PDMA Minnesota: Injecting Technology into the High Pressure Die Casting Industry

When:  Jan 20, 2021 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM (CT)
Associated with  Minnesota

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Having spent a decade in a variety of product management and leadership roles at a manufacturer of electronic equipment, I wasn’t sure what value I could add to a company focused on the high pressure die casting industry. How do you create solutions for an industry that shoots hot metal into a mold? However, through standard product management processes and practices, I developed a patent-pending product that helps reduce scrap, creates a ‘razor – razorblade’ model product along with recurring revenue. However, it was not without clearing numerous obstacles to get to the finish line.

Key Takeaways:

  • Be open to industries that you have no background in – your experiences outside that industry will provide a new perspective and opportunities.
  • In new industries it is even more important to listen to your customers – sometimes easier, as you don’t have pre-conceived notions of “good” and “bad” ideas.
  • Take risks in order to validate your new product idea – in increments.
  • Use your network to solve big problems – if you don’t have outside experts, find some.
  • How to convince customers to make significant changes to a $200k tool.


6:00 PM
Brief welcome announcement from PDMA Board Member and speaker introduction

6:10 PM
Mark Steen – “Injecting Technology into the High Pressure Die Casting Industry”

6:50 -7:00 PM
Question and Answer

About the Speaker

Mark SteenMark Steen

Mark Steen is currently the General Manager of Midland Technologies, a division of Innovance, an ESOP holding company. Mark has spent the past 15 years working in leadership roles, including product management, generating ideas and creating products that address customer needs. Prior to working in product management roles, Mark spent 15 years as a frustrated end-user of those products, but also applauding manufacturers who listened to what their customers wanted and demanded. Having been an “end-user” he truly understood that it was critical to understand what the customer was asking for – to empathize and see things from their perspective. With that realization, Mark’s first product he developed from a blank sheet of paper won a Broadcast Engineering magazine “Pick Hit” award at the National Association of Broadcasters trade show.

More recently, Mark has moved from the world of electronics, video and audio equipment to molten metal and foundries, with an eye towards creating new solutions to help customers solve issues. Again, through listening to customers and his background in technology, Mark has developed a patent-pending solution to transform one of Midland’s commodity product lines into a value-added technology solution for customers.

Mark has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota, and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas. Mark and his wife Cathy live in St. Anthony, MN, have two grown children Jessi and Nick and their greyhound/shepherd mix, Storm. In his spare time, Mark enjoys woodworking and has recently started designing and building architectural bird houses, inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.

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