Meet the New PMPA Executive Director

Article From: Production Machining

Posted on: 9/19/2013

Following an extensive search process, the board of directors of PMPA selected Michael T. Kobylka II as the new executive director of the association. He formally started his new role on August 1.

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Following an extensive search process, the board of directors of PMPA selected Michael T. Kobylka II as the new executive director of the association. He formally started his new role on August 1.

Mr. Kobylka has successfully transitioned into the new role, taking over for the previous executive director of 10 years, Michael B. Duffin, who is consulting with the organization until he officially retires on November 1.

“My first year goals in the position are to get to know the members and what they need to be successful, learn from the history of PMPA to make sure we are responsive to the members and get to know the organization that has been shaped over the last 80 years by excellent leadership,” Mr. Kobylka says. “I’m spending a lot of time with Mike Duffin getting to know how he operated, and I’m not letting him go until November 1!”

PMPA’s long history and current day-to-day operations have shaped PMPA into what Mr. Kobylka describes as a “lean and mean” organization. A history of responsiveness and providing excellent resources makes PMPA a unique trade association in Mr. Kobylka’s eyes.

“One area where I do see some opportunity for growth is in trumpeting our own horn a bit. We’ve scratched the surface in terms of membership, and there are pockets of manufacturing that should know what a great value PMPA is,” Mr. Kobylka explains.

“PMPA has an excellent value and return on the membership investment. This association really knows what its members need and has excellent resources from technical help to the HR hotline. To that end, I encourage any member who hasn’t really engaged with the organization that much to contact us.”

In the role of executive director, Mr. Kobylka makes sure that the voices of PMPA’s members are heard by the public, government officials and within the organization. He is also an integral part of the day-to-day operations at PMPA’s headquarters in Brecksville, Ohio. 

Past Experiences

For the past 3 years, Mr. Kobylka served as president and CEO of Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce (RAMAC). “I feel like I bring a bit of a different perspective from my experience at RAMAC on what a trade association can do for its members,” Mr. Kobylka explains. “My association with PMPA membership began before I went to RAMAC, when I was working with MAGNET. Because MAGNET was a manufacturing extension partnership, I learned a lot about offering services to manufacturers that will translate into this position.”

Mr. Kobylka served as director of advocacy and regulatory affairs at MAGNET for almost 3 years; prior to that, he worked as the director of public safety and services for the city of Lorain, Ohio.

“While working for the city of Lorain, I was directly below the mayor, and issues filtered up to me. I gained experience with contract negotiating and learned a lot about how local regulations impact business operations,” Mr. Kobylka continues. “Ultimately, we have to have our shops somewhere and wherever that is, there are local regulations that we work with.”

Mr. Kobylka’s goal of making sure that PMPA members’ voices are heard by government officials is also aided in his experience working with Senator George Voinovich. He worked in Washington and knows how the senate operates, as well as how that affects those in the precision machining industry.

What Makes PMPA Great

According to Mr. Kobylka, one benefit of PMPA membership is what he calls the “fellowship between” members of the organization. 

“PMPA is set apart from other trade associations by its fellowship among members. It goes beyond networking for business and learning purposes,” Mr. Kobylka explains. “The people really care about each other. In my first few days as executive director, I attended a Management Update committee meeting and heard people asking each other about their families and talking about times when their fathers or grandfathers attended the same PMPA functions. 

“You can’t quantify that kind of connection into a neat and clean ROI,” Mr. Kobylka continues. “It’s a special dynamic because many of our members are ‘friendly competitors,’ and tomorrow they could be competing for the same contract job.”
Mr. Kobylka describes it as an 80-year history of relationships.

More About Mike

After transplanting to Racine, Wisc., 3 years ago, Mr. Kobylka is happy to return to his family’s roots in Northeast Ohio. 

“I was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio, and the opportunity to come back home and work for PMPA is kind of like rolling a Yahtzee,” Mr. Kobylka says. “When we moved to Wisconsin, it was a very similar setting to home; we just had to adjust to the lake being to the east instead of the north. We were fortunate to meet a lot of great people and form life-long relationships with them. Thanks to social media, keeping in touch is very easy.”

Mr. Kobylka and his wife, Kerri, have been married for 10 years and are both from the area. They have two sons, Mikey III, 7, and Joey, 3. 

“One of the obvious benefits of returning to the greater Cleveland area is that we’re close to our families again. Both of our families are still in the area and having the boys’ grandparents close is great,” Mr. Kobylka explains. “Beyond the obvious though, this area has access to amenities that we appreciate, including the arts. But in all honesty, the Midwest is very similar throughout.”

The Kobylka family enjoys spending time outdoors doing any activity that allows them to have quality time together.

“We enjoy camping, and I hunt some. Really, my hobbies are anything that lets me spend time with Kerri and our kids,” Mr. Kobylka says. “We like doing things that get us outdoors—golfing, fishing and things like that in the summer, and we enjoy skiing in the winter. When Kerri and I have time together without the kids, we enjoy a good bottle of wine and consider ourselves amateur winemakers.”

Moving Forward

“Right now, I’m just getting my feet wet in this position. I have excellent people to work with, and I’m really looking forward to getting to know our members,” Mr. Kobylka says. “One of the main things that I want PMPA members, and anyone considering joining, to know is that I would love to hear from them.”

Michael Kobylka, executive director of PMPA, can be reached at MKobylka@pmpa.org or 440-526-0300, ext. 230.

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