Having grown up in Rockford, Illinois, Papke had never seen the ocean before attending college. Papke joined Mazak and went on to travel around the world, including more than ninety trips to Japan. During his 29-year tenure as president at Mazak, he helped the company expand U.S. operations, implement digital technologies, and establish multiple technology centers.
While attending the graduate school of Northern Illinois University, Brian entered a 2-year management training program at Sundstrand Machine Tool. He advanced through numerous sales and management positions in different divisions and locations. He joined Mazak Corporation in 1987 and earned a promotion to President in 1990 and Chairman in 2016.
During this tenure, a steadfast commitment to US manufacturing led to 14 expansions in Kentucky. A commitment was made to FMS technology, computer-integrated manufacturing, 5-axis machine development, and multitasking machine promotion. All the while implementing the technology in Mazak’s manufacturing operations.
Brian was an early leader in the promotion, development, and support of MT Connect to help companies improve the utilization of their machine and eventually create a digitally connected “iSMART Factory.”
In trying to establish leadership, numerous Hybrid models were integrated using powder deposition, wire deposition, and friction stir welding on CNC machining centers.
After assuming the President’s position, technology centers were established in 8 locations in North America as a commitment to customers to create technology solutions to improve productivity and promote US manufacturing. Some achievements have been many collaborative agreements to advance manufacturing technology, like with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
As a member of the Board of Advisors of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, it was an honor to be named to the Northern Kentucky Business Hall of Fame in 2018. Further, as a commitment to the development of young students, Brian helped a larger number of students with an apprenticeship program with Gateway Community College as well as other colleges and universities. As a professor for an MBA course in Leadership and Business Ethics at Northern Kentucky University, he promoted the right ethics for future business leaders.
One of the prominent achievements has been participation in many trade association commitments and particularly on the AMT Board of Directors and as a member of the Board of Trustees for MT Connect for 12 years receiving the Al Moore award for a lifetime dedication to the advancement of manufacturing technology.
Under the leadership, Mazak has supported countless SME trade shows and are a strong supporter of Tooling U and is a board member of Gardner Publications.
1987 – Mazak
1990 – Mazak, President
2016 – Mazak, Chairman
Mazak, Executive Advisor to the Board
Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Board of Advisors
Northern Kentucky University Board of Advisors College of Business
Northern Kentucky Business Hall of Fame
Northern Kentucky University MBA Professor of Leadership and Ethics
Board of Directors and Executive Committee Association of Manufacturing Technology
Association of Manufacturing Technology Board of Trustees MT Connect
Board of Directors American Machine Tool Distributors Association
Gardner Media Board of Directors
Mazak Corporation Board of Directors Optonics Corporation
Northern Illinois University
Sundstrand Machine Tool, Management Training Program
Northern Kentucky Business Hall of Fame – 2018
Al Moore Award of Lifetime Industry Dedication – 2021
M. Eugene Merchant Manufacturing Medal of ASME/SME – 2022