Scott Rathburn hints in the opening paragraph of his article, A Call To Destiny, that Titan Gilroy, the subject of the article, is more than just a man with a unique name. The rest of Rathburn’s story chronicles Gilroy’s life and times beginning as a kid who grew up on rough streets, and who, despite all odds, made a success of himself. The Titan Gilroy story is an American manufacturing success story.
Maybe you’ve already heard of him or even seen his show. He’s the reality TV star of “TITAN: American Built,” airing on MAVTV. Titan says “it’s the first high-end manufacturing show to hit prime time.” And what a dynamic spokesman for American manufacturing he is. Hard edged, take no prisoners, no settling for second best. Titan Gilroy exudes confidence. From his square-jawed, steely-eyed, in-your-face persona, to his oft repeated chorus singing the unique praises of the American spirit. And he is living proof. He’s overcome every setback thrown at him to rise like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes, time and again. Not poverty, not abuse, not threats and violence, not jail, and not even the great recession (claimed as his greatest challenge of all) have kept him down.
As TITAN: American Built suggests by its title, each show provides a story about manufacturing, from the American perspective. As host, Titan Gilroy provides the show with the passion and energy that he brings to his own shop. When I heard him extolling the virtues of American manufacturing and promising the country’s inevitable return to manufacturing greatness, I admit, I was cheering him on.
Gilroy is doing the show to spread the gospel of American manufacturing exceptionalism. He claims that no country can do it better than America, and puts his own life’s story out there as an example of a man coming from nothing to build a successful business through the opportunity of American manufacturing. It’s his hope that viewers will catch his contagious enthusiasm for returning America to its rightful place as the world’s undisputed champion of manufacturing. Oh, yeah, Titan Gilroy was an actual boxing champ in his earlier life. That’s a tough way to make money but not an unexpected career path for a young man without options trying to put a troubled past behind him.
To get a sense of where Gilroy is coming from, he says, “American manufacturing built this great country. Great men built this country, and they would roll over in their graves if they saw what was going on. Today, America has lost its way. One hundred thousand manufacturing plants – gone. Millions of jobs – gone. Once great cities now left in ruin. People starving on the streets. It is time that we stand up and fight for America, fight for our jobs.”
And what is he going to do about it? Gilroy practices what he preaches. “We need to run hard. We need to run fast. We need to save people money. We need to solve problems. We need to teach our youth about this great industry, and raise them up to move forward and take this trade to another level. Together we can bring about change. America can do it faster, better, and cheaper than anyone. We need to believe, and embrace advanced technologies. Because that is our future.”
But how is he doing it on his own shop floor? Titan American MFG, Rocklin, CA takes on the toughest, gnarliest, most difficult jobs, and his shop runs all of them on more than a dozen Haas Automation turning and machining centers. A few of the milling center models in their shop include the smallest TM-1, the Super Speed VF-2SS, the very large VF-11, the EC-400 horizontal, and their latest addition, the 5-axis UMC-750. Among their multiple turning centers are several Haas SL-10 and SL-20 models with bar feeders. Gilroy says that they take on the toughest jobs, including those with tight tolerances for NASA and other private aerospace companies running difficult materials like titanium and Inconel®, because they are jobs that can almost always be improved upon. Faster, tighter, better, is what he shoots for. Signs on the walls of the shop read “Hit It Hard,” and “American Made.” Gilroy says some people asked him how those type of parts can be made on Haas machines, as if to imply that the machine wasn’t capable. He said that “really started to bother me. The machines are awesome… you just have to understand materials, feedrates, and the art of approaching any particular part, taking the pressure out of the part, out of the tool, and just making it cut like butter.”
Self-made American, making parts for American industry on American machine tools. Now, that’s what I call American Made.