The success of the fluid power industry lies not in pumps, valves, and cylinders. Rather it is through the efforts of dedicated individuals that the industry thrives. The International Fluid Power Society celebrates their contributions with Fluid Power Professionals’ Day on June 19. To mark the day, IFPS announced nine inductees to the Fluid Power Hall of Fame. They will be honored at an Oct. 6 ceremony during IFPS’s annual meeting in Reno, Nevada.
Below are biographies of the inductees, two of whom are being inducted posthumously.
An internationally recognized and outspoken proponent of efficiency and energy conservation since long before they were popular topics, Peter A.J. Achten, Ph.D. has spent a four-decade career in fluid power emphasizing that “the quest for a designer is not to find just a random solution, which you might do with just creativity, but to find the right solution.” With over 40 individually titled patents in Europe, the U.S., Japan, and through the World Intellectual Property Organization, Achten has authored more than 200 survey reports, conference papers, periodical articles, and books. He has presented speeches, workshops, and lectures around the world in several languages. In 2019, Achten won the Robert E. Koski Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Established in 2007, the medal recognizes individuals who have advanced the art and practice of fluid power motion and control through education and innovation. In 2008, he was awarded the Joseph Bramah Medal from the Mechatronics, Informatics and Control Group of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Established in 1968, the Bramah Medal is awarded for outstanding achievement tending to advance the science of mechanical engineering, particularly in the field of hydraulic engineering.
As perhaps the busiest and best-known fluid power activist in Australia, Timothy R. Bailey is largely responsible for developing the country’s fluid power organizations, their professional focus, content, and training programs. Bailey has served as president of Western Australian Fluid Power Society for 12 years (1994-2006), president of International Fluid Power Society Australia for eight years (2006-2014), president of Fluid Power Society Australia for two years (2014-2016), and president of Fluid Power Society (WA) for five years (2014-2019). In leading these organizations, Bailey concentrated on developing and promoting fluid power training and certification. He was instrumental in creating the original WAFPS Curriculum Matrix, which is now the central focus of the Australian Fluid Power Society, an international associate member of IFPS. Individually, on land, sea, or air, Bailey focused on another “new” hot topic – safety. For over 35 years, he has been integrally involved in chasing machine defects, finding the flaws on malfunctioning fluid power systems, as well as the design, construction, and commissioning of a wide variety of systems. With a view to maximizing the safety of innumerable machines, Bailey served as consultant and expert witness for cases involving accidents, hydraulic-equipment failures, specification errors, and design mistakes that led to workplace injuries and fatalities.
With 56 years of dedicated service in fluid power, Jim Brizzolara is well known for his insistence on superior quality and uncompromised customer service. Brizzolara cofounded HydraForce in 1985 with a mission: “to provide the customers with highest quality products and the most responsive support at a globally competitive price.” This mission became the job description for every employee, and the vision “to delight the customer” was adopted as each employee’s guiding mantra. Through Brizzolara’s emphasis on quality and performance, including the formation of a quality support administrative team, the company won industry awards and accolades, including quality commendations from Bobcat, Caterpillar, Douglas Dynamics, Terex Genie, Clark Hurth, and Skyjack. HydraForce earned the Ford Q1 Quality Audit on its first attempt, and the company was among the first 80 companies earning ISO-9000 certification. Brizzolara placed strong emphasis on community involvement and student training. HydraForce supported the growth of students, suppliers, and employees through contributions exceeding $400,000 in grants, tuition support, and training programs. Also making donations to local schools, HydraForce provided full sponsorship for the Wheeling High School robotics lab. Upon Brizzolara’s nomination to the Hall of Fame, a colleague stated, “I do not believe the custom integrated hydraulic circuit and custom manifold industry would be what it is today without the ingenuity and foresight of these men.”
With kudos to Tom Brokaw and his method for gleaning the most information from “the greatest generation,” we owe the following to George Doig’s daughter Kathy and her extensive research into her 99-year-old father’s history following his Hall of Fame nomination. Doig started in fluid power after his World War II naval service in the South Pacific. As he promised his mother, before enlisting Doig completed his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering at Detroit Institute of Technology. He worked several years for J.N. Fauver before he and three others founded Numatics in 1953. Doig rose to senior vice-president and director of sales/marketing and participated in the rollout of Numatrol products. In 1966 he and L. Irwin Walle authored “Practical Air Circuitry” to address real, practical fluid power aspects not included in published books of the day. In the 1950s, Doig became one of 30 founders of IFPS and chapter 1 in Detroit. In 1973, he led the NFPA group establishing industry standards resulting in American National Standard method of diagramming for moving parts fluid controls. Doig holds four U.S. air control patents, and most are also patented in Germany, Switzerland, and Australia. He founded manufacturers’ representative Doig Associates in 1972, which also produced air circuit panels. Doig was well known for his troubleshooting abilities and design creativity. He lived up to the company slogan, “Air logic that works.” Doig was a certified fluid power engineer from 1994 to 2010. Upon retirement, after more than 60 years in fluid power, he continued to participate in the annual southeast Michigan fluid power golf outing.
Focusing on all aspects of excellence in fluid power education, including training design, teaching, and publishing accurate educational materials, Craig M. Fox has spent most of his 41 years in fluid power pursuing quality education in all its forms. Fox served as technical editor for the well-known industry standard Lightning Reference Handbook, published by Berendsen Fluid Power (formerly Paul Munroe Hydraulics). He worked for Eaton Corporation in Maumee, Ohio, as a senior technical trainer and contributed to Eaton’s (formerly Vickers) published Industrial Hydraulics Manual, an industry-recognized textbook. In this role, Fox also trained most personnel working in Eaton’s accredited distributor warranty facilities. As the founder of the Universal Studios internship program and member of the Canyons educational program curriculum development group, Fox continues to be an active member of the electronic technology curriculum review board for the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California. Fox’s technical developments include the application of Eaton’s electrohydraulic system controller valve/board to control critical hydraulic application pressure to within 1 psi. He has been widely known as both a repair expert and personnel trainer for installed nonfunctioning industrial hydraulic applications.
Winning the 2012 Otto Maha Pioneer in Fluid Power award, Medhat Khalil, Ph.D., is serving his 16th year as the director of professional education and research development for the Applied Technology Center of the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Khalil is a recognized authority on the design and construction of universal fluid power trainers, which he originally developed under a grant from the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power in 2009. Since that grant, Khalil has contributed to the specification and commissioning of training labs for MSOE, Concordia University’s Fluid Power Research Lab, Egyptian Iron & Steel Company’s Hydraulic Training Center, and the Giza, Egypt, Civil Aviation Authority’s Fluid Power Training Lab. He has authored five books on fluid power components, systems, fluids, and contamination controls as well as numerous periodical articles. Khalil has served as the International Fluid Power Exposition’s chair of the education committee in 2017 and 2020. Fluent in Arabic, English, and French, he has taught fluid power courses to industry professionals for over 20 years in the United States, Canada, and the Middle East. Khalil has developed and copyrighted software programs for analyzing and training on hydraulic systems. Khalil’s doctoral thesis for Concordia University in Montreal is the patent-pending “Double Swash Plate Axial Piston Pump with Valve Ring Concept.”
Prominent educator-author Noah D. Manring, Ph.D., P.E., has served on the faculty of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Missouri, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in fluid power since 1997 and becoming dean of engineering in 2020. He published 44 archival journal papers, 38 conference papers, and three books on fluid power. He is working his next book, “Opportunity, Genius, and Entrepreneurship: A History of Modern Engineering.” Manring holds 12 U.S. patents, including his most recent in 2019 for a check valve pump with two-phase flow control. He earned his doctorate from Iowa State University and became a registered professional engineer for the state of Missouri in 2006. Extending well beyond the usual industrial fluid power impact, Manring’s patents include one in 2018 for a system to improve management and monitoring of cardiovascular disease, proving that fluid power really is everywhere! A featured invited lecturer at Baylor and Vanderbilt universities and in Korea, China, and Canada, Manring has assisted many upcoming engineers by advising doctoral, masters, and honors-level undergraduate students. He has been a productive participant in $2.245 million worth of grants, contracts, and industry gifts from organizations including Caterpillar and the National Fluid Power Association. He served from 2006 to 2010 as scientific advisory to the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power. A former students said, “His expertise created an environment which gave difficult topics elements of understanding to young, inexperienced, engineers without losing detail and depth.”
An Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, Harley E. Bergren unfortunately passed away during the 2021 Hall of Fame nomination year. At 103, Bergren had been nominated as a living recipient but passed on March 19, three days before his 104th birthday. His family and friends tell us: After service as an aircraft mechanic in North Africa and Europe during the war, Bergren went to work at Gates Rubber in the Quad Cities selling to agricultural equipment companies. Bergren moved over to Char-Lynn Company from 1958 to 1966, when he founded Power Systems in Minnesota, a fluid power distributor with particular expertise in developing transmission systems. Bergren retired in 1982 but remained a company stockholder until the company was sold in 1998. Today, Power Systems is a part of Applied Industrial Technologies. Colleagues remember Bergren as an interesting and far-sighted inventor. He developed a unique lawn-mower drive system before hydrostatics was invented, using a cam, a valve, and two gear pumps to provide three forward speeds, neutral, and one reverse. In 1967, Bergren obtained the patent for a hydrostatic transmission and its attendant controls to propel land-based moving vehicles such as garden tractors.
Richard “Dick” Fontecchio began his fluid power career in 1965 as a summer intern at Fluid Power Systems in Glenview, Illinois. Fontecchio went on to earn a bachelor’s and an MBA from Lake Forest College. In 1985, he cofounded HydraForce with Jim Brizzolara in Northbrook, Illinois. Following a discussion between the two men, Fontecchio declared his insistence on quality products and excellent customer service as guiding principles. HydraForce was founded to satisfy the mobile equipment industry’s need for the finest quality hydraulic cartridge valves and their mounting manifolds provided with timely and responsive customer service. While emphasizing the two guiding principles, HydraForce became a leader in engineering innovation and design flexibility afforded by cost-effective and space-saving cartridge valves and hydraulic integrated circuits. The legacy of Fontecchio’s company is to now employ over 1,000 people and manufacture in the U.S. and abroad. With Fontecchio’s leadership as vice president of sales and marketing, HydraForce released over 15,000 standard and proprietary valves and their electrohydraulic controls. The company grew into the world’s largest supplier of high-performance hydraulic cartridge valves, electrohydraulic valves, custom manifolds, and electrohydraulic controls. HydraForce’s pervasive culture of superior quality and outstanding customer service is a testament to Fontecchio’s legacy, commitment, and foresight.
For more information, visit www.ifps.org/.