. It's a daily challenge to strive to improve, but industry friends push us to keep going.” Those are honest words from a man well deserving of the AMBA’s 2019 Mold Builder of the Year Award, and I was there when his name was called and he humbly accepted the title.


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And by humbly accepted, I mean shed a few tears😊 This gentle giant is Rick Finnie, owner of M.R. Mold & Engineering in Brea, California.

I remember the first time I met Rick. It was during the networking reception of our 2000 MoldMaking Expo (now Amerimold) in Cleveland, Ohio. I walked away from our first encounter thinking, “Boy, could that guy talk!” but more importantly, I knew he’d be a person I should stay in contact with. His passion for the industry was contagious. He loved what he was doing back then and speaking with him even today, you still feel his passion. That is one reason I believe Rick finally won the AMBA’s coveted Mold Builder of the Year title. 

Rick is a generous, no-nonsense guy. He gets things done. He tackles problems yet is teaching all along the way. He is a staunch advocate of honing troubleshooting skills, as that’s the only way to truly learn and continuously improve.  

Perhaps that dates back to his early years with a father who worked in manufacturing or his high schools days when he was ahead of the game academically and landed his first job at a shop taking lunch orders or when he worked his way up from taking advantage of every opportunity to learn.  Whatever it was, he says he’s been at it for 50 of his 59 years of life.

M.R. Mold specializes in liquid silicone rubber (LSR) tooling, which was a niche Rick fell into back in the early 1980s. This focus has made him a leader in his field, and not only with tooling but the processing side as well. Rick takes this role seriously, so much so that he spends a lot of time instructing and teaching not only his employees, but other interested companies and students as well. Sometimes that's his annual hands-on, four-day workshop covering the chemistry of LSR, tooling, automation and processing where the team purposely makes defects to teach LSR and troubleshooting techniques. Rick shares what he knows, so that others can grow too.

More on what makes Rick Finnie the 2019 AMBA Mold Builder of the Year.

And to hear Rick’s story in his own words, listen in to his conversation with me and Tony Demakis of The Manufacturing Alliance Podcast: