CNC SPECIALIST, MICHAEL BENKARSKI
From our dedicated project managers & talented designers in Brooklyn to our craftsmen in Pennsylvania, these are some of the technical and creative experts that make Uhuru what it is. Get to know our team members, what they do, and what drives them.
A few weeks ago, we visited our Pennsylvania factory where Michael Bernkarski showed us how he programs and operates the large CNC. We picked his brain about some favorites, axe throwing, and his journey to Uhuru.
Michael's expertise: CNC Operator/ Junior Woodworker
Hometown: Novi, Michigan
What’s your favorite memory from your time at Uhuru?
I'd have to say throwing axes with everyone at the Denver Christmas party last year.
How did your past experiences prepare or lead into your role at Uhuru?
In college I took several courses where I used CAD to write programs for our CNC. During the summers, I worked as an apprentice at two different wood shops in Detroit. After graduation I worked as a designer/ fabricator at a small cabinet shop before getting hired on as the CNC operator at Uhuru.
What's your favorite Uhuru piece and why?
My favorite piece is definitely the St.Pierre Sofa. It uses such a unique way of showcasing the beauty of a slab, while still incorporating fine woodworking and timeless design. It feels like the tree is hugging your back.
What project are you most proud of being a part of at Uhuru?
I'm really proud that I got to work on the Domino Park Sugar benches that now sit along the East River. I'm a huge fan of communal furniture and it makes me happy to know how many people use our benches everyday to enjoy the New York skyline.
What are you working on and what do you want to make?
Right now, I'm working on remodeling my van into a camper that I can take on long road trips. I'm trying to utilize CAD and the CNC as much as possible to map my interior layout and cut custom structures and cabinets.
What energizes you outside of work?
I try to spend as much time outdoors as I can, whether it's just taking a walk downtown or driving to one of Pennsylvania's fantastic state parks for a weekend camping trip.
What's something about you that would surprise everyone?
While in college I got to study abroad in Tanzania, where I lived with a Maasai tribe for three weeks.
If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick, and why?
If I could only keep three they would have to be Spotify, Audible, and Netflix. I mostly use my phone to kill time and with those three I would have endless content to consume.
Thank you Michael and best of luck on your camper van!