After 41 years in the industry and 4 years at Hoosier Pattern, Steve Murray is retiring at the end of this year. Steve has played a vital role in the sand printing portion of our business here at HPI. Steve didn’t have a desk in the building, instead he could be found speaking at events, shows and meetings representing Hoosier and getting our name out there within the industry. A short interview with Steve below gives insight to his years as a patternmaker.
Badges from various shows/events Steve has been to representing HPI
How long have you been in the industry?
Since 1976 and joined the Patternmakers League of North America a short time later. Since then I have had the privilege and good fortune to work in many pattern shops and foundries. I liked moving around to learn new things and experiencing different manufacturing methods and products. You learn so much from others and everyone can teach you something if you are open to the experience.
What attracted you to this industry?
Making things. Most manufactured things, products, parts or whatever you want to call them started out in a pattern shop or model shop. All these designs were funneled through these shops. To be in one meant you had a wide and varied list of things you would be required to make, so boredom was not an issue. Just think of all the parts that make up an automobile, plane, ship or household appliances, industrial machinery and many other categories of parts that needed to be manufactured and they all started with a guy making something. I wanted to be that guy. The guy who was the first to make this type of engine block, head or bracket. How cool is that, to make the first of something on planet Earth, or to make something that future archeologists will dig up and marvel that we back in the day had the technology to make this or that. They always dig up metal bits and put them in museums and such. So, I like, I get a kick out of making things. Always have and most likely always will.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to get into this industry?
The industry needs you and wants you. If you like hands on learning, practical learning and not all the fluff, then jump in. Yes you get dirty, but all of us clean up good, and working with your hand and your mind is the best combination there is. This industry is what you make of it, much like life….what you make of it. All the skilled trades are cool professions. Yes, profession, not job. You master a skilled trade, you are by definition a professional. There is a pride in that, no one can take that away from you and you are that professional till you die.
How has the industry changed since you started?
Technology. A skilled hands trade has evolved to a skilled technology trade. Skilled hands are still required but technology has let one skilled tradesperson replace a dozen from years past. My past which to me is not all that long ago, but to younger people it is ancient history. The speed at which things are done is remarkable. The knowledge and use of such a wide variety of technologies is astounding. Technology changes in Chemistry, Material Science, IT, Simulation and on and on are impacting the industry and it keeps making this industry interesting.
Last week, Hoosier threw a retirement lunch for Steve and surprised him with a bronze statue as a retirement gift. Something people may be surprised to know about Steve is that he is a very talented wood carver. He initially carved the body of this statue out of wood, we scanned it and already had a 3D file of Steve’s head. We combined the two CAD files and with some help from Artcast Inc. in Canada, ended up with a fantastic casting.
What are you going to do with all of your free time now?
Carve/sculpt or make things just because I want to or because I think they are pretty. I will draw and paint more and also work making my gardens. I love to garden and I hope to finish my 5 acres of garden beds before I leave the top side of this Earth. On the family side, I want to have those days with my Miss Judy that we have been waiting for all these years. Enjoy each and every one of them together.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
That I am a home body who likes to cook for my Miss Judy and that I enjoy more solitary activities. If left to my own devises I could be a hermit, but my Miss Judy keeps me engaged with the world.
HPI wants to thank Steve for his many hours of traveling, sleeping in hotel rooms, eating airport food and for ultimately representing Hoosier Pattern in the best way possible. Steve’s knowledge and passion for additive manufacturing helped give HPI a head start within the industry, which is invaluable. Steve, we want to wish you a very relaxing and worry free retirement. You have earned it.