Moldmaker Mach makes its mark
Benton Twp. company earns Cornerstone award
By JULIE SWIDWA - H-P Staff Writer
BENTON TOWNSHIP - When Bill Mach and his wife, Vicki, established their company in 1981 in a small shop in Riverside, they were the only two people working there.
In two years, the company outgrew its space and moved to a larger building on Milton Street in Benton Harbor. Still growing in 1997, Mach Mold Inc. moved to its current 28,000-square-foot facility at 360 Urbandale Ave. in Benton Township.
On Wednesday Bill Mach, owner and president, was named the 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year in the manufacturing category at the annual meeting of Cornerstone Alliance and its affiliates at the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center.
"This award is welcome recognition for the efforts of myself and my company on an ongoing basis," Mach said in an interview. "Nothing that happens here happens without the employees. You can have all the equipment in the world but if you don't have people who know how to use the equipment, want to use it and are creative, you can't continue."
Mach Mold makes products like injection molds and fixtures primarily for the automotive industry. At its peak before the recession, the company had 50 workers, but got down to 30 during 2006. Mach said the work force is going back up and is at 38. He said some of them have been there for 25 years. Many of the newer workers have gone through an apprentice program through Lake Michigan College at its M-TEC facility, Mach said.
He runs the manufacturing side and his wife runs the administrative side. In 2009, Mach was named "Mold Builder of the Year" by both the American Mold Builders Association and the International Society of Plastics Engineers.
Mach is credited for helping put together the 16-member Berrien Tooling Coalition. Members work together for the benefit of all, he said. For example, if one company has a job bigger than it can handle, it will share work with other companies. The businesses also reduce their costs by sharing some equipment. For example, Mach Mold has a gun drill and another company doesn't. That company has an electrical discharge machine and Mach doesn't.
"By sharing equipment, we can both get a sale we otherwise wouldn't get," he said. "And by sharing work, we all keep from having big swings in our employment levels."
Members of the coalition also share educational experiences and have speakers talk to the whole group rather than individual companies, he said.
Mach said he is also "on the bandwagon" with Cornerstone Alliance to promote the area as a good place to do business.
"It's been a good place for my business to grow and thrive," he said.
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