Title: Chief Operating Officer
Home town: (Originally from where?) Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan (suburban Detroit)
Educational credentials: B.S., Economics, Penn State University
Relevant or noteworthy experience: 27 years’ experience in the spring industry
When hired at Vulcan: 1996
Why I chose Vulcan: I met Scott Rankin shortly after I began working in the industry. We both represented our respective companies at industry meetings, and as we got to know each other better it seemed like we were destined to join forces some day. After 12 years I finally decided it was time for a change and joined Vulcan. Over the years I believe we have proven that our skills provide a great balance. We both take our responsibilities very seriously, but are able to have fun at the same time.
Outside interests / hobbies: Attending my kids’ activities (although I’m now required to keep my mouth shut). Love to play golf but my dedication to spring-making has ruined any hopes I had of making the senior tour. So instead, I try to keep active and enjoy long walks because this is when I do my best thinking! Woodworking & projects around the house are also relaxing activities when time permits. Also enjoy trips with my wife (and sometimes the kids too!).
Philanthropic endeavors, if any. I have done a little work with some of the local schools to educate kids on opportunities in manufacturing careers. Thanks to our media, too many people see manufacturing as nothing but dirty dead-end jobs, when in truth there are vast opportunities for challenging and rewarding careers. As a veteran in industry I feel a responsibility to promote manufacturing and attract our next generation of workers.
A person who (or an event that) inspired you. My father inspired my love of manufacturing at a very young age by taking me through large automobile parts and assembly plants in Detroit. He ran a large division of a tier-1 supplier and I would often go to work with him on Saturdays and walk through the plant. The sights, sounds and smells of the gigantic presses making body panels for automobiles are permanently etched in my memory. At the age of 18 I spent the summer working in a plant that made truck wheels and decided I wanted to pursue a career in manufacturing.
In your opinion, what is the greatest engineering achievement of all time? The jet engine and commercial aircraft have changed our world by allowing people to travel freely and safely around the world.
In your opinion, what is the most over-looked (or under-credited) engineering achievement of all time? The tennis ball I hung on my wife’s side of the garage to keep her from running into my stuff. It really works!
What car you’d drive, if money (or street laws) were no object. With my long commute (over an hour each way), I would actually prefer to fly a personal jet. If I could take off from my driveway and land on Vulcan’s roof my life would be so much better! I actually believe personal jet craft (yes like the Jetsons!) are not that far off and will have a dramatic impact on how people travel in the future.
Any story, fact or downright crazy tidbit you’d like to add? I appreciate good beer and if I wasn’t working at Vulcan I would love to own a micro-brewery. I have visited many micro-breweries and have never encountered an unhappy person, and people usually leave feeling better than when they arrived. I think it would be cool to create and promote beer, and to be surrounded by people with the same passion. This is not to say that we don’t have fun at Vulcan, because we do! So until you see my name on a bottle of beer, I will be at Vulcan making sure every customer and employee that chooses to work with us winds up feeling better than when they arrived.