Precision Machining Competition stirs interest in manufacturing careers

High schoolers compete showing off their precision machining skills

SCHAUMBURG IL – Stirring interest in careers that require machining skills has been a challenge for decades, and despite that challenge, many high schools have persisted to offer training in these crucial skills.  

The Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA) has been at the forefront of continuing machining skills development. TMA continues to work with high schools to provide opportunities for their students to experience and develop precision machining skills.

One of the most effective ways TMA creates interest in machining skills is their annual Precision Machining Competition (PMC). The event was held at Mazak Corporation’s Schaumburg, Illinois headquarters on May 11, 2023.

Precision Machining Competition interest returns

Over 18 Chicago area high schools submitted 303 precision machining projects from 236 high school students.

The high schools’ interest in TMA’s 2023 competition returned to the heights the Association saw participate before the COVID-induced pause in 2020. Hopefully, those climbing numbers signal a revival of manufacturing industry career interest among Chicago area high schoolers, TMA President Patrick Osborne said.

“This is the largest involvement we’ve had from high schools and students since 2019,” Osborne said. “If this year’s Precision Machining Competition made one thing clear, it’s that the future of U.S. manufacturing is in good hands. In fact, the students that competed proved their work is strong enough to make an impact in advanced manufacturing right now. It’s encouraging and refreshing to know we have young men and women passionate about our important industry.”

This year’s competition included projects such as student-created tap wrenches, punch sets, U-blocks, drill press vises, and bench blocks.  Other competitive projects included small grinding vises, offset V-blocks, tape dispensers, jack cubes, and soap bar mold masters.

Leigh McConnell, Director of Training & Workforce Development, Jack Krikorian, Senior Director of Training & Education, and Nayhelly Caldera, Coordinator of Training & Education, directed and organized this year’s competition.

‘Our Association is very proud of these young people and what they have accomplished,” McConnell told the PMC crowd of students, parents, and instructors. 

TMA member companies offered their best and most experienced precision machinists as volunteer judges for submitted projects. They measured, checked quality specifications, and determined project competition winners.

Winners of the 2023 Precision Machining Competition


  • First Place: John Eichholz, McHenry Harvard High School*
  • Second Place: Logan Fowler, Streamwood High School*
  • Third Place: Paul Lavin, East Leyden High School*

Punch Set

  • First Place: William Anderson, West Leyden High School*
  • Second Place: Perdo Quintero, Harvard High School*
  • Third Place: Connor Pedersen, Harvard High School*


  • First Place: Sebastian Ayala, West Leyden High School
  • Second Place: Jesus Rosa, West Leyden High School
  • Third Place: Modris Duda, Rolling Meadows High School

DIVISION II Drill Press Vise

  • First Place: Conner Klein, McHenry High School
  • Second Place: Joey Carlson, Jefferson High School

Bench Block

  • First Place: Dylan Gudovic, Lake Park High School
  • Second Place: Austin Tchebotarev, Cary-Grove High School
  • Third Place: Michael Greter, Streamwood High School


Small Grinding Vise

  • First Place: Eddie Guerrero, Streamwood High School

Offset V-Block

  • First Place: Bob Crumlett, Streamwood High School
  • Second Place: Aidan Hurst, South Elgin High School


  • First Place: Nolan Moorman, Lake Park High School
  • Second Place: Michael Greter, Streamwood High School
  • Third Place: Nicolas Veltkamp, Streamwood High School

*Denotes perfect score


  • First Place: Dylan Bare, Maine West High School
  • Second Place: Austin Khy, Maine West High School
  • Third Place: Jonathan Gonzalez, Maine West High School

CNC Turning

  • First Place: Philip Piotrowski, Palatine High School*
  • Second Place: Andrew Pulido Sanchez, Maine West High School*
  • Third Place: Lirio Romo Martinez, Palatine High School*


CNC Programming: Milling

  • First Place: Dylan Bare, Maine West High School
  • Second Place: Nickolas Terravecchia, Lake Park High School
  • Third Place: Alexander Stanisz, Lake Park High School

CNC Programming: Turning

  • First Place: Brennan Mockus, Palatine High School
  • Second Place: Ali El-Zein, Palatine High School
  • Third Place: Alan Schabelski, Lake Park High School


Tape Dispenser

  • First Place: Tyler Bowen, Rolling Meadows High School
  • Second Place: Nicolas Veltkamp, Streamwood High School
  • Third Place: Noe Diaz, Streamwood High School

Soap Bar Mold Master

  • First Place: Owen Krueger, Maine West High School*
  • Second Place: Alejandro Perez, Maine West High School*
  • Third Place: Zbigniew Kordalewski, Maine West High School*



Jack Cube

  • First Place: Francisco Jimenez Srain, Maine West High School*
  • Second Place: Ella Yee, Hampshire High School*
  • Third Place: Jose Pineda Cirilo, Streamwood High School*

TMA Education Foundation

TMA members are so committed to assisting high schools in providing classes and extra-curricular programs that they developed an Education Foundation to provide financial support for high school programs. 

For more information, see TMA Education Foundation

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