These biographies have been compiled using information believed to be reliable, some submitted with these persons’ nominations to the Fluid Power Hall of Fame, and additional information on the Internet and other sources.
To say George Beniek has participated in the widest, most unusual Fluid Power applications for his over 60 years in the industry is an understatement. From being the first employee of 1961’s brand new Char-Lynn Test Lab, to hydraulically controlling and rotating a 24-foot theater stage, to coordinating the combined development efforts of the University of Minnesota with Eaton Corporation to create an energy-efficient fluid power-operated Plymouth Valore, George has certainly traversed beyond the normal breadth of the field! Mr. Beniek holds the patent for improving the performance of Eaton’s Low-Speed-High-Torque Hydraulic Motor. An army veteran of Korea, George serves the Chanhassen American Legion Post Honor Guard and volunteers on its annual Fishing For Life summer veteran-family outings on Lake Minnetonka. But perhaps the accomplishment of which George is most proud of is his role as co-founder and overseer of the Minneapolis-St. Paul IFPS Chapter 5’s Past President’s Scholarship Fund. This one-year, full scholarship, awarded to a second-year fluid power student at one of four Minnesota colleges, has been given annually for 20 years and accounts thus far for cumulative awards totaling nearly $100,000.
Henry (Bud) Haver
Winner of 2019’s “Coolest Thing Made in Michigan” Award, Henry (Bud) Haver culminates his 25-year tenure with Peninsular Cylinder of Roseville, Michigan as its President of seven years. Peninsular’s custom booster cylinder won the second annual “Coolest” Award, sponsored by the Michigan Manufacturers Association, from a field of 10 extremely diverse contest finalists of “Michigan Things”. He is largely responsible for Peninsular Cylinder’s expansion over the past three decades as well as its solid internal training program. Mr. Haver, with 42 years in Fluid Power, earned Certified Fluid Power Specialist Certification in 1994, and subsequently earned Certified Solid Works Associate. Bud recently joined the NFPA’s Cylinder Standards Committee. He has served on Macomb Community College’s Business Advisory Council, contributed to the publication Basic Hydraulics – Component and Circuit Design, Operation, & Analysis, and authored numerous fluid power periodical articles. Bud also directed development of Peninsular’s strong engineering and manufacturing team and led the company’s development and implementation of an ISO-9001:2015 quality system.
After 33 years as author and editor at Hydraulics & Pneumatics magazine, Alan Hitchcox notes “the most indelible aspect of my career: all the great people I’ve met and with whom I’ve worked”. Alan’s leadership at the periodical has both promoted fluid power in industry and advanced the cause of hydraulic and pneumatic power transmission and emerging technologies across a broad range of industries. Mr. Hitchcox has served as the committee chair for NFPA’s Electronic Sensors Committee and edited NFPA’s Recommended Practices for both pressure and linear-displacement transducers. Not content with merely “industry” impact, Alan edited and appeared in Episode 15, Season 10 “Hydraulics” of the popular television program Modern Marvels. Having started his career in publishing as assistant editor for Power Transmission Design magazine in 1981, Mr. Hitchcox also organized technical seminars on fluid power technology and presented technical papers at IFPE. Alan notably quotes, “I did not seek a career in fluid power. Rather, after I fell into it, I developed a passion to learn as much as I could and have always found the wide variety of applications astounding.”
In a class by himself, Peter Nachtwey has well over 35 years laser-focused on the application of microelectronics to control theory, particularly in its application to fluid power industrial machinery. With Bachelor’s Degrees in both Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering, Mr. Nachtwey began working with controls theory by writing software to synchronize wood-carrying, hydraulically powered conveyors, as well as servo-hydraulic controls to be utilized by sawmill OEM’s. In 1985, Peter joined the fledgling Delta Computer Systems and began developing hydraulic servo controllers for programmable logic controllers (PLC’s). Mr. Nachtwey became president of Delta in 1992 and has continued to be the nationally recognized, leading proponent and expert on advanced control algorithms as well as simulation programs to enable less cumbersome methods for testing and developing machinery. He has made numerous presentations at technical conferences worldwide, including at IFPE, NFPA, and FPDA, and has published technical papers for metals industries, food processing, dam control systems, forest products, complex testing systems, and press applications – to name but a few. In his own words, Peter says, “My main contribution has been in control theory for hydraulic systems and making automation using hydraulics simpler, more precise, faster and cheaper.”
John G. Slater
Retired from an illustrious career in fluid power engineering which began in WWII as a naval Seabee, John G. (Jack) Slater has earned credentials as both a Wisconsin Professional Engineer and an IFPS Certified Fluid Power Engineer. Jack attained his Ph.D. in Fluid Flow from the University of Wisconsin and presented his doctoral thesis “Energy Loss in Liquid Flow in Straight Pipes under High Pressure” to the 1953 American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE) Meeting in Minneapolis. Of his thesis and presentation, Jack notes that “2000 psi was high pressure at that time”. Since then, Mr. Slater has been employed both in industry and academia, having worked for A.O. Smith, Industrial Hydraulics Company, and Broome, Inc. all in Wisconsin, before moving on to a successful 27-year tenure at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). At MSOE, Jack began as Program Director for Fluid Power Engineering Technology Degrees and subsequently became the Chairman of MSOE’s Mechanical Engineering Department. Mr. Slater won the Karl O. Werwath Distinguished Research Award in 1983 for the design and installation of hydraulics to move a sailboat’s keel to the right or left to facilitate tacking.