Fluid Power Journal

Rance Herren, CFPSD, CFPECS, CFPMT, CFPS, CFPAI, Founder,
Fluid Power SME

Q. How did you get started in the fluid power industry?  

A. My first exposure to fluid power was as a machinist for a hydraulic cylinder manufacturer in my hometown in central Kansas. Who knew that first job would lead me to where I am today in owning a fluid power consulting firm?

Q. How and why did you get involved in IFPS, and what have you gained professionally and personally? 

A.  I first became involved with IFPS by attending a meeting in San Francisco in 2010. Shortly thereafter, I was asked to join the board of directors and was fortunate enough to become president in 2016. My involvement with IFPS has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my career. It has provided me the opportunity to meet and work with so many talented people with the same desire to give back to the industry that has provided us so much. 

Q. Why did you pursue certification, and how has it helped your career?  

A. I became certified as a fluid power specialist in 1994 to differentiate myself from my peers. Receiving and maintaining my certifications over the years has opened doors and provided opportunities that I would never have expected otherwise.

Q. What have you learned by working in this industry?  

A. Fluid power is a diverse industry with many opportunities for one to find their own fit. With the right attitude and willingness to work hard, one can have a lifelong, lucrative, and satisfying career.

Q. Where do you see the industry heading in the next 10 years?  

A. Computer control and automation will continue to drive how hydraulics and pneumatics are used in new applications, as will the push for electrification in areas that have been the traditional territory of fluid power. Our industry must be prepared to deal with that by improving efficiency, reducing environmental impact, and developing and adapting more hybrid technology. But perhaps the greatest long-term threat to fluid power is in large part one of our own making, and that is in recruiting, training, and retaining the next generation of talent to replace those who are leaving the industry. We must urgently address this head on or be prepared to cede the dominance of fluid power in many of industries’ applications.

Q. What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?  

A. Never stop learning. Even after 37 years in the business, I find that no matter how much I think I know, there is something new to learn every day.

Q. What are some of your hobbies and interests?  

A. I like to travel to historic places, particularly in Europe, and am obsessed with seeing as many of the world’s great art museums as I can.

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

A. Back in the day, before I made fluid power my career, I played guitar in rock bands. So even though I never became a rock star, I do have a 64-channel recording studio in my home where I write and record original music.

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