The AMBA’s 2017 Mold Builder of the Year is… Joseph Genc

Joseph Genc was honored by the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) and its members as the 2017 Mold Builder of the Year.


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Joseph Genc, who is a global tooling manager at Graphic Tool Corp., was honored by the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) and its members as the 2017 Mold Builder of the Year. The award was bestowed during the AMBA's annual conference in Cleveland, and everyone I spoke with agreed it was an honor long overdue. Joe has spent a lifetime working and giving back to the industry in many ways, much of it via his involvement in the AMBA Chicago Chapter and the Technology and Manufacturing Association (TMA).

With more than 50 years in the industry, Joe has unselfishly guided young apprentices entering the trade, providing them with not just valued skills but also that boost of confidence they needed to make their own mark in a very competitive trade. In a section of the nomination form that was submitted, Francine Petrucci, who is immediate past president of the AMBA’s Chicago chapter (of which Joe is a longtime member), says, “Joe Genc has been a mainstay at the TMA teaching Related Theory courses to mold making apprentices for around 20 years now. Chances are that if you have an apprentice in the Chicago area, he or she is learning from Joe. Joe is one of the most passionate and committed instructors I have ever met.” Rewind to the AMBA’s early years, when it created the first curriculum for moldmaking, and you’ll find Joe’s name at the top because he authored that curriculum.

Don Smith, who has known Joe since they taught together at the TMA in the 1980s, and is also president and general manager of Graphic Tool, shared what he learned about Joe while working with him at TMA: “It was then that his dedication to our industry became very apparent. I was taken back with the quantity of moldmaking and general business knowledge that Joe had acquired during his career. He pretty much had a solution, or, at least, a potential solution, to just about every situation. More importantly, was his desire to share this knowledge and/or solutions with his professional peers – a rarity in this business, because we want to keep our competitive advantages to ourselves. Joe sees this as our opportunity to grow our Industry!”

Joe owned his own shop for many years, but sold it and began working as Engineering Coordinator at PM Mold Inc. in 1999. In 2010, at the request of Smith, he joined the team at Rexam Mold Manufacturing (sold to Berry Plastics and then to current owner Flextronics) as a Tooling Engineer. In 2014, he moved over to Graphic Tool.

When Mike Zacharias, president of Extreme Tool and Engineering Inc. in Wakefield, Michigan, and last year’s AMBA Mold Builder of the Year, presented Joe with the award, he shared an old nickname Joe was given by his Chicago colleagues: Two-tenths Genc. It was a tribute to Joe’s always-precise work at the bench. Joe told everyone at the awards dinner that he was required to keep such tight tolerances for a customer that demanded it.

I have had the privilege of serving with Joe (and Don) on the Chicago Chapter Education Steering Committee, where Joe has been an incredible source of inspiration and guidance. Petrucci sums it up well, saying, “His passion is infectious! Joe is not a bystander in this awesome career we all know and love, he is a doer. And in the 20 years that I have known him, he has not stopped doing for this industry. He is still teaching our youth to be the best mold manufacturers and craftsman that they can be. He is still thinking and dreaming large and embracing new technologies. HHHe keeps our education committee and chapter on its toes and pushes us to develop two-, three- and five-year plans for training and education. He is our Chicago Chapter Renaissance Man, and we are lucky to have him.”

Congratulations, Joe!