Martin Ciriacks of Maribel, has transformed steadily during his three-decade career in tool and die: student, apprentice, graduate, employee, entrepreneur, boss and owner, to name a few of his ever-evolving titles.
Now there's another one to add to his list.
Moraine Park Technical College has named Ciriacks its 2016 Distinguished Alumnus, presenting him with this newest honor at the College's recent Students Award Banquet at the Camelot Supper Club in Lomira.
Ciriacks graduated from Moraine Park in 1984 with a degree in the Machine Tooling Technics program.
He grew up in Hartford and is a 1982 graduate of Hartford Union High School.
'I am truly overwhelmed and humbled by the fact that I am standing here tonight. I would like to thank the Moraine Park Foundation for recognizing me for the Distinguished Alumnus Award. It was an honor to find out that my achievements were noted outside of my family and industry,' Ciriack said, adding he has fond memories of his time at the College.
'Reflecting on my time at Moraine Park, I can see how this program kick-started my life on a career path,' Ciriack said.
After completing his degree at Moraine Park, Ciriack found employment in his field and enjoyed positions at various Tool and Die Shops in the Germantown and Menomonee Falls area. During this time, Ciriack enjoyed fostering and training many apprentices from Moraine Park.
Over the next quarter century, Ciriack became a highly regarded plastic injection mold-building specialist, starting, growing, owning and selling several successful businesses in the manufacturing industry.
He has also won several national awards, including becoming a three-time National Leadtime Leader Award winner.
Most recently, Ciriack was owner and president of Phoenix Tool LLC, a plastic injection mold-building company, located in Maribel, Wis.
He founded this company in 2010 and sold ownership to four of his employees earlier this spring. Phoenix Tool specializes in complex and intricate multi-cavity plastic injection molds delivered in demanding time frames.
Prior to Phoenix Tool, Ciriack started and developed M&M Tool and Mold, Inc., from 1995 to 2007. It was then acquired by a private equity firm from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
He also owned R&R Clamp LLC from 2007 to 2013 and Splitter Machine LLC in Denmark, from 2012 to 2014.
In the end, regardless of what titles he's had, Ciriack said it's vitally important to listen to what people tell you, rather than what they call you.
'No matter who you think you are talking with, wherever you are, or when: Always listen — they have some piece of knowledge you can learn,' Ciriacks said.
But listening outwardly is only part of his message. Ciriack said it's also important to listen within.
'You are not tied to your degree. It will get you started and open up opportunities for you, but listen to your heart. You might feel pulled to take that degree and mold it and shape it to fit your needs, your interests, or market trends. Go with it,' Ciriack said.
For more information on Moraine Park's Alumni Association, visit morainepark.edu/alumni.