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Daisy Kelly

Co-owner, Multi-Axis Technologies

Understanding People and Defying Expectations: Shop Owner Daisy Kelly Defines Her Own Path

While the technology side of manufacturing often gets most of the attention, it takes supply chain experts such as Daisy Kelly, now co-owner of Multi-Axis Technologies, to build relationships with all points of contact their small company needs.

Daisy Kelly grew up with some traditional career expectations from her family, recalling that “when you grow up in an Asian household, you're expected to either be a doctor, a lawyer, or a businessperson.” Luckily for the manufacturing industry, she resisted those pathways.

Today Daisy is co-owner of Multi-Axis Technologies, Kent, Washington.

Daisy found that she was good at scheduling, planning, and all things related to project management, and in particular supply chain management. Fascinated by the flow of products to and from sources, as well as how products are created, she found herself at home in a manufacturing setting.

Psychology and Supply Chains

Not attending college wasn't an option for Daisy Kelly, so she went to the University of Washington to study business as an accounting major before moving to psychology. Human behavior interested her, and she thought this was a good precursor to law school. Upon graduation, seeing what was out in the world took precedence over continuing her education beyond a four-year degree.

At Bear Automotive, which made diagnostic equipment, she started connecting how the supply chain worked and what was required from sales staff and what customers needed. A “phenomenal job in supply chain” and a pivotal career point came with her move to Kenworth Truck Company.

“They helped me understand what the supply chain was,” she says. “It's how engineers come up with their ideas, how we partner with them to build their recipe, how we design it with them for manufacturability, and then understanding the logistics of getting the raw material, coating, housing, and the lead time that it takes to finish and deliver the product.”

From there, she moved to water-jet cutting manufacturer Flow International (IMTS booth #135002) where she spent 18 years.

“I was blessed to be able to move around in my career,” says Daisy. “I did procurement, planning, scheduling, and project management, plus I was in sales and marketing. I got a whole host of experience that I don't think a lot of people get because they just stay in one field.”

From Flow International, Daisy went over to Blue Origin (also located in Kent), where she became the machine shop manager and met her eventual business partner Jay Simpson, with whom she co-founded Multi-Axis Technologies in 2021.

The Advantage of Attitude

Daisy Kelly, the youngest of four with three older brothers, admits that as the youngest, she believes her parents were less concerned about her occupation.

“For the most part, I don't think they quite understood what I was doing,” says Daisy. “They kind of just let me do my thing.”

As a female in the industry, Daisy fought through gender misconceptions by gaining a better understanding of the industry and the people in it. With two girls of her own, she wants them to understand their strong “presence,” physical and otherwise.

“I try to carry an attitude and aptitude with everything that I'm doing to show that I enjoy what I do. I love it,” says Daisy.

Passion is key, and while Simpson is more passionate about machining, Daisy leans into the relationship aspect of the business. It takes “heart,” and her heart is all in. She wants other women to lead with their hearts and know that manufacturing is a great place for them.

“We talk so much about STEM,” says Daisy. “What about manufacturing? It takes manufacturing to make STEM real.”

To prove her point, Daisy notes that in their small business, she is often responsible for chip removal and coolant management, as well as running parts after a machinist has set up the CNC.

Living It Together

While manufacturing is about using machines to build parts, relationships also build business components. It takes people like Daisy to build relationships with all points of contact their small company needs.

“I love talking to people. I love brainstorming with them. I love trying to solve problems together. I love laughing with them. I love crying with them,” says Daisy. “I call it life. It doesn't matter who you are; it's about living life together.”

While Daisy Kelly will focus much of her time at IMTS 2024 in the Tooling & Workholding Sector exploring new technology, her primary strategy for any situation is always a human one.

“I want to talk to as many people as I can at IMTS to understand their business and if we can partner together to build both our businesses,” says Daisy Kelly. “IMTS for me is about building relationships.”

If you are looking to grow your business by building relationships, plan on attending IMTS 2024 from Sept. 9-14 in Chicago. Start by registering at

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