ProtoLabs Founder, Board Chairman Larry Lukis to Retire

proto-labs-logoMAPLE PLAIN, MN, Mar 6, 2017 – Custom prototyping and low-volume production company Proto Labs, Inc. announced that its founder and chairman of the board of directors, Larry Lukis, has chosen to retire and will not stand for re-election at the company’s annual meeting in May.

Lukis launched the ProtoMold Company in 1999 to reduce the amount of time it took product developers to get plastic injection-molded parts. He wrote front-end software programming that automated design analysis on 3D CAD models, which could then be sent digitally to interconnected manufacturing equipment for quick-turn part production.

As a result of his pioneering software and automation advancements, ProtoMold grew from a small startup in Long Lake, Minnesota to become a global innovator in digital manufacturing with production facilities in the United States, Europe and Japan. In 2012, Proto Labs went public on the New York Stock Exchange and by the end of 2016, the company reported nearly $300 million in annual revenue.

“While the company has grown significantly over the past decade, Proto Labs has never lost that tenacious startup mentality that it was founded on,” said Lukis. “With the current executive leadership, I know Proto Labs will be in good hands for many years to come as it continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible in manufacturing.”

Even in Lukis’ retirement from Proto Labs, his entrepreneurial spirit remains. He launched Digi Labs in 2014 to invest in and accelerate startup companies with products ranging from compact marine tech to virtual reality devices. His venture comes as no surprise since he created the Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award in 2011, which supports innovative startups by providing in-kind manufacturing services.

“Larry’s brilliant computing mind and leadership presence in the boardroom have been invaluable,” said Vicki Holt, president and CEO of Proto Labs. “He is the reason Proto Labs is the company it is today, and we’ll certainly still look to him at times for advice in the future.”
Longtime board member, Sven Wehrwein, will serve as Lukis’ successor as chairman of the board of directors. Wehrwein, who has served as the board’s lead independent director since 2011, has more than 35 years of experience as an investment banker, chief financial officer and certified public accountant.

About Proto Labs

Proto Labs is the world’s fastest digital manufacturing source for custom prototypes and low-volume production parts. The technology-enabled company uses advanced 3D printing, CNC machining and injection molding technologies to produce parts within days. The result is an unprecedented speed-to-market value for designers and engineers and an on-demand resource throughout a product’s life cycle.

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