MHM's Innovators

Aug. 1, 2003
Material Handling Management's Innovation Awards won't be handed out until March 2004, but you'll be learning more about them in the next few months.

Material Handling Management's Innovation Awards won't be handed out until March 2004, but you'll be learning more about them in the next few months. First, in the October issue, MHM will feature a case history on DaimlerChrysler's Twinsburg, Ohio Stamping plant. DaimlerChrysler overcame significant obstacles to make automation work in this 45-year-old facility. The innovator behind this effort is Conrad Hawley, production control manager. He and his team showed their company how it could use the latest generation of automatic guided vehicles in a building with narrow aisles, irregular woodblock floors, and an automation-shy workforce.

Then in November MHM will profile Mr. Hawley and the rest of MHM's 2003 Innovators. There are two other categories beside our current-year innovators: pioneers and an innovator of the future.

Material Handling Innovation Pioneers

– Dick Ward, Material Handling Industry of America, and Leon McGinnis, Georgia Tech, both of whom have been instrumental in bringing material handling to the top-of-mind consciousness of academia and industry. Their latest project is creating a warehousing database to build a storehouse of knowledge supporting the application of material handling technology.

– Jervis B. Webb. Pioneer in the conveyor industry and founder of the company bearing his name. Mr. Webb was an early president of the Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association (CEMA).

– George Raymond (posthumous award). A pioneer in narrow aisle truck technology and founder of The Raymond Company of Greene, NY.

– Al Wurz. Retired chairman and CEO of Accu-Sort, and a pioneer in bar coding technology.

– Geoffrey Ballard. He's recognized as the "Father of the Fuel Cell," a technology that will some day change the way lift trucks are powered, and he currently serves on the board of General Hydrogen.

Material Handling Innovators of the Year

– Bob Titzer, director of systems engineering, Sara Lee Casual Wear. Mr. Titzer headed up an effort to revive an existing but closed-down distribution center with legacy material handling systems, bringing it up to 21st century automation standards.

– Jim Houck, GSE Systemwide Manager at Continental Airlines. Directed the project changing Continental's lift truck fleet from gas to fast-charging electrics and saved 60% in maintenance and fuel costs, while eliminating emissions.

– Lt. Col. Al Will, US Marine Corps, was instrumental in developing a "WMS In A Box," a deployable warehouse management system to supply maintenance units in the field.

– Gregg Schwerdt, distribution manager/beauty care, Procter & Gamble, worked with consultants to develop a pallet pick program that reduced shipment damage significantly.

– Conrad Hawley, production control manager, DaimlerChrysler Twinsburg Stamping Plant, gave new life to an aging plant at a time when his company was struggling with losses in the billions. He showed how material handling could be instrumental to a financial turnaround.

Material Handling Innovator of the Futur

– Kurt Stiehl, a student at the University School of Milwaukee, developed a way to measure, monitor and manipulate the acoustics of a room, which could potentially be applied in industrial settings to lower noise levels in an affordable way. Kurt was one of the candidates in the Intel International Science Fair held in Cleveland recently.

These winners will be celebrated at our Awards Program in Cleveland on March 30th, 2004, at the same time the Material Handling Industry of America will be in town for the NA 2004 Show and Conference. The Platinum Sponsor for MHM's awards will be Crown Equipment Corporation, which was recently recognized as a Best Practices leader by Industry Week magazine (see IW's September issue or go to

For more information about attending MHM's Innovation Awards, or to nominate someone for next year's program, contact MHM chief editor Tom Andel at [email protected].