Fluid Power Journal

Executive Profile

Karen Boehme – National Fluid Power Association (NFPA)

karen-boem-exec How did your career with the NFPA start?

I started at NFPA in July 1984 and worked for about a year and a half writing for and editing the NFPA Reporter and other NFPA publications. Part of my job was translating French ISO documents into English for NFPA’s technical department; this was my first experience with international standards work. In December 1985, Jim Morgan, who was president of NFPA at the time, gave me the opportunity to work full time on international standards, and it turned out to be a great fit for my skill set because I have done this work for the last 28½ years.

What are some memorable moments of your career, and what did they teach you?

The moments I remember best relate to projects and more important, people. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we worked on a suite of hydraulic connector standards that comprehensively covered these products. Other special projects included the fluid power vocabulary (ISO 5598), pneumatic flow rating (ISO 6358 series—working on those was like a mini-course in the physics of compressed air measurement), and the systems standards (ISO 4413 and 4414) twice—in the mid-1990s and mid-2000s. These were projects that attracted great teams of people. I have to say that it has been the people that I’ve worked with over the years—committee members, others who did the same job as I did in other countries, and NFPA, ISO, and ANSI staff—that has made my career so fulfilling. I learned how to deal with people from different cultures, how to build consensus, and how to deal with conflict productively. I was able to work closely with so many great leaders and learn what matters the most: passion for the work and the team, honesty, and focus on setting and achieving goals (although I did not always succeed in putting that learning into practice—but I’ve tried).

In your experience, how has the fluid power industry grown and changed?

That’s an interesting question, because some of the fluid power industry’s challenges haven’t changed in 30 years. But the good news is that there is something about the technology and the business that continues to attract really good, creative people. Over the years, I’ve seen the industry grow in confidence and outreach, especially to younger people. I think the industry does a better job of explaining the unique benefits of fluid power and the exciting opportunities a career in fluid power can offer. In standards development, industry players have come together to provide the technical infrastructure that allows the technology to be used safely and more easily. Some of this work is in response to regulation, particularly in the European market, but much of it relates to the challenges inherent in fluid power technology: leakage, noise, system design. Standardization really does cover most of the state-of-the-art and best practices—the information is there for everyone to use.

What do you think the future has in store for fluid power?

The future of fluid power will be determined by the industry’s people and their creativity in meeting customer needs, especially in improving the energy efficiency and reliability, and reducing the environmental impact, of fluid power components and systems.  Research and standardization work being done now will improve the technology and open up new fields of application.

Why do you feel ISO standards are important, and how have they influenced the fluid power industry so far?

Standards are the technical facilitators of trade and technology transfer; ISO standards perform these roles on a global scale. ISO standards make it possible

  • for OEMs that manufacture and sell equipment all over the world to source standardized components locally;
  • for component manufacturers, large and small, to sell their products worldwide;
  • for users and manufacturers of fluid power components to benefit from economies of scale that only a global standard can provide;
  • for new users of fluid power to benefit from the codification of best practices.

How will ISO standards play a role in the future of fluid power?

As I mentioned before, I expect that ISO standards will continue to be a way to share best practices with new users of fluid power, both in new applications and in developing countries.

Why would you encourage fluid power professionals to become involved with the NFPA?

Even though NFPA membership is at the corporate level, I think the major benefit for the people who are employed by our member companies is having the opportunity to network with their industry peers and to work together on projects that help the entire industry. I have seen so many people use NFPA committee work to develop their leadership and communication skills.

What is the next step for you personally and professionally?

There are some big changes ahead. Personally, I am marrying a wonderful man (Robert Mackey of Main Manufacturing Products) and moving from Milwaukee, Wis., to the Flint, Mich., area in June 2014. Professionally, I plan to start a freelance writing and standards service/consulting business after I leave NFPA.
NFPA, the fluid power industry, and international standards work have been such blessings in my life. I am grateful to have had the chance to work with so many talented co-workers and committee people from around the world and to have become great friends with many of them. I am going to miss the work but most of all the people. Thank you for this opportunity to share some thoughts with the readers of Fluid Power Journal. I wish them all the best!

Fluid Power Journal sends congratulations and best wishes to Karen on her future endeavors. Thank you for your  service to the fluid power industry!

Profile: John Juhasz


Profile Data: John Juhasz, CFPS, CFPECS, is territory manager at Kraft Fluid Systems. His resume includes time at John Deere, Bobcat, Cummins, and Buckeye Hydraulics before joining Kraft Fluid Systems in 2005. He covers lower Michigan, northwest Ohio, and northern Indiana working with OEM customers. He currently resides in Montpelier, Ohio, with his wife and four daughters. Mr. Juhasz is a member of the IFPS 2014 Board of Directors.

When and where did your career in fluid power begin?

My career started when I was 8-9 years old repairing equipment on our family farm. It led to heavily participating in the Agricultural Mechanics contests in FFA (Future Farmers of America) in high school, then a degree in Fluid Power from Ohio State ATI in Wooster.

What is the most memorable moment in your fluid power career, and what did it teach you?

In the early 2000s, I was called on a service call to discover a high-pressure hydraulic system that was plumbed partially with PVC water pipe. Mortified, I instructed the maintenance techs at that facility to keep the machine shut down until proper rated plumbing was installed. It made an impression on me that we take things for granted sometimes and that not everyone exposed to fluid power is “savvy” about fluid power.

What do you feel is the most important achievement in the fluid power industry?

In a roundabout way, the fact that fluid power is so obscure is testament to our industry’s utmost utility.

How and why did you get involved in the IFPS?

Having held certifications for close to 20 years through IFPS, I felt that “giving back” or “paying forward” was certainly appropriate. When Bob Kraft (founder of Kraft Fluid Systems and former IFPS president) suggested to me that I get involved, it was a wake-up call reminiscent of “Why didn’t I think of that sooner?”

Why do you feel the IFPS is important?

A couple of reasons. First, the certification/training is a “common core” that builds professionalism in the industry. Second, maintaining a “noise level” to stay on the radar of young professionals and students, especially those interested in technology, maintains the influx of youth and subsequent generations into fluid power.

Where do you see the fluid power industry heading in the next 10 years?

The easy answer would be more electronic controls, but I think that bell curve has already hit the 80/20 range and leveled off. The bubble won’t burst, but it’s not going to continue growing exponentially as it has the past 10 years. The real elephant in the room is the number of seasoned and experienced professionals that will retire in the next decade, taking with them a wealth of experience and knowledge.

What are some of your favorite hobbies and interests?

Cooking, gardening, and hunting. Specifically, I grow corn for size and have won several competitions for tall stalks and large ears (stalks 21+ feet tall and ears over 16″ long).

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

When I was in high school, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be a chef or a heavy equipment mechanic. I toured and visited several culinary academies, as well as several diesel and equipment programs. I noticed the diesel mechanic shops were all cleaner than the culinary kitchens. Kind of made my decision easier.

Profile: Medhat Khalil


Profile Data: Medhat Khalil, Ph.D., CFPHS, CFPAI, is director of Professional Education and Research Development at the Applied Technology Center, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Milwaukee, Wis. He has a vast working experience in the field of mechanical engineering and more specifically hydraulics, having developed and taught fluid power system training courses for industry professionals. Dr. Khalil is a member of the IFPS 2014 Board of Directors. Dr. Medhat Khalil can be reached at khalil@msoe.edu.

When and where did your career in the fluid power industry start?

My career started 25 years ago, when I taught fluid power in the Military Technical College in my homeland, Egypt.

What is the most memorable moment in your fluid power career, and what did it teach you?

One of the most memorable moments was getting my Ph.D. and realizing that I had just taken the first step in a long journey of a successful career in the fluid power industry. This moment taught me that education is a life-long quest with unlimited potential.

What do you feel is the most important achievement in the fluid power industry?

Ever since its inception in the first half of the 20th century, the fluid power industry continues to impact all aspects of daily life. In this fast-paced world of technological advancements, fluid power remains all the more relevant.

How and why did you get involved in the IFPS?

Initially I got involved in IFPS to network with other fluid power scholars and to further fluid power education. I was then nominated by a friend to be on the Board of Directors.

Why do you feel the IFPS is important?

IFPS standardizes fluid power certification nationwide. No other organization serves this function.

Where do you see the fluid power industry heading in the next 10 years?

In the next 10 years, the fluid power industry will replace conventional hydro-mechanical solutions with electro-hydraulic solutions, which are smarter, more compact, and energy efficient.

What are some of your favorite hobbies or interests?

I enjoy watching historical movies and developing software.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

I carry three nationalities and have adapted myself to several cultures: Arabic in Egypt, French in Canada, and English in the U.S.

Profile: Frank Fetty


Profile Data: Frank Fetty, MHM, is customer service manager at J.H. Fletcher® & Co. He joined the Army and spent 11 years going from private repairing equipment to overseeing repair shops. During that time, Fetty was deployed in two combat zones and went to college at night to receive his degree in Applied Science from Austin Peay State University. During the Afghanistan deployment, he was injured and had to medically retire from the military and head to the civilian side of life. He is a member of the 2014 IFPS Board of Directors. Contact Frank Fetty at ffetty@jhfletcher.com.

When and where did your career in the fluid power industry start?
My career started in 1992 as a private in the U.S. Army working as a heavy equipment mechanic.

What is the most memorable moment in your fluid power career, and what did it teach you?
Seems every day creates a memorable moment, which teaches me there is always some way to make the design safer and stronger.

What do you feel is the most important achievement in the fluid power industry?
The most important achievement is the innovative safety engineered into the fluid power industry.

How and why did you get involved in the IFPS?
It started as a work requirement, but then I became astonished at all the training and knowledge available from one place. I am rather new to the IFPS only being a member for three years now with a MHM certification, but I’m jumping in with both feet to gain all the knowledge that I can retain and help grow the underground mining industry to the safest possible fluid power arrangements available.

Why do you feel the IFPS is important?
It’s important to keep the fluid power industry growing and working actively to make the industry a safer environment.

Where do you see the fluid power industry heading in the next 10 years?
I see the industry heading in a remote-access control site, operating like the drones of today. I see employees being in a safe environment using the equipment from office space instead of on the ground.

What are some of your favorite hobbies or interests?
My favorite hobby is coaching girls’ Fastpitch Softball and seeing their skills develop to be able to advance to the collegiate level. Then hunting and fishing, which runs a close second as I get older and less mobile.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I get more satisfaction out of watching young techs learn and succeed more than my own accomplishments.

Profile: Jeff Kenney


Profile Data: Jeff Kenney, CFPIHM, CFPMHM, CFPHMHT, is the president and CEO of Coastal Hydraulics, Inc. He is also a member of the 2013 IFPS Board of Directors. Jeff can be reached at jeff.kenney@coastalhydraulics.net.


When and where did your career in the fluid power industry start, and how was it a stepping stone to where you are today?

My career started 1988 in the United States Navy working on underway replenishment equipment onboard the USS Pyro, an ammunition supply ship. The Navy had excellent hydraulic technical schools and I was fortunate to have good leaders around me, so the experience was a great one. That experience taught me how to use my brain and think outside the box to make repairs to equipment while out at sea to ensure the ship made its commitments. That training and experience qualified me for a position as a hydraulic mechanic with Coastal Hydraulics after I left the Navy. After a few years learning from the experts at Coastal, I assumed responsibility for all the hydraulic mechanics and machinists when I was promoted to director of operations. That opportunity led to my most recent promotion in 2007 to president and CEO.

What is the most memorable moment in your fluid power career, and what did it teach you?

My most memorable moment was the first time a customer personally thanked me for helping to keep his manufacturing plant up and running. I learned that I could utilize the fluid power industry and make a difference in others’ lives no matter how menial the task at hand seemed. Every job deserves quality.

What do you feel is the most important achievement in the fluid power industry?

The certification process. It helps maintain the level of expertise and professionalism we will require to compete and be successful in an unstable economy.

How and why did you get involved in the IFPS? 

By becoming a certified professional in the fluid power industry, I’ve gotten a personal feeling of accomplishment by becoming certified and by becoming a member in a great organization that clearly supports my professional advancement. There is also a competitive advantage for Coastal Hydraulics and me.

Why do you feel the IFPS is important?

It is important to have an industry body that works hard to maintain the credibility, integrity, and professionalism of those working in the profession, and in my belief, the IFPS does just that. I encourage all my employees to become members of the IFPS and to become certified in one aspect of the fluid power industry. I believe in the full process of education: you get a book or course of study; you read, learn, and study to take an exam; and then you take that exam and pass. The whole process of learning and the opportunity to be in a network as large as the IFPS with its many advantages for someone wanting a career in the fluid power industry makes joining the IFPS an easy job to do!

What have you personally gained by being a part of IFPS, and how has it helped your career? 

I find it encouraging being able to network with peers and have access to answers to technical questions that arise every day. The personal satisfaction of achieving certification/certifications is a huge confidence builder to not only me, but also to the entire team. It has helped us as individuals and as team members to go into jobs with the confidence to know we are capable of succeeding. It undoubtably sets us apart from other companies that do similar work.

Where do you see the fluid power industry heading in the next 10 years?

Going green for the mobile side of hydraulics will prove to be a great addition, in my opinion. The hydraulic-hybrid vehicles being tested and innovated for the refuge, construction, mining, and delivery vehicles will be well sought after in those industries. I would also remain hopeful that the industrial side of the hydraulic industry would be poised to grow with American manufacturing hopefully returning to America. It needs to happen.

Profile: Jose Garcia

 Profile Data: Jose Garcia, CFPHS, is an assistant professor in the College of Technology at Purdue University, where he teaches courses for the mechanical engineering technology department and performs applied research in the fields of fluid power technology, tribology, and alternative energy. Dr. Garcia is a member of the 2013 IFPS Board of Directors. 

When and where did your career in the fluid power industry start, and how was it a stepping-stone to where you are today?

It started when I was a master student at Purdue. I did not know anything about fluid power, but I soon realized how important this field of engineering is for all of us. I started working on a project involving water hydraulics, and ever since, I have developed a passion for this topic. This passion led me to the academic path I am on now.

What is the most memorable moment in your fluid power career, and what did it teach you?

One of the moments I remember is my first conference presentation as a graduate student. I was quite impressed that so many people could be genuinely interested in my talk; they were asking questions and making insightful comments.

What do you feel is the most important achievement in the fluid power industry?

In my opinion, the integration of fluid power and electronics is quite a significant achievement. This achievement has allowed the fluid power industry to go further and be relevant in today’s technology. I dream of the day when we have miniature robots, orthopedic, and orthotic implants powered by some kind of hydraulic or pneumatic device.

How and why did you get involved in the IFPS? 

I was invited to one of the annual meetings. I felt it was an important event because the people there really cared about fluid power and were interested in making this industry succeed and go beyond its present state.

Why do you feel the IFPS is important? 

I see the IFPS as an agent for promoting networking opportunities for people working in the fluid power industry. Whether you are in sales, R&D, management, academia, or any other function, as a professional you need to interact with colleagues in your field if you want to advance in your career. IFPS not only provides those opportunities to network with peers, but also encourages its members to be involved and to stay current. It does so through the various certification programs, education programs, annual meetings, and conferences.

How has your involvement with the IFPS helped your career?

I have met people who have become collaborators or indirect sponsors of my projects. I have also enjoyed attending conferences, like the Energy Efficient Hydraulics and Pneumatics Conference. I have also benefited from the certification program because it allows me to stay current and attain recognition for my experience in fluid power.

Where do you see the fluid power industry heading in the next 10 years?

I feel there are a number of applications yet to be explored, particularly in fields like medicine and renewable energy. I believe the fluid power industry has the capability and the opportunity to be used where other technologies can’t. Fluid power components are power dense, relatively inexpensive, and very reliable, making them ideal for compact applications that require forces and speeds other technologies cannot achieve. I think we will see more hydraulic hybrid vehicles in cities. Perhaps we will also see some renewable energy machines start using fluid power as a way to transform, control, and transmit power. If this vision is true, then fluid power component manufacturers will have to start producing new pumps, motors, and valves capable of achieving new operating conditions that are far different than those seen in typical mobile or industrial applications.

Fluid Power Journal is the official publication of the International Fluid Power Society
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