We started out at The Paquin Company, which is a fluid power distributor located in Mentor, Ohio, a suburb on the northeast side of Cleveland. Paquin has been an NFPA member since 2012, and carries a full range of both hydraulic and pneumatic product lines of NFPA members such as Danfoss, Barksdale, Yates, Delta Power, Ingersoll Rand and Fabco Air.
We met with President Gerry Kotlarsic and CFO Greg Lewanski, both of whom have attended the past several NFPA Annual Conferences. They also make use of NFPA data reports, and consistently participate in the new State of Fluid Power Survey for Distributors. Supplying manufacturers of underground mining machinery is a key piece of Paquin’s business, and with the struggling mining market, Gerry and Greg showed us some new electronic controls products they’ve developed, in part for overseas markets, to help diversify the business.
From Paquin, we moved on to a meeting at the Global Headquarters of Parker Hannifin Corp. Michael Chung, President of Parker’s Automation Group has been nominated for an NFPA Board seat, with a confirming vote to take place at the upcoming NFPA Annual Conference.
This was an opportunity to talk with Michael about the current direction of NFPA, responsibilities NFPA Board members take on, and answer questions. Michael and Russ Kalis, Vice President of Operations for the Automation Group, also provided us with an overview of how Parker is organized in advance of a meeting with the new leadership of Parker Hannifin.
We met with Parker’s new Chairman and CEO Thomas Williams, as well as Andrew Weeks and Andrew Ross, Group Presidents for Hydraulics and Fluid Connectors.
Eric provided an overview of NFPA’s strategic direction, with description of activities in each of the four major areas: creating an effective forum for the industry; increasing the use of fluid power intelligence, growing the fluid power workforce; and promoting innovative uses of fluid power. Parker has been a strong supporter of NFPA over the years, and Williams expressed a commitment to continue that support, but also an interest in seeing some more outcomes-oriented measures of progress, particularly in the area of workforce development.
At both Paquin and Parker, we talked about the possibility of bringing our Regional Meeting format to Cleveland, where there is a strong base of NFPA members and potential members. Leaders of both companies were supportive of the idea, and so if all works out, we should be back in Cleveland with a new Regional Meeting event this coming fall.
Photo Credit: Carlos Javier
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