David Michael Tait, general manager of voxeljet America, passed away this week, after an extended illness, at the age of 63 years. He was surrounded by his loving wife and children. Mr. Tait was a pioneer of the global and in particular the American, additive manufacturing industry. He started three separate companies and guided each one to improved sales and profits in every year of operation. He also received numerous customer citations for excellence award including Textron Marine & Land Systems, L-3 Communications and Formtech Industries.
In the very early ages of AM, Mr. Tait founded Laserform, an early start-up using Additive Manufacturing that pioneered the use of stereolithography technology for design verification models, patterns for epoxy molds, patterns for casting tooling and quick cast patterns for investment casting. Laserform grew to $5.0M in sales and included customers in the aerospace & defense, automotive, medical and energy sectors. The company was acquired by P2 Holdings in 2000. At that time, the industry was made of a few forward-thinking pioneers.
They all knew each other very well. In fact, Mr. Wohlers of Wohlers Associates, who was the first to track and analyze the AM industry, was very close friends with Mr. Tait and wrote a moving post on their work as well as their friendship. Those of us who only knew him as GM of voxeljet America could appreciate his openness and politeness.
Mr Tait began his professional life as a line manager at General Motors Corporation in Saginaw, MI, holding several positions over his decade tenure with GM which eventually led him to metro Detroit. As his entrepreneurial spirit took over, Mr. Tait became an early pioneer of the rapid prototyping industry, commonly known today as 3D printing or additive manufacturing, co-founding Laserform, Inc. in Pontiac, MI in 1989.
He later pursued several endeavors in manufacturing, technology, aerospace and defense, including as President of Radian Precision. His career concluded, much as it began, in the 3D printing industry for which he was undeniably most passionate. As the Managing Director of Voxeljet America, Mr. Tait established the North American headquarters for a cutting-edge additive manufacturing technology company. Many of his dearest friends in life were colleagues from the career and the industry he clearly loved.