R&D Machine Management Team

Meet the Team

Justin Kovscek, Vice President & General Manager

Justin joined R&D Machine in May 2022 after a nearly three-year stint as plant manager at Nemak’s Sylacauga, AL works. He previously worked at FPD Company, a precision CNC machining and forging firm in McMurray, PA serving the implantable medical device and aerospace industries. While employed for nearly twenty years at FPD, Justin rose through the ranks from machinist to operations manager.

Justin graduated from the California University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science degree and completed Fayette Area Career Technical Institute’s program in Machine Technology. He has served on Fayette Area CTI’s advisory board to continually improve the machine technology program since he has graduated, and is very passionate about growing effective systems, people, and teams.

Justin Kovscek, R&D Machine - Vice President & General Manager

Katlin Pennison, Operations Manager

Katlin assumed responsibilities for R&D Machine’s manufacturing activities in November 2022. She previously served as a production manager at Nemak Global’s USA operation in Sylacauga, AL. Kat started her career at firearms manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Co in Prescott, AZ, rising through the technical ranks from process engineer to lean department supervisor.

Katlin graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, AZ with a BS in Aerospace Engineering in 2013. Originally from Alaska, she has moved south and east during her career from Arizona to Alabama and now Florida.

Katlin Pennison

Debra Schmidt, Sales Administration Manager

Deb started working at R&D Machine in 2008 after her youngest child began kindergarten. She previously served as a purchasing agent at Anchor Glass Container in Tampa for eight years before becoming a stay-at-home mom. Deb’s responsibilities at R&D Machine have steadily increased during her tenure. She now has complete responsibility for inside sales and customer service.

Originally from New York and an avid Yankee fan, she describes herself as a hands-on person who prides herself in having a good rapport with all her customers and co-workers. Deb looks forward to the challenges ahead serving all existing and new customers.

Debra Schmidt - Sales Administration Manager

Thom Amend, Production Manager

Thom joined R&D Machine in 2003, left two years later, then rejoined the company in 2007 as lathe supervisor and programmer. He was instrumental in efforts to grow the company’s turning capabilities, both in terms of capacity as well as adding machines with Y-axis, live tooling. In 2021, he was promoted to his current position.

He began his career as a machinist in the US Army in 1985. After a four-year enlistment, he received an honorable discharge and moved to the Clearwater area. He learned the CNC and programming aspects of machining while earning a 2-year degree at St. Petersburg Vocational Tech.

Thom Amend - Production Manager

Tim Carter, Production Control Manager 

The “Ben Zobrist” of R&D Machine (plays many positions), Tim oversees the flow of the company’s machined parts through outside processing as well as purchasing of raw materials and maintaining all necessary paperwork right through shipment of completed components. He previously worked for Pall Aerospace and two painting vendors serving local Pinellas County machine shops before joining R&D Machine in 2013.

He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology Management from nearby St. Petersburg College. Tim grew up in St Petersburg and never needed to move very far in search of rewarding employment. His family occupies much of his time away from work.

Tim Carter - Production Control Manager

Nate Hogue, Quality Manager 

Nate has responsibility for R&D Machine’s AS 9100/ISO 9001 certified quality system. He also oversees the inspection of final and in-process parts. Nate has an extensive machine shop background, having worked as a quality manager, CMM programmer, and CNC programmer/operator at his family’s CNC machining company in Kansas City for seven years prior to moving to Florida. His most previous position was senior quality engineer with Attenti US in Odessa, FL before joining R&D Machine in May 2022.

Nate attended Purdue University on West Lafayette, IN where he majored in electrical and computer engineering.

Nate Hogue - Quality Manager