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.
Lynn (Buck) L. Charlson (1909 – 2004)
Lynn (Buck) Charlson was a self-educated designer and inventor who founded the Char-Lynn company in 1942 (acquired by Eaton in 1970). His discovery of the gerotor principle, as well as the earliest high torque, low speed (HTLS) hydraulic motor led to his 94 patents. Charlson was inducted into the Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame in 1985 and has been dubbed “the man who revolutionized hydraulics”. Millions of hydraulic motors – all based on Charlson’s original designs, are in use today across hundreds of applications including agriculture, mining, construction and transportation.
Willis (Willie) Franke (1945 – 2013)
Willis (Willie) Franke was the North American Director of Training for Altec Industries, headquartered in St. Joseph, Missouri. As a steadfast proponent of training and certification for both Mechanics and Technicians, Franke is responsible for hundreds of credentialed employees in the electric utility, telecommunications, and contractor industries. Franke was an adamant supporter of the International Fluid Power Society and had served as Vice President and member of the Board of Directors. He was for many years the standard-bearer for the success and growth of the IFPS’ Certification Program.
Raymond F. Hanley (1926 – 2015)
A proud U.S. Navy veteran of WWII, Ray Hanley became a degreed engineer and successful business owner. He served for many years as Certification Vice President for the International Fluid Power Society and was President of its Board of Directors in 1986-87. Hanley was the prime motivator and contributor for the development and implementation of the IFPS’ Certification Program and has been nicknamed the “Grandfather of Certification.” He was honored with the first IFPS Emeritus Certification. Hanley authored two publications: Math for Certification (2006) and Fluid Power Essential Practices (2011).
William C. Moog, Jr. (1915 – 1997)
William Moog, Jr., invented a valve that revolutionized the aircraft and missile flight control systems that made the moon landing possible. His “Moog Servovalve” linked (and continues to link) the computer and mechanical parts of aircraft and missile flight control systems while isolating the electrical from the hydraulic components. Moog was ahead of his time, addressing globalization by expanding Moog’s corporate presence to Germany in 1965. In the company which still bears his name, Moog’s founding principle still holds sway: “Work can be a more rewarding and satisfying experience for everyone in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence.”
Lawrence (Larry) G. Shea, Sr. (1927 – 2013)
Proudly retiring from the U.S. Navy after 22 years, having served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, Larry Shea went on to a successful 20-year career as a hydraulic engineer at Bethlehem Steel where he was responsible for 2500 hydraulic machines. Shea was a founding member of the IFPS local Lehigh Valley Chapter as well as a member of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers. He was a noted fluid power instructor, both in the Navy and at Bethlehem Steel, and continued to teach hydraulics at Valley Hydraulics and Air until he was 82.
Edgar (Bud) W. Trinkel, Jr. (1932 – 2009)
Noting that he began his fluid power professional career as a salesman of cylinders and valves, Bud Trinkel is quoted as remembering that he “never had to think about what it took to make the cylinders operate.” As President of Hydra-Pneu Consulting, founded in 1984, Trinkel designed fluid power circuits, provided training, and performed troubleshooting for industrial clients. Author of several books on fluid power, including Fluid Power Basics and Fluid Power Circuits Explained, Trinkel is quoted as saying that “teachers learn more than their students”.
Richard J. (Dick) Fontecchio (1948 - 2014)
Richard “Dick” Fontecchio entered fluid power in 1965 as an intern at Fluid Power Systems. In 1985, Dick co-founded HydraForce with Jim Brizzolara in Northbrook, Illinois. Dick insisted on quality products and excellent customer service as guiding principles. HydraForce was founded to fulfill the need for the finest quality hydraulic cartridge valves, provided with timely and responsive customer service. HydraForce now employs over 1000 people and manufactures in the United States and abroad. With Dick’s leadership as Vice President of Sales and Marketing, HydraForce introduced over 15,000 standard and proprietary cartridge valves and their electro-hydraulic controls. HydraForce’s pervasive culture of superior quality and outstanding customer service is a testament to Fontecchio’s legacy, commitment, and foresight. (See also Brizzolara biography.)
Harley E. Bergren (1917 – 2021)
World War II Army Air Corps veteran, Harley E. Bergren, passed away during 2021. Harley had been nominated as a living recipient but passed on March 19, 2021 – three days before his 104th birthday. From family and friends, we learned:
After WWII, Harley worked for Gates Rubber selling to agricultural equipment companies. Bergren moved to Char-Lynn for 1958 through 1966. In 1966, Bergren founded Power Systems in Minnesota, a fluid power distributor with expertise developing transmission systems. Harley retired in 1982 but held company stock until the 1998 sale of Power Systems. Colleagues remember Harley as a far-sighted inventor. He developed a unique lawn mower drive system before hydrostatics was invented, providing three forward speeds, neutral, and reverse using only a cam, a valve, and two gear pumps. In 1967, Harley developed the patent for a Hydrostatic Transmission and its attendant controls.