The list of obstacles standing in the way of an American manufacturing comeback seems to grow every day. We have the skills gap, robots and AI
that some day soon could make human jobs
obsolete, and of course, global competition.
That last one is perhaps the most daunting,
especially if you’re a machinist. Consider that
many of the parts you make, China does, too,
but at higher volume and for less money.
That’s the situation. Now, if American man-
ufacturers think this means we’re doomed,
then we are. But if we see this as a fight, and
one we can win, then we might just have a
But first we have to improve our odds.
If you’re gearing up for a real fight, that’s
done by finding the best possible trainer,
someone who will push you to your limits and
make you work harder than you ever have. As
luck would have it, the manufacturing gods
have given us a Titan. Titan Gilroy, to be exact.
Gilroy is possibly the perfect (and certainly
the toughest) person to lead this charge. Once
a rising star in the boxing world who fell from
grace and into prison, he’s a man who seems
to know everything there is about fighting and
comebacks. And most importantly, he’s a ma-
chining virtuoso, able to work a CNC machine
like Hendrix did a Stratocaster.
Along with massive biceps and several
tattoos, Gilroy carries with him incredible in-
sights into what it takes to win. That’s probably
because he’s had so much experience with
defeat. Abandoned, homeless, bullied, im-
prisoned. And that was before he turned 25.
He has also felt the stinging pain of laying off
40 employees and nearly losing everything.
The bulky machine shop owner with a tight
crew cut overcame some pretty crappy odds
in his life. Now the CEO of Titans of CNC thinks
America can, too.
“We’re losing our jobs to China, losing the
ability to put our kids through college, settling
for mediocre houses,” says Gilroy, a father of
five. “China is serious about manufacturing,
because they learned from us. We built the
best country in the world off our ability to make
parts and keep our money here.”
The trade deficit, as of 2016, was $347
billion with China, and reportedly grew in 2017
by 7%. With Mexico, it was up by 11% in 2017,
according to CNN.
The one thing that separates successful
and failing manufacturing companies, Gilroy
says, is the same thing that will help the coun-
try: “the ability to compete on a high level.”
From the schoolyard to the ring to the shop
floor, all Gilroy has ever done is fight—and win.
Now he just does it with his head, not his fists,
bringing the industry an unrelenting expecta-
tion of a perfectly machined part, time after
“I want to be the best, not second best. The
best,” says Gilroy, who won 35 of 38 amateur
boxing matches. “You run two parts at a time?
I’m going to run 40 parts at a time.”
At times, talking with the theatrically
uber-confident Gilroy feels more like inter-
viewing an old-school pugilist than a man-
ufacturing pro. He was, after all, trained by
boxing legend Dick Saddler, who also worked
with Muhammad Ali and George Foreman,
so maybe that was the most valuable lesson
“Because of that competitive nature, I make
people money, and I make myself money, and
am able to take care of my family,” he says.
Now his mission is to give that same ability
to the rest of the machining community.
by John Hitch
& THE NEED FOR SPEED
Former boxer and machining revolutionary, Titan Gilroy, has an aggressive strategy to combat all the
threats to American manufacturing, from outsourcing to the skills gap.