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Williams Industrial Services


25 Most Influential People

25 Most Influential People in the North American Heat Treating Industry. A new reader to “themonty” claimed he thoroughly enjoyed an article we posted in August of 2007 about the 25 most influential people in the heat treating industry. However as he pointed out a few of the individuals on our list have retired and in a couple of instances have very unfortunately passed away. Consequently with help from our readers over the past two weeks we are updating our list for 2009. When looking for the individuals most responsible for charting the current and future pattern of heat treating in North America what criteria are we applying? The academics who research the theories of heat treating or the individuals who implement these ideas? The CEO's of the largest commercial heat treat companies or the metallurgists at the large captives such as General Motors or Boeing? Do furnace makers initiate new technologies or are they merely following what the market dictates? Does a purchasing agent at Timken Bearings or Ford effect heat treating or are they merely following the directions of the metallurgical or engineering department? At the end of the day we relied upon our opinions and our readers opinions (of which there were many) to arrive at a list that includes all of the above. You'll see several CEO's of the continents' largest commercial heat treaters, several entrepreneurs whose products have had a direct bearing on the technology currently in use, a good representation of the new furnace builders, at least 2 individuals at the large captives, several academics whose research into the industry has proven to be invaluable and several individuals involved in writing the CQI-9 heat treating specifications. Our current listing has at least 10 new names to replace individuals who have either retired or unfortunately have passed away. So in alphabetical order we have your votes for the 25 most influential people in the North American Heat Treating Industry. October 15/09

Pete Batche, Bosch LLC. So why Pete? Since 2005 the heat treating standard for automotive components has been CQI-9 which covers most aspects of the heat treating process. The standard was developed by a team from the automotive industry, one of which was an individual by the name of Pete Batche (Pete is the Senior Quality Engineer at the Robert Bosch Company in Michigan, USA). While we recognize that Pete is just one part of the CQI-9 team his name kept popping up.

Bill Bernard, Surface Combustion, (new Furnaces). When introduced in the last century Surface Combustion's, "Allcase" batch IQ furnaces completely changed the direction of heat treating. As owner and President of the company Bill has had a direct impact on the industry.

Mr. Howard Boyer, Editor of the ASM Metals Handbooks and the Heat Treaters Guide, the bible of the heat treating industry around the world.

Ingo Cremer, Cremer Furnace Company. This name is not one that many heat treaters might recognize unless you are in the powdered metal business. Ingo is founder of Cremer Furnace Company which makes new sintering furnaces which many in the industry regard as extremely innovative. In addition he is President of EPMA and has made substantial contributions to Powdered Metal heat treating development.

Roger Fabian, Bodycote International. Roger received more votes than anybody else on our list. A quick background says he has been in the heat treating industry since 1962 been president of MTI, now past President of ASM and was instrumental in the development of CHTE (Center for Heat Treating Excellence). His list of heat treating credentials is truly impressive.

Jeff Gwinnell, Bluewater Thermal. Jeff is CEO of commercial heat treater Bluewater Thermal the largest US based commercial heat treater. Since his arrival at Bluewater he has made substantial changes to the company mainly in the form of management. Look for further changes at Bluewater under the direction of Jeff.

Stephen Harris, Bodycote International. As CEO of the largest commercial heat treater in North America (although based in the UK) Stephen decisions can have an enormous effect on the industry. Whether it is adding plants, closing plants, deciding on the direction of new equipment purchases or taking over captive heat treating operations all will affect the shape of heat treating in North America.

Mr. Daniel Herring, (The Heat Treat Doctor) Herring Group. The only consultant in our group, Dan's opinions have helped shape the course of heat treating for a number of companies.

Bill Jones, CEO of Solar Atmospheres, Souderton, PA. (Commercial vacuum heat treating) and Solar Manufacturing (new vacuum furnaces). Bill is a true innovator whose research into vacuum heat treating furnaces has had a very definite impact on vacuum heat treating. My personal opinion is that there are very few in the vacuum industry that can rival Bill’s knowledge.

Zia Karim has from an aerospace heat treating perspective played a major role in the development and institutions of Nadcap. At Nadcap he has held the longest position as staff engineer (not to mention at one time he was the only one global wise) forging alliances with Boeing and Aerospace primes to bring them on board. As NADCAP has had such an impact on the industry it is only fitting that Zia is mentioned.

The Keough Family. Bill and Chip. Very unfortunately Bob Keough the founder of AFC-Holcroft passed away this past year however the legacy he leaves lives in his two sons Chip as President of Applied Process (commercial salt heat treating) and Bill as President of AFC-Holcroft (new furnaces). Applied Process is the largest commercial salt heat treater in North America, AFC-Holcroft one of the largest builders of new furnaces.

Mr. Michel Korwin, President of Nitrex Metal Inc., Montreal, Quebec. Michel is probably more responsible than any other individual in North America for the growth of Gas Nitriding. In addition his successful efforts to form a controls group, UPC will have a definite impact on the industry.

Janusz Kowalewski, Seco Warwick, Meadville, PA. Janusz has proven to be an innovator who has taken Seco Warwick (new furnaces) into new directions.

Scott MacKenzie, Houghton International. Scott is Technical Consultant of Houghton International, one of the largest manufacturers of quench products in the world. Scott is in turn one of their technical experts who is regularly invited to lecture. While Scott’s name would not have jumped into my mind immediately several people suggested his name.

Doug Matson, Nadcap Heat Treat Task Group Chair. This is not an individual we are familiar with however as part of the Nadcap group Doug would have enormous influence when it comes to aerospace heat treating. As one individual said “The buck basically stops with him when it comes to heat treating and Boeing”.

Mr. George Pfaffmann- Ajax Tocco- Induction Heat Treating. It surprised us the number of Induction "guys" that were suggested for our list. George's name came up on such a regular basis that his inclusion was a very easy decision.

Murli Prasad, General Motors. While virtually all the names on this list are familiar to us I have to confess the name Murli Prasad is not familiar to me. Be that as it may several individuals suggested him as being part of the GM auditing team for heat treating.

Jeff Pritchard, Vac Aero. Jeff Pritchard is CEO of Vac Aero, builder of new vacuum furnaces and one of the largest commercial heat treaters in North America when it comes to aerospace heat treating. Founded by Ross Pritchard (who is now retired) Jeff has taken over the company and grown it into new areas such as operations in Poland and India.

Ben Rassieur, CEO Paulo Products. No way can we ignore the President of the largest privately owned heat treat group in North America.

Dr. Valery Rudnev, Inductoheat, Madison Heights, Michigan. A name we are very familiar with and which a number of people mentioned as a real innovator in the Induction heating industry.

Gary Sharp, Owner and President of Advanced Heat Treat Corp. in Waterloo, Iowa. Many years ago when Ion Nitriding was introduced to the North American heat treating market the technology got off to a very rocky start and languished for many years in the wilderness of heat treating. Gary saw an opportunity and has grown Advanced into the largest commercial Ion Nitrider in North America with the effect that it is now after many years seen as an excellent technology in certain applications.

Geoffrey Somary, Ipsen Inc. While Geoffrey quite recently stepped into the shoes of CEO of Ipsen Inc. in North America he has been with the company for some time (albeit part of the time at VFS which is now part of Ipsen). A number of readers suggested Geoffrey’s name for the list of the basis that he is making changes at the company and that it is one of the largest new furnace builders in North America.

Steve Stormzand (Bosch/DTC). A pioneer in plasma nitriding and HPGQ. A name we are not familiar with but several individuals suggested Steve as having brought about changes in the industry because of his interest in Plasma (Ion) Nitriding and High Pressure gas quenching.

Bill Thompson, Super Systems. While Bill did not invent the oxygen probe his effectiveness in bringing it to market with Marathon Monitors and Super Systems has meant it is very unusual to see a furnace without an oxygen probe and changed how all consequently changed how heat treaters in North America control their furnaces. While Bill is not active on a day to day basis at Super Systems, his son Steve has stepped into his shoes.

Dr. George Totten, G.E. Totten & Associates, LLC. Dr. Totten was on our list in 2007 and remains on our list in 2009. Over the years he has provided very extensive knowledge about quenching, both from his background with Union Carbide Corporation and now as an independent consultant in Seattle, Washington.

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