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AMBA Announces Recipients of Mold Builder and Tooling Trailblazer Awards

Article-AMBA Announces Recipients of Mold Builder and Tooling Trailblazer Awards

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Justin McPhee and TK Mold & Engineering were named the winners by the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA), which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.

Two plastics industry leaders in mold building and tooling have been honored by the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) at its conference on May 10 to 12 in Grand Rapids, MI.

Justin McPhee, a mold-building entrepreneur and educator who began his career with Mold Craft of Willernie, MN, directly out of college earned AMBA’s 2023 Mold Builder of the Year Award. TK Mold & Engineering of Romeo, MI, received the Tooling Trailblazer of the Year Award.

Armed with a degree in design engineering, McPhee began his career as a molding industry influencer with Mold Craft in 1999. He quickly joined the company’s management ranks before taking ownership of Mold Craft in 2007 with partner Tim Bartz. McPhee not only helped standardize the company’s processes to produce extremely tight-tolerance molds, but he also promoted careers in the industry to high school and college students. McPhee has served on the advisory boards of various educational institutions, participated in mentorship programs, raised scholarship funds, and organized plant tours. He also represented the interests of US mold manufacturers in Washington, DC.

TK Mold & Engineering has been recognized for the many ways it has spotlighted manufacturing for students at local community colleges and high schools. In 2017, the company created a registered apprenticeship program that has graduated seven enrollees. The company also participates in advisory boards, career fairs, career technical education (CTE) programs, plant tours, and hands-on projects.

Each award winner will choose an educational institution to receive a $5,000 endowment to promote continued education in mold building. The awards were sponsored by Progressive Components.

This year's conference also celebrated the association's 50th anniversary.

For more details on the AMBA Mold Builder of the Year and Tooling Trailblazer of the Year awards, visit

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