Winzeler Gear, in coordination with the Tooling and Manufacturing Association (TMA), has named IMS Companies Vice Chairman Mike Chester winner of the 2012 Winzeler Award. Winzeler Gear President John Winzeler presented the honor to Chester during TMA's 86th Annual Meeting. Created in 1971, the annual award recognizes individuals for their outstanding service to the tool and die industry. For the past 20 years, it has been sponsored by Winzeler Gear. Previous winners include Fred Buhrcke, the founder of Buhrcke Industries (now known as IMS Buhrcke-Olson), who hired Chester as a die maker in 1986 and served as his mentor. "To be on the same roster as Mr. Buhrcke and other industry leaders is an honor that I'll treasure forever," said Chester.
"Mike's achievements over his 35-year career, combined with his support of TMA, were key reasons for his selection," said Winzeler during the award presentation. Many of these achievements were made by Chester as he rose through the ranks at Buhrcke, where he initiated the company's first strategic plan and helped champion QS 9000 and TS 16949 certifications. He and a partner later purchased the company in 2001. As the company's leader, Chester implemented restructuring measures and strategic growth initiatives that led to Buhrcke's 2004 acquisition by IMS Companies.
While managing Buhrcke, Chester remained an avid supporter of TMA, serving on its board and leading the organization as its chairman in 2004 - 2005. He currently serves on TMA's Manufacturing Education and Careers Committee.