MFG.com Blog

Blind Machinist Perseveres, Inspires for 2010

Submitted on

Thanks for everything, 2009. Don't let the door hit you. Good riddance. Adios.

Normally, New Years is one of the least inspiring holidays for me. But this year, it's pretty compelling - I find myself focused not so much on resolutions, as resolve. 2010 is the year manufacturing in the U.S. and around the world has the opportunity to pull itself up by the bootstraps.

If there is some good to come from the past year, it's this:

  • The government seems to have wised up to the obvious - that there must be balance in trade and support for manufacturing, and ...
  • We can reinvent and innovate our businesses to capitalize on change, and thrive in the global manufacturing ecosystem.

It won't be easy. Change never is. But here's something that we here at MFG.com think is one of the best stories of the New Year - one that can and should inspire manufacturers everywhere.


Bernie Vinther is a machinist in Washington state. He's talented, optimistic - and blind (AP Photo).

Bernie Vinther personifies manufacturers. He's been dealt some bad hands in life. Once a skilled electronics tech and business owner, diabetes took his sight. Ten years ago, as he began to go blind, Bernie went to school. To learn machining. Yep, Bernie's a blind machinist. And he's awfully good at it.

Through a combination of talent, technology and attitude, Bernie can machine custom parts to impressive tolerences. He uses an audio readout device to tell him where he's at in the cut. He's labled his tools and created charts - all in Braille.

Most impressive, though, is Bernie's attitude.

"You have only two eyes. I have 10," he says. "I like to keep learning. I’m always having to figure out how to do something."

Imagine you were robbed of your eyesight. It's a precious thing to a manufacturer, especially a machinist.

2010. Won't be easy. But when it seems tough, look to Bernie for the secret.

Talent, technology and attitude.

Can you make this part?

MFG.com Newsletter

Do you have Questions? Call MFG.com

Register Now For Free!

Join As A Supplier