The latest Minneapolis Regional Meeting was held April 11 at the Brooklyn Park, Minnesota location of Hennepin Technical College (HTC). The meeting drew about 45 people, with a mix of NFPA member manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers, as well as some prospective members and fluid power instructors from HTC.
John Stenz of Force America and the NFPA Board of Directors served as master of ceremonies, kicking off introductions and a round of discussion on the state of the industry and the biggest challenges companies are facing. In general, it appears those in attendance are seeing the effects of some of the positive indicators we’ve seen in NFPA’s Confidential Shipments Statistics reports the past several months. And the biggest challenge…almost invariably finding and maintaining a talented technical workforce.
Good thing we were at the HTC.
Following introductions, Ernie Parker, a retired instructor and fluid power consultant, spoke about the importance of the Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge in generating interest in fluid power among students. HTC fluid power instructors, including Jeannine Uehling, Chad Grimmer and Bill Martin recognized industry support for the HTC fluid power programs and lab, and noted how continued monetary donations and donations of fluid power products are essential in maintaining and operating a program that attracts students to fluid power courses and careers.
Following lunch and discussions, we all had a tour of the fluid power lab at HTC, and saw some three-wheeled, fluid power drive vehicles Parker brought in for demonstration.