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AMBA History


The American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) was established in 1973 and over the last 40 years has been the ONLY trade group that dedicates itself to just one industry - mold manufacturing. AMBA members are companies that build tools, dies and molds for injection, blow, compression, thermoform and other molding applications and AMBA Partners are companies that serve and support the mold manufacturing industry.

To promote the development, welfare and expansion of business enterprises engaged primarily in the manufacture of molds and related tooling, through the dissemination of relevant information, the exchange of ideas and pertinent data, and all and every lawful purpose or transaction in furtherance of such general purpose; to engage in such ancillary and related practices and actions as are deemed necessary to, or which may contribute to the accomplishments of such general purpose.

AMBA members enjoy benefits exclusive to the AMBA. The cost saving programs and benefits offer immediate impact and members receive special pricing, service and discounts from a variety of different companies.

As an AMBA member, you’ll get to meet and interact with other moldmakers. You can make contacts, exchange ideas, and share “war stories” with people who have the same struggles and triumphs as you! Our focus is U.S. moldmakers, and that’s who you’ll connect with …people just like you!  

The AMBA also offers distinctive and unique educational opportunities to make your business stronger. AMBA presents online seminars with topics that will allow you to enter new avenues of business, teach you what to do when a customer goes bankrupt, teach you about new trends in insurance and offer you insight in how to best market your shop. The AMBA Answers section of our website offers you the opportunity to get your moldmaking questions answered instantly by other managers, owners and executives who are ready to share their knowledge. Our surveys offer industry benchmarking information to ensure our members are well informed of trends and best practices. 

In these challenging and competitive times, being part of an association is key to the success of each company individually and the industry as a whole! Take advantage of this opportunity to be a member of the AMBA! AMBA is the one and only trade organization that works to make your industry stronger and your company more competitive.

In celebration of the American Mold Builders Association’s 40th Anniversary in 2013, we have provided a snapshot look at AMBA’s history – the events and milestones that have helped build our foundation and shape our framework so that we may continue be grow as a resource to our members. As AMBA Past President Gerald Hobson (Hobson Mould Works, Inc.) said in honor of the AMBA’s 25th anniversary in 1998, “…we have the good fortune to learn from our history and prepare for our future.”

Back in the early 1970s, the American mold building industry was rich with skilled craftsman who were excellent at their trade. However, as talented as this group was, many lacked the general business knowledge that would protect their investment. According to Hobson, “The foundation of the AMBA addressed this basic need and began the process of providing moldmakers with not only a voice, but also a powerful tool in business management.”

Today, while the mold building industry has seen many changes since the AMBA’s inception in 1973, one key factor has remained at the heart of AMBA members – pride in American mold manufacturing. On behalf of the AMBA Board of Directors and the AMBA Management Team and staff, the American Mold Builders Association salutes its founding members who identified the need and took action to form the AMBA. We also extend a very special salute to our AMBA members for their support over the last four decades, not only of the Association but even more noteworthy, for their support of fellow AMBA mold builders - all for the greater good of the American mold building industry.

AMBA Timeline: 1973 - 2013

 1973    Formation of the American Mold Builders Association - Chicago

 1973    Art Dashut, Deluxe Die Mold, becomes first AMBA Chicago Chapter President

 1976    Apprenticeship Training Program created and launched

 1978    First class of 15 students graduate from AMBA's Apprenticeship Training Program

 1978    Milwaukee Chapter is created

 1978    AMBA hires first Executive Director, Jeanette Bradley

 1979    AMBA becomes an official National Association

 1979    National Association Bylaws created and approved

 1979    AMBA hosts its first Annual Convention in Lincolnshire,IL

 1980    West Michigan Chapter is created

 1983   Minnesota(Twin Cities) Chapter is created

 1983    Minnesota Chapter creates first brochure to target students and spur industry interest

 1985    Journeyman Certificate created

 1986    Southwestern Michigan Chapter created

 1986    First issue of the AMBA quarterly magazine - "News & Views"

 1986    First membership brochure is created

 1986    "Made in theUSA" Mold plates created

 1987    Southeastern Michigan Chapter created

 1988    First issue of the AMBA membership directory is distributed

 1989    AMBA hosts first Annual Fall Conference in Lansing, MI

 1991    Central Wisconsin Chapter is created

 1991    AMBA National Scholarship program is launched

 1993    Indiana Chapter is created

 1994    First AMBA Software Survey is launched

 1995    AMBA membership tops the 400 member mark

 1996    AMBA launches website -

 1997    Arizona Chapter is created

 1997    First AMBA Business Forecast Survey is launched

 1998    Scholarship program expands to distribute $10,000

 1998    AMBA celebrates 25-year anniversary

 1998    AMBA launches first Wage & Benefits Survey

 1999    Upstate New York Chapter is created

 2000    Carolinas Chapter is created

 2001    Mold Builder of the Year Award program launched

 2001    AMBA launches online enewsletter – Weekly Beat

 2002    Northern Ohio Chapter is created

 2003    California Chapter is created

 2003    AMBA launches discount shipping program with YRC Yellow Freight

 2004    Central Wisconsin Chapter andMilwaukeechapter combined

 2005    AMBA launches hugely successful Traveling High-Speed Machining seminar series

 2005    Record attendance level achieved at AMBA annual convention

 2005    AMBA sponsors first Mold Builders Pavilion at PLASTEC West

 2006    Re-launch bi-annual Mold Industry Software Survey           

 2006    Creation and distribution of new mold manufacturing career brochure

 2007    Initiate mold-industry specific monthly webinars

 2007    AMBA names new AMBA Executive Director Melissa Millhuff

 2007    AMBA introduces OfficeMax member savings program

 2008    AMBA takes first annual trip toWashingtonDCto meet with Legislators

 2008    AMBA launches updated website

 2008    AMBA launches Partner Program

 2009    Mold Buyers Corner introduced on

 2009    Monthly OEM enewsletter launched

 2009    Chapter of Year Award Program launched

 2010    Pennsylvania Chapter created

 2011    AMBA names new management team: Troy Nix and Kym Conis, First Resource

 2011    AMBA launchesMROprogram with Grainger and Legal Resource Program with Ice Miller

 2011    AMBA launches highly successful plant tour workshop series

 2011    AMBA forms alliance with Acrisure

 2011    AMBA takes quarterly newsletter (The American Mold Builder) to magazine status

 2011    AMBA re-launches online newsletter - EBeat

 2012    AMBA brings annual conventions back to theMidwest:Grand Rapids

 2012    AMBA hosts record-breaking annual convention

 2012    AMBA launches first successful industry benchmarking initiative

 2012    AMBA launches online training program with Expert Tech

 2013    AMBA celebrates 40-year anniversary

 2013    AMBA establishes Charter Membership in honor of first eight companies to join the AMBA