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FPDA President Sees Opportunities for Growth

Dec. 10, 2019
Kevin Kampe of Womack Machine Design talks about fluid power industry growth, and how distributors can assist in that growth.

The Fluid Power Distributors Association (FPDA) has elected its new board of directors in October, and the association is planning a number of new initiatives to both expand its membership and reach out to future distributors and workers in the fluid power industry.

Kevin Kampe of Womack Machine Supply was elected president of the association. Jeff Behling of STAUFF will serve as FPDA president-elect.

They will be joined by Bob Decker of Livingston & Haven as vice president & treasurer and Royal Bush of Royal Hydraulics as immediate past president. Board members for the association, which has 140 distributor and manufacturing member companies and more than 700 members, are Lon Jennings of Hydradyne; Pat Nichols of Monnier Inc.; Craig Sinnott of HydraForce, Inc.; Craig Whited of Fluid and Motion Control Technologies; Keath Ford of Kaman Fluid Power; Steve Velderman of Wilson Company; and Josh Williamson of Franklin Automation Inc.

FPDA Board of Directors serving a one-year term include: Convention Chair: William Haley of FORCE America Inc.; Member at Large: Tom Nicholson of GS Global Resources; and Young Executives Chair: Ryan Schenk of STAUFF.

Kevin Kampe talked with Hydraulics & Pneumatics about some of the challenges faced by the association and the relationship between distributors and their customers:

H&P: What are some of the first priorities for you and the new board?

Kampe: FPDA has been very blessed over the last six years. We have experienced growth fueled by focusing on providing resources that are most valuable to our membership. One of the biggest membership concerns has been related to employee development and backfilling critical roles. A tremendous amount of experience is retiring from our industry and opening opportunities for new generations.

Based on our member’s feedback FPDA has:

  • Invested in FPDA University to provide assessments and technical training for workforce development.
  • Expanded our mentorship program to provide coaching and development for our members up and coming talent.
  • Provided education and development content to our annual Summit program.
  • Grown our Young Executive Organization (YES) to provide a community of next-generation leaders that can support and help each other grow.

The great thing about the FPDA, and the industry, are the number of opportunities. In 2020, FPDA will be focused on:

  • Furthering our commitment to the transition from fluid power to a full motion control association by expanding representation of drives/controls and electromechanically products and solutions.
  • Expanding membership to include service and repair expertise.
  • Developing talent and mentoring new generations of the workforce.
  • Enhance our business intelligent tools to help our members make better business decisions.

H&P: What should end-users expect from their distributors, and what in turn should end-users do to make the relationship work? What are some of the best practices that have been valuable in your experience?

Kampe: Our customers should expect us to solve their motion control problems that make their lives easier. Distributors should be technically competent and provide valuable business consulting to our clients. Above all, our customers should know that we care and have their best interests at heart.

In my experience, truly understanding and taking an interest in your customer’s business is the best way to show you are interested in a true partnership.

H&P: The challenges of finding and developing the next generation of industry talent remains a prime issue for everyone in the industry. Talk about some of the programs FPDA has in place, and also discuss some of the challenges still in need of attention.

Kampe: Our organization needs to continue to refine the value proposition for the next generation. We need to develop content that they want to consume in an environment that is most impactful.

H&P: In your role at Womack Machine Design, what keeps you up at night, and what gets you up in the morning?

Kampe: What keeps me up at night is making sure that we, as an organization, are always looking ahead and proactively preparing for the future. Our industry, and the technologies we represent, will continue to change at an accelerated pace.

We all need to be prepared, open, and flexible to reinvent ourselves to deliver more and more value to our customers.

H&P: What’s the next big technology on the horizon that end-users should be prepared to implement? How can distributors and FPDA assist in that process?

Kampe: IoT has been talked about for some time, but has yet to make an impact on the industry. As we get down the road with IoT, not only the devices, but the data will have a huge impact on our customers. FPDA distributors can bring a holistic offering that no other one manufacturer can provide.

Distributors will also have a tremendous opportunity to process the data from IoT and provide valuable analytics. FPDA distributors will do best be meeting their customers where they are, but also inspiring them to do more than they ever thought possible.

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