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Paulson Plastics Academy Lead Instructor – Mike Eikenberry

Paulson Plastics Academy Lead Instructor – Mike Eikenberry

By Mike Eikenberry

“I had the extreme good fortune of literally being born into the injection molding industry. I used to sit on my father’s knee while he worked on designing injection molds back in the early 60’s. As I grew up, learning the language of injection molding was just part of my normal language development. Once I reached the legal age to work in the family mold making shop, 14 yrs old at the time, I worked in the summers sweeping floors and drilling water lines etc. My Pop was the type that always said I needed to learn the trade from the ground up. So that is exactly what I did. As time passed I learned to build molds and then how to injection mold plastics. Later in life I had the opportunity to break away from the family business and worked my way up from the floor to an executive level position in an injection molding plant. I was the plant manager for over 10 years and then a General Manager and finally VP of Operations.”

“I have always had an interest in teaching and sharing the knowledge I’ve gained during my 30+ years in the injection molding industry. Many friends and customers commented that I was wasting a valuable asset sitting behind a desk and should be training people and consulting. So one day I resigned my position and threw off the reigns of the corporate world and began a new adventure in my life – teaching and consulting in the injection molding industry.”

“During my career I had attended seminars and sampled various training programs from virtually every source available. There were some that simply bored me. Others were informative but they lacked the practical, hands-on value I sought. Then I was introduced to Paulson Training Programs. I enjoyed the presentation as well as the format of the CD based courseware. I learned a lot about the characteristics of plastics and their behavior, right down to the polymer molecular level.  As I advanced in my career into decision making roles, I never forgot the Paulson training system. I encouraged many technicians and set-up personnel to go through the program. Because of how much they had helped me in moving my career path along, I felt a kinship to the Paulson method.”

“When I decided to break out on my own I was seeking to continue with training and instructing in injection molding as I had been doing for my employers throughout. I noted there were opportunities to pursue this passion with a couple of different training providers however I really wanted to join the Paulson team. I noticed one day they were advertising for an instructor on their website and I immediately contacted them. After meeting Don Paulson and some of his employees I knew this was where I belonged. Paulson and I signed a contract and I now conduct all of the Paulson Plastics Academy seminars as well as the Paulson customized in-plant training seminars.”

“After instructing several seminars, I further developed my strong passion for instructing up-and-coming molding technicians, set-up techs and anyone that wanted to understand the injection molding process better. I once told Don Paulson “I enjoy instructing the seminars so much I almost feel guilty for getting paid to do it, don’t get me wrong Don” I said “I will take the money I just want you to know I really enjoy meeting new people and in some way knowing I am helping them progress in their chosen career path.”

“Last year I noted many people were inquiring about supervisor and mid management training. I sat down with the folks at Paulson and we developed a new course called “Managing a Molding Plant”. My 15 years of experience as a senior manager and executive in the injection molding industry helped us focus on the true cost drivers, KPI’s and management techniques that have been successful for some of the largest and most profitable companies in the industry. I only wish this kind of course had been available as I was coming up through the ranks as it would have saved me from many pitfalls, headaches and long nights over the years.”

“I strongly encourage anyone wanting to help their company be more profitable or looking for a progressive career path in the injection molding industry to come and join us for any one of the Paulson Plastics Academy classes. As a bonus to these classes, we also provide many software tools developed for profitable operational excellence. Tools such as: an earnings estimator that allows you to take a snapshot look at individual jobs and determine their true profitability. This worksheet alone helped me to quickly calculate the effects of material price increases, cycle time adjustments and lost cavitation in less than 5 minutes. I also used this particular tool many times to conduct “what if” scenarios so I could better understand what the break-even points were. This kind of understanding leads to better data driven decisions. We also provide a comprehensive quote worksheet. This worksheet covers everything in the molding plant including packaging, assembly, insert molding, decorating and even laser etching etc. There are several other valuable tools provided… however you’ll just have to attend one of the courses to see what magic we have in store for you.”

“After instructing one of our seminars I feel exhilarated. Just knowing that I have contributed to the progression of someone’s career path thrills me to no end. I understand now why teachers suffer the hard work conditions, rude children and menial pay. It is that satisfaction one gets when seeing the light come on in a student’s eyes that truly understands something that will help them. It is the absolute thrill of feeling you have helped someone better their lives and thus the lives of their children for what may be generations to come.”

“So I invite you to come to one of our seminars. Let an old man share with you experiences that will save you time and trouble. Let us show you the science of injection molding and how to apply it on your production floor. If that’s not reason enough, come to help an old molder/toolmaker sleep with a smile on his face and get a peaceful night’s rest.”

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