PODCAST: 20 Years of MoldMaking Technology Magazine

It's one thing to be the interviewer; it's another to be the interviewee. The tables have been turned. The Manufacturing Alliance invited me to sit down during the American Mold Builders Association Conference to talk all things moldmaking.  


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During this 20th anniversary year for MoldMaking Technology magazine, Tony Demakis of The Manufacturing Alliance gave me the opportunity to share the history of the magazine, how and why it was founded, changes in the industry and magazine, as well as some personal insights.

Before I send you off to listen to the podcast (grab a drink and a snack and settle in), I thought I’d hit some highlights of the discussion. 

How did MoldMaking Technology come about 20 years ago?

Joe Prischak, a moldmaker by trade and currently the Chairman of the Board for The Plastek Group, wanted a way for moldmakers to share. He believed the industry was ready and waiting for something of its own. He then put together a small team to bring his idea to life. He hired a sales person, editor (me), designer and trade show organizer, giving them each a stake in the company. We were then off to the races. In 2004 MMT was acquired by Gardner Business Media.

What has kept you motivated to continue serving the moldmaking industry? 

This community and what they do for a living still captivates me. This industry took an aspiring media journalist and turned her into one of them. Welcomed me. Made me part of their community. I think that is why I am so committed to continuing to help build that community. The communal nature of moldmaking is amazing. The people I have met over the years amaze me … their ambition, work ethic, faith, family, fun, intelligence, humility, innovation, creativity, generosity, openness, friendliness. I consider many, industry friends.

What is your favorite part of the job?

The people. Connecting with people to find out what they need and how best to provide it. I am NOT a moldmaker, so I have never claimed to have all the answers, but if someone contacts me with a question or request, I can absolutely find someone who CAN find the answer! Again, it’s that community.

Do you have any favorite memories over the last 20 year?

My first sales call. It was with Glenn Starkey at Progressive Components. Gary Orfe and I met him at his daughter Christina’s hockey game. We proceeded to a bar after that, of course, but I’ll never forget the immediate feeling of friendship. Getting to know this man and his family while selling him on the idea of a magazine dedicated to moldmaking. I recall it being a pretty easy sell to Glenn. He was beyond excited about the concept and supported us immediately and still does today. As do many of our original supporters.

Another is my first (actually all of the) AMBA Conferences I have been able to attend. These events back in the late 1990s to mid 2000s really helped me build solid relationships with some key shops across the country in a very relaxed setting. I was even able to meet their families during these events. So I got to know them as parents and spouses too.

What have been some notable changes in the industry over the past 20 years?

In general, I’d have to say I’ve seen a move away from being solely a craft to more of a science. From a mold builder to a mold manufacturer. And all that encompasses. Like being focused on the business side of mold manufacturing, leaving the shop more often to learn about new technologies and processes and seeing them firsthand, and sharing. More sharing and collaboration. Both in the form of informal joint work, formal coalition to share projects and even teaming on exhibits at major trade events.

Plus, I’ve started to see youth in the moldmaking workforce (30 and under) and how can I forget the increased number of women in moldmaking and plastics that I’ve seen over the past 20 years. Which brings up training efforts. They have kicked up across North America, especially on the local level. People are getting involved.

Over the last 20 years, what have you learned about this industry?

That moldmaking still matters. Despite technology and processes changing, moldmaking still matters.

Now here’s the podcast.

I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed recording it ... and maybe even learn a little about where your magazine came from 20 years ago.