Get to Know IMEC’s Board of Directors: Jeffrey Taylor

Posted by Jordyn Shawhan on Oct 2, 2020 12:09:52 PM


Jeffrey Taylor is the President and CEO of Crafts Technology in Elk Grove Village, a manufacturing firm with decades of experience producing products that demand super hard materials. As one of our newest Board members, Taylor spoke with us virtually and gave insight into his manufacturing background and why he’s excited to be on the IMEC board.

About Jeffrey Taylor

Straight out of high school, Taylor was studying by night and beginning his manufacturing journey by day. Taylor was hired as a machine operator for one of the oldest masonry drill manufacturers in the U.S., New England Carbide Tool Co. When he started out, Taylor’s goal was to seek an escalation of his responsibilities as well as to drive personal and company growth. He did succeed in this mission, and during 10 years at New England Carbide Tool Co., Taylor held roles as a specialty toolmaker, QC Manager, and eventually as the manufacturing manager.

After New England Carbide Tool Co., Taylor’s career continued to grow and morphed into his next role in sales. As a sales team member and later a sales manager, Taylor worked both domestically and internationally. “This provided me with a great opportunity to leverage my 10 years of technical skill,” Taylor said, “as I was selling technical solutions to Fortune 100/500 type companies.” Now he has brought his experience and drive to Crafts Technology.

Copy of Pink and Peach Freeform Art Instagram PostAs someone who entered the manufacturing industry as a student, Taylor is optimistic for the opportunities students have today to enter manufacturing. Taylor described the manufacturing environment he entered as a student compared to the current environment: “In the early 1980s, there were mostly manual laborer jobs, manually operated machine jobs, and machine operator positions available. However, there are more opportunities and more emerging opportunities for higher skill jobs that draw on computer skills and more ‘clean machining’ jobs. In the 1980s, the shops were not as ‘attractive’ as they are now in regards to health and well-being in the workplace.”

About Crafts Technology

What makes Crafts Technology a game-changer in the industry? Crafts Technology produces new and novel engineered solutions by making sure their designs are relevant to the industrial consumables market. This market caters to any machine parts that have a finite life shorter than the machines as a whole. Specifically, Crafts’ main market remains high precision wear parts and cutting tools.

There are many features that make Crafts Technology stand out. Below are just three of the ways Crafts has made a name for themselves in manufacturing:

  1. New Markets

Crafts Technology identifies as a technology company that is adept at creating or breaking open new markets. “One great example of a market that we broke open with our industrial technology was our development of super high precision micro-nozzles,” Taylor offered as an example. “We worked with a machine manufacturer and developed proprietary processes to produce very complex nozzles with complex and high precision features that, prior to our endeavor, had not been produced to the scale that we have now reached. These micro-nozzles have holes that are half the diameter of a human hair and have complex features with sub-micron tolerances.”

How was Crafts Technology able to break into this new market? “We were poised as a company to leverage our history/experience with producing nozzles for the paint and fluid dispensing industry that were not as small and not as precise, but, the manufacturing techniques and approaches were generally similar for producing micro-nozzles. Although, going ‘micro’ was an exceptional leap in regards to leveraging up our current technology and experience.”

How did this leap turn out? “The ‘leap’ proved quite fruitful as now the major end-users of our micro-nozzles include most all of the major semi-conductor and circuit board manufacturers. Those proved to be excellent growth markets as electronics have gone ‘micro’ also. As such, these end-users utilize micro-nozzles to dispense ever smaller nano-liter size droplets of adhesives, flux, coatings, etc. onto their circuit boards.”

  1. Employee Engagement

Taylor has clearly always had a passion for manufacturing, but it’s not just creating new products that interests him. “It gives me great satisfaction to indulge engineers, technicians, makers, etc. as they endeavor to meet technical challenges head on,” Taylor explained. “However, one of my most developed and lasting passions in manufacturing will remain the pursuit of pushing wealth aggregation out to all employees via a robust equity distribution plan.”

Crafts Technology works on the cutting edge of manufacturing as well as employee benefits. Employees are the backbone of every manufacturer, which is why Taylor takes equity distribution among employees very seriously. “Without a doubt, yes, I do believe that our equity distribution plan has improved employee engagement,” Taylor continued. In Taylor’s opinion, employee engagement is fluid and may need to be adapted continually, but providing equity is one way Crafts Technology encourages their employees, or “equity partners,” as Taylor refers to his workforce, to respond to the fluctuating needs of the company and their consumers.

Pushing out autonomy is another way Taylor keeps his workforce motivated. He has found that Crafts Technology has been able to retain top talent by giving capable leaders more power in the organization, and thereby increasing their commitment to and enjoyment of their work.

  1. Location, Location, Location!

Not only does Crafts Technology count employees as a strategic advantage, but Taylor counts location as one of their advantages as well. “Illinois, and in particular the Chicagoland area, is a centrally located hub of activity for manufacturing. It is a wonderful place to join with and learn from peers while also being able to meet up with U.S. customers without extended travel times such as occurs when one is flying coast to coast,” Taylor explained. “The technical resources available to manufacturing companies, and the quantity, breadth, and variety of tier 1, 2, & 3 manufacturers, as well as the pool of skilled workers, is second to none.”

When asked how Taylor got to where he is today, he had some valuable insight and tips for other manufacturers: “Some of the keys to my success include that I have always had a never-ending pursuit of knowledge and a desire to deploy newly-discovered understandings into all of my personal and work endeavors. As a leader, I have always striven to be a thoughtful, empathetic, and compassionate person with friends, family, colleagues, peers, shareholders, and coworkers. And, as a manager, some key elements of success have been related to my ability to recognize, hire, and/or develop great talent, an ability to push out autonomy to capable leaders, and having the ability to see the big picture while coaching things into the end zone.”

All of us at IMEC are excited to welcome Jeffrey Taylor to our Board of Directors! Both Taylor and IMEC are anticipating great collaboration and innovation in the future. When asked why Taylor is volunteering his time on our board, Taylor replied, “The reason that I am on the board is to share and leverage my experience in a way that is designed to be additive and helpful to others as they endeavor to improve themselves and their business.”

Learn more about IMEC's Board of Directors.

Jordyn Shawhan

Written by Jordyn Shawhan

Topics: illinois manufacturing, manufacturers, board of directors, Leadership, IMEC Illinois

    Subscribe to Email Updates:

    Stay Connected:

    Posts by Category