Member Visit Road Trip: The Importance of Listening, Learning, and Taking Care of the Boss

That’s NFPA CEO Eric Lanke looking puzzled as we pulled away from Harper College and the NFPA Regional Breakfast, on our way to several member visits.

We went back for him. This time.

Once in the car, we proceeded to visits at Muncie Power Products in Muncie, Indiana, and then to Sheffer Cylinder and Clippard Instrument Laboratory in the Cincinnati area.

Leslie Miller (the one responsible for driving away without Eric) will write about Muncie in another post. I’ll focus on the Cincinnati visits here.

Sheffer Corporation
Sheffer-logo-web-red-bgWe met primarily with Randy Logsdon, Vice President and COO at Sheffer. Randy described the Sheffer business and some of the changes they’ve been making in recent years as we toured the facility…much less space devoted to inventory, a lot of new production machinery, and some uniquely built heat-treating equipment that I understood less than I care to admit.

And it was interesting to hear how Sheffer is benefitting from the knowledge of new young staff as they develop an inbound marketing strategy, using online tools to drive more visibility and engage potential customers. While many respondents to our recent Communications survey indicate limited success in reaching online audiences, Sheffer is one company that seems to be building a strong online presence.


Clippard-web-logoClippard Instrument Laboratory
We met with new CEO John Campbell and Bill Clippard, Jr., toured the plant, and then spent a few moments with Bill Clippard, Sr.

While we talked about a wide range of issues, many times lasting impressions come from the plant tour…CEO Campbell getting hugs from assembly workers for his birthday…we barely remember to bring our CEO along on the trip.

And the machinery itself. Many machines used in production and assembly are built from the ground up by Clippard employees using Clippard components. But it doesn’t stop there, as you walk around you can see other machinery that has been “Clippardized”…engineering and plant staff have built Clippard pneumatic controls onto a lot of non-Clippard machines to improve safety, efficiency, or it appears sometimes just because they can. The importance of this…they don’t just make components, they work with them and create with them daily, so there’s a lot of application knowledge within the company.

Overall, the trip was a great opportunity to meet with members and learn more about our members and the business of fluid power first hand. Watch for more of these, as we plan to make several road trips each year.

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