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Who is Kurtis Wolfinger


Kurtis Wolfinger is a combat veteran who proudly served in the U.S. Army with

the 25th ID 114th Infantry. During his deployment to Iraq, Kurtis encountered several IEDs that left him with a TBI, drastically changing his life. This affected the way he processed information, held conversations, and occasionally caused him to lose his vision from intense cluster migraines.


In 2018, Kurtis discovered CNC machining. The TBI that Kurtis once felt was his biggest burden suddenly became his greatest asset. His brain, which struggled with most information, began to thrive. As he describes, "It's like someone flipped a switch! I could visualize the manufacturing process in 4D. My brain was able to process and remember machining information, from the hundreds of lines of G-code, speeds and feeds, to machining processes for different types of material."


When NASCAR Technical Institute introduced their new CNC Machining program, Kurtis quickly enrolled. Before even graduating, Kurtis was offered a part-time position at a local race shop as a CNC machine operator. He would routinely take home the machine manuals to learn more about the machines he was running.

Kurtis flew up the career ladder

Over the next couple of years, Kurtis worked at several machine shops. While he began his career at the race shop as a CNC Machine Operator, he eventually became a CNC Manufacturing Engineer, managing two departments with 20 employees at a company that manufactured custom construction attachments.

Unfortunately, no matter which machine shop Kurtis worked at, he noticed two common issues.

First, these shops had amazing infrastructure, machines, and technology available but refused to fully utilize them. They were stuck in the mindset of "We've done it this way for 20 years." With technology constantly evolving in the manufacturing industry, this mindset was equivalent to riding a bicycle to Lowe's to purchase lumber to build your house.

Why not just order a flatbed tractor-trailer to deliver the lumber right to your build site?


The second issue was how veterans were treated. Each year, thousands of companies publicly boast their pride in supporting American veterans. Unfortunately, that support is not extended when veterans have to attend mandatory C&P exams, experience sudden PTSD episodes, or struggle to learn skills with their new disabilities.



                                                             A dream was planted

Kurtis and his wife, Rebecca, often discussed how they would run machine shops differently if they were owners. They envisioned embracing technology and machine capabilities and, most importantly, supporting fellow veterans as they transitioned from active duty to civilian life. However, with startup costs for a fully functioning CNC machine shop averaging over $200,000, this dream seemed unattainable.

In 2022, Kurtis and Rebecca found a creative solution to jump into entrepreneurship without the massive startup expenses. They founded Mil-Spec Manufacturing as a remote CAD/CAM programming company. This approach allowed them to continue working full-time for their employers while building their company brand, networking, and continually investing in Mil-Spec Manufacturing.

Within a year, they rented a brick-and-mortar space in Salisbury, NC, and bought their first CNC machine. Between the costs of rigging, the CNC machine, inspection equipment, electrical equipment, software, and more, their total investment was just shy of $40,000—a staggering 80% less than the average startup!

Practical Machinist

This caught the eye of Practical Machinist, a worldwide media company for the manufacturing industry. In July 2023, Practical Machinist, with host Ian Sandusky, traveled to North Carolina to feature Mil-Spec Manufacturing in an episode of their famous "Shop Tours." This episode, titled "This Shop Started with Less Than $40,000!", exploded in popularity, garnering over 30,000 views within the first 24 hours.

"The manufacturing community was extremely interested in how we did it. Like us, many people thought it was impossible to start a machine shop for under six figures."

Kurtis and Rebecca partnered with Practical Machinist to create the video series "Becoming a Practical Machinist." This series follows their journey of starting a machine shop from scratch. "We are extremely transparent in our videos, covering everything from price breakdowns of what we bought, our mistakes, what customers to avoid, marketing, and more." The transition from machinist to business owner doesn't exactly come with a "how-to manual." These videos fill in the gaps.


The rise to fame

Within six months of the first episode of "Becoming a Practical Machinist" going live,

Kurtis and Rebecca have become thought leaders in the manufacturing industry.

"We receive hundreds of emails and DMs every month, asking for advice on how to find customers, what programming software to use, or how to set up a business website," said Rebecca. "We've been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make an impact in the manufacturing industry. We're going to give everyone a hand up!"





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