WASHINGTON, DC (Feb. 1, 2011) - The manufacturing industry in the U.S. faces significant challenges because of globalization, but the valve industry is well positioned to pursue the opportunities, just as it was well-positioned to face the recent economic slowdown, according to Max Mitchell, who was elected chairman of the Valve Manufacturers Association in late 2010. Mitchell is group president – Crane Fluid Handling, Stamford, Connecticut.
“Being able to compete with the thousands of new companies that are all over the world today is a challenge for the entire manufacturing world,” Mitchell explains. “In the valve industry, that means finding the best way to support our customers and new ways to distribute our products and find new customers. But it also means being able to maintain control over quality when our supply chain is stretched all over the world,” he adds.
The valve industry will benefit from its diverse membership and deep level of experience, he adds.
For example, “At VMA, we have a real mix on our board. You’ve got large global companies who are multi-national and you have smaller independents who are still significant players. You’ve also got many professionals that come from family businesses and that have many years in the business,” he says.
That diversity and depth helped the industry weather the recent economic storm, he adds.
“What we all saw as a nation was an unprecedented downturn that was incredibly difficult and that forced us to face some very difficult decisions. We are late in the cycle in the valve manufacturing industry so we’re still seeing some challenges. But our mix should help us get through what’s happened in a positive light. We’ll see faster growth opportunities in emerging markets and a slower, longer recovery in other areas,” he says.
Mitchell’s background is in manufacturing operations excellence. He began his career on the floor as a line supervisor at Ford Motor Company. Over the course of the next two decades, he worked his way up through the ranks in a number of manufacturing facilities to become senior vice president of global operations for Pentair Tools Group, Jackson, Tennessee. In 2004, he was hired as a vice president of operational excellence for Crane Corporate Group, and was appointed group president of Crane Fluid Handling, Stamford, Connecticut in 2005.
Crane Fluid Handling is a global provider of industrial fluid control solutions, the second largest business for Crane, a 150-year-old diversified manufacturer of highly engineered industrial products. Crane provides products and solutions to customers in the aerospace, electronics, hydrocarbon processing, petrochemical, chemical, power generation, automated merchandising, transportation and other markets.
Mitchell took over as chairman from Mike Mason, executive vice president of Emerson Process Management – Fisher. Bruce Broxterman, president, Richards Industries, is VMA’s vice chairman, and Mark Cordell, president, Cameron Valves & Measurement was elected program chairman.
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ABOUT THE VALVE MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
Founded in 1938, the Washington, DC-based Valve Manufacturers Association of America (www.vma.org) represents nearly 100 North American manufacturers of valves, actuators and controls. Members account for approximately 80% of total industrial valve shipments out of U.S. and Canadian facilities. The North American valve industry supplies approximately 35% of worldwide valve demand, and VMA member companies employ 20,000 men and women in supporting jobs. VMA is the only organization exclusively serving U.S. and Canadian manufacturers of industrial valves, actuators and controls. Products manufactured by members are used in numerous industries, including: chemical processing; petroleum refining; oil and gas exploration, distribution and transmission; power generation; nuclear power; water/wastewater; commercial construction; and pulp and paper.
VMA is also publisher of the quarterly Valve Magazine (www.valvemagazine.com), written for buyers, specifiers, users and distributors of industrial valves, actuators and controls.