Cheer on local high schools’ robotics teams

The Euclid High School RoboBots Untouchables T-shirt

Join HGR Industrial Surplus on Saturday, Apr. 30 as we root on Euclid High School’s Untouchables Robotics Team in their battle robot competition against other local high schools at Lakeland Community College starting at 8:30 a.m. (doors open at 8 a.m.).

Here they are practicing for their match:

 

And, if you can’t make it in person, you can watch the competition live via streaming video on YouTube:

HGR’s enhanced website goes live

HGR Industrial Surplus New Website Launch

We are pleased to announce that after several months of planning and development, we launched our enhanced website this weekend.

This redesign comes on the heels of our last update one year ago. We received feedback via a customer survey and decided to make additional enhancements to the user experience.

Here are some of the new features that you will see:

  • A more accurate search function
  • Less white space and more products per page
  • The ability to click a product and expand it through quicklook without leaving the page
  • Color-coded items (new arrival, markdown, last chance) for easy identification
  • The ability to toggle between list view and a grid or tile view
  • Enhanced print templating for ease of printing items of interest
  • Enhanced sales inquiry form
  • Blog incorporated into the website
  • Display of “Trust” logos that show our affiliations with important organizations
  • Favorites function that allows customers to quickly assemble a list of items, then add any or all of those items to their shopping cart
  • Enhanced product images: This is being phased-in, but our inventory clerks will begin loading images at higher resolution. It will take several months for lower-resolution images to work their way through inventory, but down the road all of the images should be about twice the size that they were on the prior version of the website.
  • A zoom image feature to take a closer look at photo details

As always, we welcome your feedback and hope these changes enhance your shopping experience.

HGR partners with auction house to move high-dollar items

HGR Industrial Surplus and Cincinnati Industrial Auctioneers Auction

On Apr. 20, HGR Industrial Surplus partnered with Cincinnati Industrial Auctioneers to host a public auction of all of the tools and equipment at the former Ohio Camshaft/OC Industries site in Twinsburg, Ohio, due to the plant’s closure. The parking lot was full at 9:30 a.m. with many pickup trucks full of dollies and pallets, and the auction of 642 lots began at 10 a.m. with 69 onsite and 96 online bidders from 22 states, Canada, Peru and Turkey. Everything was lined up nicely and tagged for display in the plant. Two machinists were available to demonstrate the equipment and provide information. The auction started with small tabletop items with the large equipment being sold around lunchtime.

Jeff Luggen, vice president and principal auctioneer at CIA, and his brother, Jerome, have been in the business for 35 years, and his father and mother started the company in 1961. Jeff’s sons Jeffrey and Joseph joined the company in the early 2000s, and Jerome’s son, Ryan, joined in 2013. That’s three generations of Luggen expertise! Speaking of experts, about six rigging companies from all over the country, including New Jersey, North Carolina and Ohio, were available to help customers haul their items off premises.

The top five items that sold were:

  • $100,000.00 – 42” x 192” Clausing Model CL45200 Flat Bed CNC Lathe (2006)
  • $48,000.00 – 60” Summit Model 60-VBM Vertical Boring Mill
  • $42,500.00 – 43” x 315” Hankook Model Proturn 100 Flat Bed CNC Lathe (1997)
  • $40,000.00 – 26” x 240” Norton OD Cylindrical Grinder
  • $30,000.00 – 32” x 144” Berco Type RTM-425A Crankshaft Grinder

The auction was advertised by brochure mailer, CIA and HGR email blasts, Bidspotter email blast, AuctionZip and signage to attract drive-by customers.

The partnership with HGR began when Rick Affrica, HGR’s chief purchasing officer and partner, began attending CIA auctions in 1998. He says, “I have attended their auctions, and it’s been a great fit. They’ve been very responsive and timely and treated our customers the way we want them to be treated by answering their questions, providing alternatives and finding ways to meet the customers’ goals. That’s why we have continued to work with them during the past few years. We partner with other auction houses, as well, to meet our customers’ needs.”

Educating the workforce for manufacturing careers

manufacturing training

According to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ Workforce Imperative: A Manufacturing Education Strategy, “Manufacturing is a key component of modern society, enabling people to build the goods and products they need to eat, live, entertain and protect themselves.” But, recently, the industry has faced two challenges — an aging-out/retiring workforce and the lack of younger talent to fill positions — which both are contributing to up to 600,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs in the United States.

 

This shortage of available, qualified workers to keep domestic manufacturers competitive is due, in part, to a deficit in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills being taught in schools. And, according to Manpower, “The nature of manufacturing jobs has changed dramatically over recent decades because of new technologies. Many manufacturing technologies are all heavily computer-based. These are complex technologies, and programmers and operators of them require substantial technical training.”

With these career opportunities, it’s important for students and workers at the stage of choosing a career or training to consider a career in manufacturing due to:

  • The availability of jobs
  • The opportunity to apply creativity and innovation
  • Financial rewards (average starting salaries: $24/hour with associate’s and $57,000/year with bachelor’s according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • An under-representation of women and minorities
Distribution by occupational group (May 2013), courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Distribution by occupational group (May 2013), courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

There are a variety of openings in production, maintenance and repair, transportation/logistics, product development, engineering, sales, management and administration that require critical thinking and problem solving skills, which can be learned through hands-on technical programs, industry certifications, or two- and four-year degree programs.

courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration
courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for a list of colleges in Ohio that offer two- and four-year degree programs in manufacturing technology. The Ohio Department of Higher Education also offers manufacturing education resources. Two organizations with websites that supply additional information are: The Manufacturing Institute of the National Association of Manufacturers and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

HGR congratulates its weight-loss winners

HGR Industrial Surplus’ employees decided to have their own “Biggest Loser” competition. The cost was $25 to enter as “motivation” to compete for the prizes (weight loss and $900 to the winner, $500 for second place and a day of paid time off to each member of the winning team). The competition ran Jan. 15 through Apr. 15. The individual winner and team winner were selected based upon the greatest percentage of weight lost during the course of three months, though everyone lost weight; so, they are all winners.

Please join us in congratulating:

  • Dave “DB” Burzanko for first place with 41.6 pounds lost or 16.06%
  • Chris Gibson for second place with 31.4 pounds lost or 15.13%
  • Joe Powell for third place with 32.8 pounds lost or 12.97%
  • The team of Chris and Joe, each winning a PTO day, with 29% combined

Check out these before and after shots:

Dave Burzanko's before photo
DB Burzanko, before
Chris Gibson's before photo
Chris Gibson, before
Joe Powell's before photo
Joe Powell, before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Burzanko's after photo
DB Burzanko, after
Chris Gibson's after photo
Chris Gibson, after
Joe Powell's after photo
Joe Powell, after

 

 

 

 

 

Local businesses cooperate to ensure City of Euclid’s growth

Teamwork and cooperation

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Derek Dixon, reporter for The Real Deal Press)

The picture painted by Euclid Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail in her February “State of the City” address was an undeniable account of how committed small business owners, skilled laborers, concerned citizens, and public officials, are to the lakefront city’s restoration.

The spirit of cooperation that many municipalities seek between their councils, school boards and chambers of commerce has reached a measurable degree of fruition in Euclid. The agenda items at any one of their regular meetings often include references to the endeavors of the other agencies. Euclid’s stakeholders have not only achieved, but shown a willingness to sustain, civic growth ahead of individual promotion. Perhaps it also is what so clearly justifies the operations of an outfit like HGR Industrial Surplus.

The commonalities between the industrial surplus giant and the city it calls home go beyond evident. They border on mutually essential.

Mayor Gail acknowledged that the city is facing a 2016 where the city’s plans to maintain growth outpace its budgetary readiness to support it; however, she followed that statement with kudos to HGR and other anchor companies for making timely reinvestment efforts. One needs to look no further than HGR’s plan to provide six figures of square footage to a used car company in the near future. The newcomer will fix and eventually resell vehicles on a scale reflective of HGR’s own business. The resulting tax revenue will only bolster what HGR already generates through its efficient warehouse-style model.

Euclid’s small business community also has expanded in the past year with new eateries, grocers, and a brewery, among others. The infrastructures of buildings that house such operations rely on dependable industrial appliances—electric generators, furnaces and boilers, air conditioning units, compressors, water pumps, etc. Quality customer service also requires cash registers, computers, supply cabinets, vacuum cleaners, water coolers or fountains, and dishwashing units to name a few. Once again, HGR has the flexibility and variety of inventory to address each need.

That city that can galvanize three branches into an emerging vision of civic rebirth is unique. Not so unique are the limitations of financial and material access in pursuit of it. Almost non-existent is an entity like HGR that is prepared from all facets — business model, partnership outreach, and product availability — to provide solutions.

Manufacturing’s next high-tech tool: the video camera

videography for manufacturers

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Windom Ratchford, video freelancer and proprietor, Creative Gold Media)

Today’s manufacturing operations are innovative masterpieces. Engineers and machinists are working together to make manufacturing shops clean, well-lighted environments brimming with advances in modern tooling and design. These advances include CNC machining technology, 3D printing, computer-assisted design, and the video camera. The VIDEO CAMERA?

Yes, the video camera! Specifically, “video communications.” While it will never be confused with a 5-axis milling machine or an injection molding machine, video is a tool that holds its own with regard to adding value within a manufacturing operation. It is a communications tool that is primed to deliver key messages to staff and customers. Here are three areas where I have found video communications to be beneficial for manufacturers:

Training

If you have staff, you have a need for training and continuous improvement. That training is likely best handled through “hands-on” instruction. When such instruction is not possible for reasons such as limited availability of training staff, an effective alternative is video-based training. Video-based training can be used as a self-serve resource that can be shared online, through a company’s intranet or even through DVDs. Such a resource can be used for primary training or when workers need a refresher on a process.

Innovation

As impressive and as cool as your manufacturing operation is, who knows about it outside of your company? A brief customer-facing video highlighting how your innovations make for a better product may serve as a big advantage over competitors! When customers visit your website, reward them with a peek into the innovations you have put in place to benefit them.

Safety

From machine safety to fire and alarm safety, there are crucial messages that must be communicated to every worker in the shop or office. Creating a safety video can be an easy and effective way to educate staff on proper procedures related to their well-being. Videos of this type can be used when on-boarding new workers or when new policies are developed. Such videos also can help support state and federal government safety regulations.

If your organization is interested in communicating through video, I encourage you to touch base with a professional for initial guidance on leveraging this powerful resource. With a video camera, editing equipment, and knowledge, video communications may become the most versatile tool in your operation next to that automated 5-axis mill.

Windom Ratchford is available for video production and consultation services at (440) 789-5400 or Windom@CreativeGoldMedia.com.

What type of employer is HGR? Values program

Get Busted exemplifying HGR's values

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Tina Dick, human resources manager, HGR Industrial Surplus)

The premise of HGR’s values program was to implement a company culture that would result in HGR:

  • Becoming a standout company in our field
  • Having high morale resulting in satisfied employees
  • Being values driven in our hiring, promotion and performance
  • Having our values transcend our market

A committee of leaders within HGR was formed to discuss and determine specifically what values were currently in place, which needed to be tweaked and which values were believed to have a need to become more prevalent in order to develop the company culture HGR was seeking.

Through several though-provoking meetings and conversations the following values were determined to be most important:

  • Ethical in all of our business activities
  • Support each other with openness, honesty, trust and respect while working as a team to achieve our common goals
  • Accountable in making and fulfilling our commitments to each other, our customers and our community
  • Create exceptional customer relationships by enhancing awareness and expectations of outstanding service with every interaction
  • Personal dedication to continuous improvement in creating employee and company success

HGR then needed to ensure that these values became a part of our everyday operations and conversation. We had to live them.

To help develop this culture a two-year program was born to encourage employees, management and officers to acknowledge and be aware of those individuals who represented our company’s values on a daily basis by nominating them for recognition.

To date, 321 awards have been presented to employees for representing those values. Many have been nominated more than once. This past year, the theme for nominating employees was to “bust” them living our values.

Several time per month, the Values Committee with either Brian Krueger or Ron Tiedman march through the office with the “Bad Boys” theme song from the television show “Cops” and “bust” an employee who was nominated by a peer.

Stay tuned next month for the third blog in our series “What type of employer is HGR?” You will get to meet some employees and hear about why HGR is special to them.

Scholarship deadline extended

Pen and scholarship application with books

A $2,000 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) scholarship is being offered to one senior at Euclid High School who meets the eligibility criteria in this application and submits his or her materials by the deadline. And, as if that’s not enough good news, we’ve extended the application deadline from Apr. 15 to Apr. 29. The scholarship will be presented and the winner notified on May 5 at the high school’s Academic Achievement Banquet at Tizzano’s Party Center. Good luck!

Mobile business solutions streamline processes

Edgecliff

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Andrew Glicker, account executive, Edgecliff Technology Innovators, LLC)

Think about the company you work for now. What do they do, and how do they do it? When you look up a file or transaction, is it on paper or in a file cabinet? When you get a new customer or client do they have to fill out a paper form? Do you or other employees have to fill out paper forms? What if there were no paper forms to fill out? What if there was an easier way?

You can use a preconfigured mobile application as a template and tailor it to meet your specific needs or start from scratch and design it. Some of the options include barcode reading, RFID tags, taking pictures, talk to text, capture signatures, and many more.

Going mobile is the direction a lot of companies are heading, and the ones that have done so have had great results. Instead of giving a customer a form to fill out they hand them a phone or tablet that will upload the data as soon as it’s submitted. This eliminates having to give the form to an employee who would have to enter the information into the computer, which in turn saves a lot of time. The same works for employees who currently use a clipboard with paper forms attached. Going mobile saves a lot of time and money while also allowing employees to be much more productive.

Step 1 is simply looking at and examining your current everyday business process. Maybe your current process works just fine the way it is, or maybe there is room for improvement. Some of the best practices for building a mobile strategy are:

  1. Organize your IT mobility team for success
  2. Identify which partners best align with your mobility strategy.
  3. Implement an IT self-service model.
  4. Leverage both cloud-based and on-premises solutions.
  5. Consider mobility to be a platform for innovation.

For additional information or questions visit our website at www.edgeclifftech.com or give us a call at 1-844-769-1769. We specialize in mobile business solutions to help companies with their everyday business process and make that process as simple, efficient, and productive as possible using mobile technology.

High school students make prosthetic hand using 3D printer

Mayfield High School students with 3D prosthetic hand
Senior CADD students Julius Gartrell, Ezell Williams and Edwin Sapozhnikov are shown with the 3D printed e-NABLE prosthetic hand that Ezell and Edwin recently assembled. Julius designed the rotating stand. Both the hand and stand will be featured as part of 3D printer manufacturer MakerGear’s exhibit at the Hanover Messe Trade Fair in Germany later this month.

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Craig Schmidt, CADD Engineering Technology teacher, Excel TECC, Mayfield City School District)

The engineering and manufacturing fields have seen incredible advancements in technology over the last 30 years. We moved from board drafting to computer-aided drafting, and then to modeling parts on-screen. Manufacturing processes continue to be automated and improved. We often hear of another technology – 3D printing. What is 3D printing, and how has it impacted a high school engineering program?

The process begins with a digital “model,” which can be created using several different methods. These models can be created with software applications, scanned using 3D scanners or may be scanned using a smartphone camera in conjunction with IOS or Android applications.  Once the model is completed, it must be prepared for printing. The model is then prepared using a “slicing” application, which converts the model into thin layers and creates code to communicate with the printer.

In traditional machining processes, also known as “subtractive” manufacturing, a piece of raw material is cut in various ways to create a part. In the 3D printing process, also known as “additive” manufacturing, we begin with a computer model, and the 3D printer builds the part layer by layer until it is complete. Plastic filament, 1.75 mm in diameter, is fed through a moving heated extruder, which compresses the filament. The heated filament is deposited on a moving build plate, typically in 0.02 mm thick layers. Print times can range from a few minutes, for an extremely tiny part, to a day or more for larger parts.

3D printing has significantly changed our CADD Engineering Technology program at the Mayfield Innovation Center on the Mayfield High School campus. In November 2014, I applied for and received a grant from the Mayfield Business Alliance to purchase our first 3D printer. Students have seen their ideas “come to life” through various engineering and architectural 3D-printed projects.

Our program is a two-year college tech prop program and is part of Excel TECC (Technical Education Career Consortium). The Mayfield Innovation Center also is home to Mayfield High School STEM2M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) programs. This year, freshman students were offered biomedical science and engineering courses. Additional courses will be offered each year. The center also hosts visits from the district’s elementary and middle school students. The facility is state-of-the-art, and includes a fabrication lab, amphitheater, numerous collaboration spaces and a café.

Last fall, Gina Burich, a French teacher at Mayfield High School, circulated a French video showing a child using a 3D-printed prosthetic hand. I was intrigued by the video and showed it to our class. Using downloaded files, our student team printed and built a test hand, which was submitted to e-NABLE, a world-wide network of prosthetic device makers. We became an approved e-NABLE maker in December. A local family, whose son was in need of a prosthetic hand, passed through CADD student Emily Pietrantone’s checkout lane at Target. She connected the family with our program, and their son will be our first prosthetic hand recipient in late April! Our students exhibited the prototype prosthetic hands at National Manufacturing Day, the Ohio School Boards Association Student Achievement Fair and at the Mayfield Science Showcase. Our students, and the prosthetic hands, have been featured on Fox 8 television and on cleveland.com.   This project – which first began via an email and then a chance encounter in a checkout lane – is not only a great hands-on class project using 3D printing technology, but has given our students an opportunity to change lives.

Cleveland metal finishing shop starts with a handshake between families

 

 

Eriewview Metal Treating

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Dennis Kappos, VP-Sales, Erieview Metal Treating, www.erieviewmetal.com)

President and General Manager Alex Kappos, VP-Sales Dennis Kappos and Comptroller George Kappos are brothers and second-generation owners of Erieview Metal Treating, 4465 Johnston Parkway, Cleveland, Ohio. The company was founded by their father, George Kappos, Sr. and their uncle, John Kappos. So, the company began with two brothers and is now owned and operated by three brothers.

The founders grew up in Wheeling, West Virginia, and both travelled to Cleveland for college. They attended John Carroll University and Fenn College (known today as Cleveland State University). Both brothers played basketball, sometimes against each other on their respective teams. They both met their future wives while living in Cleveland and stayed here after they received their college diplomas to start their careers.

The company was founded in 1961 with the help of the Mandel brothers, the owners of Premier Industrial Corp., now part of Premier Farnell. The Mandel brothers funded the start-up of Erieview with a 10 -year interest free loan. There was no contract, just two families looking each other in the eye while they shook hands — something that would never happen today.

Erieview started out as a small metal finishing shop doing two finishes, zinc and cad plating, with six employees. Premier was their largest customer for many years. Today, the company has expanded to 85 employees, more than 25 finishes and hundreds of customers.

Some of the industries served are:

  • Automotive
  • Truck and Trailer
  • Construction
  • Marine
  • Electrical
  • Aerospace
  • Appliance
  • Military Defense

For a company that specializes in bulk finishing for a wide range of industries and is witness to several downturns, including the most recent hard-hitting recession, Erieview has managed to celebrate 55 years in Cleveland. It has not always been smooth sailing and the city has changed a lot during the years, from a manufacturing perspective. Dennis recalls driving the company truck in the late 60s and into the 70s and being in awe of all the manufacturing in Cleveland. He says, “I remember driving through The Flats and seeing barbed wire as far as the eye could see. All the nails in the entire world were made here at that time. People don’t know this, but Cleveland was the fastener capital of the world in those days.” Alex says, “The great majority of fastener manufacturing from our hometown is now in Taiwan and China.”

The company has had to make changes to survive in that changing world. What made it work took effort, but it really is a pretty simple philosophy: We have the best people in the industry working here that are dedicated to providing the best service to the customer and a company philosophy of sticking to what we do best. We also use that same philosophy when working with our suppliers. HGR Industrial Surplus is a great example of that. You will find our head of maintenance and our plant manager visiting HGR many times throughout the month. We are a service company, and they are a great resource to help us maintain our plant operations.

Third-generation plastic fabricator and distributor calls Euclid home

Mitch Opalich, president of Indelco Custom Products, Inc., is the third generation of Opaliches to steer the business that has been in existence since 1965. The company originally was founded by Opalich’s father, George, and grandfather, Stephen, both engineers, as Cleveland Plastic Fabricators & Suppliers, Inc., when they were asked by a national manufacturing customer of their metalworking company to fabricate and machine plastics.

Since the family lived in Collinwood and Richmond Heights, Opalich says, “It made sense to locate the business in Euclid due to its proximity to a high concentration of manufacturing and OEM companies,” and it has remained here even though the Opaliches sold the business to their employees in the early 1970s. In 1994, Mitch Opalich bought the business back after finishing graduate school and working in the financial industry. He sold the company in 2008 to a Minneapolis-based plastics distributor, and the name changed to Indelco in 2014. Though he no longer owns the company, he remains president, and the company remains family owned by the Dore brothers. Opalich sold the business to leverage the buying power, infrastructure and capital of the third-largest player in the industry. He met the owners through his membership in the International Association of Plastics Distribution. Indelco Cleveland currently has more than 250 customers, 50 percent of which are in Northeast Ohio.

Opalich says, “We’re an industrial plastic distributor and fabricator specializing in fluid process control.” What does that mean? Well, some of the cool items that they have fabricated include:

  • a Simona® Eco-Ice® plastic surface made of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene that is used as an ice skating rink (Yes, you skate ON the plastic with no water or ice, and there’s one in our backyard that University Circle Inc. had installed.)
  • clear acrylic poker chip carriers used by casinos
  • the plastic plating barrels used by mints to plate coins (Indelco’s are being used in China.)
  • an acrylic humidor for Opalich’s and his friends’ cigars
  • a training tool for surgeons to practice threading screws into titanium replacement parts and fractures
  • retrofitting a fire truck into a 5,000-gallon brine spreader to salt the roads
  • and reverse osmosis water purification tanks and piping.

Indelco works with an original-equipment manufacturer that requisitions the plastic material or part, many of which are Cleveland-based, and is responsible for machining, assembling, welding and bending the items they fabricate.

Another interesting project is one that the company did for Eveready Battery Company’s Westlake, Ohio, research-and-development facility. Indelco helped Eveready convert its stainless-steel anode mixing system to plastic and standardize it throughout all of their facilities. The mixture was improved by using polyethylene tanks that did not interact with or contaminate the mix, making it cleaner and more uniform. Indelco also teamed with a process control manufacturer to fabricate double-walled tanks to hold hydrochloric acid for cleaning aerospace engine parts for Rolls-Royce that had to meet seismic specifications due to the customer’s location in California. Interestingly enough, you can hold acids in plastic, and some of them are impervious to acids that will eat through stainless steel.

Plastic is machined and welded in a process similar to metal. Indelco hires skilled metal-industry welders and machinists then trains them on plastic techniques. Because the industry is young in the United States, since the 1960s, few trade schools teach plastic techniques, and most machinists are self-taught. The company has 20 employees in Euclid and 200 more at its corporate office and 14 other facilities.

Opalich’s connection to HGR predates the existence of HGR. He went to Mayfield High School with HGR’s founder, Paul Betori, and they remain friends. Opalich says he buys and repairs tanks from HGR when a customer specifies the need, and he has bought shop equipment for his facility from HGR.

Hose Master develops manufacturing apprentice program to train machinists and welders

Hose Master products

Can you guess what Hose Master makes? Yup. Hose! But not of the garden variety. Hose Master manufactures ¼-inch to 20-inch-in-diameter metal hoses with expansion joints to transport liquids and gasses for industrial applications where rubber hose won’t work because the environment is too hot (think, steel mill), too cold, or where there is a concern that something could permeate the hose (think, chemical plants and refineries), such as in the transport of chlorine. As consumers, we have encountered their hoses in three places: the metal hose that connected the receiver to the box in a pay-phone booth in the good old days, the hose on a handheld showerhead and the hose that we can’t see beneath the dispenser at a gas station, which pumps the gas up from the underground tank.

The company got its start 34 years ago when Sam Foti, Sr., who ran a small hose company, sent his son Sammy to college for a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at The University of Michigan, said “Let’s start a company,” and used the family’s savings to buy tool room equipment. Hose Master was born in a 17,000-square-foot building in Euclid, Ohio, then expanded to its current quarter-mile-long headquarters at 1233 E. 222nd Street because, according to Sammy, his dad “got a great price on the facility, and the City of Euclid was great to work with.”

Sammy Foti, Jr. of Hose MasterSammy says, “My father is a tool and die maker with a knack for building machines. He’s not educated as an engineer but is the best engineer I’ve known.” Sammy went on to get his M.B.A. at Case Western Reserve University and spends 80 percent of his work day doing research and development. Not only do Hose Master’s engineers design products, but they design and build the equipment to make the products, and they train machinists and welders to fabricate them. Sammy’s sister and brother manage marketing and legal activities, respectively, for the company. Sam and Sammy both work on the shop floor side by side with their employees, which include 400 people in four locations (Cleveland, Atlanta, Houston, Reno).

The Fotis have a vested interest in the state of U.S. manufacturing. Sammy says, “When I think altruistically, I want to help the U.S. develop more engineers and a manufacturing base. I am distressed at the movement toward a service orientation and away from manufacturing. Manufacturing is stressed and challenged, with the exception of the automotive industry. This is deteriorating the foundation and base of our economy. Manufacturing is the base that feeds everything. Although the field of engineering has become more popular, which I am happy to see, we aren’t doing a good job of developing people for other skilled positions, especially machinists and welders. Because of this, Hose Master has had to invent ways to develop a skilled workforce.”

The company has created a manufacturing apprenticeship program. Since it can’t find and hire enough skilled machinists, it train its own, and it hires in general labor employees then gauges who might want to learn welding. He advises, “To have adequate staffing, we must commit ourselves to training. We can’t be casual about developing future generations to replace the aging-out workforce. And, we need to keep production domestic rather than sourcing overseas products.” Because of this investment in building the manufacturing workforce, Hose Master was recognized with a 2016 Evolution of Manufacturing Award by Smart Business Magazine.

Due to their proximity to HGR and ability to tweak machines for their own application, Hose Master’s engineers have purchased a large quantity of equipment from HGR through the years for research and development purposes.