By Jeff Hodges.
I was awestruck and honored when I was asked to be the 2024 President for the International Fluid Power Society.
I still have the phone call and message saved on my phone from when Scott Sardina, current IFPS president asked if I would accept the nomination. My first question was, “Why are you nominating me?”
For those that know me yes, I even got a little emotional.
I learned about IFPS in 1995 when I earned my fluid power Mobile Hydraulic Mechanic certification. I then joined IFPS as a committee member in 2010 and have been highly involved ever since. Since then, I have served many roles on the board of directors.
When I first came into the Fluid Power Industry, I met a man who would become my mentor. That man’s name was Willie Franke. I always described Willie using this phrase, “The man has forgotten more about hydraulics then most people will ever know.”
It almost sounds like an insult but believe me it is the greatest compliment I can give. Unfortunately, Willie passed away several years ago. Willie was one of the first to be inducted into the Fluid Power Hall of Fame, posthumously. Willie was the driving force behind my involvement with the organization and I have persevered. I’ve gone from a technician to a trainer, to President of IFPS in a span of nearly 29 years.
My goal in 2024 is to move IFPS forward in our five-year vision: “To increase our global community by 100% over the next five years, where 50% of the increase comes from outside the U.S.” Potential roadblocks I see to that vision include: a need to overcome language barriers and a need to increase diversity in the organization.
The recent translation of Fluid Power tests into Spanish will help overcome some of the language barriers.
For the second barrier, we need a diverse mixture of both engineers and technicians. We need to engage those who have a college education and those that have learned through the school of hard knocks. I believe the industry in general needs younger people, people interested in getting their hands dirty and learning the basics of our industry. Ours is a growing industry which plays crucial roles in various sectors like manufacturing, construction aerospace and even agriculture. Working with hydraulics requires a broad-based knowledge of both fluid and mechanical systems. Troubleshooting and problem solving on often complex hydraulic systems can be a challenging yet rewarding part of the technician’s job skills. The future of our industry has started to focus on sustainability and efficiency which in the long run helps with environmental concerns. We need input from individuals in all fields to succeed.
In closing, I’d like to say that I am honored to be chosen as the 64th President of the IFPS. Thank you for placing your trust in me.